I was driving up Buchanan Street near Duke’s East Campus earlier this fall when I saw a dog carrying what I thought was a puppy in her mouth. A man on wrist crutches followed about 10 feet behind. I had only an iPhone but I was so taken by the scene, I whipped my car into a parking spot on a side street and sprinted after the man and dog.

It turns out there is a touching story behind this couple: Randolph, a Bernese Mountain Dog, 5 1/2, and Bruce, his companion.

Bruce told me that several years ago, his son left home for college and piled the stuffed animals from his childhood in a corner in the basement. Randolph, then a puppy, went downstairs and chose the toy that, coincidentally, looked just liked him. He’s carried it ever since.

“Do you have to wash it a lot?” I asked Bruce.

The toy was soaked with dog slobber.

“Oh yes,” Bruce replied, laughing. “All the time.”

I’ve staked out Buchanan Street several times since my encounter with Randolph and Bruce in hopes of walking with them, taking additional photos and chatting more with Bruce. Maybe it’s because the weather has turned cold, but I’ve not seen them again.

Lisa Sorg is the editor of the INDY. Her blog documents the small moments of life in the Triangle in photographs and stories—as a reminder to why we live here.