Dyuki (aka Mr. Dukes), was an 11 year old American Staffordshire Terrier who loved to swim in his family’s pool, but had never gotten the chance to swim in the great wide ocean.
In August of 2014, it was looking like he may never get that chance – he was in the final stages of Grade III mast cell cancer.
That was when his owner Zhenia Bluawka and her boyfriend Christian decided to take Mr. Dukes on a dream vacation – one last time.
So they packed up Mr. Dukes, along with the family’s other two pitties—Ruby and Violet—and headed to Assateague, Maryland for an overnight stay at the beach.
Although their 3-hour drive was blessed with sun, as soon as they reached the beach it began to rain.
“But the moment we pulled up to the ocean, the clouds quickly rolled in, and it started to drizzle,” wrote Bluwaka on her blog. “Who cares though? We love the rain!”
The first in was Ruby, though the waves scared her at first, she quickly got over her fear.
Lunchtime – the couple brought their own food, not sure of where they could eat with three dogs in tow. Mr. Dukes didn’t mind, he got a special treat – sharing Christian’s yummy roast beef sandwich (no onions!).
As they returned to their hotel room for the night – the sun came out just in time for them to enjoy an spectacular sunset from their balcony.
Mr. Dukes also got a late-night walk on the beach, when the sand “was nice and cool,” says Bluwaka.
Mr. Dukes got to lounge on the beach towel and do some people watching.
Best of all, he got to see, hear, smell and feel the ocean.
Mr. Dukes crossed the rainbow bridge one month after their amazing beach trip. On her blog, Bluwaka posted this about this passing:
“Dukes was my best friend. He was also my muse, as his passion for life served as a constant source of inspiration to me. I could never tire of photographing him. Since his passing, I’ve been told numerous times ‘how lucky Dukes was to have me.’ But in fact, it was me who was so lucky to have him. He was the smartest, funniest, most loyal, incredibly strong, yet equally sensitive dog—all wrapped into one perfect pittie package. He changed my life and I will miss him forever.”
We are sure that Mr. Dukes is running on sandy beaches somewhere, maybe with a light drizzle in the air and a silver lining in the sky—holding the promise that the sun will come out when he is reunited with family someday. And for Zhenia and Christian, those soft rainy days will remind them of who is waiting on the other side of that rainbow.