This is Duke "of Hazzard"

Duke "of Hazard" in the front window

Duke in the front window of our home, looking regal.

Duke was rescued from Hazard, KY after flooding devastated the area in the summer of 2022. Our church sent a small team in late September to help repair the home of a partially disabled veteran named Orbi. His house was a ranch with a walk-out basement a few hundred feet from the appropriately-named, Troublesome Creek. Normally, this creek is 3 to 4 feet at its deepest. With 12 inches per hour rainfall for 4 hours overnight and several mountainsides feeding this creek basin, Troublesome Creek peaked at 44 feet deep!

For our friend, Orbi, his home flooded halfway up the front door (that means the entire basement was submerged, and everything he owned was wet or destroyed. Orbi himself was washed downstream. Fortunately, he was caught against a fence and was able to be rescued after many hours. Others were not so fortunate. One woman was found after 48 hours wrapped around a tree. Multiple impact from debris had broken her feet, ribs, and back. Her husband was found dead with his hands clasped around a tree, 35 miles downstream.

Some frightening facts about this flood event:

  • The force of the water rushing through the creek basin was the equivalent of 225-250 mph winds
  • Many cars were washed away, and even many houses (especially manufactured homes) were completely washed off of their foundations
  • 1200 miles of shoreline were impacted by this flood (compared to around 100 miles for the typical hurricane)
  • At the time of the mission trip (3 months after the flood), 50 were known to have died. There were probably more; there are many families living "off the grid" in the mountains.

Duke in Hazard, KY chained to the fence.

Duke in Hazard, KY chained to the fence.

When we arrived at Orbi's home to begin installing a new subfloor (the house had already been gutted to the studs/joists), Duke (unnamed at the time) was chained to the fence in the front yard. He was friendly, happy, and VERY excited to have some attention. When I asked Orbi what the dog's name was, he had no idea nor did he know where he came from. Orbi's daughter had brought the dog to his house and left him there. In fact, he said he couldn't keep the dog. Orbi already had another small dog, several cats, and chickens. The dog was simply too much for him. I spoke up immediately, "I'll take him."

I sent this picture (right) to my wife with no words. Her response: "Is he homeless?". So, I began planning to bring Duke home. On the final workday of our trip, we loaded the van with our gear. But first, we put a kennel Orbi gave me in the back of the van and packed everything around it. The next morning, on our way out of Hazard, we stopped by Orbi's house and picked up Duke.

The ride home was uneventful despite having an unknown dog in the back of a van for a 10-hour drive back to Northwest Indiana. At home, he met Jenny and Evan. We decided on Duke for his name, the Duke of Hazard since he was from Hazard, KY.

The next day we had people over for my birthday. He did pretty well (aside from the jumping and complete lack of training). I'm pretty sure Duke had never been inside a house before. A visit to the vet indicated that he was healthy and somewhere around 8 months old. It is now February 15, 2023. Since we have no idea what it really is, we assigned Duke's birthday as Valentines' Day which means that Duke turned 1 yesterday.

He is a happy dog, still full of puppy energy. We continue to work on his training, but he is definitely trainable. Now he rings a bell to go outside; he knows sit, lay down, and shake; and he LOVES playing ball.

Duke sitting on the stairs

Duke loves to sit on the stairs where he can see his hoomans.

Duke sitting on the floor

Sometimes we think Duke thinks he's a human.