I first met a pet owner named Brenda a few years ago. I actually blogged about her three dogs and her back in the summer of 2012: http://chainofhope.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/brenda-and-her-dogs/.
Brenda had always had her dogs inside her apartment, but then moved and the landlord didn’t want any animals inside. Brenda put all 3 of her dogs outside on chains. We began weekly monitoring of this situation because their care was minimal and they began slipping through the cracks.
There was a wonderful rottie mix, a tan shepherd mix, and a chow mix. The rottie and the shep mix were very friendly with us. The chow mix seemed to dislike us more every time we came over. He just became more and more aggressive and upset when we were there. We could not go into his dirt circle, we couldn’t touch him. His name was Duke and our hearts ached for him. We had eventually been able to gain freedom for the rottie mix and the shep mix, but we could not get the third dog out of there. He would growl, charge us, and act pretty nasty. We had to scoot his water bowl up to him. One of us would distract him while the other bravely went and shoved hay in his house. Many times, I would have to leave Brenda a note about something because we couldn’t deal with him-like putting his flea prevention on him. I would leave a note and ask Brenda to call me so that I could make sure she was doing the things that Duke wouldn’t allow us to do.
We continued to visit Duke. He was so lonely back in the back yard. It was very overgrown and shady back there. He did his growling and charging at times, but sometimes he would act happy to see us because he knew when that van pulled up, he was going to get hooked up! We still couldn’t get in his circle and we still couldn’t touch him and all of us were convinced that he would bite us if we got too close.
After we got the rottie mix and the shep mix out of there, we kept visiting Duke. We took him special meaty bones which he loved! We did the best we could for him and continued to come by just about every week. We never forgot about Duke and we continued to try and be his friend-at least he got lots of goodies when we came by. We always came up the alley and he knew the van immediately. We knew we couldn’t get his boy, but we were going to make sure he had the necessities that he needed and keep him as comfortable as possible.
This boy would have his fur up and be on guard most of the time when we were there. He seemed to be mad at the world and I can’t say I blamed him. Look at how he was being treated. I’d be mad as hell, too. We totally understood and did what we could to bring him a little happiness. Chain of Hope received a couple of different calls about poor Duke during last year’s brutal winter. Two different times, someone who lived on that street called and said that they could hear a dog crying and whining on those frigid, freezing nights. When I went over there and talked to the people that had called this in, they would point in the direction of Duke’s yard. I knew it was Duke that they had heard crying back there. I know he only made it through the winter because we were doing everything we could do for him.
These were common things we found when visiting Duke. His dog house would be in 2 pieces, his water would be filthy, etc.
We visited Duke as often as we could for 2 years! Two years and Chain of Hope had kept in this boy’s life, making sure he was ok. And then one day a few months ago, Chain of Hope received a call from Brenda. She was moving the next day and “needed us to come and get Duke”. Yes, just one day’s notice. This happens to us quite frequently. It’s like these people put no fore thought into anything they’re doing. Oh my gosh-what were we going to do? He didn’t let anyone but Brenda get close to him. This didn’t look good for Duke at all. I didn’t want him going to the shelter and being freaked out and aggressive there. He would sit there for days and ultimately be euthanized. No one could deal with him. We decided that we needed to go get him and bring him back to the vet for euthanasia. We would spare him the fright, anxiety and stress of having to go to the shelter and sit like that for days and days. We would put him down humanely.
I drove over to Brenda’s and came up the alley. Duke was on alert when he saw the van. It was so over grown back there, I had to make a path through the brush and bushes. My heart was very heavy. I could not believe that I was coming through that path to Duke’s house for the last time and that we were going to be leading him out of here to put him to sleep. It was unbearable.
Brenda put a leash on Duke and led him to the van. He came with no problem. I know now that he absolutely knew that he was going to freedom. He jumped up into the crate I had in the van, Brenda closed the van door and turned around to go back in her house. I said, “Really Brenda? “. She turned around and said, “what?” I said, “Not a pat on the head, not a good-bye, nothing???” She said, “Oh (like it was a revelation), I can do that”. She turned around to walk back over to the van, I put my hand on it and wouldn’t let her open it. I told her she didn’t ever give a damn about that dog. I told her to not get any more animals and to never call Chain of Hope again.
As I was driving Duke back to Chain of Hope, I was thinking how nicely and calmly he came out of that back yard. He had a spring in his step and I know that he knew he was finally getting out of his nasty, lonely back yard from hell. He wasn’t growling or barking. I started thinking about saving him instead. I knew he’d been through so much hell in his life that I thought he deserved a chance to see how he would act now that he was off of his tie-out and out of that terrible environment. Everyone was afraid of him at first and if you’d ever been a few feet in front of him in his yard when he decided to charge you, you’d understand why. I think Judy thought I was crazy! When I got him to Chain of Hope, Leah and I carried him in to a dog run. She made signs that said “no one except Kate Quigley can walk this dog!”
I got him out later that day and took him out for a walk and he was SO happy! He loved being able to smell all of the wonderful smells out there. He had lived in his dirt and had nothing to stimulate him or engage him . Now, he just couldn’t get enough of smelling everything! After a day or two, the signs came down off of his kennel, others started walking him and Duke became known as Luke instead! A new name for a new life!
Before long, he was in our big dog room and going out in playgroups.
Luke is so happy and well-adjusted! He is the BEST dog in the world! He plays very nicely with other dogs, he loves people, he listens well, he is crate-trained. He is an exceptional dog. Whoever adopts Luke will be a very lucky person. I find myself sometimes standing at the window, watching the dogs play in the play yard. I watch Luke run and play and tease and toss stuffed animals in the air and I am so thankful to God for Chain of Hope. Luke’s life is so much better now. He has lots of love and attention. The only thing missing now is his forever home! What a deserving, well-behaved, grateful dog Luke is. If you’d like to offer Luke a foster home or an adoptive home, please go to http://www.chainofhopekc.org and go to our adoptable pets page to find the applications.
Luke is an incredible boy! He is resilient, intelligent, affectionate and he has a song in his heart these days! We can’t say enough about this fabulous boy!
Carol and Erica took Luke on an overnight camping trip to the lake. Boy, did he have a blast! This boy’s life had just been turned around.Luke has learned trust and been shown much kindness and love. Here he is running with Cee Cee, one of Erica’s dogs down the country road.
Luke is so full of life now. He paid his dues and then some and now he is much blessed! He is strikingly handsome, a “head turner” as I call him! Luke is the whole package-he’s got it goin’ on!
Thanks for making it possible for us to be out there responding to the many calls that we get! We run so many calls a day, we feel like Luke felt here! Thanks for keeping us out there.