You might of noticed that the fandom has been missing 1 fursuiter, mainly Duke That Dancing Dog. Who in his few short years in the fandom has become a major figure and really it’s hard not to notice a roughly 6 foot tall German Shepherd. Overall Duke has a great rep with the fandom. But to see him vanish, some even heard rumors that Duke had left the fandom. I am sorry to tell this to my readers but the real news is worse than that.
The following has been taken from Duke’s own FA page https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/8403576/ a piece called “Recovery and Solution” which tells the real story and I only post this to give his fans a heads up so to speak on what Duke has been up to recently. Please post any comments of support on Duke’s FA, I really think he needs it.
The Following is Duke’s own words….
It’s time to admit something.
Things are not going well for me, business, emotionally and in life.
I’ll simply open up and put forward where I am in life and how I plan on moving forward.
The first major issue and cause for all my current stress, worry and issues.
I have an incredible amount that has only happened in the last 2 years. Simply put, things that played out in my life couldn’t have been more badly timed.
I’ve run and built up a business, Squeak Latex. It was operating smooth and successfully up until issues started to pop up early 2016.
I’ll be upfront about the amount, hovering around the 60,000 mark. A position I wasn’t in only a few years ago. I had no debt at all.
When we decided that I would move to the USA to marry my partner. We knew it would be a huge life change for me as well as a costly venture.
I did so at the end of 2015, packing up belongings and putting them on a ship, air fairs, immigration paper work fees and so on. All up costing easily in the 5 figures.
The other issue is having left my normal income and career back in Australia. I knew I wouldn’t be able to seek employment for many months due to visa restrictions. In fact it was nearly a year before obtained the right to work in the USA.
The plan was during this time, my income from Squeak could keep me afloat and keep everything rolling.
However, in a journal explained here http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/8320146/ (not going to go into details again). Simply put, my long running suppliers up and left along with a substantial amount of my money. I had around 30 orders in line to be produced, already paid for by me. I tried everything to get the funds back but they where gone.
So now, I had 0 income and I was living off credit, from an account back in Australia.
This business was everything to me, a passion and something I had wanted to do for an incredibly long time.
It is now clear that I wouldn’t be able to recover. I showed some promise with a new builder, however they are slow and unreliable. Making promises that I forward onto my clients which are then broken by my supplier.
I’ve managed to refund almost all of those effected, with only a handful left.
Obviously, all this caused those effected and their friends to be upset at me. This is expected and does effect me on quite the emotional level.
You see, I can officially say now that Squeak Latex is no longer operating now and into the foreseeable future.
I’ve gotten financial advice and as the company is Australian based and given my incredible debt there. I can declare bankruptcy, send my apology to those effected and just walk away….
It’s just business after all, sometimes they fail.
But, who could do that?
Words can’t describe the sleepless nights this has caused me. The amount of times I’ve had that knot in the pit of my stomach and sat awake crying at the sheer worry of how to recover. Letting down people is the worst feeling for me. Looking at every available option, selling personal belongings just to refund that extra person.
Possessions I never wanted to part with and know i’ll never get them back.
The depression I had sunk into caused over 20lbs of weight gain, change in personality and even thoughts of suicide on multiple occasions.
It’s also been hard on my marriage.
It’s been hard to even come online. The tirade of abuse from the couple of people effected and their gang of support. Hurling abuse, twisting truth and spreading lies all to make themselves feel better about the situation all whilst making it worse for me.
I’ve spoken with one individual who has made it very clear they do it just because their angry and they enjoy it.
Granted, 99% of those effected have been understanding. I’ve been upfront and honest about my issue.
I’ve learned that I will never be able to win this people in the community over. They will forever hold a personal grudge or find a reason to dislike me.
Even if it was for something outside of Squeak Latex.
I understand I have a strong personality and drive to succeed in any task I set out to do or achieve. It would constantly bother me, I would try to understand why. Having tried to talk and discuss the issues they may have. I’ve spent to much energy and worry on people whom
are not worth doing so on.
I’ve apologized and I’ve tried. That’s all I can do.
Some of these people have a right to be upset with me. They can go on with life continuing to be upset with me. I haven’t ignored them, I’ve tried to solve the issues they have with me.
I’ve come to realize that some of these people are actually bad people, with vile personalities whom have their own social and personality flaws that prevents them from being anything more than what they are in life.
It’s taken some time to understand it and I know it is something that will always hang around well into my future. I can’t stop it, I can’t fight it.
I can only learn from the person I once was. Even now, mistakes I made 5 years ago, 10 years ago are still bought up as if they are still a current issue and reflection of who I am.
I’m not a perfect person, I admit my flaws and I have done plenty of mistakes. To pretend I haven’t made errors would be lying to myself.
I’m sorry for some actions in my past and believe me, I never planned to have my business fail. Whilst you didn’t get your inflatable fetish latex suit or fursuit and you’re upset about that.
This has nearly destroyed my entire life to the point of wanting to cut it short. So, perhaps some perspective should come into play here.
But, I haven’t run. I haven’t just said oh well, that’s business. I am TRYING and slowly refunding those whom I have failed. I am doing the right thing in the worst possible situation.
I now realize that I have many friends and family who love and support me and I shouldn’t let a few people try to destroy me. In fact, those who follow me in the community who enjoy what i do.
These bad eggs make up less than a percent! It’s time to rise above and focus my energy where it deserves to be.
I’m not a bad guy, i’m fixing the problem. If i could wave a magic wand to make it all better I would.
