Letter #268: Duke the Dog

June 26, 2011

*Guest post from my sister…enjoy! If you know me, then you know I’m not the biggest animal person. However, this is a cute dog, and he doesn’t shed!!!!! Thanks for posting!

Dear dogs,

We have all heard the saying “dogs are a man’s best friend.”  I don’t think I truly understood this until Ryan (my husband) and I ventured into having one of our own almost two years ago.  Enter Duke – our energetic, two year-old, 100-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback.  [Rhodesian Ridgeback as defined by Wikipedia:  “ a dog breed developed in South Africa where it was used to hunt lions”]  We decided on this breed because we wanted an active, big dog that did not shed with a good demeanor.  He has definitely met all of our requirements and exceeded them on the “big” and active part.  

Duke as a puppy, so tiny compared to now!


Duke's a BIG boy now!

He has now become a part of the family, and really is like a best friend.  He is always excited to see us, never says no to a road trip and loves to cuddle on the couch…it doesn’t get much better than that! 

Duke loves to ride in the car, and is a great passenger!

Over the past two years, I have realized why people say that getting a dog is “training for a baby.”  It is a lot of responsibility, hard work and you love them like part of the family.  As a child, we always had dogs…but let’s be honest, we were never totally responsible for taking care of them. 

I quickly learned that having a dog puts a kink in your vacation plans, after-work plans and the day-to-day routines.  We now make sure that somebody goes directly home after work and someone (usually Ryan) has to run/walk Duke.  He is also a staple with us on road trips and holidays.  He is now an accepted and expected visitor when the Haynie’s come to town.  Finding a sitter for a 100-pound dog is not always easy (we are lucky to have dog loving friends and family that have helped us when we have extended trips).  And don’t forget about the cost, dogs are expensive when you add up food, vet bills, toys, treats and doggy day care.  Duke is one spoiled boy, so he does not have a shortage of any of the above.

See Duke’s luxury dog house Ryan built - includes a temperature controlled heater for winter, carpet and windows. Our whole family can fit inside!


Duke’s birthday present…a Wendy’s hamburger.

It might sound like I am deterring potential dog owners, but in reality I am just trying to educate.  We love Duke to death and are so thankful he is part of our family.  We wouldn’t change a thing.  But, it is also important for people to take good care of their animals and know the responsibility it requires in advance.  I definitely recommend getting a dog as it has been a great experience for us…but just make sure you are ready.  These “little guys” really depend on you….

He still thinks he is a puppy and can get on our laps, he is a very loving dog.

Thankful owner of a great dog,

Duke’s Mom (Dana Haynie, also Lindsay’s sister)



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