DUKE-15-165| M | 4 MONTHS

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DUKE-15-165| M | 4 MONTHS

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Breed: Golden Retriever

Gender: Male

Age: 4 Months

Date of Birth:  

Color:  Gold



Medical/Other Notes:

  • Diagnosed with Megaesophagus
  • Undergoing treatment at Texas A&M
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Please remember Duke on September 17. Donations received on North Texas Giving Day make it possible for GRRNT to continue helping those pups that are facing life-threatening circumstances.

Please help us, help Duke!

This is Duke, a four-month old Golden Retriever pup who is as handsome as can be...and who is very sick. He has been diagnosed with Megaesophagus.  Megaesophagus is a condition in which the muscles of the esophagus lose their tone and are no longer able propel food into the stomach. The esophagus is a tube which connects the mouth to the stomach. In normal function wave-like contractions, called peristalsis, move the food which enters the esophagus down into the stomach. When megaesophagus occurs the esophagus dilates, or enlarges, due to the lack of muscle tone. This causes food to just sit in the esophagus, unable to continue into the stomach to be digested. 

Dinner time is very difficult, as his food must first be ground up then canned food is added. Water must be added so that the food is liquid enough to slide down his throat. After that, he is fed by placing the mixture into ice cube trays. He also must eat standing up. Once dinner is consumed, Duke must be held like a baby for 10 to 15 minutes. That gives his food time to make it down past his throat.

Duke has taken a road trip today to the veterinary college at Texas A&M in College Station. The good doctors there are going to run some tests and hopefully find a solution so he can lead a normal life. 

We will post updates as we learn more this week. Please keep Duke in your thoughts.  GRRNT is committed to paying his medical expenses and finding his forever home. We need the help of our supporters to make sure Duke receives all the medical care he needs, please donate and help us help Duke!


10/28/2015 Update from Duke's family

Duke graduated to meatballs, but didn’t really do great eating them unless they were really wet, almost falling apart.  So his family has gotten creative and instead of grinding up puppy food and making a gruel, they started soaking it until it is really moist (overnight) and he has done 2 days of feeding with this combo and it has gone very well.  He is GROWING into a very healthy boy. He is still eating in his chair, just to be safe, especially with the food consistency change, and with his growth spurt they have had to rebuild his chair and make it larger, taller and a little heavier as he was starting to bow the tray since he has grown. It will get a coat of paint to make it pretty, but he does not seem to mind as long as he gets to eat.  The next step will be moving to the raised feeder from the floor.

His seroma on his side is almost completely gone, and has gone away much quicker than expected - most of the time, they take months and months. Overall, he is doing VERY well, his new family is in love, and he loves his kiddos.  He really watches the kids and makes sure they stay safe.

10/5/2015 Duke Progress

Here is Duke taking a short break from his favorite chew toy to show everyone how adorable he is. Duke's Dad reports that he started on meatballs last Friday! He had a little difficulty, so Dad is making them smaller and that seems to help. Duke is still getting his tasty gruel for two meals so he is not "starving" and won't eat so fast. Unfortunately, this boy LOVES his food, so slowing him down is a real trick!

Dad says that Duke's fur is growing back in nicely and that he is being a really good boy. Duke wants to thank all his Facebook friends for their prayers and good thoughts; they really helped! He'd lick you all if he could!

9/27/2015 Duke is an Aggie!!!!!

Duke is an Aggie! He is in the process of being adopted by his foster family -- Dad, an A&M vet school anesthesiologist (below, feeding Duke), Mom, a nurse at a local hospital, 6-year-old son and infant daughter. Duke likes to lick her feet!

We know this is the best option for Duke. His Dad will know everything to keep an eye out for and has already discussed with the surgeon about doing a tummy tack procedure when Duke gets his neuter to ensure he will never get a twisted stomach. Duke's "granddad" has already built him a feeding chair to welcome him to the family!

Duke will be switching to meatballs soon and we hope he will continue to do well on more solid food. He LOVES his forever home and family and it seems so perfectly right that he will have a wonderful place to be kept healthy and happy for the rest of his life!

9/21/2015 Duke Update

Here is an update on Duke from his A&M foster mama who works at the vet clinic there and nursed Duke after his surgery:

The doctor has allowed Duke to chew on thick, clean femur bones with his foster brother Crockett. He loves them! He only stays in his crate when Crockett eats and at night to sleep. Whoever adopts him will have to keep an eagle eye on him as he picks everything up off the ground if you’re not careful. He's a true GR puppy! 

He did great in the food department over the weekend. He's not too thrilled about his chair but he's such a good boy he tolerates it. He is feeling so good he wants to move around and play. He is doing phenomenal. He really is one in a million.

9/16/2015 Duke Update: Free at last!

Duke has been discharged from the hospital and is getting the thumbs up from his A&M vet team! 

Duke will continue with his chair feedings for the next 6 weeks and is doing really well with keeping his food down. He will continue on the slurry diet for the next 3 weeks, and then if all goes well, will be gradually switched to meatballs. (Duke: "MEATBALLS!!!!")  Duke is now spending his days hangin' with his A&M vet school buddies and then goes home at night with one of the surgical team members so he can ease his way back to being a normal pup. He is a big, bouncy, goofy puppy who is feeling so much better and really loving life!  

