Duke update from TARA Rescue:

It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that Duke has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Late this afternoon, Duke was in extreme respiratory distress. Nothing could ease his breathing. The decision was made between TARA and Duke’s vets that it was kinder to end his suffering.

We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for Duke. He will be cremated and planted along with a tree in his honor on the grounds of Hoke County Animal Control, where someone first tried to save his life.

The hearts of everyone associated with this rescue are breaking. Please hug your dogs a little closer tonight.

A message from TARA Rescue regarding Duke’s story:

As with so many other animals, TARA received a call for help that we could not ignore. Animal control transferred Duke to our care after charges of abuse and neglect were filed against his former owner.

When we picked him up, Duke was not able to stand up on his own and could barely walk a few feet to the car. We whisked him to the wonderful vets at Small Animal Emergency Care.

We were hopeful that Duke would survive. There was a spark of life in his eyes, but his condition was grave, and we prepared for the worst.

Duke is a five-year-old pure breed Great Dane. When we placed him on the scale, Duke weighed just 91 pounds. He was a full 75 pounds underweight.

He was heartworm positive. He had an upper respiratory infection. He had an enlarged prostate and was fully intact. His teeth were so bad, we initially thought he was much older.

Worst of all, some condition caused the muscles in Duke’s throat to stop functioning correctly making it almost impossible for him to swallow food. This dreadfully neglected dog now had the added burden of dealing with megaesophagus.

Miraculously (meaning thanks to the treatment of Dr. Staudt, Dr. Turner, and Dr. Whitehead from Small Animal Emergency Care), Duke survived the weekend. He was transported to Longleaf Animal Hospital, in Southern Pines, where Dr. Erin Barney took charge of his care.

Inch by inch, slow agonizing step by step, Duke began to improve. He now watches the veterinary nurses intently as they go about their jobs and watches his food being prepared with a light in his eyes that is heartbreaking to see.

The road to recovery is still a long and twisted one for Duke. When he is released from the hospital, he will need a special chair (a bailey chair) to help him eat due to the megaesophagus. Considering the chair (estimated at $400) and future needed care (to include a neuter when he is healthy enough for it), Duke’s total cost of care is estimated to be around $6,000.

None of this would have been necessary if his owners had cared for him properly. Humans have let Duke down for the past five years. TARA will not.

We ask that you consider donating to TARA (Paypal donations to: to help alleviate Duke’s medical bills. Donations can also be made directly to the vet’s office (Longleaf Animal Hospital at (910) 692-4201.

Thank you for sharing Duke’s story, for donating, for adopting, for volunteering. For whatever you do; thank you.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email