On a chilly morning walk with her dogs, Stephanie Dagenhart noticed something that would haunt her for days. Tied to a nearby tree, in the freezing conditions, was a dog. It was something no dog owner wants to see. Dagenhart found a note with him.
The note simply read; “My name is Duke. Here are my favorite toys and my food. I am looking for a new home.”
Dagenhart had been walking her own two rescue dogs and recalled it being so cold she could barely feel her hands and feet. The 32-year old Baltimore public teacher almost didn’t believe her eyes when she came upon the freezing dog. He had been shaking, most likely from the cold and fear, tied to a tree in the park. According to Dagenhart, Duke had been surrounded by a crate, his food, and a chew toy. He even wore a Natty Boh Man collar with the iconic Baltimore symbol of a one-eyed man with a handlebar mustache for National Bohemian Beer.
“I was stunned. I literally looked left, looked right, looking for someone who might be his owner — like I couldn’t believe what my brain was telling me,” Dagenhart told the TODAY show.
Freezing Dog Taken In by BARCS
Dagenhart did what any good dog owner would do; she called 911. While she sat waiting with the dog, she posted about him on a local Facebook page to see if anyone recognized him. Then she called her fiance to get their dogs because they were making Duke upset and didn’t want anything to happen. He was wary, giving a low growl at the two dogs.
She sat with Duke, softly calling his name in reassurance till help arrived. Other neighbors, who learned of Duke on Facebook, came to provide support. They sat with Dagenhart, and brought towels and treats for Duke. No one recognized the dog, making Dagenhart believe he probably wasn’t local.
“This is such a dog-loving neighborhood, I feel like he would have been immediately recognized if he was from around here,” she said.
Duke was eventually taken to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).
Duke Gets a Forever Home
Deacon, a worker at BARCS described Duke as being a “big mush.” They couldn’t find anything wrong with Duke except the fact he had been cold.
“While I’m sure he’s confused about his situation, he is very trusting and enthusiastic to meet new people,” said Deacon. “His smile is infectious, and his tail is always wagging. He’s the type of dog that thinks everyone in the room or walking by is there specially there just for him.”
Finally, a few days after being at BARCS, Duke gets an ending – or beginning – to a new chapter in life.
Duke was officially adopted by U.S. Army Specialist Wallace White. Wallace didn’t even realize he had picked out a celebrity dog until a friend pointed out the news stories to him. He just happened to fall in love with Duke by just being himself.
This is the BEST ending – no, beginning – for our big buddy Duke. Thank you, Baltimore, for saving this handsome boy.
Feature Image via screen capture from website We Love Animals