63lbs of change

Over five years ago 45 lbs of brown, wet, shivering, starving change arrived on the front porch of our home in Nashville.

Change…who’s name became Duke.


Prior to Duke, animal rescue and adoption had never been a part of my life. My family always had a dog growing up–a succession of purebred Shetland Sheepdogs. But we never even considered “going to the pound and taking home a mutt.” So when Duke showed up on the doorstep, I was conflicted with emotions. On one hand, he was cute and definitely in need of help, on the other hand I was terrified of him, both because he was the biggest dog I had ever been around and because he was a random “stray dog.” My husband convinced me to give him a shot and take him in. Reluctantly I agreed. Within a week he had my heart.

I call this post 63lbs of change, because that’s what he was–a change in my mind, heart, and ways of thinking. And because at the time of his death in April 2015 he was 63lbs of healthy dog…who passed away from oral cancer in his mouth and throat. But he changed everything. I am a more compassionate person now, towards both people and animals. A year after we rescued him, Duke would find his way out of our yard and to a nearby animal rescue who got him back to us and in our gratitude we began fostering a Golden Retriever/Shepherd (we think) mix who needed some serious TLC to overcome a rough past. Four months later, we adopted her. Peaches.


Now, this is Peaches as she is today, four years later. But when we first met her, she was terrified of her own shadow and everything else in the world. She was sick with severe allergies and a total wreck. Had it not been for Duke, we would never have met Peaches. And had it not been for Duke, we would never have adopted his successor: Frisco.


46 lbs of need, energy, and most of all–fun.

All of this would never have happened had it not been for that brown dog who picked our porch to find refuge on. That’s four lives changed by Duke. But it doesn’t stop there. He changed my parents’ views on male dogs and now they have two: Winston and Amos. Eight lives changed by one retriever who chose us.

He chose us, he changed us, and here we are. I thank God every day for Duke as I look at Peaches and her happiness at a second chance, and Frisco’s “good morning mommy!” pounce on my bed. Sometimes change and learning come from the most unexpected places. Or in this case unexpected creatures.

Both Peaches and Frisco were adopted from Robyn’s Nest Animal Rescue in Nashville, TN.

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