JUNE 2009 – JULY 2019
It’s been an amazing 10 year journey with our exceptional dog Duke and sadly it has ended. How do I even express all the thoughts going through my mind to explain what this journey has been like and how much I’ve learned, how he was my life for 10 years, how hard it was to say goodbye for now.
He became our foster through Golden Bond Rescue December 2009, was 6 months old, weighed about 27lbs, a ball of fluff with only 3 ½ legs which was a birth defect. Dr. Munjar was seen regarding amputating the partial leg but that wasn’t an option as he had structural issues which would be partially corrected by surgery later. I remember asking how long did he think Duke would live and the estimate was perhaps a year due to his disabilities. Golden Bond and I discussed care options for his best time left. First went to Back on Track where Dr. Bianca Shaw fitted him for a prosthetic leg and by Feb of that year that was accomplished. We also agreed Swim therapy would be his best option which was step #2. Diane Kunkle, a former Vet Tech has just opened Paws Aquatic and that became a weekly assisted swim therapy which he loved and was really his only best option for exercise. That continued for remainder of his life. Fairly soon we were introduced to Debra Mulrooney who is affiliated with Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. She had done acupuncture on her own dogs and wanted to offer this to other Golden Bond dogs so now he became her first and main outside patient. He took loved it from the star as if it was justt another ordinary medical treatment, laid perfectly still and has received expert and crucial beneficial help for 10 years. She and Duke loved each other dearly. Even on his last day she wanted to treat him so his mind and body would be totally relaxed and comfortable for his final journey and he was just that.
The next adventure was to have his “floating knees” surgically fixed when he was 5. Golden Bond agreed he had made such progress in his health and stability that this was the correct next step and paid for both rear legs. At this point he was as structurally sound as he would ever be so it was to be adopted by us or put up for adoption so without a minute thought he became our special adopted boy. The trauma didn’t stop there. He developed internal cancer, endured radiation and was transferred to Dr. Freeman at Veterinary Cancer and Surgery Specialists who provided his Chemo care and quickly became our lifelong connection to the very end. They are amazing and don’t know who loved more him or their care team. His cancer didn’t stop there. They also found it in his anal glands so about a year ago they were removed there by Dr. John Wooldridge which was successful and no other cancer found. He was always a happy boy to go there and even this past week Dr. Freeman and team did all they could to make him more comfortable, put him on Hospice with hopes the new treatments would prolong his life but that was not to be the case. Duke also received excellent general medical care from Crossroads Veterinary Hospital in Sherwood and was seen by almost every doctor there, was treated respectfully and they went out of their way to help us in anyway possible.Eating became almost nonexistent this past week and as of yesterday he refused to even drink so I knew he was telling me his body was shutting down and it was time to go. I contacted Compassionate Care who came out to the house, was so comforting, compassionate and caring it made the end of his journey as bearable as possible.
Me, I have learned how to be a better pet parent, able to handle extreme medical conditions, learned to take one day at a time as things changed that often, found many resources for pet care that I would have never imagined had he not been in my life.I have huge respect, admiration and thanks for Golden Bond and for all those above mentioned who cared for him these past 10 years, love them all as so did he. Life does go on even though there is a huge hole in my life, heart and many tears to continue to fall. Thank you to all and he shall never be forgotten.
Permanent Foster May 2010
This is the story of Duke — our somewhat bionic dog.
Duke (#1979) was relinquished to Golden Bond in December of 2009 by a couple of young ladies who picked him up for free from a lady at a supermarket in Southern Oregon. Once they got him home and looked past the cute little 6 month old puppy with half his front leg gone, they realized that they couldn’t keep him. They contacted Golden Bond Rescue.
Duke’s right front leg had begun to form but then stopped about a couple inches below the elbow. When he arrived in Portland he was seen by a surgeon to see if the leg should be removed. [Many three legged dogs can do quite well.] According to the surgeon, if there is a partial limb the dog thinks the limb is whole and will attempt to use it. Unfortunately for Duke, it was also discovered that he only had one structurally sound leg and that was his other front. The knees of both back legs had not formed correctly so they kept popping in and out of the joint; this could be visually seen, for the knees stuck out in funny angles. Sadly, these deformed joints were causing Duke to be constantly in pain. It was determined that surgery was not a good option at this point. Duke became a permanent foster since we knew his life expectancy would be shorter than normal and his medical bills extensive.
Duke was started on physical therapy at Back on Track with Dr. Bianca Shaw. The therapy was discovered to be too difficult for him and it was discontinued. It was at this time that he received his prosthetic front leg.
Beginning in May of 2010, Duke was taken to Paws Aquatic twice a week and started working with Diane Kunkle, a licensed therapist in water therapy. At the end of October 2010, he started receiving acupuncture treatments from Debra Mulrooney, another Golden Bond volunteer whose field is alternative medicine. Results were noted after just four treatments; Dr. Shaw noticed that Duke was easier to adjust as his muscles were not as tight. Debra with Paws Aquatic also saw improved stamina when he swam. Diane Kunkle commented, “Duke has totally amazed all of us by building enough muscle mass to where he is doing really well. He has continued to improve and now that he is full grown and his growth plates have closed, we won’t be battling his constantly changing condition due to his bones and joints growing. He is only going to continue to get stronger so hopefully he will be able to overcome his deformities for years to come.” Duke will be two years old in June 2011.
He will forever need extra care and is on pain and joint medication to keep him as comfortable as possible. He was featured in an Oregonian article with Paws Aquatic and was the June 2011 Golden Bond Calendar dog.
We could all learn from his wonderful disposition and attitude. Duke has the most delightful “show teeth curled lip smile” that no one can resist. It is amazing to watch him play with his two Golden sisters and is so tolerant of the two other older dogs that also live with him.
With the help of the above people and those who generously donate for his care, we hope to continue this path of treatment and give Duke the best life he can have.
January 2012 update from his foster mom.
Duke is doing well and even managed to win a spot on Paws Aquatic car door magnet – what a star.
I still take him swimming twice a week and every other week to acupuncture. He just finished training for his Canine Good Citizen but hasn’t taken the test yet. One of his hardest things to pass in training was not greeting everyone and the other dogs. He is so social he doesn’t want to just sit beside me and wait for me to say it’s ok.
For a little guy (now 57 pounds) whose life expectancy was only a little over a year he is doing really well at 2 1/2 now. He is constantly playing with his two Golden sisters but leaves the 13 and 17 year old dogs pretty much alone.
He has an attitude that matches his age some times. His favorite way of showing anyone that he is mad at them is to turn his head away and totally ignore them even if they try to make up. He got upset with Debra at one of his acupuncture sessions because she had to cut it short so first he gave the evil eye and then he would have nothing to do with her until we came in for our next session.
He’s such a joy – as are the others – but his happiness and lovey side are just too much.