It all started with a boy named Duke.
Although I've been an animal lover and animal advocate all my life, Duke pulled at my heart like no other. He was big, as in 160 pounds big, he was clumsy, he was slobbery, he was messy, he was almost completely blind, and he was pure love.
I remember reading his story about how a Colorado farmer had said he would shoot him in the head if someone didn’t come get him immediately. I guess Duke had been chasing his chickens. It’s believed Duke had been beaten to such extremes he was completely blind in his left eye.
We had recently lost our tri-pod Golden Retriever, so adopting another dog wasn’t in our immediate plans. It was a Friday night and we arrived at the adoption event Duke was scheduled to be present at. The event was being held at a cute little art gallery in downtown Denver — we were living there at the time — and the weather was perfect.
I remember walking into the gallery and immediately being greeted by all the dogs who were up for adoption, but me, I was looking for Duke. Then suddenly I saw the biggest dog I had ever seen, with the most amazingly sad face, walking up the middle of the room towards me. Something happened at that very moment, something amazing.
Duke and I bonded immediately.
When Nikki, the amazing founder of My Fairy Dawg Mother, saw Duke and me sitting together on the floor, she said “I see something special,” And although someone else had already filled out an application to adopt Duke, Nikki said, “you’re the one, I feel it, I don’t know what, but I feel it.” We filled out the adoption paperwork, passed the home check, and Duke came to live with us two days later; and lived with us for the next three glorious years.
On January 16, 2016 we lost Duke to cancer only four months after we had moved to Las Vegas. It crushed my heart and I stayed in bed for three days, broken over the loss of my friend. On day four, I pulled the covers off from over my head and said, “I have to do something with my grief. Something big. Something that will change this world.”
So Duke, here's to you, my friend. May your loving spirit live on through the loving work of Urban Underdogs.
CEO & Founder