John Wayne played men of true grit and character. Always leading those to do right, saving those from wrong and helping the underdog. Officer Dan Brogden of the Mineral County Animal Control grew up watching John Wayne cowboy his way through life and on Monday, Sept. 22, Brogden was once again reminded of “The Duke.”
Found sitting beside the guardrail of busy U.S. Hwy 95, a dirty puppy sat next to the guardrail between 20 Mile Beach at Walker Lake and Schurz. A kind motorist stopped and rescued the dog, which surely would have had a tragic ending near the busy road.
Driving to the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office, the motorist dropped off the puppy into the care of King1, otherwise known as, Officer Dan Brogden.
Noting the severe condition the dog was in, it was concluded that not only did the puppy have facial and bodily wounds, but that its jaw was also broken. For some animals, its life would have been humanely put down right there on the spot, but through its pain, the dog responded to the care it was receiving.
Wagging his tail and trying to kiss the officer and dispatchers, through the broken jaw, the animal control officer was told to take the dog to Lahontan Valley Veterinary.
Brogden took the animal to the veterinary office where it was found that not only had the animal suffered cuts and a broken jaw, but that it had been surviving by eating nothing but sand.
Keeping the animal for observation, Brogden decided that the dog would be named “Duke” after the famous actor.
Through all the trauma and pain, the 11 week old pitbull claimed his name. The story behind the nickname of the famous actor comes from him being called “Little Duke” because as a small boy, he never went anywhere without his large Airedale Terrier named Duke. Preferring the name Duke over that of his birth name of Marion, he began calling himself Duke, all because of the love of a dog.
Brogden states, “There is no other opinion for me than to save a hurting animal. Here [in Mineral County] we are not putting down the good animals. We just have to find them good homes.”
The Mineral County Animal Shelter, which Brogden is the only full-time employee, is staffed by himself and a part-time animal control officer. Abused, neglected, unwanted and stray animals, of all types are in the custody of the County, until homes can be found for them. Brogden goes to extreme lengths to make sure that these animals are rehabilitated, allowed to run outside of the cages and he finds time, each day, to give them love. Something that some animals are not accustomed to. The transition into adoption can be mere days, others take time.
The need for cleaning supplies is a daily need. With the closing of the Rescue Bank in Reno, the County now has to pay retail price for food, instead of paying only $60 a pallet. Food is always in demand and sometimes supplies run short.
Not one to ask for donations, the humble Brogden simply states, “Any donation is needed. Especially to help out Duke. Anything really. If you need it for your animal, I need it for these ones.”
Asked why he dedicates himself whole heartedly to animals such as Duke, Brogden tries to explain, “It’s what is expected morally and ethically. If I was an animal, I’d want to be saved and helped.”
Giving the thanks to the support of his department and community is how Brogden draws the attention away from himself. He is quick to add that the puppy will be alright after care, but his journey will continue as he heals.
For those that have been impacted by Officer Brogden, the Duke sums it up well by saying, “A man ought to do what he thinks is right.”