The Real Duke
Bring Duke Home!
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Featured in Good Boy, Duke
Duke was a real dog. My sister-in-law decided to get a puppy and went to see a litter in the area. When she got there, Duke literally hopped over and sat on her feet while all his brothers and sisters roughhoused. Needless to say, she knew he was the one and brought him home.
Duke was a big boy, weighing just under 100lbs. My entire family was worried he might accidentally hurt my niece, Winter, when she was born. It was the complete opposite, however, and he is remembered as one of the gentlest dogs we've owned.
More than anything, Duke loved his people. He wanted them close and hated when anyone left the house. He was very smart and knew the entire family by name; whenever I visited, my mom would say, "Amanda's coming!" and he's be waiting at the door to greet me.
Duke lived a long, happy life filled with love and family before passing away in 2011. We still talk about him often and miss him dearly.
The Fictional Duke
When creating the Duke for my children's book, I tried to capture as much of his real personality as possible. He was a very affectionate dog and always very attuned to the emotions of people around him, just like he is in the Good Boy, Duke.
While many of the "mistakes" fictional Duke makes in the book never happened, I did pull from real experiences when developing them. When I wrote about Duke dropping his food into Winter's crib because she's crying, for instance, I was actually remembering a story my mom once told about my uncle, Mike. As a toddler he would drop his toys into my mother's crib when she was upset (often hitting her in the head).
I was sure, however, to include a segment with digging, as the real Duke loved to dig holes in the back yard.