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A Dog Named Duke – William D Ellis

In 1953, Chuck Hooper was a hard working zonal sales manager of a chemical company. He was altogether a blessed man with his blonde wife marcy, his achievements in football and with his love duke. Suddenly one day fate played a brutal turn with him – Chuck was hospitalized following a car accident.

  • 1953 autumn – accident
  • Duke taken to a neighbor’s kennel
  • Chuck on critical list for a month
  • On wheelchair after 1.5 months
  • March 1954 – discharged from the hospital
  • Duke brought home from the neighbor’s kennel
  • Duke inspires Chuck to walk
  • Duke starts training chuck
  • Day one – one step
  • Day two – four steps
  • Second week – reached the porch
  • Mid april, 1954 – training in front of the house
  • June 1 – reached far away
  • January 4, 1955 – Chuck visits the local office and resumes his job. 1 hour a day.
  • March 1, 1955 – joins the company for full day work.
  • April 1, 1956 – regional manager of four states.
  • Shift to a new town.
  • October 12, 1957 – duke killed in a motor accident
A note on duke
  • Duke was a rough-playing doberman pinscher, four year old, 23 kilos. His coat was red with a fawn vest. Chuck hooper had doubts at first about buying him because his wife, marcy, was not really a dog lover. She’s a tiny blonde; Pomeranian was her idea of the right-size dog for a colonial house on a small plot. This duke needed a hectare. Chuck visited duke at the kennel several times before he made up his mind. After about three months, he decided he had to have the big doberman. Duke’s appeal for Chuck was his rambunctiousness. It took a long time before Marcy was more than polite to the dog.
Questions & answers
  1. How well did Chuck hopper’s life go before he met with the accident?
    Before he met with the accident, Chuck was a successful man. Being a very hardworking man with precisely set goals in life, chuck was already a zonal manager for a famous chemical company. With his wife Marcy and his pet and friend duke, a doberman, chuck was a happy man in all sense.
  2. Explain the nature of the accident that crippled chuck Hooper and his rising prosperity.
    One autumn twilight, a car suddenly stopped in front chuck Hooper’s car and left him with a subdural hemorrhage in his brain’s motor section and paralyzed his left side.
  3. How did duke survive while chuck was in the hospital?
    Duke was taken to a neighbor’s kennel and he remained there till chuck’s return.
  4. Describe chuck’s making his first step after the accident.
    With Marcy by the side, duke’s leash in his right hand, and duke prancing, chuck fought for balance. He moved his right leg out in front and then, straightening his right leg he made the left drag forward alongside the right and made his first step.
  5. Do you think that Marcy’s presence and support encouraged chuck Hooper in the comeback? Support your answer with instances from the story.
    Unfortunately chuck’s wife Marcy presents a sad picture of a wife. Though dedicated and sincere towards her family and husband, she failed to encourage chuck in his comeback. She was silent and sad which in turn created a feeling of loss, despair and doom in the family. If she were cheerful in spite of the sad turn of events, chuck could have overcome his handicap much earlier.
  6. Why was Hooper much undecided about bringing duke home?
    Hooper had great love for duke and he wished to bring the big dog home on meeting him the first time at the pet shop but because Marcy didn’t like big dogs, he was quite undecided about bringing duke home.
  7. What immediate impression did chuck receive when he moved to the new place?
    When chuck and family moved home to a new locality, people saw him being trained by duke. Not knowing anything about chuck’s accident and the consequent incidents, seeing the authoritative expressions that duke had about his behavior, the neighbors saw that it was the dog who owned the man.
  8. “back in the company’s headquarters Chuck’s move presented problems.” what move did chuck make? Why was it a matter of grave concern at the headquarters?
    The chemical company that chuck had been working for before the accident faced a tough situation as to reappoint a semi lame man as a traveling business executive. On one side the company was not in any position to deny his appointment while on the other, the company was not convinced about chuck’s health and the possibilities of his complete recovery.
  1. Describe marcy’s change of her approach to duke towards the end of the story.

From the very beginning, marcy had not been impressed by the idea of bringing a big dog like duke. When chuck was in the hospital, she sort of entirely forgot duke and felt relieved that the big dog was in a neighbor’s kennel. Duke’s homecoming didn’t cheer her altogether. But seeing what duke had done for her husband, she began to love the beast. She had endless gratitude for the big dog yet was sorry for having ignored him for a while. When duke was bleeding and dying, she carried him to the vet with a broken heart, almost sure that the dog would not survive. It goes without saying that marcy’s pain at duke’s unexpected death was endless.

  1. What was the special tribute that the chemical company pay to duke? How far is that justified?

The chemical company had nothing like a commitment to duke yet what the company did for chuck hooper served the best tribute to the dog. It was neither marcy nor the chemical company that brought chuck back to life – it was duke. Because duke returned chuck to the company, because the company needed chuck, anything that the company did for chuck was a tribute to duke. By promoting chuck to the assistant national sales manager, the company acknowledged duke’s great service to chuck.

