River North fixture ‘Sporty’ dies following cancer battle

Courtesy David Duncan

CHICAGO — After a second battle with cancer, River North fixture Sporty has died.

In an Instagram post Friday, owner David Duncan shared the news.

The 12-year-old golden retriever brought smiles thousands of people over the last five years in River North by walking himself.

View this post on Instagram

I have been trying to find a way to make this announcement but it is so hard when you know it’s going to unleash a wave of sadness felt around the world. At about 3:04pm on November 14th, 2019 Sporty breathed his last breath. The previous night we had ended up in the ER for about 4-5 hours and Sporty was deteriorating much faster than anticipated. And when I looked into his eyes, he was telling me it’s his time. He was able to come home and we spent the entire day snuggling and holding on to our final moments together. He went so peacefully on his blankets with his head on my lap, paw in my hand and surrounded by all his favorite toys. He knew it was his time and I know he’s in a better place. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced and i’m still having a hard time accepting this new reality. When you get a dog, you know the day will come, but you can never be prepared for it. I am so thankful for the time we had together and I think how lucky I am we found each other. There is a hole in my heart right now and I don’t know how it’s possible to hurt this much but I try to take solace in knowing he lived an incredible life that most dogs can only dream of. From the first day i met him i knew he would be special but i had no idea he would become an icon of chicago and loved by people across the globe. He was a fighter until the very end and i want you all to know i did EVERYTHING in my power to get him better but sometimes even the strongest hearts are no match for cancer. I would like to honor Sporty’s legacy in some way with the money he’s raised and help out other dogs afflicted with this terrible illness, but right now I just need time to grieve. If Sporty has impacted you or helped you when you were down I ask one last favor. Share your favorite Sporty pic/post or if you were lucky enough to meet him in person share that photo/video and let me know where you’re from so I can see how far his love stretches across the world. Sporty will always be apart of me and he will show himself in my dreams and let me know he is okay. He is running free across the rainbow bridge holding his leash creating a wave of smiles in his wake. #solaceforsporty #brokenheart

A post shared by Sporty (@sporty_thedog) on

“At about 3:04pm on November 14th, 2019 Sporty breathed his last breath. The previous night we had ended up in the ER for about 4-5 hours and Sporty was deteriorating much faster than anticipated,” part of it read. “He went so peacefully on his blankets with his head on my lap, paw in my hand and surrounded by all his favorite toys.”

WGN News spoke with Duncan as Sporty was battling large cell lymphoma a few weeks ago.

“It is the worst thing in the world to see your dog in pain,” he said.

Sporty received care at MedVet on California Avenue.

Proceeds from the GoFundMe will go to help other dogs fighting cancer.

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