– Dead Dogs
Don't Cry –
January 16, 2005 – Some
of you may recall a story I ran last year about a Great Dane named
Sheva. Her owners, Linda and Jerry Dunham,
live in Austin, Texas. I try to stay in touch with the Dunhams because
I really like them. My
mother would have characterized Jerry, had she ever met him, as a "Good
Egg." That was what she
called certain people who she felt were especially nice – nice
from the tip of their nose to the tip of their toes. (As you'll soon
see, Austin, Texas,
is home to a lot of Good Eggs.)
Anyway, Jerry is VERY
active in Great Dane rescue and he sometimes emails me about certain
cases. Jerry recently forwarded information about a young brindle
Great Dane (mix) from the Austin area who, exactly one month ago, was
lying in a shallow ditch next to a busy road. Nobody knows
how long he had been there. Those who had spotted him as their cars
whizzed by assumed he was dead, but nobody actually bothered to check.
Nobody, except one person – one
exceptionally "Good Egg." She happened to notice a glimmer
of light reflected back from the dog's face when her headlights caught
that fateful evening. Dead
dogs don't cry. She pulled over. And that's when she met Duke.
Duke was very weak and horribly injured. She tried to lift him into
her car. A passerby saw her struggling and
stopped to help, telling her he'd seen the dog lying there for days
as he – and others – drove on by. Like
everyone else, he had assumed the dog was dead.
Duke was rushed to
a nearby clinic. Monika Hill, an independent animal rescuer who works
in the Austin area, was present when he arrived:
Duke's Medical Care
"Duke was transported to
the Lone Star Animal Clinic in nearby Cedar Park. I happened to be
there, and I will never forget the moment I saw
him in the back of that Good Samaritan's vehicle.
His left front leg
was broken and bent at a grotesque angle. Swollen and openly fractured,
the bone was visibly protruding. His body was nothing more than a skeleton,
his huge head swaying above bony shoulders. Still, he tried to get
up and greet us, gently wagging his tail.
Dr. Gundula Barnett, the clinic's owner,
dropped what she was doing and examined Duke. Besides the compound
fracture of his leg, there was a large open wound near Duke's
rectum. This turned out to be an area where infection from a fractured pelvis had
been draining. Also, the skin on Duke's muzzle was raw from abrasion.
Dr. Barnett started working on Duke right
away. Among other things, he was injected with pain medication and
his leg was splinted. He spent the night sleeping comfortably on many
layers of quilts – safe and warm, at last.
the days that followed, Duke's X-rays were evaluated by one of Austin's
finest veterinary orthopedic surgeons.
He estimated the fractures to be 2 to 3 weeks
old. Duke had been very determined to survive! Unable to bear weight
on his leg or his hips, he had evidently propelled himself forward
using his muzzle. That's why it was so raw.
Dr. Barnett and the orthopedic surgeon were
impressed by Duke's strong will to live. They decided to do everything
possible to give him a chance for a new life. After two major surgeries,
Duke's fractured pelvis has been repaired and he is learning to walk
again. He will require physical therapy and perhaps a few more
operations, but he has a promising future."
When I read about Duke, I had a big lump in throat – as
I am sure many of you do right now. I asked Jerry Dunham if he could
contact Dr. Barnett
to find out more about Duke's situation. He did so, and this is what
at Lone Star Animal Clinic on
December 16 just as they were getting ready to close for the day.
Dr. Barnett cleaned his wounds, splinted his fractured leg, and began
treating the abscesses that had developed while he was lying helpless
by the roadside. She thought his leg was so badly damaged it might
to be amputated, but Duke responded well
to her efforts. She decided to bring in an orthopedic
specialist for further evaluation. Duke's radius and ulna were in
bad shape. There wasn't much to work with, but
they decided to give it a try.
During the first of two major surgeries,
Duke's broken pelvis was repaired. Loose shards of
causing further damage and
encouraging infection. These were removed so the real
healing could begin. Later on, Duke underwent his second major surgery.
orthopedic specialist reassembled
Duke's front leg using special steel plates that he'd had custom made
just for Duke. So far, the complicated procedure seems to have worked.
As to the nature of his
injuries, Dr. Barnett speculates that Duke was hit from behind by
a car and thrown through
the air. He probably landed on his left leg, which then shattered
from the impact. The driver of the vehicle obviously hadn't bothered
to stop and help."
