Pruppet of the Month: Lucky

Lucky, golden retriever

I’m going to be upfront about this, I am awarding this month’s Pruppet of the Month, posthumously. Lucky, the Golden Retriever passed away from a battle with cancer when he was a bit over 13 years old. But, his story definitely grabbed my interest.

Here we go…

Our listener, Morgan, submitted the story of her first dog, Lucky. When Morgan was a kid, she loved visiting the local animal shelter on the weekends she spent with her dad. They would go to pet the dogs and play with them, but always with the understanding that they were doing that because they were NEVER going to adopt a dog. Plus, we know how important it is for rescue dogs to be socialized and around people for their wellbeing, and let’s be honest, ours too. They weren’t going to get a dog because Morgan’s dad lived in an apartment, plus her parents had shared custody. So the idea of either shuffling a dog back and forth, or Morgan leaving the dog with a parent alone every time she went changed homes, it was just too much. But when Morgan was 10, her dad got engaged to a woman who had a fenced-in backyard, which changed everything.

One day when they were visiting the shelter to play with the dogs, Morgan met HER dog. He was a little golden retriever mix who had little white socks and a white patch on his chest. He was sitting so patiently on the other side of the fence, while all the other dogs were barking, jumping around and going nuts. Her dad reminded her that they were only there to play and NOT adopt. Morgan cried all the way home because she KNEW that this dog was HER dog.

The very next day, Morgan’s future stepmom went right back to the shelter and adopted this furry little guy for Morgan. When she got there, there was another family looking to adopt him, and Morgan said that to this day, she doesn’t know how her stepmom was able to get him, but she did! Once all of the paperwork was done, the shelter handed her this giant binder with a notebook in it, as well as all his health records and stuff. This shelter worked with a local women’s prison and had put a dog-training program in place in the prison facility, and Lucky had been fostered and trained by an inmate! I love hearing stories about these programs because they help love on animals in shelters and help train them, so they are even more likely to get adopted quicker. It’s also therapeutic for the inmates and can be an excellent way to introduce them to a rehabilitation mindset and lifestyle.

So, they get Lucky home, and start flipping through the notebook and found out that it was his training notebook from the prison program. The notebook was filled with meticulous notes, almost journal entries, detailing what a good dog Lucky was, how his training was progressing, and the things he struggled with during the process. The whole family was amazed at what an incredible job this inmate had done in recording Lucky’s life behind bars. That’s when they noticed the name on the front of the notebook, Dr. Debora Green, and the whole family was in shock. They knew who Dr. Green was, and what she had done…

Author Ann Rule actually wrote a book on Dr. Debora Green and her crimes called Bitter Harvest: A Woman’s Fury, A Mother’s Sacrifice. Back in October of 1995, Debora lived in Kansas City and set her own home ablaze. She escaped the fire with one of her three children, but two of them died in the fire. She and her husband had had a rocky relationship, and he had actually moved out of the home a few months before the fire, believing Debora was poisoning him. According to AP News, when police were called to the home for what seems to have been a sort of domestic dispute a month before the fire, they said that Debora was acting bizarrely. They also found castor beans, which are used to make ricin, a crazy dangerous poison. Debora was eventually arrested and charged in November 1995. She was later convicted of one count of aggravated arson for setting her home on fire, first-degree murder in the deaths of two of her children who died in the fire, two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the fact that when she had lit her home on fire all three children had been in the home and she had been poisoning her estranged husband with ricin! Debora ended up taking an Alford Plea and is serving two concurrent forty-year prison sentences. I couldn’t find a ton of information on it, but I did read an article from the KC Star that stated that she had filed an appeal regarding her sentencing, but it had been denied.

(Sorry for the mini Crime Junkie episode in the middle of Pruppet of the Month, but I couldn’t help it!)

So here, Morgan and her family are, welcoming their brand new dog into their family, and learning more and more about Lucky from a convicted murderer! Morgan said it became a running joke within the family to say things like… “Don’t accept food from Lucky!” “Don’t leave Lucky alone with the matches!” or “Back when Lucky was locked up…”

Lucky lived a lovely and full life to the age of 13 when he was diagnosed with cancer. Morgan’s dad, who had been so adamant all those years ago about never getting a dog, was the most affected by the news and went to incredible lengths to makes Lucky’s last month as comfortable as possible. Shortly after Lucky passed, her dad and stepmom tried getting another puppy, but it was just too soon for Morgan’s dad. They just weren’t ready to replace the best dog ever. However, just recently, they adopted a new dog, who looks JUST like Lucky, and was trained as a service dog but couldn’t quite make the cut. They love to sit on the couch in her dad’s barn and listen to talk radio. Morgan thinks, in Lucky’s honor, it just might be time to introduce them to true crime podcasts like Crime Junkie…

KC Pet Project

Fortunately this month our featured Adoptable Pruppet, Gomez, has already been adopted! Instead, we have decided to highlight the KC Pet Project where Gomez was adopted. The KC Pet Project is a great organization providing services to the area. If you live in the Kansas City area and are looking for your new best friend, check them out!