The dog named Duke by William D. Ellis

Lesson at a Glance

  • In 1953 Chuck Charles Hooper was a favoured young man. Everything was going well for him.
  • He was already a zone sales manager for a chemical company.
  • One day while driving home he met with a horrible car accident.
  • He was taken to a hospital with a subdural haemorrhage and completely paralyzed left side of the body.
  • Hooper remained on the critical for a month.
  • His company asked him to take a year off and promised to create a desk job for him at headquarters.
  • Chuck Hooper’s paralysed arm and leg were given a special treatment. He was made to do some exercise given whirlpool baths and wheeled walker.
  • But Chuck didn’t make much
  • In March they let him out of the hospital. Here, the condition ‘hit a new low’.
  • Finally, Chuck Hooper’s beloved dog Duke was called home from the kennel.
  • When Duke saw Hooper, he jumped on him causing him to fight to keep his balance.
  • The intelligent dog realized his mistake. He never jumped on Chuck Hooper again.
  • The two, Hooper and Duke, used to stare at each other day in, day out.
  • Chuck Hooper felt lonely and was always lost in his thoughts.
  • Duke finally couldn’t stand the boredom and yearned to go out with his master.
  • One evening Chuck hooped the leash onto Duke’s collar and for Duke it was like lighting a fuse.
  • With Hooper standing, the dog walked to the end of the leash and tugged steadily.
  • Leaning back against the pull, Hooper learned to keep his balance without Mercy.
  • Duke’s re-entry into Hooper’s life lifted his numb spirits.
  • The day Duke made Hooper take his first step, the hope was rekindled.
  • By now neighbours on their street were watching the pattern of Hooper’s progress.
  • On June 1, Hooper and Duke walked up to an intersection quite far away.
  • On January 4 Hooper surprised the staff by walking to the local branch office of the company.
  • Hooper further amazed his staff by setting his next objective: March 1, a full day’s work.
  • After March 1, Hooper had no time for physiotherapy and depended completely on Duke.
  • Duke pulled him along the street, increasing Hooper’s stability and endurance.
  • On the evening of October 1957, the Hoopers had guests. Suddenly he heard the screech of brakes outside and looked for Duke.
  • Duke was run over and driven to the animal hospital with severe injuries.
  • He was drugged out but could not survive.
  • A week ago, Hooper was promoted to Assistant National Sales Manager.
  • The promotion order was so worded as if it was a special tribute to Duke. “…….. therefore, to advance our objectives step by step O Charles Hooper is appointed Assistant National Sales Manager.
  • Actually, it was Duke who advanced Hooper’s objective step by step and made him a normal man.


(Learn the underlined words)

Para 1 .. It is a story of 1953. Chuck Hooper was a strong, well-built young man bubbling with energy. Athletic and friendly, he had been a footballer during his university days. Now, he worked for a chemical company as its Zonal Sales Manager. A happy life appeared to lay ahead of this six-feet-one tall man exuding a great zest for life.

Para 2 .. Then tragedy struck. In an autumn evening, he met with a car accident that left him partly paralyzed due to a brain injury.

Para 3 … Chuck’s wife Marcy had him shifted to a hospital, where he lay unable to talk. His movement was impaired. He could only breathe and see. He had double vision.
Marcy had another worry. They had a dog at home. His name was Duke. Marcy telephoned her neighbour asking her to move Duke to a kennel.

Para 4 … Chuck Hooper remained critically down for a month in the hospital. In the fifth week, some people from the company visited him to suggest that he take a year off from job. They offered to create a desk job in the company’s head office to accommodate Chuck.

Para 5 .. After six weeks, the hospital put him in a wheel chair and gave him a wheeled walker to move around. But, Chuck’s arm and legs barely moved. Despite the care of the doctors, he remained immobilized.

Para 6 .. In March, Chuck was discharged from the hospital. Returning home lifted his spirits temporarily, but it drooped (sank) soon. Chuck had no longer the company of other patients. After Marcy left home daily in the morning, the loneliness of home descended on him like a rock. The dog Duke was still lodged in the kennel.