Where did Duke come
Though he was found with a collar bearing his name,
Duke had no tags and his original owner has not been found. He is
a young dog, probably less than two years old. He needs a forever
home. Early on, someone expressed an interest in adopting Duke and
the vet bills, but this person is a little overwhelmed
by the cost and responsibility of taking on a dog so
seriously injured. And understandably so.
you might have guessed, Duke's medical expenses have been substantial.
The orthopedic surgeon gave a generous discount for his services,
but even with a discount, specialized orthopedic surgery isn't
cheap. Dr. Barnett has been carrying the physical and financial burden
of Duke's medical needs herself. Thus far, her out-of-pocket expenses
have exceeded the $3000 mark. As it happens,
Dr. Barnett opened her practice just last spring. She has a clinic
to support, and a family. She is in no
cost of Duke's surgeries and recovery.
Fortunately, she won't have
Monika Hill (who
you met earlier) and Briana
a professional dog-trainer from Austin, have used their considerable
talent and networking skills to help raise money to offset Duke's
expenses. As of last Friday, approximately $2500
has been donated to Dr. Barnett's clinic in Duke's name. Now that's
Duke is "more Dane than dog" – but even if he
wasn't, I'd love to see the Dane Community lend a helping hand. Dr.
a special account called "Duke's Fund."
Monies collected on Duke's behalf will go into this fund to help
offset out-of-pocket expenses associated with his medical care.
Any money collected above and beyond Duke's medical needs
be held for future needy rescue cases.
Dr. Barnett doesn't expect to encounter another case as
unique and dramatic as Duke's – it's a miracle he even survived – but
she is sometimes asked to treat strays with major
medical problems. She always does what she can. Duke's Fund, until
it runs out, will be used to pay for medical supplies needed for
dogs brought to the clinic. Meanwhile, Dr. Barnett's time and expertise
will continue to be donated for those rescue cases, just as it
was for Duke.
If you would like to help, please send your contribution to:
Lone Star Animal Clinic
601 E. Whitestone Blvd, Suite 632
Cedar Park, Tx 78613
Or, you can also visit Briana's
web site to make a contribution via PayPal.
If you are unable to contribute
financially, how about sending a nice card to Dr. Barnett and her
wonderful staff to let them know how much those of us in the Dane
appreciate their efforts to help Duke? They probably don't hear
it often enough.
The Latest News on Duke
Thursday, January 13, 2005 – Jerry
Dunham met Duke in person for the first time. He writes:
"Linda and I visited with
Duke this morning, and he's doing a lot better. He's now ambulatory
so the staff is able to take him for short walks 2 or 3 times a day.
Walking is not yet pain-free, but it's good for him and he seems to
enjoy the walks, even though he limps. Duke
seems a little shy around new people, but he's become very fond of
his caretakers. The gal who wanted to adopt him earlier is eagerly
for his release from the clinic so she can take him home. Thanks to
everyone for the great support Duke's gotten so far! He's gone from
being a very unlucky dog to being
a very lucky one."
Friday, January 14, 2005 – Briana
Stringer visited Duke the following day when she went to the clinic
drop off donations
from her web site:
"He is a real
sweetheart and doing just great! He was walking around, coming out
of his kennel to visit with people and
very excited, jumping up on the kennel door (probably not a good thing
for him to do with his hip and leg still healing) to get more attention
as we stood looking at him and talking about him."
Friday, January 14, 2005 – When Jerry
phoned Dr. Barnett for additional information to help me with this
story, he learned that:
is showing signs of increased tenderness, so tomorrow Dr. Barnett
will unwrap it, clean the wound, and take X-rays to make sure everything
is still okay. She thinks the soreness may be due to all the visitors
this week. Duke feels he has to get up to greet them. If the X-rays
show a problem, they may have to go back into surgery to deal with
it. If not, it's just a matter of fewer visitors, more time, and continued
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 – An update
from Monika Hill:
"I went by
Dr. Barnett's office and she had already unwrapped
Duke's leg and taken X-rays. Everything seems to be healing quite
well – she was very pleased. The big hole in his leg has
closed up already and he is moving around well. I have offered
to take him to hydro-therapy at a vet in Round Rock who has set-up
It will probably be a little while before that can be started,
but Dr. Barnett thought he would benefit from it."
For those of you who are interested, I'll post additional updates
as more information becomes available. Any reports coming in this
week will be added to the "News" box above.
( see next installment )
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