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 Created: 01/31/05


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The best-laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry...

January 31, 2005 – The story I had lined up for this week was scuttled (or more accurately, postponed) due to some unanticipated interruptions that prevented me from doing the necessary writing. So, it will have to wait until next week. Among other things, we had yet another ice storm this weekend. Gee whiz! Luckily it wasn't as bad as the last three, but we've decided it's time to invest a large generator to keep things running.

More about Duke
Yesterday I received an informative update on the brindle Duke, whose story ran two weeks ago. Jerry Dunham writes:

Last Friday Dr. Barnett took new X-rays of Duke's front leg and reviewed them with Duke's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Dudley. Based upon the rate of bone regrowth, Dr. Dudley wants Duke to stay at Dr. Barnett's clinic for 4 more weeks. His future adopters are very anxious to take him home, and at this point Duke is feeling good enough to have the same opinion, but Dr. Dudley is afraid he might re-injure the leg if he goes home too soon.

Duke, Day 29Dr. Barnett reports that donations have now covered all of her out-of-pocket expenses to date, though not much more. She's amazed by the public's response (and grateful!) because she originally expected she'd have to absorb the entire expense of Duke's treatment.

Linda Matthews is a volunteer with the Central Texas SPCA, and it was Linda who actually found Duke by the side of the road. She provided more details about Duke's rescue. She says she was driving down Nameless Road (yes, that's really its name – it goes to the town of Nameless) one evening when she thought she saw a dog head in the ditch. She turned around and went back, but couldn't see anything. She decided her eyes were playing tricks on her, so she turned back around and headed home. She immediately saw it again as she passed, so she turned around, and STILL couldn't see it. She did this three times before deciding "this is silly!" She stopped to investigate.

Nameless is a narrow two-lane road, so when Linda pulled over, traffic was constricted. Soon a few others who travel that road regularly stopped, too. Linda found Duke lying in the ditch with his front leg at an unnatural angle and the bone protruding. Some of the other people who stopped said they'd seen him there for a week or so and assumed he was dead. Linda called her husband to come with blankets so they could wrap Duke before trying to move him, in case he tried to bite due to his pain. One of the women who stopped had some small sausages, so they fed them to Duke to keep him occupied while they wrapped him up and lifted him. In spite of his injuries, he never cried out or attempted to hurt any of them as they put him in Linda's SUV. He sure liked those sausages, though.

Duke, Day 1Linda called Dr. Barnett on her cell phone so that she'd be ready, and hauled him to the office, where Dr. Barnett and Monika Hill were waiting. You know the rest.

Here's the interesting (and sad) twist. When Duke was found, he was down to 50 pounds. Dr. Barnett was sure he'd been out there on his own for at least two weeks, scavenging not very successfully, then injured. Linda called back to the CTSPCA office and asked whether anyone had called looking for such a dog two weeks earlier. They found a report from 01 Dec. Linda followed up and got the rest of the story, though it took a couple of days of calling before she was able to get a response.

"Jane Doe" owns Duke's parents, one a purebred Dane and the other a mix. Duke was one of a litter of 8, if I recall correctly, and I don't know whether the breeding was planned. The pups were all given away. Duke went to a friend of "Ms. Doe," the sort of dog owner who dumps a dog in the back yard, feeds it, and otherwise just wants to be able to say he has a big dog. Duke escaped a couple of times, but was always brought back.

This last time when Duke escaped, he never showed back up. "Ms. Doe" heard about it over Thanksgiving, and started searching, thus the report at the CTSPCA on 01 Dec. We believe "Ms. Doe" tried very hard to find Duke, driving around the area extensively, in addition to checking the shelters. Athough Duke was found with a tag on his collar that read, "I love Duke," the actual owner never showed any interest in looking for Duke. "Ms. Doe" will not divulge the original owner's name.

A special fund has been established to help with Duke's ongoing medical expenses.
More information about Duke and his story can be found at DaDane425.shtml

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

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