Bo-Duke & Anne

By Nina Zhito

At the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, Bo-Duke looks up at his guardian and rescuer, animal care technician Anne Mora, who has nurtured him since he first arrived at the shelter seven years ago. He had been surrendered to the county facility by a back-yard breeder of Doberman Pinschers who had fallen on hard times and who couldn’t afford to dock the pups’ ears and tails, making them impossible to sell.

Mora found the puppy cowering in a van with a litter-mate, covered in filth, urine and feces. The big-hearted shelter worker decided to provide a foster home for the dog, and his impound number #100380 instead became a name that paid tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard, television characters whom Mora’s young sons loved.

Soon, the transition was permanent, and Family Dog classes helped the once-timid puppy socialize and adapt as he grew into a majestic 117-pound “gentle giant”.

On the very morning this photo was made in February, Mora’s veterinarian had delivered wrenching news:  Bo-Duke was diagnosed with a life-threatening cardiac condition peculiar to ill-bred Doberman Pinschers. Euthanasia was recommended because sudden death could be imminent.

Mora wasn’t ready to say good-bye yet because she knew Bo-Duke was still enjoying life. She opted instead for a trial of medications that seem to have improved the dog’s comfort measurably. “The best thing is that he doesn’t know anything is wrong with him”, says Mora, wiping away a tear. “I do feel that I am truly blessed that he came into my life, and am thankful for every day I have him.”     

NOTE: Former staff photographer at the Petaluma Argus-Courier, Nina Zhito is a photojournalist who volunteers at the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.  For more information on her work, Click HERE

  • Bo-Duke’s portrait has been entered in a  “People’s Choice” photo contest, and votes in its support are welcomed. Click HERE 
  • For information about the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, click HERE