Houston photographer chronicles Dukey the dog's final day

Dukey's owners determined to make dog's last day his best day

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - Pictures taken by a Houston-based photographer have gone viral because they're striking a chord with dog lovers across the country.

Duke, a.k.a. "Dukey," the black lab, was adopted by Jordan Greene Roberts and her family three years ago. Last summer, the family from Spring found out he had a tumor, but after several treatments and a leg amputation, they thought he was going to be OK. Then in June, Roberts found out Dukey had another tumor, which was more aggressive.

"It was like a gut-punch," Roberts said of the moment she found out.

Her family decided to put Dukey to sleep on July 7, but they were determined to make their dog's last day his best day.

"We just wanted to keep giving him a great quality of life," Roberts said.

She asked her friend and Houston-based photographer Robyn Arouty to take pictures of Dukey and the family during his last hours. From eating hamburgers to playing in a water park, Arouty captured the joy in dozens of photos.

"I just wanted to capture the moment," Arouty said.

She posted the photos of Dukey's last day on her blog. The post also includes a story which begins with the words, "I died today." It is a blog post written from Dukey's perspective. 

"It turned into a really special day and I think it was a gift that she gave us," Roberts said about the pictures.

The post ended up going viral. In fact, Arouty's blog shut down Tuesday because of the heavy traffic.  Once it starts working again, you can check out Arouty's blog at http://www.robynarouty.com.

Thousands of people have reached out to Arouty, asking how they can show their support for the family. Roberts said anyone who wishes to can donate to the Lone Star Animal Welfare League in the Woodlands.

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