Duke's Story

No doubt about it Duke doesn’t have your usual “working dog” look, with a snaggle tooth grin and mug that’s a dead ringer for Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, he is a long shot from the classic Rin Tin Tin. Match that with a socially alienating love for a robot and you’ve got the perfect candidate for CK-9, well sort of.

Duke was a wild ramblin’ man in his younger days before he made it to CK-9. With roots beginning in the grasslands of the Midwest, he packed up and headed across the country to San Francisco where he found himself surrendered to the SF Animal Care & Control. With a few guardian angels watching out for him, he spent a little over 3 month at the SF SPCA trying to find his place in the bigger world.

Unfortunately, while Duke loved his new pad, he wasn’t a fan of folks that kept walking by his picture window and tried his darn’dist to keep trespassers off his lawn. This got him a ticket to a foster home which he viewed as a step in the right direction. While he may have been living like a King, he let the new found freedom go to his head and his subjects revolted to his constant demands of “Throw the ball”. Back to the adoption floor Duke went, this time however he got his own butler, iFetch, to toss his ball.

While his iFetch antics were much applauded, his lack of affection for iHuman1.0 left potential adopters smiling as they continued down the line to more cuddly potential.

With little hope for adoption Duke’s angels started to think outside the box and look for places where misfits were a bit more accepted, (cue drum roll)……….Conservation Canines. After a few seconds of watching an audition video of him playing with the iFetch, we were hooked. With a little help from a former Delta Airlines employee Duke was on his way to the great Northwest.

Cue scene – Delta’s Cargo Terminal – SEATAC
**the creak of a travel crate door as it opens**
“Oh my goodness, *snicker* that’s not what I was expecting. Do you think he’s going to bite me? Why’s he snarling like that? Is that his normal face? I’m not reaching in there. Did we bring any treats?” And so Duke’s new life began with a bit of hesitation.

Fast forward to Duke’s first day of training.
Duke: What a filthy job.
Smith: Could be worse.
Duke : How?
Smith: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour]

Today, Duke’s one of the Wild Bunch. With his Grumpy Cat impersonations and Wolverine demeanor he’s become a bit of a bad boy you can’t help but love. He’s overcome his social anxiety and is surrounded by his fellow misfits that humor his awkward smile and his playful punches in the yard. Back in the Midwest he’s putting his ball obsession toward an admirable goal of bat conservation.

Duke is a bit shy but asked that we quote the Monster from his cult favorite “Young Frankenstein” on how he feels joining the CK-9 team, “For as long as I can remember people have hated me. They looked at my face and my body and they ran away in horror. In my loneliness I decided that if I could not inspire love, which is my deepest hope, I would instead cause fear. I live because this poor half-crazed genius, has given me life. He alone (with a few Rescue Angels) held an image of me as something beautiful and then, when it would have been easy enough to stay out of danger, he used his own body as a guinea pig to give me a calmer brain and a somewhat more sophisticated way of expressing myself.”


Species Currently Trained On:

  • Wolverine

Scenes From The Field:

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Photos © Jaymi Heimbuch Photography, LLC. Contact directly for image licensing and permissions.