Help Duke to Help Mom!

Duke has a handle!!  All the better to "work" with him. He is growing and learning - well let me change that to he is learning.  He's on a diet to lose about 15 lbs.  Anyway, here's what started all this!

Pushing myself to cook after a Chemo treatment, I was faint at the stove and Duke just moved in and herded me into a chair.  Duke had been with us for about 3 weeks, last summer, and saved me from that bad spell.    He's done that twice since.  He recognizes when my blood sugar is low or when some other bodily function is not working correctly after chemo and just does his herding thing!  Bossy guy that he is.

Hubz and I have volunteered at the LV Animal Foundation, with our local neighborhood rescue and fostered animals for quite some time.  But I always wanted "my own" big dog.  I was diagnosed with a  non-curable Cancer in the spring of 2016.  A shock at the time.  Working with animals, as I was able, was one thing that kept me sane. Duke and I found each other through a neighborhood rescue and bonded almost immediately.  Through the rescue we spent 10-12 weeks looking for his family.  The big guy and I just kept getting to be better buddies.  Hubz and I decided that the results from my first CT scan after surgery and during first round of Chemo would decide if I got to keep this big fuzzy wuzzy in the family.

We were given positive results and Duke was on the road to becomming officially ours!!!  Duke's age estimates varied from 3-5 years. The vets at the Animal Foundation and the neighborhood vet said he was healthy.  So Duke has had all his shots, gotten his teeth cleaned and we have begun his training.  He was awarded his Canine Good Citizen Diploma this summer.  Because he is loved, arrangements for his care have been made, should I pre-decease him. (Hubz is 9 years my senior and not physically capable of full Duke care.)  And, we have been working with Kathleen, a wonderful trainer who has experience in training Service Dogs.

We are; however, running out of doggy money.  Between Duke's care, training and my medical costs we could really use some help.  From the photo, you can see I'm no spring chicken, but my big fur baby helps to motivate me to move and have fun.  Duke's life would be greatly enriched by additional training to help me out. 

Duke needs a lot more training on a consistant basis. He also needs grooming, exercise and play time that I am not always able to physically provide for him.  For this we need extra funds, or we need to cease many of our daily activities like  working for short periods in the yard, taking Duke to the local dog park or going to local stores and malls where Duke can practice/train.  

Duke has learned that I/we come back for him when he must be left at home.  So his initial separation anxiety is much better.  But while I am gone, Hubz tells me, Duke spends most of the time lying by the door waiting for me.  He gets up to go out for potty breaks and for water, but otherwise, just lies there with the occasional whine or cry.   I will never be able to take him to Chemo with me because other patients may be allergic to animals and become ill.  But it is wonderful when he can go with us/me to other places.

A side affect of Chemo is Peripheral Neuropathy.  I don't always know where my feet are and I need Balance Assistance.  This has become Duke's job.  About 3-5 times a week, Duke and I go for our daybreak training walk and work on the command "side".  He walks at my side, gently touching my left knee.  His soft hairy touch provides just what is needed so I can walk more safely.

Right now we are juggling the cost of a $5700 a month prescription with the cost of Duke's training.  Medicare will soon kick in to decrease our 50% co-pay to something more reasonable.  But this kind of huge single expense is quickly depleting our funds.

Any funds raised through this campaign will be used FOR DUKE:  training, grooming, play care and any necessary medical for him.

Duke's training is one way of extending my life as well as our little family's quality of life. He will need additional training as I inevitably become weaker and need more help.  Duke is a big strong guy who is near my side all the time.  He guards me in my sewing/quilt room. He watches me when I'm playing gardener in our back yard. He is ALWAYS close when I'm working in the kitchen - it's not just a food thing.  He follows me when I do laundry (the old fashioned way by hanging clothes on the line). 

We have little rooms in our older home and with a king size bed, there is no room for a king size Duke to be comfy while sleeping beside me.  Once I'm settled in for the night, he goes to the bedroom doorway ignorning his bed, sliding to the floor with a deep groan. 

We are hoping for a fairly immediate response and will update regularly.   Duke has a page on Facebook under my name where you can see photos and videos of some of his activities.  I haven't been very good about updating this, but intend to update there every few days with Duke stories, new photos or videos of our play and/or training progress.

This big doggy has become a member of our family; a helper; a protector and most of all a loving companion and playmate for both Hubz and I.   We do need him in our lives as much as he needs us a  his people.  All three of us would be lost without each other.  So, keeping us together and helping to keep us reasonable healthy under the circumstances would be a huge blessing for our family.


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Ruth Sunday 
Las Vegas, NV
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