Para 7 .. Finally, it was decided to bring back Duke from the kennel. As a show of defiance, Chuck said he must welcome Duke in a standing position. Duke was very excited to be home and to see Chuck again. Wild with joy he jumped forward at Chuck with all his energy, unaware that his master was so grievously handicapped. Duke’s nails had grown long during his three months in the kennel. Chuck barely managed to stand erect after Duke hit him above his belt. It was a great union.

Para 8 .. Duke, perhaps, assessed his master’s condition correctly. From then on, there was no acrobatics, no uncontrolled show of joy. Duke restrained himself to a position behind his master’s bed.

Para 9 … Duke’s presence, sadly, did not do much for Chuck. The muscular frame of Chuck began to wither slowly, very agonizingly. Chuck could just helplessly look at the ceiling, the outside through the window and at his favourite Duke. The grimace in his face made Marcy very sad. She sobbed quietly.

Para 10 .. Chuck stared at Duck endlessly trying to grapple with his enforced idleness. Duck wanted to say a thousand words to comfort his master. Obviously, he could not. Together, the two souls suffered. Duke could take it no more. He stood up to brake the shackles of his master in one jerk.

Para 11 .. He growled, “Ya-ruff’.

Para 12 .. Chuck shouted, “Be quiet, Duke’.

Para 13 .. Duke walked up to his master’s bed. He tried to coax Chuck to action by lifting his elbow with his nose.

Para 14 .. Chuck tried to push Duke back saying, “Go and run around the house, Chuck.”

Para 15 .. But, Duke wouldn’t heed his master’s orders. He would lie down there looking disapprovingly at Chuck. An hour later, he would approach Chuck again to coax him to move, get going. Chuck stayed put in his position beside the bed.

Para 16 .. One evening Chuck using his un-affected hand hooked the leash to Duke’s leash. He wanted to hold his dog still. It was the signal Chuck was waiting for. He sprang to his feet as if a lightening of hope had struck him. He shook his body excitedly. Chuck was taken aback. He asked Marcy to help him to his feet. Duke’s restless body shook with energy. Marcy held her husband’s elbow while he held on to the dog’s leash. He put the right leg forward and dragged the left foot. It was a crude little step of Chuck that came after months of waiting.

Para 17 …. When the leash became a little loose, Chuck pulled it tight. Chuck struggled to complete the his step somehow. Thrice he repeated his effort before collapsing on his wheelchair exhausted.

Para 18 … Next day the duo started its effort early, with Duke taking the initiative. He was coaxing his master to start his steps. Chuck began to take his steps when Duke pulled the leash, virtually dragging his master. One, two, three and four. It was some progress from the previous day.

Para 19 … Now, didn’t need Marcy to hold him steady. It was Wednesday. With Duke pulling the leash, Chuck began to stagger to his steps. It was five. Thursday, one more – to six. Friday – not very encouraging. Just two steps before Chuck felt too tired to move any more.

Para 20 … By mid-April, it had become a routine exercise for Duke and Chuck. Led by his dog, Chuck ventured out of the house for his ‘learning lessons’. It was quite interesting to watch how Duke, the coach, walked quickly ahead to make the leash taut. Then he waited for Chuck to pull up staggering the short distance. Duke would repeat his quick steps to pull the leash tight. This would signal Chuck to walk his steps to catch up with the waiting Duke. Like this, the walking- stopping-walking continued in short spurts.
The duo set their goals – adding one more fence posts each day’s practice sessions.

Para 21 … Duke’s contribution to Chuck’s recovery and the perseverance of her husband filled Marcy’s heart with hope. She got in touch with the doctor and was asked to let her husband to do physiotherapy exercises. Soon, Chuck began to use pulleys, weights and a few other gadgets. Chuck continued his short walking stints with Duke. The paces increased agonizingly slowly.

Para 22… News of Chuck’s progress was being watched with great interest in the neighbourhood. On June 1, when the duo reached the nearby cross, the onlookers rejoiced. Words of Chuck’s recovery spread soon.

Para 23 … The duo increased their walking practice to twice a day, and they covered longer distances. Duke jealously kept an eye on his master as Chuck kept pushing himself harder and harder. His gait improved.

