Hello everyone! My name is Duke, and with the holidays coming to a close I thought this would be the perfect time to give thanks to the wonderful people at the Pulaski County, Virginia animal shelter who saved my life around this time last year. My new family, the Willsons, spotted me on PetFinder.com and knew I would be a perfect addition to their home.

I am so grateful to my new family because even though I can’t say it, I know they rescued me. Luckily for me, they were patient and understanding while I adjusted to my new environment. Although I have tried to forget my life before being rescued along the side of the road, I still occasionally get frightened by things like newspapers and boots that my old owner used to abuse me (how someone could do that to us sweet doggies who just want to please our families I will never know).

But not to worry; after a quick surgery (they said they had to “fix” me to help prevent other dogs from experiencing a dire past similar to my own) and a little work on housetraining and socializing with the Willsons’ family and friends, I easily became their new best friend. I love guarding my new home and following my adopted parents every step just waiting for them to sit down so I can leap into their laps and relax (and maybe steal a scrap from a nearby table as I am quite the acrobat). They adore having me around for the endless entertainment, exercise, cuddles and kisses I provide.

I know some of the four-legged friends I had to leave behind are ready to be the best friends of families in the Pulaski area as well. If you want a specific breed, check your local shelter or national breed-specific rescue groups before you go to a pet store — it turns out I am a full-bred Silky Terrier! But mixed breeds, like the Willsons’ beloved late Chester-The-Wonder-Dog (who came from the Roanoke Valley SPCA), are just as handsome, charming and unconditionally loving in return for your compassion and care.

Remember, as Mark Twain once said, to get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with. If you are ready for the responsibility of adopting a pet and would like more information on dogs and other adorable animals just like me who are desperately waiting for homes in your area, please go to www.petfinder.com or call your local animal shelter.

Have a joyous New Year!

Love and licks,