Marmaduke “Nose” Reusche – in memory of a good dog

Duke CGC TT, March 2002 – September 27th, 2015

Every trainer has a story about their crossover dog. Duke was mine.

Duke was adopted by my parents when he was 9 months old. He had been found as a stray and was never claimed by his original owners. We started training classes within a couple weeks of bringing him home, and my life changed forever.


ramp1Duke introduced me to clicker training. He loved going to classes, and tried so hard to be a good boy. Learning wasn’t easy for Duke, as he had the canine equivalent of some sort of learning disability. He learned well in the moment, but struggled to retain new information from day to day. In spite of this, he enjoyed a steady stream of obedience and agility classes. The more treats, the better! He learned tricks and eventually even earned his CGC certificate (on our seventh try).

face4Duke was my first instructor in reactivity and anxiety. To say that Duke lacked social skills with other dogs was an understatement. Other dogs made Duke anxious, and he would charge at unfamiliar dogs on walks. When he met a new dog, Duke would hump whichever end he encountered first, the commissure of his lips pulled back anxiously, ears back and eyes wide. If corrected by the other dog, he would fight back noisily but without doing damage.

P1020088 - CopySlow introductions proved that Duke could do quite well with doggy friends, and the controlled environment of class worked well for him. He did well with a string of foster puppies and became good friends with Layla, Dobby, and Trout as I added new dogs to my canine family. At home with my parents, he enjoyed being the “only dog” most of the time, and viewed their cat Trouble with the mingled apprehension and respect that only curmudgeonly old cats can provoke.



duke9Duke’s chief joy in life after food was to be with his people. A true velcro dog, Duke was deeply unhappy when left home alone and loved nothing better than to spend time with those he loved. Anxiety medication and stuffed Kongs helped to manage Duke’s separation anxiety throughout his life, and he eventually came to view his crate (complete with orthopedic dog bed and an ever-present stuffed Kong) as a comforting place. He would even sleep in his crate when his hips were bothering him.

duke11As Duke aged, he settled into a comfortable and happy routine with my parents of evening walks with my mom and sharing popcorn with my dad. He loved getting his butt scratched, even if it sometimes hurt his sore hips. He played with his quacking duck toy, shaking it angrily whenever anyone would leave the house. He barked – oh how he barked! at noises and sometimes at nothing at all. He would get stuck barking, standing in the living room and unable to see out the front window to know what he was barking at, but still fulfilling his self-appointed sentry duties nonetheless.

sprinkler2Duke’s love of food drove him to steal and eat a veritable feast of food and food-like objects in his youth, and despite some close calls (activated charcoal when he ate the bottle of ibuprofen, treatment for pancreatitis when he got into the entire pan of apple crisp, diligent monitoring until he passed the chunks of ceramic spoon-rest), food was ultimately not his downfall. He became all-too-familiar with hydrogen peroxide and would run when he saw the brown bottle come out. Stories of Duke’s dietary indiscretions became the stuff of legends. “Remember that time he ate ten pounds of kibble at once? He looked like he was pregnant!” “Or that time he ate an entire bag of Hershey’s kisses, wrappers and all, and his poop was festive for days…”

roll4Duke was not an easy dog. He was anxious and reactive and naughty. Duke was the best dog. He was the sweetest, and so kind with children. He was a loyal and faithful family companion who loved nothing more than to be with his people, in the center of a crowd. He didn’t demand attention. He just wanted to be included. He loved to sit on laps, all 70 pounds of him. He loved to lick faces. He loved to show off his tricks for treats – sit, down, settle (tail too!), balance up, and shake. He was not an easy dog, but he was a good, good dog. He was our good dog.

We miss him like hell.


8 responses to “Marmaduke “Nose” Reusche – in memory of a good dog


    A beautiful Memory about a beautiful Dog, beautifully written! Dogs like Duke teach us (humans) the most and and leave us longing for them forever. Prayers and thoughts for all of you. RIP Duke.   Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Paws AbilitiesSent: Monday, October 12, 2015 7:04 AMTo: exquisiteladyel@comcast.netReply To: Paws AbilitiesSubject: [New post] Marmaduke “Nose” Reusche – in memory of a good dog

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    Paws Abilities Dog Training posted: “Duke CGC TT, March 2002 – September 27th, 2015

    Every trainer has a story about their crossover dog. Duke was mine.

    Duke was adopted by my parents when he was 9 months old. He had been found as a stray and was never claimed by his original owners. We”

  2. Lovely, Sara. Made me smile at memories and think “ah, yeah” to similarities to dogs I have and have had. Good boy.

  3. Well done my daughter. We miss him every day.

  4. Sara. I must commend you again on your writings. I look forward to reading your posts, happy or not so happy. I am sure Duke would be happy to know he is so fondly remembered.

  5. Wow, what a lovely and tear-jerking tribute!

  6. This post made me simultaneously laugh and cry. Awesome job.

  7. Sorry for your loss of duke.

  8. Dr. Stephen Spies

    I have to question why it is that we persist in utilizing the word “Euthanasia”? It seems as if everyone is out to just avoid responsibility for what they are actually doing.
    IF PET PARENTS WOULD CALL THIS WHAT IT IS You are “KILLING YOUR DOG”, notwithstanding any excuse, form of reasoning, compassion. If you IF YOU DON’T INHERENTLY BELIEVE THAT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT WRONG, THEN WHY TRY TO HIDE THE NATURE OF THE ACT BEHIND THE ‘CURTAIN OF ALL LANGUAGE, “EUPHEMISMS”. Why don’t you try to face up to what you are doing, you are paying a Veterinarian, who obviously has not take the Hippocratic Oath as do human physicians.
    Face up to it, perhaps even open a discussion on your reasoning for doing so if you are convinced that it is the right thing to do, just DON’T TRY TO HIDE BEHIND THE EUPHEMISM “EUTHANASIA”, because in the end you are terminating your dog’s life, you have mad the DECISION TO KILL YOUR DOG, you just hired a Veterinarian to do the dirty work for you.
    Exactly why I withdrew my “Letter of Acceptance” more than 50 years ago, after a long discussion with my mentor, who was also my Primary Care Veterinarian for my first English Mastiff, Chloe. I had asked him if I would be able to successfully complete the required courses, and to graduate with a DVM degree if I absolutely refused to ever kill, aka “euthanize” a dog and he responded in the negative and told me what a sacrifice that I would be making, to think of all of the dog’s lives that I might save, but this was not a balancing act and I could not surrender my conscience and violate the basic tenet for which I would be seeking a DVM degree. After all, human physicians are not required to murder a human patient with a terminal disease, because it goes against everything that an M.D. degree would stand for, and I am truly dedicated to translating the predicate phrase “First, do no harm” from human medicine over to veterinary medicine.
    Lest you see me as being a cold and wanting practitioner, not back then I have earn one professional degree and two Ph.D.’s and my specialty is Pain Management. I am firmly convinced, and I suspect that many will agree that if I posed the question in the form of: If I could, through the use of use pharmacy, and pharmacological practice(s) mitigate the pain in your canine companion to the extent that there will be virtually total remediation of suffering, would you like to spend the time that their Creator has granted to them instead of just administering a lethal dose of a combination of drugs, but only if you agree that it is what you would like to do, would you still instruct me to prematurely cause his death rather than allowing you to spend whatever time they have left before the Creator call upon them to peacefully come across the Rainbow Bridge?

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