Para 24 … On January 4, Chuck walked solo. He covered the 200 meters distance between the clinic and the local of his company. His appearance took the office staff completely by surprise. Chuck was as decent as he was professional. He asked the office head Gordon for an update. Evidently, Chuck wanted to resume his duty. He told Gordon Doule that he would work for an hour a day initially. Chuck pointed to an empty desk and declared, “I would work from there. I just need a dictating machine.”

Para 25 … The people in the company’s headquarters were in a quandary. The senior managers obviously could not tell Chuck he was too handicapped to work especially when he had made such a heroic effort to recover. But a sales man had to travel, and one hour a day presence in the office was going to be of not much use to the company. Little did they know about Chuck Hooper’s self-set target that he would start his full day work from March 1.

Para 26 …. March 1 came. Chuck had to stop the physiotherapy sessions as he had no time for it. Due was back in charge. He pulled Chuck faster and faster with his leash exerting him to be more steady and stable while walking. Once, in a dark evening, Duke tripped and fell on the road. Duke maintained vigil over him till he struggled and got back on his feet.

Para 27 .. Thirteen months hence, Chuck worked full time in the job. He was promoted as the regional manager with jurisdiction over four states.

Para 28 …. Marcy, Chuk and Duke moved to anew house on March, 1956. The neighbours were oblivious of Chuck’s earlier travails. But, they saw Chuck walking rather uneasily pulled by his stout dog.

Para 29 … It was October 12, 1957. There was a little party at the Hoopers’. Guests were coming in. Suddenly, Chuck Hooper heard a piercing screeching sound. It was the sound of brakes of a speeding car. Instinctively Chuck looked around for Duke.

Para 30 …. It was Duke. He had been grievously injured by a car. The people around brought the large dog inside Chuck’s house. Marcy, not letting anyone touch the Duke, carried the dog to the animal hospital in her car.

Para 31 … Duke had been fatally hurt to recover despite the vets’ efforts. He breathed his last at 11am the next day.

Para 32 … People who had watched the way Duke had helped Chuk to get walking again wondered how the void would affect Chuk.

Para 33 … Chuk got elevated to the post of Assistant Sales Manager of his company. It was a fitting tribute to a dog which had done so much towards the turn-around of Chuk Hooper.


Q:4:(a): With reference to Hooper, the author says, “Every thing was going for him”, What does it imply?
(i) He had everything that a man aspires for.
(ii) People admired him.
(iii) He did what he wanted.
(iv) He was capable of playing games.
Ans: (i) He had everything that a man aspires for.

(b): Duke never jumped on Chuck again because _____________.
(i) Duke was paralysed and unable to jump
(ii) Chuck was angry with Duke for jumping at him
(iii) Duke realized that Chuck was not well and could not balance himself
(iv) Marcy did not allow Duke to come near Chuck
Ans: (iii) Duke realised that Chuck was not well and could not balance himself.

(c): The author says that Duke ‘knew his job’. The job was _____________.
(i) to look after Chuck
(ii) to get Chuck on his feet
(iii) to humour Chuck
(iv) to guard the house
Ans: (ii) to get Chuck on his feet
(d): “_______ even Duke’s presence didn’t reach Chuck “. Why?
(i) Duke was locked in his kennel and Chuck couldn’t see him.
(ii) Duke hid himself behind the bed post.
(iii) Duke had come to know that Hooper was not well.
(iv) Hooper was lost in his own grief and pain.
Ans: (iv) Hooper was lost in his own grief and pain.
Page no: 19

Q:5: Answer the following questions:
(a): In 1953, Hooper was a favoured young man. Explain.
Ans: In 1953, Charles (Chuck) Hooper was a favoured young man. He had all that a man could aspire for. He was “a hard−charging zone sales manager for a chemical company”. A six-feet-one, who had played on the university football team, was now all settled with his little blonde wife, Marcy. His “big genuine grin” flashed his competitive nature and “everything was going for him”.

