Duke (2012) - full transcript

A homeless veteran leaves his dying dog and best friend, Duke, on the doorstep of an animal clinic. The dedicated staff nurse Duke back to health, and then launch a campaign to locate the veteran and re-unite him with his best pal.

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Let's go, guys.
Look alive out there!

Here, batter, batter, batter!

Look at that dog!

Where is he going?

All right, young man, let's go.

Let's go.

Okay, so, open your notebooks.

I want you
to write down your homework.

I want you to finish
your multiplication...

Jane? What's going on?

Looks like
we have a transfer student.



Okay! You guys,
give him some space.

Hi, little guy.

Hi... hey.

What's his name?

He's gotta have a name!

I don't know.

What about... "Lucky?"

How about "pepper?"

"Barny's" way better.

"Elvis" or...

"Daisy?"

What about "Duke?"

Yeah!

Okay! "Duke" it is.



Well, Duke, welcome
to Mrs. Pulaski's homeroom.

Yay!

Well, your master's
going to miss you

like nobody's business.

Buddy,
don't look at me like that.

I can't take you home.

Duke?

Come on, marine.
Watch your form.

Just one more. You can do it.

One more!

Come on. Dig.

Excellent.

Beyond the call of duty.

It's pathetic.

I'm as weak as a baby.

I know it's slow,

but you're making progress.

How's the numbness?

It's better
after the surgery, but...

It still tingles
on the right side,

especially
if I'm on my feet a lot.

I'll mention that in my report.

Now, take a break,
you deserve it.

Yeah.

Get some water.

Yeah.

Not so fast, sergeant.

You take this everywhere you go.

I hate that thing.

It's your best friend
unless you're sleeping.

Understand?

Yes, sir.

Dad!

Hey, pumpkin.

Hey.

Daddy, wait till you see
what mom brought home!

A new car? No?

A million dollars?

Your mother brought home a dog?

Your mother brought home a dog.

Look at him.

Where'd you find this guy?

Mom found him at the school.

The school?

What're you doin'? Look at you!

You're handsome!
What's his name?

Duke.

Duke?

Hey!

Alright. Look at him!

Hey!

Pleased to meet you!

Don't get any ideas, you two.

We can't keep him.

I just got home.
I didn't say anything.

I saw your face.

But, mom!

Sweetie, he belongs to somebody.

Maybe he has a microchip.

We'll call the pound,
we'll put up some fliers,

and we'll find his owner.

But what if we don't?

You said when I turned 12,
we'd get a pet,

and I've been 12
for three months.

Honey, dogs are expensive.

I mean, has he had his shots?

We don't know
the first thing about this dog.

Alright, you know,
maybe I can fix this.

I'm thinking about doing
some moonlighting

over at the appliance
store on berkley, so.

That's just what
you need, Terry...

More time on your feet.

Don't make promises
you can't keep.

What the hell is that
supposed to mean?

Alice...

Go get Duke some water,

and see that he's got
something to eat. Okay?

Go ahead.

I don't want
to fight about this.

Why is it that I'm the one
who always has to say no?

Do these people really
need to come over

this weekend?

It's the fourth of July.
Everybody's celebrating.

I could use some down time.

These people are our friends and
neighbors, Terry.

They put yellow ribbons up
and down the street

in honor of you.

They'd like to welcome you home.

I don't even know half of them.

Look, I put a lot of
work into this.

A movie night...

With you, Alice...

And a bag of microwave popcorn

would've suited me just fine.

Let me guess.

Leaning tower of pisa?

Daddy, this is not funny.

It's supposed to be
the Santa Barbara mission.

Can't you tell?

Well, you can't build anything
without a good foundation.

No wonder it's falling down.

This is the dumbest
assignment ever!

Well, remember
what I taught you.

"Best foot forward."

That's right.

But, dad, who cares about
a stupid sugar-cube church?

You know, when I used to
work as a contractor,

not a single piece of framing
went up

until we made sure
our foundation was right.

Do me a favor, pumpkin.

Will you hand me
that piece of oak

right there?

Thanks. Alright, stand back.

You only get one chance
to do this right!

Yeah.

Now, what we'll do is,

we'll anchor the sugar cubes
with some wood glue,

and, she should last forever.

I remember

when you made cabinets
for the kitchen

and I had sawdust in my cereal
every morning.

I thought your mother
was going to kill me.

Get s...

Hey...

