December 25, 1986 - September 17, 2005

It was a sad day when I had to put down my faithful friend and companion of 17 years, my cocker spaniel Nick. His time had come, a slow train coming that I dreaded having to do. I held him in my lap as he let go and drifted off, a peaceful transition from here to there. Most people have no idea that Nick was the official dog of the Chris Duarte Group. His official duties included protecting the band archives from cats, keeping me company while I worked on the newsletter and website, but most importantly of all, escorting me to the post office practically every day for almost eleven years! In fact, I would have to say that Nick was the most walkingest dog I ever knew. Together we walked over 3,000 miles back and forth over the years, getting and sending the Chris Duarte Group Fan Club mail! As of the date I had to put him down, I had a total of 5,587 pieces of mail from fans worldwide, bundled in 100s and stored in trash bags up in the attic (which is also a nifty little stamp collection to boot!). When asked to create the Chris Duarte Group Fan Club back in October of 1994, I opened a P.O. Box (good 'ol 31516) to receive fan club mail at the little Hoffman Heights post office. Located here in Aurora, Colorado, it is exactly 1/2-mile from my house. Every day, Monday through Saturday, Nick and I would walk the 1-mile roundtrip to the Po' Box to see what mail we got. We walked in all types of weather, including lightning storms, snow, rain, wind, and in the middle of the night with the moon as our guide. Neighbors and store owners along the route got to know Nick, too, as we walked by every day. A hit with the chicks, Nick was a big flirt, his hair naturally parted in the middle, a stump of a tail that wiggled a "hello" to everyone he met, and his large, expressive brown eyes melted hearts everywhere. It took me awhile to realize that whenever people said something to us that they were actually talking to him, I was merely the one holding the leash! Dogs would bark at us in frustration, saying how unfair it was that he got to go for walks more than they did. We saw little kids on bikes in the neighborhood grow up to be teenagers and driving cars. We noted the change of seasons along the way, watching robins and swallows arrive on their yearly migrations, seeing and peeing on flowers blooming in the spring, sniffing dropped Halloween candy and burnt fireworks in the gutter, seeing the Christmas lights each year as we walked in our neighborhood. There is a small tribute to his passing (and I mean passing back and forth day after day), a little notch about an inch deep that has been worn into the bricks at the corner of the little shopping center where the post office is. The notch is about 16 inches up from the ground and represents the area where Nick would go around the corner and the leash would rub against the brick. He was about 12 inches high at the shoulders and the angle of the leash going down to him was about 4 inches higher where it rubbed against the brick two times per walk. I will now call it "Nick's Notch". One mile for each walk to the post office, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. I estimate about 6 miles per week for most weeks, for about 50 weeks (figuring in holidays, bad weather, CDG roadtrips, etc...), which is about 300 miles per year. Multiply that times eleven years and that makes our trek to the post office box over 3,000 miles! Quite an achievement for little legs about 7 inches tall! Our time walking was longer than the entire length of time the Beatles were together. In human years he lived to be over 100. Nick was the best dog I ever had, and it was a privilege to have known such a wonderful, intelligent, eager-to-please, little fella'. Everyone should be fortunate to have a great dog like him in their lives and he will be forever missed...

-Craig Keyzer, CDG Fan Club

 


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