Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

How An Abandoned Dog Left To Freeze In A Park Brought Out The Best In A Community.

duke left in park

There are better ways of parting with a pet you can no longer care for than leaving him or her tied to a tree in the middle of winter. Sadly, those were the circumstances under which a two-year-old American bulldog named Duke was abandoned.

Duke’s previous owner left him in Patterson Park, an urban park located in southeastern Baltimore, Maryland. The dog sat there in freezing temperatures for goodness knows how long, waiting for someone that wasn’t coming back.

Luckily for Duke, some kind-hearted people were about to change his life for the better.


A woman named Stephanie Dagenhart happened to find him. She discovered that nearby, someone had left several of Duke’s belongings and a note that was apparently written by his former owner.

If his current surroundings didn’t break her heart right then and there, the contents of the note did.

“‘The note said, ‘His name was Duke and he had his favorite bone and food, and crate with him, and could someone please love him.'”

Stephanie said that her first instinct was to take Duke to the BARCS Animal Shelter; she owns two rescue dogs herself and was walking them when she spotted Duke.


But as she took stock of Duke’s condition, she could sense that he needed some space.

And so she sat with him after she called the shelter to come get him. “I sat on the bench about 12 feet from him and just kind of calling him by his name and just talking to him and sitting with him to let him know he’s not by himself anymore.” She continued, “He was just sitting there so somber and freezing cold and I could not get that out of my head he was shaking so hard from being cold.â€


The situation made Stephanie very sad, questioning the state of humanity. But while she was sitting there, ready to give up on her fellow man, something amazing happened. “People started coming over with towels, with blankets, with treats like, ‘Did you try this technique or did you try this?'”

Duke was soon taken in by BARCS, where he had to go a mandatory waiting period of a few days before being put up for adoption.


The good news is that once the wait ends, there’s a strong chance Duke will have a new forever home fairly quickly. As his story has spread, a virtual line of people has formed, all desperately wanting to take the bulldog in.

Even though Duke found himself in a very sad and scary situation, it’s nice to know that things will soon be looking up for the pooch.

Learn more about Duke’s story below, and if you like hearing happily ever after stories, please share this one.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.