Family Gives Dying Pit Bull The Vacation Of His Lifetime

Photographer Zhenia Bulawka and her boyfriend Christian wanted to offer their dog Mr. Dukes a special vacation, one they knew he’d love. The American Staffordshire Terrier has bravely been fighting mast cell carcinoma for 2 years, but they know that it might be time to say bye-bye soon. But before that day, the family decided to give him a truly special holiday.

Zhenia shared her photos with and that we were touched by her story: “This may be a photo series I shot back in August in Assateague, Maryland. My boyfriend Christian, I took our three puppies and spent the night on the beach. We dedicated the trip to our 11 year old American Staffordshire terrier , Dyuki (Mr. Dukes). He was in his final stages of Grade III mastocyte cancer at the time. His most favorite activity was swimming in our family pool, but until then, he had never seen the ocean. It had been a really special trip for us, and I’m so grateful we were ready to make it happen. He gave up the ghost a month later, but he put up one hell of a fight—almost two years.”

“The drive to Assateague is about 3 hours, and that we were being blasted with sunlight just about the whole time. But the instant we pulled up to the ocean, the clouds quickly rolled in, and it began to drizzle. Who cares though? We love the rain!” “We were the sole ones around, so Ruby was the primary to be excuse her leash. She went into the water alone-proud of her mother. Except for the sound of the main impact, she ran away and headed to the shore. It’s okay…she came in.”

“I prepared all of our food before time. Since this trip was planned at the eleventh hour, we weren’t too sure of any dog-friendly restaurants within the area. Eat out with the three of them would’ve been quite the challenge anyway. Here’s Christian sharing his yummy beef roast sandwich with Dukes—onions removed in fact .”

“Wouldn’t you recognize it – the sun came back out after we left. It wasn’t a totally clear sky, but only enough for us to witness the foremost magical sunset from our hotel balcony. Although we did have a couple of interruptions from the Bichon Frise staying down the hall. We spent the night in Ocean City, a quarter-hour drive from Assateague.Assateague. It had been an excellent hotel, with wonderful service, and that they love pit bulls!”

“Back on the beach again, and it had been a sunny day. I’m wearing my most favorite piece of jewelry that I own – a birthday present from Christian. He made this bracelet for me. If you look closely, you'll probably figure out which one is Ruby, and which is Dukes. Regrettable we couldn’t get a 3rd head on there somewhere. Poor Violet!”

“It came to me that each time I lose a dog they take a bit of my heart with them. Every new dog that enters my life will give me a little bit of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart are going to be dog, and that I will become as generous and loving as they're .” – Unknown

“Dukes was my ally. He was also my muse, as his passion for all times served as a continuing source of inspiration to me. I could never tire of photographing him. Since his passing, I’ve been told numerous times “how lucky Dukes was to possess me.” But actually, it had been me who was so lucky to possess him. He was the greatest, funniest, most loyal, incredibly strong, yet equally sensitive dog—all wrapped into one perfect pittie package. He changed my life and that I will miss him forever.”

This article was published on with permission from Jenia Bulawka.