We are all so grateful for your thoughts and prayers for Duke. We hope you will consider a donation to GRRNT tomorrow during ‪#‎NTXGivingDay‬ so we can continue to help dogs like Duke. We will have a link to our donation page at the top of our Facebook page all day so you can just click to donate. Thank you!!!

9/15/2015 Duke Update & Cuteness Alert!

Duke has won the hearts of the A&M vet staff in charge of his care and is improving with their help every day. He is eating well so far with no regurgitation issues. He eats sitting up in his special chair and is then "burped" like a baby for 10-15 minutes following each feeding. He LOVES his eating chair and rushes to it for every feeding. He is still on a slurry diet and the plan is to slowly introduce him to more solid food over the next couple of weeks.

Over the next 2 weeks, Duke will be staying with one of his A&M vet techs in her home as he recovers. He will be going to work with her each day so everyone can keep an eye on him. He is getting a little stir crazy and doesn't quite understand that feeling better doesn't mean he can play as much as he would like!  Duke's Dallas foster mom will miss him and how he loves to burrow under the covers and sleep next to her at night, but knows he is in the best possible place for his recuperation!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Duke -- they are working! Please keep him, and all of our other dogs, in mind on September 17, ‪#‎NTXGivingDay‬.


Duke was well enough to receive a short visit from his foster mom over the weekend. The moment he saw her, his tail began to thump. He pushed himself up into a standing position so that he could tuck his head into his foster mom’s neck for some intense loving. Still a bit drugged up, our pup almost rolled out of his crate! 

The vets have Duke dressed in a Thunder Vest. The surgical incision was cut through his ribs, and the vest keeps Duke from scratching. Ice packs are placed for 20-minute periods. Yesterday, Duke decided he preferred to hang out with the various vet hospital staff members, maybe pick up a few new skills…frankly, anything to keep him from going back to bed. 

Our boy is getting close to leaving the Texas A&M hospital to begin the next segment of his recovery. We won’t know for a while just how successful the surgery was. But we do know that without the surgery, Duke would not have survived. 

                                                                           Wishing he could hop out of his kennel.                                                                                                     Soon Duke!

                                                                           Wishing he could hop out of his kennel.
                                                                                                    Soon Duke!

9/12/2015 Duke Update

Friday morning Duke was taken into surgery with an experienced team at Texas A&M. Little did he know that thousands of folks across the United States were sending up prayers on his behalf. The team of volunteers from GRRNT was nervously holding their collective breaths. Finally we received the call that Duke had made it through a long difficult procedure. 

His aortic valve was wrapped around his esophagus. The valve had expanded to the size of a finger. His esophagus had ballooned out to fill his upper chest cavity. No one who had spent time with Duke could believe that this poor baby had been living and loving life with such a serious condition. Duke is not one to complain---unless someone forgets his meal time!  The next few weeks Duke will begin "doggie rehab". He is still not out of the woods. He and his foster mom are eagerly awaiting their reunion. 

                                                                                                     In recovery!

                                                                                                     In recovery!

9/11/2015  Duke is in Surgery!!

Duke awoke this morning to the news that he is scheduled for surgery! The A&M vets have concluded that Duke is a good candidate. Of the dogs that have this procedure done, 75% show improvement. The A&M vets believe Duke will be one of those, based on the labs they have done, the fact that he showed some improvement with the change of feeding style and his youth.

His official diagnosis is persistent right aortic arch with mega esophagus. He doesn't understand all of that-- he just knows it's hard to eat. The talented team at Texas A&M is operating today. As with any surgery, there is always the small chance of complications. He will be at A&M over the weekend for monitoring.

Requesting good thoughts and prayers throughout the day. Thank you to his many supporters for offers of financial support. GRRNT is committed to doing everything possible to give this young pup a shot at the best life possible. Total hospital bill will run approximately $4,500.

9/10/2015 Duke Pupdate

Duke arrived at College Station yesterday and was greeted at the La Quinta Inn as the celebrity he is quickly becoming. He immediately decided that playtime was needed, so he tried to jump in the shower with his foster mom and then tried swinging from her skirt.

Next stop was Texas A&M. As soon as Duke walked in, he was surrounded by new friends. With his loving disposition and playful attitude, no one would suspect that inside his little body, his esophagus has expanded to fill his upper chest cavity.

At this point we are awaiting the results from a new chest x-ray and a CT scan. His current medical bills are at $1,400. Surgery is going to run the bill up to around $4,000. We are committed to doing whatever we can to give him a comfortable and love-filled life. Please, please keep Duke in your thoughts and prayers.


11/16/2015 Current total for Duke's surgery:  $5,604.10

9/10/2015  Current medical bills are at $1,400. Surgery is expected to be around $4,500. 


The following individuals and families have generously donated to GRRNT in the name of this Golden. We can't thank them enough for their support! Any donations that exceed the medical needs of this dog will be used to cover medical costs of other GRRNT dogs. 


Ragan S.
Jane S.
Regina W.
Melody D.
Brittney P.
Tracye S.
Merle F .
Amy R.
Nadine K.
Arleen C.
Patricia S.
Jack H.
Sharon V.
Pat F.
Communities Foundation of Texas