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Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Duke...

August 20th, 2010
I remember the first time I saw you
A little puppy which looked like an old man
In a small chaotic petshop
You were in a white cage right in front of the air conditioner
Shivering, but nuzzled at our curious fingers
Which stroked the fur on your head
The moment we went home
We started thinking of a name for you
You being so precious and all
We picked the name Duke for you
And lengthened it to Sir Duke Lancelot
As your full name
We picked you up from the pet shop the next day
And how excited we were
We'd already set up your crate
In a corner of the living room
And once we placed you into the crate
You were curious
Yet intimidated by the new home you had
We left you by yourself for a couple of hours
By then you were exploring
A small area around your crate
Sniffing and pawing at the furniture
For your dinner
You had puppy food with milk
And how cute you were
When we tried to tie up you long ears
With a green scrunchie
Your head barely filled the bowl
You slept in you crate for the first few days
Then the first night we decided
To let you roam about at night
We all slept in the living room
You had your own little table lamp
In case you were afraid of the dark
The first night you were let out
You chewed on the PS2 cable
For the first two months of you life here
I was having my year-end holidays
This way I was able to wake-up
At 6am every morning to give you breakfast
After you'd finished munching
I'd sleep the rest of the morning on the couch
And you would accompany me
For the following weeks we did nothing
But play games and snapped shots of you
Then every afternoon during your lunch
I'd train you to do the basics
I remember the wary look on your face
When I pushed your rump to the floor
For the umpteenth time
In attempts to teach you 'sit'
I taught you how to 'lie'
I taught you how to take the snack
Only after I said 'OK'
And to nod when I asked 'yes or no'
While mum potty trained you
I remember the seemingly useless attempts
The way we waited in the backyard
For you to land perfect rosettes
And empty your bladder
I also remember the way
You backed away from
The little package or
The yellow-stained cloth
When we put it in your face
In hopes that you'd recognize the scents
And know where to do your business
The holidays ended
And I went to school rather warily
Because I was leaving you at home
With no one else except grandma
Only to get home at 1.30pm
And be greeted by your cute face in mine
Impatience written all over it
I continued teaching you
To 'turn'
To 'roll'
To 'paw'
Even when I was completely exhausted from school
Though the only thing
That kept your attention on me
Was the food in my hand
I was in complete bliss
A few months later
You graduated from potty training school
Every free minute was spent with you
Either playing with you
Or just combing through your latte fur
Which was the reason why
Your name was lengthened to
Sir Duke Lancelot aka Latte
1st of September 2008 came around
It was your first birthday
Someone special got you a chiffon cake
In celebration of your birthday
We shared the cake
Though most of it was eaten by you
Just about then
You started to violate rules
You started to leave puddles all over the place
And your free space was slowly reduced
To only the living room
You also bit me for the first time
And how mad I was at you then
We spent less time with you
As time slipped past
We were busy with work and studies
But you were there for us all the same
Not uttering a complaint
Which was why we thought you were mute
Until the time you first barked at a visitor
You weren't allowed out of the house
Though at first we did take you out
For occasional walks with the three stooges
And washed your paws
Blowed them dry
And powdered them with care
We took turns to give you your bath
And I had a love-hate relationship
With that particular task
Slowly you were weaned from milk
And breakfast altogether
You had meals with canned food instead
And boiled anchovies every blue moon
For some unfathomable reason
Your named was lengthened further
To Sir Duke Lancelot aka Latte Shoopuf
After the fictional creature in FFX
And we called you 'Dukie'
Or 'naughty little mutt'
Or other nicknames we thought of
Every other day
But I called you baby
Because you we're like one to me
Past the years
We celebrated one more of your birthdays
And the third one
We won't be able to be celebrating it
Because you'd be gone
Perhaps to a better home
I'll always remember
The way you surprised dad with your presence
The way you pushed away your blanket when you slept
The way you wormed into everyone's hearts
And left your pawprint on mine
I'm sorry for the times I hurt you
I'm sorry for the times I neglected you for material things
I'm sorry I didn't take better responsibility for you
For if I did
You wouldn't be going away
Thanks for being part of my life
Thanks for being there for me when no one else was
Thanks for giving me a few extra scars
For that's one way I'll remember you always
I didn't have much of a life before you came
And also thanks for adding more colour to my life
I've never cried so badly before
Even when dad left for China
I tried to divert my attention from you
But it just made me more depressed
I hope I'll be able to get over it eventually
And I hope the same for you
I also hope you'd remember me
The next time we meet
Be a good boy
Treat your new owners
The way you treated us
With love and perseverance
And your stubborn personality
And your wet greeting when they return home
Live a good life
You've still got many years more to live
And think of me whenever you can
I'll think of you for the rest of my life
And keep a part of my love for you always
With love from
Someone who'll miss you a lot

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