“Duke” the therapy dog reunited with owner Preston Dowell after 16 days

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"He's my best friend. He's family."

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – There comes a point in a man’s life, a pivotal moment, that divides his course of life in two. For Preston Dowell, it is before, and after, Duke.

“First day that I got him, I ended up becoming homeless. We just fell in love with each other instantly, sharing every moment, bad times and good times, playing music together… He was with me everywhere that I went.”

He says their bond flourished from mutual past pain and trauma. In many ways, they were each other’s saving grace.

“I think he was just horribly abused. We had to work through a lot of anxiety together. We really bonded over both of the things that we had gone through. Me being able to help him ultimately helped me; it really brought things into perspective.”

Dowell says the 16 days they were apart were emotionally and physically difficult. Duke went missing on January 20th after breaking loose from a leash. A day Dowell described as “the worst mistake of my life.” After hundreds of flyers and social media posts, one homeowner recognized Duke.

“I got a phone call. The guy said he thinks he might have my dog, he sent me a picture and it was Duke. So I rushed over there to get my best friend back. You can’t put things like that into words.”

Duke was found Just half a mile from where he went loose. Dowell says he had an inkling his friend was near.

“I would’ve kept looking for him. I would’ve always held that hope. He’s my best friend – he’s family.”

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