Why don't you take this inside
and get started, okay?

This is gonna be so cool.

Yeah.

Thanks, dad.

God.

Can I put in an order

for some bookshelves
in the living room?

I'm afraid sugar-cube missions

are the extent of my skills.

Come on. Don't say that.

You can build anything.

You used to spend
hours out here.

Honey...

I can't even stand up
five damn minutes

to help my kid
with her school project!

I tried making an appointment

with a social worker
at the v. A.,

but the wait is forever.

They're completely overloaded.

It's tough
when they first come home.

They worry that
they'll never fit in again.

One minute, he's...
He's like his old self,

and, the next,
he's yelling at someone...

Or I'm getting
the silent treatment.

I'm sorry, honey.

If there's anything I can do...

Duke!

Come on, come on,
come on, come on.

The only good thing in his life
right now is that dog.

They're inseparable.

Good dog!
Good boy, Duke. Attaboy.

Come on, come on!

Any word on his owner?

No. We put flyers up
around the school,

but not a single phone call.

It's incredible.

A dog like that,

and nobody seems
to want him back?

He chose you.

He chose Terry.

Just stop asking questions
and be grateful.

Somebody answered your prayers
with that dog.

I know.

I think
you were probably a marine

in a previous lifetime, buddy.

Alright, pal. Here we go. Up.

There you go.
Out you get. Come on.

You know, they sure
don't think about

updating these magazines, man.

This still has Phil Jackson
coaching the bulls,

for crying out loud.

Hey, pulaski?

How'd you get this dog in here?

He's a service dog.

Yeah. "Service dog."

I got your service dog.

Come here, come here.

- He does tricks too, you know.
- Tricks?

Yeah. Check this out.

Watch this. You ready?

Watch, watch, watch. Ready?

- Attaboy!
- Alright, there we go!

There we go, there we go.

Thattaboy! Look at this.
There he goes.

He's like gene Kelly!

♪ Dah-da-dah-da ♪

Sergeant pulaski?

Good dog.

He loves being a marine.

He feels accepted here,
part of the corps.

Well, lots of soldiers
take medical discharges

and, somehow, their lives go on.

Not Terry.

Aside from us,

this is the only family
he's ever known.

We weren't able to remove
all the shrapnel

from the lumbar area.

There's scar tissue here.

And, since surgery...

You've herniated two more discs.

T4... and t5.

Do you see the bulging?

Yeah. Yeah.

Alright, look, doc. Okay...

I'm sure
it's going to heal over time,

but my unit's redeploying
next month,

and I just need
to get out there.

I'm afraid I'm going to
have to operate again.

Well... can you do it
before I ship out?

Those guys are counting on me,

and I need to be there for them.

You're not shipping out,
sergeant.

I want you to take
a medical discharge.

Alright, listen.

I hate that desk job,

absolutely hate that desk job,
but I'll tell you what...

I'll gut it out until
I get better. How's that?

You're not going
to "get better."

Your level of functionality
will continue to diminish,

even with
the additional surgery.

So, what... I'm going to
end up in a wheelchair?

Nah.

It's too soon to say,

but, no matter what we do,

we can't make you combat-ready.

Your service

is over.

Really? I mean, what did I do to
deserve this?

Tell me.
I was just doing my job!

My platoon came under
mortar fire...

I understand, sergeant.

Please, don't do this to me.

Please, don't do this to me.

Just keep me
at that desk duty, okay?

And, I promise,
I'll continue my p. T.,

and I will get stronger,

and I will show everybody...

Sergeant, my advice to you...
Do it voluntarily,

or it will come down
as an order.

And if I'm not serving
in the corps,

then what am I going to do
on the outside?

Who the hell's going to hire me?

I can't even believe
this is happening.

Well, what you can't believe
that you married a cripple.

Would you stop saying that?

I'm not gonna stop saying it.

How the hell am I going to
support you and Alice

on s. S.I. And my pension?

How am I gonna do that?

We can barely
make ends meet now.

I should just
get the hell outta here.

I don't know,
but we'll make it work.

Stop saying that!

You're gonna end up taking care
of me for the rest of my life.

Forget it!
I'm not gonna do it to you.

Terry!

I will not do it to you!

No...

No...

No!

God.

Okay.

Okay.

Terry's looking great.

You pulled it off, honey.

It's gonna be a really nice
fourth of July.

Just enjoy yourself.

