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!

About Stacy @Trupanion

Social Media Manager
Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

36 Responses to Tru Hero Finalist – Duke

  1. Lisa D. says:

    “Lucky the Cat” is about my sweet, blind baby, Lucky. . . HOWEVER…….this story touched me deeply. It is with great pleasure I give Duke a vote!!! Wish I could meet him!

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thank you So much. Your story was touching also. I may be a “doggy person” right now. But before Duke there was many a kitty to be loved!

  2. Janice Sylvia says:

    I vote for Duke. I read this story and was in tears by the end of it. What a wonderful Person she is to save a life… Love IS unconditional. Janice Sylvia

  3. Marilyn Scofield says:

    Duke is an amazing dog – his owner is an amazing woman. I also cried reading Duke’s story. I can’t understand animal cruelty. Fortunately his owner saved him and he has gone on to make so many lives better.

    • Blythe Rose says:

      I also cannot understand animal cruelty. There isn’t. Reason or rhyme to it. I believe there’s a special place in Hell for people that do such evil. How people can live with themselves is beyond me.

  4. tami cole says:

    WOW WHAT A DOG!!!!! WHAT A STORY <3

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thank you So much Ms. Tami! Guess there are some happy endings in real life. And he is one heck of a dog! Never met another like him! He’s my baby, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

  5. b galasso says:

    dog and master filling each others needs…love happy endings…. :)

    • Blythe Rose says:

      You said it! I like to call him my “soul mate”. Some dreams can come true, like those of a poor, neglected, abused puppy w/o a chance. And that puppy can heal a heart that didn’t know how much it needed healing :)

  6. Marilyn Scofield says:

    I voted for Duke. Apparently “discarded” because he wouldn’t fight other dogs; he just wanted to play with them. He loves everyone, kids, other people’s pets, and of course his owner. He is a certified service dog and brings joy and happiness to so many people. All these stories are powerful, but Duke impressed me most. To have gone through such a horrifying beginning and still have the capacity to love everyone he meets – that’s an exceptional dog and his owner an exceptional person.
    Marilyn Scofield

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thanks so much! Someone I know put it well the other day, that he’s never met a stranger. He wouldn’t fight. But he’ll sure tongue bath!

  7. Blythe Rose says:

    Duke was a shy pup at first who never would have been adopted. I saved him in the nick of time and now I can’t imagine life w/o him. He is truly my best friend. Having a service dog has helped me emotionally and physically. Duke is amazing, a true God Send. -B

  8. Nancy says:

    This is a truly wonderful Dog! He has found the most wonderful forever home! He was just waiting for the right person to adopt him to come out of his shell! He is beautiful!

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thanks! I know your “Thera-pets” do amazing good too. Its a wonderful girt to rescue an animal and be able to give back.

  9. Steve says:

    I vote for Duke. What a wonderful heartwarming story.

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thanks Steve. He was the last one in line, saved just in time. I like to think saved just for me and saved the best for last.

  10. Jessica Clark says:

    Duke is really a testament to the breed; he’s loyal, sweet, strong, and smart. Despite the obvious turmoil he suffered through during his puppy-hood he’s still managed to not only forgive, but commit himself to human companions. He’s truly a fantastic dog!

    • Blythe Rose says:

      Thanks Jes. He really does dispel the “pitbull” stereotype everyday he’s around. Thank goodness for good puppies and good owners eh?

  11. Melinda Lewis says:

    He really is a great dog! Great with children, animals and everybody he meets. I’m proud to be his Aunt and have him be my “Nephew”.

  12. Hope says:

    Duke is great! I vote for him!

  13. Muriel says:

    Duke is a wonderful dog – loving and warm. I’m happy to give him my vote too!

  14. John says:

    Having met Duke, I know firsthand that he would be a critter that would save the day when the situation called upon him. He is energetic and playful, but ready to defend his master in a heartbeat. A wonderful critter.

  15. Nikki watson says:

    There is nothing better than finding that one special animal that completes your life, especially when they fill so many of your needs. My vote goes to Duke.

  16. Wm. Tweed says:

    Great story–vote for Duke!

  17. Ashley says:

    I ADORE Duke’s owner! He is a very very very cute/well mannered little fella and I hear his big slobbery kisses are just what some people need! I vote for Duke!

  18. Brendon Shaul says:

    That dog is truely loving. I give him a vote.

  19. Veronica Moynahan says:

    I love reading all your almost daily posts about Duke! He is such a wonderful character and is the cutest thing EVER!

  20. Tina says:

    Great story, BlythE. Very heartwarming.

  21. Jenny N says:

    Such an inspiring story! Love that this doggy has such a BIG heart and that he truely found the family and love he deserves!

  22. Jenny N says:

    Duke is truely an awesome dog with a big ehart and lots of love to share! Its amazing when you open your heart and let a dog into your life!

  23. peonygirl says:

    what a touching story…Duke got my vote

  24. Serena says:

    I voted for Duke (of course). He is such a great dog. I had no idea he had a story like this.

  25. Barbara Van Kirk says:

    Duke, What a dog. We forget that dog spelled backwards is God. Those of us who can see God in everything, everywhere, know when we look into the eyes of a dog,
    can see for sure what love is. Any person who can abuse a dog, has a special “hereafter” awaiting them.

    • Blythe Rose says:

      I agree! I’ve always believed there is a special Hell waiting for Child and Animal abusers. Thanks for your comment. I can truly see and feel God and his pure love through my Dog. Absolute love and acceptance is a lesson we can all stand to be reminded of. Thanks again- Blythe & Duke

  26. Barbara Van Kirk says:

    Duke, What a dog. We forget that dog spelled backwards is God. Those of us who can see God in everything, everywhere, know when we look into the eyes of a dog,
    can see for sure what love is. Any person who can abuse a dog, has a special “hereafter” awaiting them.

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