Someone claimed Duke had an illness a few years ago. That it was quite contagious. That no one should approach him.
As a result, the 10-month-old puppy was tethered to a dilapidated trailer. Then there was nobody.
Duke huddled under a broken-down caravan outside a Bulgarian town for ten agonising days, subjected to the cruellest type of quarantine.
However, one woman who lived in the village witnessed nothing but misery. She contacted Rudozem Street Dog Rescue, a Bulgarian certified nonprofit that helps animals in distress.
Tony Rowles, the group’s originator, came to find a dog coated in flies and surrounded by his own faeces. And rightfully scared.
“He was very scared,” Rowles said to The Dodo. “There was an ammonia odour. He was unable to move. “It was completely overwhelming.”
Nonetheless, Duke kissed the first hand that was extended to him.
The group’s shelter was already overcrowded. So Duke, along with several other dogs and cats, stayed at the Rowles’ house.
The only thing contagious about the dog turned out to be his gentle charm. He did, however, have a significant phobia of men for a few weeks.
“When I first approached him, he seemed fine. “But you could see his fear in the way he moved and backed away in those first few weeks,” Rowles adds. “He really connected with my wife Diane.” He adored Diane.”
Then there was the question of Duke’s shattered, bent feet.
The vet who examined them arrived to a troubling conclusion: Duke had been infected.
“When the vet said this was trauma to his feet,” Rowles explains, “it was a real shock.” “They were clearly broken. His feet had been smashed. His feet’s ligaments were non-existent. “Bones were floating around in his feet.”
Of course, Duke was starved as well. And the hefty chain that had formerly shackled him had also hurt his throat, causing him to cough sharply.
Splints, surgery, and more surgery followed. Along with the proper type of meals. And the proper people surrounding him.
“It came to the point where we said, ‘You know, he could actually go for adoption now,’” Rowles says.
Since they began working in Bulgaria eight years ago, the group has found homes for over 1,000 dogs, transporting them to countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, and the United States.
Duke would cast a spell all the way to England, where he was adopted by a woman named Diana Romaine.
“It was a tearful goodbye,” recounts Rowles.
And an even more sorrowful hello from England.
Two years later, the dog who was once deemed untouchable has left a trail of love all the way to that faraway isle.
It only takes the best chain of all: a human chain of compassion.
Do you want to help Rudozem Street Dog Rescue in its mission to preserve animals like Duke? Consider making a donation by clicking here.