Hey. Pace yourself, buddy.

Party's just getting started.

Yeah.

Well, this dog-and-pony
show wasn't my idea.

Calm down.

Theresa did the same damn thing
to me when I came home.

Except she had a tea.

A tea!

What the hell
am I supposed to do

with all those
little sandwiches?

Wives always feel like
they got to do something.

Ask any of the guys.

My leg just keeps going numb.

I'm having a lot of trouble
sleeping.

They give you anything on base?

Sleeping pills.

As if I haven't got
enough medication inside me.

Man, this desk gig...
It's just temporary.

Don't worry, buddy.

You'll be back out there
with the rest of us

before you even know it.

Yeah.

I swear, I think
you've grown six inches

since I left home last year.

Only two. Mom measured.

Well, you know what,

after this second surgery,

I think we're gonna have to
get back into hoops.

You been practicing
your free-throws?

But how do you know

you're gonna get better, dad?

Because I know.

I'm glad you're home.

Let somebody else fight the war.

You're...
You're the only dad I have.

Here we go.

Dad?

Daddy?

Daddy! What's wrong?

Mom!

Daddy! Mom!

Something's wrong.
Something happened.

Terry?

Terry!

Terry? Terry!

He-e-ey, buddy-boy!

Come on! Get some breakfast?

Come on! Come on, come on.

What color shall we do today?

What's your pleasure?

Not red...

You wore red
every day last week.

Yellow?

Yeah?

Today's going to be
a yellow day, then.

Alright? That's my man.

Who's that?

- Hey!
- Hey, come on in, Javier.

Where's the eggs Benedict?

You know,
I don't smell the bacon.

What do you think this is,
a roach coach?

No, but it'd be nice. You know.

Hey, good morning, Duke.
What, no red today?

We're done with the red,
we're giving red a rest.

It's yellow.

You got love for me?

I don't work today.

I thought I'd
take him for a walk.

Sometimes, I think you let me
crash in your backyard

'cause you want to hang out
with Duke.

You got that right.

I like him better than you.

Tell you what.
You guys go ahead.

I've got a repair job
I've got to finish up.

The coffers
are runnin' low again.

The v. A. Check ain't coming
until the end of the month.

You know, you...

You need anything,
just come see me. Alright?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- You understand?
- Yeah. I'm fine. Yeah.

Hey!

Hey, Duke, why don't you ask
your uncle Javier

to take you for a walk?

He's doing it again.

Yeah, see? I told you,
that's his dog talk.

Yeah? Yeah?
And what's he saying?

What's he sayin'?

He's saying that I shouldn't...

I shouldn't fall for
your crazy-ass b. S.

About the eggs Benedict!

- Is that right?
- That's what he's saying. Yeah.

Yeah, you know what I think?

I think that you've just
been on the street too long,

and that your brain is fried.

Come on! That's just mean, now.

Listen. Hey, Duke,

tell your jav here

that you know how to talk.
Go ahead, tell him!

Yeah! See?

Yeah.

Duke!

Duke?

Duke! Duke, come on!

Come on. Up, up!

Around.

It's "dukester," the wonder dog.

Yeah.

Alright, Duke...

We are ready!

Movie night, Duke. Movie night!

Let's go!

This is a good one.
You're gonna like it.

Yeah, I know you are.

Come on, come on,
come on, come on.

Look, it's got a dog in it.

He's not as handsome
as you, though.

Alright, alright.

Rise and shine! Rise and shine.

Yeah.

Good morning.

Who needs an alarm clock
when you've got "camper Terry?"

What is it, 6:00 A.M.?

Nah, it's 0700.

Did you see the sunrise
this morning?

Unbelievably beautiful.

Donuts, too?

Did you hit the lottery?

No, believe me,
when I hit the lottery,

it's Danish for everybody.

Duke, I'm gonna be working
in the camper.

Don't go far. Thanks, Terry.

Enjoy.

Have a good day,
have a good day.

Thank you. Dig in, guy.

Hi.

I... brought my rim.

Hot-rodding it around the park?

I wasn't going that fast!

Can you fix it?

Well...

Let's see what we can do.

I used to work
on my daughter's bike

when she was your age.

How'd you find me?

My mom sees you here
all the time.

She says you can fix anything.

I asked my dad to fix my bike.

He doesn't know how.

What does your dad do?

He's a lawyer.

He yells at people all day.

