An abandoned American bulldog found tied to a tree with a note saying he needs “someone to love him” has found a loving home thanks to the community rallying to his support.
The dog named Duke was found by Good Samaritans in a Baltimore park with his crate, food and a few toys. The note read: “This is Duke; he has his favorite toy, his crate and his food, and he needs a new home and someone to love him.”
Stephanie Dagenhart, who discovered Duke when out walking her two rescue dogs, told TODAY that it was very cold the Sunday morning she found him. She figured Duke was shivering not only from the cold but from fear. “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,” she said.
Stephanie acted quickly to get Duke help. She dialed 911, and posted about Duke to a neighborhood Facebook group to see if anyone recognized him. No one did. After her fiancee came and picked up her two dogs, she stayed with Duke until help arrived. While she waited, neighbors who saw her post on Facebook came down to join her and help her watch over Duke.
Local animal control quickly came and brought Duke to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) who said Duke was initially distant but soon warmed up to the shelter staff.
“He is a big goofball. He’s a big mush,” Bailey Deacon, BARCS spokesperson told the Baltimore Sun. “He knows he’s handsome and he knows he’s a popular guy. He’s one of the dogs, which I love dogs like this, that when people walk by, he’s like ‘You’re here to say hi to me, correct?”
Although Duke ended up in safe hands and is healthy, Deacon said he shouldn’t have been abandoned in such a way. “I think his family loved him and definitely cared for him,” Deacon told TODAY, but “I think it was some misinformation and miseducation about what to do when you can’t keep a pet.”
Unlike in days past, Deacon says the animal shelter has a great success rate in rehoming animals and that it’s not a death sentence for a dog, “it’s the best chance for animals.”
She said that surrendering a pet helps the shelter learn more about an animal and helps them rehome a pet more successfully. She points out that BARCS now has an 89 percent save rate of pets that come to the shelter whereas prior to BARCS establishment in 2004, the city’s save rate was at 2 percent.
Duke was put on 72 hour hold and Beacon correctly predicted that Duke would be adopted only a few days after his rescue.
“About 30 minutes ago, Duke was officially adopted by U.S. Army Specialist Wallace White,” BARCS wrote on Facebook. “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 Duke just for being Duke.”
“This is the BEST ending – no, beginning – for our big buddy Duke. Thank you, Baltimore, for saving this handsome boy.”
If it hadn’t been for the dog-loving community coming together to help Duke, he may not have gotten to his happy beginning. Share his heartwarming story with your friends and family.