I think Jay Z said it best with, “I got 99 problems but a bich(on) ain’t one.” Duke was a purebred bichon frise butnot the brightest bulb in the discount store lamp. In fact,we’re pretty sure that he was part of an overbreeding ringand mildly retarded as a result.Luckily, the little guy’s abundance of cutenesscompensated for his idiocy. Every week, he managed todart past my Mom as she opened the front door and rundown the street. While “making a bolt for it” is a classicdog move, my furry Steven Hawking sucked at it. Withoutfail, Duke would get “lost” midway down our cul-de-sacand start running in circles like the anti-Lassie.I once joked that the guy was too dumb to hate anything(the aroma of his own butt included), but as I grew andwatched him respond to family crises, I realized that Dukewas smart about the important things. When I fell seriouslyill during freshman year of high school, Duke sat with mefor months, delicately placing his snout where it hurt mostas if to say that everything would be okay. When myyounger brother started getting college acceptance lettersdelivered, Duke skipped out to the mailbox with him andsat patiently while Sean nervously read the verdicts. Hewagged his tail at stressful situations, licked away tears,and never hurt anyone … something that the rest of uscouldn’t pretend to claim.