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VTMAS No. 72: Duke the Escapist

Another story from my Senior year in High School when I worked at the Veterinarian’s office. Granted, we worked with exotics, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have memorable dogs and cats. In fact, one dog always amazed me. His name was Duke and he was a large black poodle who was an absolute sweetheart.

My first time with Duke was a rather interesting one. He had come in and I noticed something strange about his kennel cage: there was a chain and padlock on it. Naturally I was concerned with no tags or anything written on the whiteboard about him being aggressive. I waled to the opposite side of the office where the office girls worked and inquired about this new patron.

“So, should I be worried about the large black poodle who is under lock and key?” I sat down in the open chair, giving Laura a funny look.

“Who?” She broke away from her computer and spun around to face me.

“Duke.” I laughed. “The one with a chain and padlock on his cage.”

“Oh!” She began laughing. “I forget you haven’t met him before. He’s a sweetheart, but also an escape artist!”

“Escape artist?” I leaned back, picturing the cage latches in my mind. “That takes some talent…”

“I know!” She swiveled around, continuing to type on the keyboard. “But really, he’s super sweet. I love Duke when he comes…”

At this point, a large black poodle came barging in between us. His stubby tail and butt wiggling as he fussed for us to pet him. Laura and I looked to one another, realizing Duke had appeared.

“Did you forget to lock the padlock?” She raised an eyebrow.

“N-no.” Petting the big guy, I furrowed my brow. “I first came to ask you if he was aggressive…”

“Well, Duke.” Now he turned to get her attention upon hearing his name. “You’ve done it again, our little Houdini!”

I walked to the back and what I found was amazing. The chain and padlock were on the floor, his pin wide open. Squatting down, I realize the padlock was open! I pushed it closed, and then yanked on it. It slide open again! He had broken the padlock! Or at least drooled profusely into it where it couldn’t stop sliding pass the catch. I reported my findings to both Laura and Dr. Stevens. We had a good chuckle over it.

“Huh… ” Dr. Stevens tested the padlock, discovering what I had about it no longer locking. “I am completely out of ideas on how on earth we are going to keep him in a kennel.”

Pondering a moment, I smirked. “How about the good ole fashion broomstick through the kennel door handles?”

“But he can chew through wood…” Laura petted Duke’s head.

“Yea, but I wouldn’t use the wooden one.” Agreeing, I pointed out the solution. “We have that aluminum handled one. Even it he licks it to death like the padlock, it won’t break or give way.”

“Oh! Good idea!” Dr. Stevens patted me on the back.

Thus I had solved the case of the escaping poodle! Well, except for that Sunday morning I came in to do Kennel duty and he was running rampant. Someone forgot to let the new kennel lady know he likes to escape. I assume he had the whole place to himself!

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