(b): They said that they would create a desk job for Hooper at headquarters.
(i) Who are ‘they’?
(ii) Why did they decide to do this?
Ans: (i) “they”in the above sentence refers to the personnel from Hooper’s office that visited him in the hospital.
(ii) Hooper met with an accident and was hospitalised.He was paralysed.When few men from his office came to meet him in the hospital,on seeing his condition said this.His mobility was restricted due to paralysis..

(c): Duke was an extraordinary dog. What special qualities did he exhibit to justify this? Discuss.
Ans: Duke was a rough playing Doberman Pinscher. When Chuck met with the accident and was brought back home Duke also was brought back from the kennel. When the dog saw his master “he was a 23-killo missile of joy”. He jumped on Chuck above the belt in excitement. Chuck couldn’t balance, so fought to maintain it. That was it, Duke knew what had happened. From then on he never did the same. He took a post beside his master’s bed and never jumped on him again. He sensed the delicate condition of his master and later he was the main agent in the improvement of Chuck’s condition.
From the story, it seems that Duke knew what had happened to Hooper, he would come up and poke Chuck’s left arm and try to lift it up. One evening while the dog was cajoling(enticing) his master Hooper casually hooked( bent)  leash( chain) in Duke’s collar with his good hand and that charged the dog. The first time, it was just couple of steps till the wheel chair. However, Duke was dogged (determined)  to make Chuck walk. They were a team now. Hooper’s neighbourhood people say that the Dog knew what his responsibility was. They had a tremendous coordination. The dog would “pull his leash taut then stand and wait. The man would drag himself abreast of the dog and then the dog would surge out to the end of the leash and wait again”.
Gradually Hooper became totally dependent on Duke and didn’t need physiotherapy further. It was Duke alone who could do what he did. The only thing that the narrator says he was unsure of was whether Duke knew what he was doing, but then the narrator says that he believed that Duke knew.

(d): What problems did Chuck present when he returned to the company headquarters?
Ans: On January 4, Chuck visited the local branch. This had been one of the district offices under his jurisdiction as zone manager. The staff was amazed to see him return, Charles Hooper told Gordon Doule, the manager, to bring him all the updates of the time Hooper had stayed away. He started working one hour every day; he chose the empty desk in the ware house. Hooper’s move presented problems in the company’s headquarters. Chuck was fighting hard to come back, so nobody could tell him that he couldn’t handle the job. Beside it was a job of sales, what good can a salesperson do, “who cannot move around, and can work only one hour a day?” However, Hooper had the target set in his mind, March 1, a full day’s work. It was Duke who would pull Chuck all the way till the office and then bring him back home as well. All said that the dog knew his responsibility “to get Chuck back on his feet”. After thirteen months of meditation, Charles Hooper was promoted to Regional Manager covering more than four states.

(e): Why do you think Charles Hooper’s appointment as Assistant National Sales Manager is considered to be a tribute to Duke?
Ans: Duke was not an ordinary pet; he was a Doberman with exceptional intelligence. The finesse with which he understood the delicate condition of Chuck is commendable. It was not physiotherapy and not any other drug or exercise that made Chuck walk, but Duke and Duke alone!
After the accident when Duke was brought back on Chuck’s return to home, the dog took just one incident to realise the ailment of his master. The dog just needed to be hooked once causally and Duke with his leash and the dog became resolute to make his master stand on his feet. It was Duke who made Charles Hooper reach the office despite all odds and took the responsibility to take Charles Hooper to the office and also bring him back home.
It was not just Chuck’s meditation but Duke’s too that after thirteen months Hooper was promoted to Regional Manager covering more than four states. People of their new neighbourhood, they moved into, didn’t know the story of Chuck and Duke. “All they knew was that their new neighbour walked like a struggling mechanical giant and that he was always pulled by a rampageous dog that acted as if he owned the man.”
After some time when Chuck was promoted to Assistant National Sales Manager, the words drafted by the headquarters of the chemical company said, “… therefore, to advance our objectives step by step, Charles Hooper is appointed Assistant National Sales Manager”, as all knew that without Duke it would not have been possible for Chuck to make such quick improvement and tribute Hooper’s


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