The Disappearance Of Duke – Part 1

I’m often asked about my favorite part of my job here at Allegheny Mountain Radio. While it’s hard to choose, I would have to say the thing that brings me the most enjoyment is when is when we get the notification that we can stop reading a lost and found announcement for a wayward furry friend because they are back where they belong. This is one of those success stories, and it’s also a story about a determined dog mom, and a testament to the community we live in.

There was a message on the answering machine when I got to the WVLS studio Friday morning, February 1st, from Rebecca Nairn. Rebecca is from Suffolk, Virginia, and her parents own a vacation home just outside of McDowell on Bullpasture Mountain. Her Boston Terrier Duke was missing, and she wanted to place a notice on the air. After speaking with her, it was quickly apparent that there was more to this story than a pooch who had wandered off.

“So we got there on Thursday evening, after a four hour car ride, and you know, we let the dogs out, and I got my kids unloaded, and we started the grill to get ready for dinner. And the dogs run around outside and play, and then they come inside and sit on the couch, because it was cold out, and the kids were just playing around while I was cooking dinner.

“And my dad and husband were outside grilling, and they saw a van stop at the end of the driveway in front of our house. We didn’t really think much of it because, at this point, we didn’t realize that my dog Duke was missing. And lots of times people will stop at the end of the road there, because it’s coming around a big curve and a steep hill, so a lot of times people stop and kind of pull in just to kind of catch their breath.

“This van stopped in front of the driveway, and then people got out – my husband heard a lady talking, and that was kind of unusual for them to get out and walk around. So, he called my dad to come down, and my dad started walking down the driveway, to check on the people and see if they were ok. But then they took off. So, we didn’t really think anything of it at this point, like I said, because we didn’t know he was missing yet.

“So we went inside and we started having dinner. And we were having steak, and we always share with the dogs. So I went to give Duke and Molly their dinner, and that’s when we realized that Duke was not inside. So we checked outside, we made sure he wasn’t in the house asleep somewhere – we looked at everywhere, we called his name, and he was nowhere to be found. And he’s not one to ever run away at all, like he stays right near the house, right at my feet normally, especially when it’s cold, he doesn’t like to be outside. So at this point, we were concerned because it was really unlike him. So,  you know, we were looking by the road, we were concerned like maybe he got hit. So we took a flashlight and searched the road, but we realized he was not anywhere to be found.

“So the only out of the ordinary thing was the van, so we were concerned about that – maybe they hit him and didn’t want to tell us, or maybe they took them into town. I don’t know why they would have thought he was a lost dog, because it is right in front of our house where they stopped, and our house is lit up at night-time – there’s lights on, we were grilling outside, so it was definitely obvious people were there.

But we realized he was missing, and we started getting really worried, so I called my good friend in town, Amy Good, and just let her know ‘Hey, my dog’s missing, do you think you could kind of help me get the word out with your friends in case someone sees him for some reason in town, or maybe picked him up for some reason or another?’ So she was super awesome, and posted it on social media, and she sent her dad, who is the sheriff, up there to talk to us and kind of get our story of what happened. And again at this point, we had no idea what had happened – we didn’t know if he had gotten hit, eaten by an animal, stolen – we just didn’t know.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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