I take no pride or joy in what has happened. Yet, those couple effected try to make it harder for me to recover. Which i’m doing to benefit them, to refund and correct the issue.
In recent months I’ve pushed myself up and out of the funk. Lost the weight and just keep working at chipping away at what I owe.
But, it hasn’t been easy.
Whilst I did pick up a seasonal job, this has now come to an end and i’m not once again in a position where I have to wonder how to get ahead as well as simply stay afloat.
Giving up a career, loosing a business I spent nearly a decade building. Only to have it come crashing down at the worst possible time. I am trying to find something to fall back onto.
Oh, but you can’t be doing that bad. I’ve seen you going to conventions and back to Australia!
Yes, you are correct. However, none of those conventions where out of pocket. 2 of them I had the pleasure of being guest of honor and another one was comped.
The Australian trip wasn’t a holiday. I was offered 12 days of work that I quickly took and flights where covered. All of which is going to debts and money owed.
This is where all my income goes is to making things right to once again get my life back on track.
Also, there is something about putting on a face publicly and pretending everything is ok. I’m sure we all do it and I certainly didn’t want to air who has been going on behind the curtain as it where.
Not wanting people to think badly of me or any more than the happy bouncing animal person behind the icon.
I just want to put this all behind me as quickly as possible. I work everyday on trying to get ahead. If I give up, i’ll never be able to get back on with life.
So what do I do? Start a go fund me? Ask for help from the community?
No, this shouldn’t require charity or a hand out. I’m not dying, I don’t have cancer or some extreme medical emergency. As of right now, I have enough to eat, pay bills and pay off debt.
There is no magic solution to this other than persistent hard work.
An issue happened, i’m in a bad situation. There is no quick fix.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of presence or contribution. I don’t draw any more, I hardly am online, tweet or active in the communities.
Whilst I did try to build up some sort of support and exchange of content with my Patreon account and Duke. It simply isn’t enough to really offer a solution nor give up my time else where to put into making videos, music, content etc.
I can’t spare the time for that unless it financially out ways my other options. Expecting subscribers and followers to hand over a couple of dollars whilst nice in theory is unrealistic and certainly not the direction to take.
It will always remain a hobby and something I will find more time for once things are a little better. I tried to make it something more as I’ve seen other artists do, to try and help my situation. But, it wasn’t meant to be.
I’ve had several friends pass way these past few years during all of this. I recently lost my aunt only a few weeks ago whom I was very close too.
This has all been very hard to take. But I push on.
Even now, tonight I had one of these 1% trying to publicly shame me in some way. I’ve offered discussion to these people and they refuse. There is no solution for them.
Only gratification from making a public spectacle.
What is frustrating is the lies that come from people. I’ve had discussions with folks where an issue had arisen. An end and solution to the issue is met with a happy or mutual result. They are then polite and nice to me to my face.
Yet, I now find them perpetuating lies or slander because they’re still not over it, even years down the track.
Then i’m sorry. What more do you want from me? You can continue to hate me and I don’t have the energy to defend myself against this petty behavior because you have “issues”.
One of these people effected by all of this is trying to find everything he can to bring me down. Even topics and issues over a decade old, getting his buddies to spread and post them publicly.
It hurts, but many many people who have known this man tell me is unhinged, bi polar and nasty. That, this is the reason why you don’t see him with anyone special in his life and alone at cons even after so many years. I did once call him a friend and I could have never seen this coming, i’m sad to see him act like this.
He is only hurting me and slowing me down. Which in the end perpetuates the problem of not being able to refund him. He is a lost cause that I know i’ll never be able to stop him doing what he does to me. I can only try to ignore and move on from it.
I won’t stoop to his level and call him by name so my tens of thousands of followers can attack him or hinder his life. I’m not that sort of person, I wouldn’t wish what he’s doing to me on anyone. Not even him.
He knows who he is, he has to live with himself. In fact, they all do.
My parents are visiting from Australia right now. I spent the frequent flyer points I had built up flying for the past decade and gifted them tickets to travel outside of Australia for their first time. Past retirement age and have given so much for me, including life itself.
This is something they are only going to do once. They saved for a year to enjoy themselves here for 10 weeks.
This is incredibly important to them and me as this is a trip of a life time. Something it is doubtful they’ll be able to repeat given their age. With mortality an issue in my brain in recent years, I want to be able to make as many memories with my parents whilst I can.
Especially now living on the other side of the world from them.
It is a lot to ask, to be in your 30’s and be told you have to start again, with a handicap.
But, I know I can only try.
To those who feel I have failed. I’m sorry. It isn’t something I set out to do nor take any pleasure in failing you.
I feel a constant guilt and can only work on recovering.
Life is full of ups and downs. I can only try to get to the up once more.
Right now, with more gutless attacks, childish email bombs and the threat of spiraling into that suicidal depression once more.
I just can’t spend the energy and be caught up in the poison. So i’m going away for a while.
My priorities are to recover from the loss, once again be in a better and happier position in my life.
I have no interest in the furry or latex community, its people or as a hobby. There is no benefit to spending anymore time on it and it currently brings no joy or happiness because of a few bad eggs.
Perhaps in time this will change. I certainly hope it does.
I am truly sorry for what has happened and my actions in dealing with the problem.
It’s more than I could and can handle.
Those of you waiting for a refund or have any issues you’d like to discuss, you can contact me via email.
Thank you to everyone for your love and support over the many years.
Right now, I need to focus on reality. The community is no longer an escape for me. It is the cause of every problem in my life right now.