Meet Duke

Status: Medical Hold – Hospice

Sex: M     Age: 8 yrs  Ears: Natural

Color: Fawn    Weight: 124 lbs



The story of Duke is a testament to why we do what we do as a rescue.  Meet our newest Permanent Foster – Duke.  Duke has been with us for one month!

Duke is alive solely due to the kind hearts of two good Samaritans.  He was rescued from a house fire in late March. He was the only animal to survive the fire.  Duke was behind an engulfed flamed home, in a smoke-filled dog house.  His guardian angel humans knew he was stuck in the dog house and took the risk of carrying him to safety.

Sadly, what this heroic rescue revealed was even more unimaginable truth:  The SWEETEST, 8 year old Great Dane, had been severely neglected.  The good Samaritans reached out Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue for help. 

An amazing foster family quickly mobilized and said “yes” to welcoming Duke into their home.   The smoke exposure was the least of his issues.  Severely underweight by 60 lbs., and a tennis ball sized growth near his jaw, RMGDRI elected to get Duke into the emergency hospital Easter morning.

Tests were carefully selected to rule out the most serious issues and to best determine what course of treatment would help Duke recover.  Everyone hoped for an Easter miracle that all of Duke’s ailments would be treatable. 

Unfortunately, the chest x-rays revealed more bad news:   Cancer. 

Growth nodules present were evidence of a metastatic cancer.  The swelling and fluids in his legs were consistent with this cancer diagnosis.  Duke’s care went from triage, to a palliative, comfort & quality of life discussion. 

The Foster Family made up of Adam & Anne and their three teenagers, Jack, Lucy and Luke, were faced with the tough decision, “Do we take our new Foster home to provide end of life care?”

This Foster Family, kids included, made the decision together immediately and unanimously.  They all said, “We want Duke home with us.

The story of Duke is a reminder as to why we do what we do as a rescue.  We as an organization will provide care to a Great Dane, so long as quality of life and joy is evident. 

More importantly, Duke’s story shines light one of the many amazing Foster Families with RMGDRI. It has been a full family effort to provide round the clock care to Duke.  When he first arrived, he could not get up on his own.  It took two people to get him to his feet.  He was unable to move much other to adjust so he could rest his head on his Foster Family’s laps.  They would carry Duke in and out of the house at all hours for Duke to relieve himself.

Anne, Adam and the kids believed in Duke.  They saw a resilience in this boy that made all the hard work and long nights worthwhile.  And Duke exuded so much gentleness and love in return, you could not help but fall in love with this sweet soul.

In less than two weeks, Duke’s recovery has been nothing short of impressive.  Perhaps an Easter miracle has occurred. With a combination of carefully selected medications, diet, and a whole lot of TLC from his Foster Family, Duke does not look or act like the same dog that first arrived.

Duke is literally galloping around the yard!!  Yes, galloping with a happy prance.  He has enough energy and desire to chase after rascally rabbits, too.  And no stuffed animal is safe from Duke’s ferocious “stuffy” shakes.  The family’s ever gracious Great Dane Captain is ready to engage in play play play.  Duke is still a little cautious on that one at his gentle age of 8 but stay tuned.  The charm of Great Dane Captain is hard to resist.

Here’s what Foster Mom says about Duke, “Duke is going up and down stairs, running in the backyard and wading in the creek.  He has a big appetite and eats 8+ cups of food a day.  He loves his Greek yogurt, Kongs, sticks and lick pads. He is always up for a cuddle.  He has met many dog and human friends and is beloved by all.  Duke goes on all of our family walks and proudly trots beside his best buddy, Captain.”

We continue to reassess Duke’s diet, medications, and are looking into avenues to extend quality of life for Duke with his vet.  This Foster Family counts every day that Duke experiences love and joy a victory.  We do, too! If there is such a thing as “meant to be” – Duke was meant to find his family – Anne, Adam, Jack, Lucy, Luke & Captain.

Kindly consider supporting Duke’s hospice care with a donation. We are a 100% volunteer-based, non-profit rescue.  All support is greatly appreciated by Duke, his foster family and by all of us at RMGDRI!