Photographer Chronicles Dog’s Last Day On Earth

Meet Duke Roberts. Duke was a black lab, living in Houston, Texas. He had a loving family, and lived a life of pure canine joy. Years ago, Duke was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, in his leg. Veterinarians removed his front right leg to try to stop the cancer, but the tumor continued to grow bigger.

Out of options, Duke’s owner, Jordan Roberts, made an appointment with for euthanization with the vet for Monday, July 7. Roberts invited her friend, photographer Robyn Arouty, to capture Duke’s last day on Earth.

“Experiencing death with your heart makes you stronger. You can overcome your fears. I’m living proof,” Arouty said.

Below are the bittersweet photos Arouty captured of Duke’s last day, showing a life full of unconditional love and happiness.


I died today, by Duke Roberts. And I ate a lot of hamburgers. We had a party.

I died today, by Duke Roberts. And I ate a lot of hamburgers. We had a party.


And I laughed.

And I laughed.


And I thought about how much I’m going to miss it here.

And I thought about how much I’m going to miss it here.


We told jokes.

We told jokes.


We were serious.


My friends from next door came to see me. They’re twins. When someone offered them one of my hamburgers, one said, “No thank you. I don’t want to take any from Dukey.”


Kristen came to see me. She’s a hoot. She’s my groomer. And my buddy.


While we were waiting for the vet to come, Kristen said we were going for a walk. Then someone said, “How about a play in the water at the splash park down the street?” So off we went!


“You know I’m going to miss you, right?”


“And you too, right?”


“Did you hear me? This is all I want!”


We got wet today.


We smiled today.


We felt grateful today.


We broke the rules today.


I listened to the kids play off in the distance. And thought about my two babies at home. I loved protecting them.


I relaxed today.


I felt no pain. Even though the tumor grew so big.


I felt the love today.


I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Kira. She “saw” me standing over everybody before the doctor said it was time. I was excited & jumping & happy.


Well, I didn’t say goodbye. I said ’til we meet again.


God, I was lucky. Our time was short. But you both gave me a second chance & we lived it up together. You love when I look at you. I’ll never stop.


Always, Dukey.

Family Reunited with Black Lab 7 Years After Fire

A dog who vanished during the 2007 San Diego firestorm has been reunited with his family after nearly 7 years.

John Hartman and his family not only lost their home in the devastating fire that burned half a million acres of land, but they lost their black Labrador retriever named Buddy, too.  Soon after, they packed up and headed to Oklahoma.

But during a recent trip to San Diego to visit their son, the Hartmans received a call they never expected. On the other end of the line was the Department of Animal Services–calling to tell them their beloved Buddy had been found. It was all thanks to a microchip that was planted in his neck two years prior to the fires.

The Hartmans had never given up hope that buddy came back to them. “I was pretty shocked,” Hartman told Fox 5 San Diego. “When we finally got to see him he looked the same. Somebody really took care of him.” According to Hartman, Buddy came to him the moment he called his name.

Elwood, World’s Ugliest Dog, Dies

RIP, Elwood.

The beloved Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix that became nationally known after winning the 2007 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has died. Elwood was 8.

“The best part was he did not suffer, he was in my arms and with me,” Elwood’s owner, Karen Quigley, told CNN. “I couldn’t be more proud that people who haven’t met him loved him … I couldn’t be more proud.”

Quigley rescued Elwood when he was 9-months-old. The breeder was going to euthanize the Chihuahua mix because she thought he was too ugly to sell.

Elwood was just 2-years-old when people started to notice his distinctive face–most notably the fact that his tongue was always outside of his mouth. “He just doesn’t have any teeth on the left side of his mouth, so there’s nothing to keep his tongue in there. It never goes in. It’s out all the time,” said Quigley. He was often referred to by fans as Yoda or E.T. because of his resemblance to the famous science-fiction characters.

“He’s very confident in his looks,” Quigley said. “He thinks he’s very handsome.”

We agree, Elwood, we agree.

See more photos of Elwood through the years below: