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The Story Of This Dying Dog's Trip To The Beach Will Break Your Heart

Mr Dukes, an American Staffordshire terrier, loved swimming in the family pool but had never been to the beach before.

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Photographer Zhenia Bulawka has shared the heartbreaking story of her dog’s trip to the beach a month before he lost a battle to cancer.

Writing for The Dodo, Bulawka said she and her boyfriend, Christian, took their three dogs on an overnight trip to Assateague, Maryland, last August.The trip was for their 11-year-old American Staffordshire terrier Dyuki, aka Mr Dukes.
Zhenia Bulawka

Writing for The Dodo, Bulawka said she and her boyfriend, Christian, took their three dogs on an overnight trip to Assateague, Maryland, last August.

The trip was for their 11-year-old American Staffordshire terrier Dyuki, aka Mr Dukes.

Bulawka said Mr Dukes was in the final stages of grade III mast cell cancer at the time of the trip.

“His most favourite activity was swimming in our family pool, but until then, he had never seen the ocean," she said. "It was a very special trip for us, and I'm so grateful we were able to make it happen.”
Zhenia Bulawka

“His most favourite activity was swimming in our family pool, but until then, he had never seen the ocean," she said.

"It was a very special trip for us, and I'm so grateful we were able to make it happen.”

Bulawka turned the trip into a photo series documenting Mr Dukes' time at the beach, including this picture of him sharing a roast beef sandwich with Christian.

Zhenia Bulawka

The couple spent the night at a hotel in Ocean City, a few minutes away from Assateague.

Bulawka and her rescue dogs watched the sunset from their balcony.
Zhenia Bulawka

Bulawka and her rescue dogs watched the sunset from their balcony.

They later went for a walk along the beach at night time.

(The photographer told BuzzFeed her dogs' ears were already cropped when they were rescued.)
Zhenia Bulawka

(The photographer told BuzzFeed her dogs' ears were already cropped when they were rescued.)

Zhenia Bulawka

Before falling asleep in front of the TV.

Zhenia Bulawka

Bulawka also shared this image of a bracelet Christian had made for her that features Mr Dukes and one of their other dogs, Ruby.

Unfortunately there was no space for their third dog, Violet.
Zhenia Bulawka

Unfortunately there was no space for their third dog, Violet.

Zhenia Bulawka

Bulawka said Mr Dukes passed away a month after their trip to the beach.

She wrote in the blog post: "Dukes was my best friend. He was also my muse, as his passion for life served as a constant source of inspiration to me.""He was the smartest, funniest, most loyal, incredibly strong, yet equally sensitive dog — all wrapped into one perfect pittie package. He changed my life and I will miss him forever."
Zhenia Bulawka

She wrote in the blog post: "Dukes was my best friend. He was also my muse, as his passion for life served as a constant source of inspiration to me."

"He was the smartest, funniest, most loyal, incredibly strong, yet equally sensitive dog — all wrapped into one perfect pittie package. He changed my life and I will miss him forever."

You can view more of Bulawka's photographs on her website and Facebook page.