If you know anything about The Loomis Agency, or have visited our website, you know we’re big dog lovers. For most of us, that’s been the case since we were little kids. When we established ourselves as a challenger brand agency and “the voice of the underdog,” it became true for everyone in our company. It became part of our culture and to a person, it’s one of our favorite things about LOOMIS.
On any given day at The Loomis Agency, you may find a Toy Fox Terrier, a Chihuahua, a Pit Bull, a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever and more than a few lovable mutts roaming the halls. Mostly they sleep next to their masters, but on occasion, they’ll wander into your office just to say hello. Or, if somebody leaves the door to the kitchen open, they’ll nose their way in there to see what yummy treat might have been left behind.
For the past 13 years, one dog in particular has been the closest thing we’ve had to a mascot. His mama named him Duke after the great John Wayne and from his name, you might picture Duke as a Bulldog, or a Mastiff, or maybe a Lab. But you’d be off, by 60 to 90 pounds. Duke was a Yorkie and a little one at that. About two pounds soaking wet. He was precious. He was loyal. And he was ferocious. Duke wasn’t named for his size. He was named for his heart.
I can still remember the first time I met this little dog in person. Cecily Worthy, one of our Creative Directors, had been talking about this cute little Yorkie she was picking up West of Dallas over the weekend. We thought she was going to Fort Worth. Turns out, she was flying to Seattle. We couldn’t wait to meet the puppy that was worth a trip to the Pacific Northwest.
On Monday, Cecily brought Duke to the office for the first time to introduce him to his new extended family and instantly, we fell in love. He was brown and black and fluffy and he could fit in her shirt pocket. Over the course of more than 13 years, Duke became an inseparable part of our agency. A giant poster with his picture hung on the wall just inside the front door for years. He was the picture on the home page of our website. If there was a client photo shoot and they needed a dog, Duke was always ready.
About a year ago, Duke started to have issues with his trachea, something that befalls his breed from time to time. He coughed a lot and didn’t bark quite as much, but the vet assured his parents he wasn’t in any discomfort. Little Duke soldiered on just like his namesake would have expected.
But by September or so, it was clear Duke’s condition was getting worse. Cecily and her husband Chris did everything they possibly could to fix the problem and ultimately, to make Duke as comfortable as possible. But last week, they had to make the heart-wrenching, humane decision to let Duke go. Our hearts ached for our friends. But also, a little bit for ourselves.
Philosophically, we all understand the Circle of Life. We know every beginning must also have an ending. But that doesn’t make losing a friend you love, any easier. Only time, prayer and focusing on the happy times seems to help. That, and one other healing coincidence. Last week, a few days after we said goodbye to Duke, one of our Brand Managers named Elizabeth Matthews adopted a precious 10-week old Westie named Lewis. He too, fits in her pocket, sleeps on top of her desk and reminds us that when we’re surrounded by good friends and a strong culture of caring, grief, albeit painful, is also temporary.