  1. What makes you think that chuck’s chemical company was caring for his recovery?

Chuck’s colleagues as well as the headquarters were keeping a watch on chuck’s developments. It was chuck’s district managers who drove him to the hospital. After the fifth week some men from his company came to the hospital and told hooper to take a year off. Later, when chuck reported at the local branch office of the company, the headquarters took chuck seriously and accepted his resumption. On learning the duke-chuck story, the company respected duke’s services to his master and companion – chuck hooper.

  1. What changes came over the once-rivals – marcy and duke – when the latter was run over by the vehicle?

Though marcy had been opposed to bring duke home, in the course of time she had begun to value duke for his great inspiration to make chuck stand on his own. When duke was bleeding and dying, the great dog had no stubbornness and marcy was overcome with love for the dog.

  1. Briefly provide an account of the treatment that chuck received at the hospital.

The hospital provided maximum care for chuck hooper. Once he was out of the critical list, about six weeks after the accident, the hospital put him in a wheelchair. Every day there was someone working his paralyzed arm and leg followed by baths, exercise and a wheeled walker. Though chuck didn’t make much headway, the hospital awaited improvements till march, almost six months after the accident.

  1. A biographical sketch of chuck hooper (imaginary)

Born on 12 march, 1923, charles edward hooper, more commonly called chuck by his best friends, was one of the most efficient sales manager of beta chemicals ltd. With its headquarters in washington. Educated in eton and harvard, charles hooper tried his luck in three chemical companies as secretaries but could not make any fortune. It was in 1950, august, that hooper joined beta’s florida division as zone sales manager, a bit sophisticated designation for a man of his age.things were going pretty well for chuck in the years that followed but in 1953 he was hospitalized following an unfortunate road accident. After this autumnal tragedy, hooper remained in the hospital and later at his home in northern florida for months. Out of a critical list to a wheelchair, home and through loneliness, hooper counted his worst days through uncertainties. Having made the most impossible comeback in america’s history, on 4 january, 1955, chuck resumed job and soon worked as a normal man. It is to be remembered that his dear pet, duke, had a remarkable role in his comeback.the most memorable incident in hooper’s life duke’s death on 12 october, 1957. Though chuck’s life after duke’s death was pitiful, he proved to be a man of great determination and strength. The company’s appointing him as the assistant national sales manager tells nothing but this. Chuck hooper retired in 1999 and lived a few more happy years with his second wife mary hooper and two sons, vicky and roger till he breathed his last in 2012, 30 december.

  1. Why did chuck want to be standing when duke was brought in? (2 marks)
  2. In what sense was marcy less helpful to chuck than duke? (2 marks)
  3. Why was gordon doule surprised and worried about chuck’s surprise visit to his office? (2 marks)
  4. On january 4, hooper made his big move. What was the big move?
  5. Reference to context
  6. He was a 23 kilo missile of joy. He hit chuck above the belt, causing him to fight to keep his balance. Those who saw it said that the dog knew instantly. He never jumped on chuck again. From that moment, he took up a post beside his master’s bed around the clock. But even duke’s presence didn’t reach chuck. The once-iron muscles slacked on the rangy frame. Secretly, marcy cried as she watched the big man’s grin fade away. Severe face lines set in like cement as chuck stared at the ceiling for hours, then out of the window, then at duke.
  7. Who was the 23 kilo of missile of joy. Why?

Duke was the 23 kilo of missile of joy because on seeing chuck back from the hospital, duke sprang on him in great excitement.

  1. What did the dog know instantly?

The dog, duke, knew that chuck was ill and he was not to play with him as before.

  1. Duke went through a state of helplessness for a while. What brought him to this state?

Like chuck, duke too was anticipating chuck’s homecoming but once chuck was home, duke knew that the two would not be playing as they used to do earlier. Duke didn’t like chuck to lie paralyzed nor did chuck like to keep duke at a distance but duke decided to accept the resignation for chuck’s sake.

  1. When two fellows stare at each other, day in and day out, and one can’t move and the other can’t talk, boredom sets in.
  2. Who are the two fellows mentioned here?

Chuck hooper and duke are the two fellows.

  1. Who could not speak and who could not move?

Chuck hooper could not move and duke could not speak.

  1. How did the excitement of chuck’s homecoming wear off so abruptly?

Though chuck was greatly excited after he got discharged from the hospital, his excitement was short-lived. At the hospital there had been other injured people, but now, each morning when marcy quietly went to work, it was a gate slamming down. Besides, duke was still in the kennel, and chuck was alone with his thoughts.

  1. Others
  2. “it was like lighting a fuse.” What was?

Chuck’s act of idly hooking duke’s leash to hold him still was like lighting a fuse.

  1. What did duke anticipate?

Duke anticipated chuck’s rising to his feet with the help of the leash.

  1. “it could be called a step.” What was so special about the step?

Chuck hooper’s making a step after a long time of staying paralyzed, helpless and hopeless makes his first step greatly important.

What do you think?

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