Dukey is a fighter – just like his owner.
The canine continues his recovery from serious injuries sustained after being struck by a car.
The accident took place while he was visiting family and friends in Aulds Cove with Kyle Andrews, his owner.
Dukey is more than a pet – much more – with Andrews describing him as “an emotional support animal.”
The four-legged friend has been a key part of Andrews’ journey and recovery from sexual abuse, while living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effects.
“He is a rescue dog,” Andrews said, noting the canine had been abused and had six owners in the first two-and-a-half years of his life.
“We needed each other; we both had issues,” he added.
That match came three years ago and, since then, the relationship has evolved.
“He is a little more like a regular dog,” Andrews said, noting he does not have to be a constant source of support.
On the day Dukey was hit, he noted, it was one of those times that Andrews “would have to have him by my side.”
After he was struck, Andrews and his fiancée placed Dukey into his parents’ car and raced to the veterinarian in Port Hawkesbury.
By the next morning, the couple – with Dukey – were en route to Halifax for major surgery, which did not take place until 9 p.m.
“I felt so responsible,” Andrews said.
Dukey lost two teeth and now has two plates and countless screws; not to mention his wounds continue to heal.
“It is looking good,” Andrews said, noting there continue to be weekly visits to the Port Hawkesbury-based vet for dressing changes.
At this point, he noted, a key date is Aug. 21, when X-rays and an examination will indicate if the healing process, including the knitting, is working.
The surgery carried a price tag of $2,600, while the weekly dressing changes cost $100 each. Those costs are in addition to the more than $600 from the initial emergency visit to the vet.
“It happened before I even knew,” Andrews said of the online campaign, one established by Fred, his cousin, and his fiancée Violet.
She told Andrews that they remembered his generosity in the past, when they needed a helping hand.
The response has come from all over the world, with the effort having garnered almost $1,000.
Andrews noted he has been sent more than $400 directly, while he is also exploring possible assistance from a PTSD fundraising group of which a woman informed him.
“Everyone has been amazing,” he said.
Andrews said the plan is to continue the go fund me campaign until the end of August.
Our readers met Andrews a year or so ago, when he reflected on the aforementioned journey, including sharing his story of ‘life after sexual abuse’ in Making Out Like a Virgin: Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual Trauma – a collection of essays.
The publisher describes the book as “a unique and moving collection of personal non-fiction essays that detail how each writer has moved beyond mere survival of sexual trauma to unapologetically discover a sexually and emotionally thriving life.”
The editors read Andrews’ short story, one he was sharing with an online group, about “getting to a point where I had become happier.”
Earlier this summer, the collection was shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious Foreword Indies, in the self-help category.
“I didn’t think it would be nominated, let alone be in the top-10,” Andrews said, noting the support of readers that made it happen.
He noted, although great, gaining accolades was not the goal, when he decided to share his story as part of the book.
“The purpose was to educate,” Andrews said.
He wanted to help people with PTSD and the associated issues, such as addiction, physical violence and suicide.
“I have had people reach out on Facebook,” Andrews said of the response, noting the story that appeared in the Casket as a contributing factor.
He noted, recently, he met someone in Antigonish, who told him they had purchased the book, a copy that has been passed around to at least five other people.
“People have enjoyed reading it,” Andrews said, while stressing, for some it has also been “hard” to get through.
For him, the experience has been therapeutic.
“I want to give back, but it is hard,” Andrews noted.
He said he has met people he went to school with who are “going through the same thing as I was going through.”
“They have no help,” Andrews, who lives in Toronto, said of the mental health system in his native Nova Scotia.
He noted there is always news of people being charged for child pornography, for example, but never announcements of services for those dealing with their mental health.
Andrews said, in the recent provincial election, it was an issue for some candidates, but he thought it would garner “more of a spotlight.”
“It is hard to access mental health services, when many people do not have a family doctor,” he noted.
Making Out Like a Virgin: Sex, Desire & Intimacy After Sexual Trauma, which has paperback, audio and eBook formats, can be purchased at amazon.ca