Remembering Duke, Dr. Ron Pearson smiled.
“I still do not know how he did it. The box of doughnuts was still taped shut, sitting on the front seat of the vehicle”.
On the way to Aishihik Lake, the family stepped into a gas station for drinks. When Pearson walked back toward the vehicle, he saw Duke in the back. A little white powder on his snout seemed weird, but it was a passing thought.
Pearson moved the box of donuts and slipped behind the steering wheel. The box felt lighter than it should have. He opened it to discover missing doughnuts. A telltale canine tooth mark in one of the remaining doughnut confirmed his suspicions. Forensic work as a dentist comes in handy in the strangest ways!
The adventurous Duke on a marine outing
Duke had managed to move into the front seat, open the box, take a doughnut, close the box with tape in place and return to the back seat while the Pearsons were in the store. An amazingly smart dog!
Pearson, along with his daughters, Kimberley and Mandy, and Mandy’s family, met me in Tim Horton’s on a recent evening. It was an appropriate meeting place as we talked about the famous doughnut thief, Duke!
They all shared Duke memories with me. His cleverness came to the fore in many stories.
Duke enjoyed walking! He was often seen “walking” downtown from Riverdale. He would stop by each of the dentist offices owned by Pearson until he saw the family vehicle. Then he would wait patiently at the door until someone saw him and let him in.
He tolerated all of us kids, muses Kimberley, but he was a one man dog. He loved Dad.
Pearson shared a “Disney happily-ever-after” story.
The family was enjoying camp near Francis Lake. The humans watched fireworks, but Duke cringed. He did not like the noise and took off.
No one worried at first—Duke would be able to find his way back to camp before they had to go home. Two days later the family, still searching for Duke, decided to come home.
A few weeks later, an excited Cole called his dad to the phone. By-law had found Duke!
Well, not really. By-law had received a call from Warren LaFave, who had found Duke at his fishing camp while he was checking an empty cabin.
He heard a noise and wondered who—or what—was hiding there. Gun in hand, thinking a wolverine had taken up residence, he slowly shoved open the cabin door.
There sat Duke! He had crossed a mountain range and escaped likely predators in his attempt to find home. Andy Pettersson brought Duke home from Inconnu Lodge, beginning a close relationship developed between Pettersson and the Pearson family.
Duke was a Sheltie, born in Whitehorse at the Sullivan Kennel in the late 1980s. Monica Sullivan also remembers Duke as an adventurous dog.
Kimberley Pearson recalled Duke’s coming home to the Pearson family when she was perhaps seven or eight years old. When her dad picked her up from Brownies, he was bundled up in his fur-clad parka.
There was a strange wriggling in his pocket. Then all of a sudden, a little pointed puppy face popped out of the pocket! Kimberley felt very special in a large family: she got to cuddle Duke all the way home!
Family memories—camping, hiking, boating. With Duke, the most amazing dog!