In January I lost my twelve-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever and went into a serious depression. After about a month, I started looking on Petfinder.com.  I filled in applications and was accepted by five or six rescue organizations so I’d be ready if I saw a dog I wanted. Whenever we saw a dog that might work we’d take my parent’s Golden Retriever, Runa, with us since the two dogs would be spending time together. My parents are my doggy daycare providers when I work so finding the right dog was essential. Each one of the meet greets were the same; she practically ignored the five possible dogs we met. Until Duke.

When I saw “Duke” come across your site, I felt I had to go see him. I think the fact that he lost a leg from a gunshot incident drew the special education teacher in me to him. In addition, I have a bad knee and I thought, even though he’s very young, I should be able to keep up with him since he’d be on three legs. Boy, was I wrong about that!

The night before we went I couldn’t sleep and then, because my dad couldn’t make the trip with us, we almost didn’t go. I am so glad that my mom agreed to go with me. The three of us, Runa included, piled into the car for the journey to see the dog that has made such a difference in my life, and I in his.

We all fell in love. Even Runa, so picky with the other prospects, allowed him to sniff at her and follow her around. We picked him up after his surgery the following Saturday. He had no clue how to be a pet. He didn’t know what to do with toys, had no idea what dog beds were for. He demolished every toy in the house within minutes! We could tell it would be a long but very worthwhile road for him in so many ways.

He has now finished beginner, intermediate and advanced behavioral training. We’re beginning to work on getting his Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog status. He’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever had and has had no negative reactions to other animals, children, adults, babies . . . He just wants to love and lick everyone!

Our only big issue remaining is his horrible level of separation anxiety. I cannot leave him, even crated, for more than forty-five minutes without him making horrible whining and screaming sounds. We started doggy daycare at the beginning of summer to help alleviate this, and it is slowly improving, but for now he can’t be left alone and hates being without me. He’ll stand at my parent’s front window for hours looking for me if I’m gone.

We renamed Duke Addae Copper Zoomie once after much thought. Addae means Morning Sunshine in the Akkan language from Ghana. He brought sunshine back into my life. Copper because of his color, and Zoomie because he gets the “Zoomies” at least twice a day and sprints like a Greyhound around the yard. He never remembers he’s missing a leg until he corners too tight around the raised garden beds and needs to be rescued.

Addae Copper Zoomie is now a calendar boy in the WI Humane Society 2019 calendar. I will be forever grateful that of all the dogs in the world this one made the trek from Kentucky to Oshkosh. Thank you for all you do. You are making such a difference in the lives of so many dogs and their people.

-Cris Parr