Duke was a major part of our family. He was the friendliest, most faithful of friends and never talked back or argued with anyone. He followed Al and me on our paper routes regardless of the weather so often he could have subbed for us! One very cold winter day (weren’t they all cold!?), he waited outside a friend’s house for over two hours for me to come out and take him home.
Duke came to us from a neighbor where the couple was separating. We could hear him bark when tethered to his chain and offered to have him sleep over one night. Soon after he was ours permanently. He was 2 then and stayed with us until his death at age 12.
He was mostly a Yellow Lab – but his curled tail showed that he was 1/4 Shepherd (who’s your daddy?). He was very gentle and great with kids. He did have a protective side and needed to be locked up prior to the daily visit from the mailman. Let me remind you that the mail was actually brought to the mailbox on our house by a mailman who, imagine this, walked. Duke liked to hide behind a large tree and pounce on the poor man. Mace was used on more than one occasion. When a Jehovahs Witness, Mormon, or other solicitor came to our front door we would put Duke on the front porch and let the visitor decide on whether they wanted to enter the porch. They quickly went on to a neighboring house. Leave your Watchtower on the front steps.
Several ladies in the area would save steak bones for the next time Duke wandered by. The Village did have a “Leash Law” that required all dogs to be… you guessed it…on a leash, chained up, or inside a fence. Duke’s wonderful personality and the friendship between my dad and the Dog Catcher gave him a Stay out of the Pound card and saved us a bunch in fines. In later years, after Al and I were off in the Air Force, the friendly Dog Catcher was no longer, and the local Police served in that role as needed. Because Duke enjoyed car rides so well, the Policemen knew that they simply needed to open the car door and invite him to ride. That raised far too much revenue for the municipality and caused our family to make some adjustments in Duke’s freedom.
He was a gem – people in Perry still comment on how much they liked him. And for the record – he was never ‘fixed’. He would have considered it being ‘broken’ not ‘fixed’.
Duke’s regular proximity to The Switch – usually within 1/4 mile in any direction.