Tru Hero Finalist - Duke - The Trupanion Blog
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Tru Hero Finalist – Duke

He was found cold and wet, wandering the lakeside, a torn garbage bag hung loosely around his neck, evidence of the horrors he had to go through to survive the past few days. Unfortunately an all to common occurrence, with usually far deadlier consequences for the unwanted puppies and kittens that live by the water.

The ten month old puppy was shy and timid as the animal control worker slid a noose around his neck to pick him up and place him into the truck. Noticing the cut and scarring on the puppies stomach, he could see that the Pit Bull mix had been unsuccessfully used for fighting.

When another worker introduced the now clean warm pup to another dog trying to gauge his adoptability, she saw why the blonde little baby with the scrunchy face was discarded as a fighter- he loved every other dog introduced and just wanted to play.

Several years had passed since the death of the potential owners last pet. A dog owned fourteen years and a cat taken by cancer. A back hurt in a car crash and a soul longing for companionship set her on a course searching for the perfect dog for exercise and love.

She searched other shelters, but the first and only dog that she really had a connection with was the quite puppy, in the very last kennel at the pound by the lake.

Number Thirty-three of Thirty-three. The kennel sheet had him listed as a French Bulldog. “Funny.” she thought. “Looks more like a Rhodesian ridgeback Pit mix.”

That face stuck. “Well you’re cute.” she said aloud.

The puppy was the only one not jumping at the gate and wagging his tail furiously. She handed him a treat. He took it cautiously, all the while a silent stare that she would never forget, locked their gaze. He walked to the back of the kennel, lay on his cot and eat his treat slowly, looking up several times. She walked to the back of the kennel, the silent pup followed her, his tail still, his gaze steady. They repeated the treat ritual.

She walked to the front desk and asked the worker about wanting to see number Thirty-three, and asked why it said he was a Frenchie. The worker replied that he was such a sweet boy, and anything with Pit Bull doesn’t really have a chance, so they wanted to give him a few extra days.

The second he slipped that leash on that golden dog, she knew what he meant. He was then the dog that she now knows and loves so much. He said hello to every dog in every kennel, wagged his tail faster than she thought possible, and began to drown everyone in slobber. In the enclosed play area, the playful puppy threw a tennis ball to himself while retrieving it for the woman. She began to laugh along with the worker and knew that this puppy would definitely be something to keep up with.

That night she told her husband about the dogs she’d seen. When it came to the Pit mix his reply was simple. “I like the Sound of that dog.”

The next day waiting for the pound to call her back to tell her when she could pick him up was one of the longest days of her life. She drove the two hours to get her new baby and they have been inseparable ever since.

“Duke” was the last dog in the line. He didn’t trust immediately, and so with his quiet stare didn’t have many potential adopters. He saved me as much, or more than I saved him. He is now a certified service dog and goes with me everywhere. He loves cats, kids, dogs and everyone he meets. If you’re having a bad day, he’ll sense it, gravitate towards you, and kiss it all better.

He is the best dog I have ever owned. Without a doubt, my True Hero! And I cannot imagine my life without him!

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