The first inductee into the VVMA’s 2006 Animal Hall of Fame tonight is Duncan, a ten year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever, owned by Christine Sterling of St. Albans, VT. Duncan was nominated by VVMA member veterinarian, Dr. Anthony Tanneberger
Duncan was born in the Northeast Kingdom in 1996. He became a loyal member of the Sterling family just one day after moving into their new apartment. He was a loving pup, making parents and grandparents alike laugh with his puppy antics. Walks around the neighborhood became one of his favorite pastimes. What could be better then becoming friends with everyone you meet? He knew the word “walk” responding with a tail thumping wag and a broad smile. He would immediately retrieve his leash in anticipation of the great adventure.
His calm and relaxed manner befriended all he met and allowed a special bond to form with his human grandfather. Grandpa Stewart lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and soon introduced Duncan to the joys of the sea. Walks in the park and woods are fun, but boating on the wide open ocean…that’s heaven! Duncan enjoyed sniffing the salt air, swimming in the waves and flying off the dock to retrieve thrown sticks.
Even the best dog’s life is full of dog exasperations. When Duncan was one and one-half years old, his ideal only child status was shattered with the arrival of his human sister. At first, Duncan had an Eeyore expression on his face, but after taking one sniff of the new baby, Duncan indicated that she was a keeper by planting a big dog lick on her toes. Three years later, his human brother was born. That too he took in stride and as the children grew, Duncan took on the role of guardian. Each day Duncan would accompany the Sterling children to the bus stop and meet them once again at the end of the day. Nighttime would find him escorting each child to his and her own bed, listening to the bedtime story and then settling down to sleep between the two.
Duncan recently developed several deteriorating medical conditions, including seizures. His veterinarian believed that he most likely had a brain tumor and on April 7, 2006, Duncan had to be euthanised. We feel Duncan exemplifies just what a companion should be; a special friend, a source of unconditional love, a loyal pet. The brown dog, affectionately known as Duncan Donut Sterling, will be missed by all.
The VVMA is very pleased to induct Duncan into the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame in the Companion Category.