The world's a crazy place.

My dad said
my bike's not worth fixing.

Honey,
everything's worth fixing.

You like it in here?

Duke and I have a good life.

We're thankful for
a roof over our heads,

even if it leaks sometimes.

There you go. It'll have to do.

Yeah!

How much?

It's on the house.

Just promise me
that you'll slow down.

No, mom says
you have to take this.

Somethin' about...
"Work ethnic?"

"Work ethic."

Okay. Thank you.

He fixed it!

Duke? Lunchtime!

Duke!

That's not like him
to refuse a meal.

Hey. Come here, buddy-boy.

Where you goin'?

Duke?

I've never seen him
do that before.

You got enough money to
send him to the vet, right?

Yeah. Yeah.

You know, you're
the worst liar ever.

Right?

Yeah?

Popcorn, buddy.

This will make you feel better...
Your favorite.

Nice and hot, pal.

Come on, pal! Popcorn!

Duke!

Duke?

Duke, Duke...
What's the matter, boy?

What's the matter, boy?

Hey, it's papa.

What's the matter, pal?

Alright, come on. Let's go.

Alright, come on.

Come on, pal. Come on.

Come on.

Alright, buddy, come on.

I gotcha now.

It's okay. You're okay.

There you go.

Sweet boy.

Okay.

Alright, buddy.
It's going to be okay.

Okay, pal.

You're cold.

Alright. Alright, come on.

You're ice-cold.

I'm gonna get you
some help, okay?

Be right back. Alright?

Papa's gonna
get you some help, okay?

Javier!

It's an emergency!

Wha...

I'm going to get you some help.

Give me $75. It's not junk.

Just $75.

Where you been?

Duke's sick.

It's serious.
He's really suffering.

Took him to a bunch of vets.

Went to the 24-hour place
on central

to convince the tech to come out
and take a look at him.

- Is he going to be okay?
- I don't think so.

He needs a lot of tests.

Sorry, brother.

I get it, buddy.

I hear you.

You just rest.

I'll take care of everything.

Just hang in there
a little while longer, okay?

My good boy.

You hang in there
a little bit longer, 'Kay?

Okay.

My good boy.

My good boy...

I'm not going to
let you suffer anymore.

Hey.

We don't open for another hour.

No, I couldn't wait any longer.

Can you help us?

He's had...

He's been having seizures,

I think he had a stroke, and...

I can't afford to...
To have him put down.

I'm sorry, sir, but we don't
take in animals off the street.

It's strict policy.

No, no. Here, here, here.

Here's everything I have.

Please. I...

I have nowhere else to take him.

I mean, look at him.

So, it's like sleeping, right?

It won't hurt him... right?

No, no. It's very peaceful.

You can be right there with him.

Look, I'll take him in.

Okay, thanks.

Let me call my boss
and let her know.

I'll need you
to fill out you some paperwork.

- Yeah. Okay.
- Be right back, okay?

Hello, doctor?

We have a man here
with a dying dog.

Okay, the doctor's
five minutes away.

Just fill out the top two pages.

Okay.

I'll go to get a gurney for him.

Okay. All right.

I don't know
what I'm gonna do without you.

What would I do?

I'll never be as brave as you.

Goodbye, my good boy.

I love you, Duke.

Morning, guys.

Morning, doctor.

How are we doing?

The owner disappeared.

He was homeless.

I didn't even get his name.

I'm sorry, doctor.

That's alright, Bryan.
You did the right thing.

Do we know his name?

Duke.

Duke...

Hey, Duke.

I'm Dr. Angela.

Can you hang in there for me
just a little longer, champ?

Will you do that for me?

Okay, let's get him inside.

Let's go, guys.

We might not have much time.

I think you'd better
read this, doctor.

"Dear doctors..."

"...please forgive me,

"but I don't know
where else to turn.

"I'm a homeless, disabled vet,

"and, a few days ago,
without any warning,

my dog, Duke, had
what I think is a stroke."

"He hasn't eaten anything
in days.

He can't stand up on his own."

"I don't want him
to suffer like this."

"Duke has been my teacher...

"My best friend,

"and my faithful companion
for 10 years now.

"I can't imagine life
without him...

"But... I know
when it's time to say goodbye.

Please let him sleep."

"I love you, Duke."

He's probably dehydrated.

"Thank you
for always being there."

All right. Get a temperature.

"Goodbye, buddy."

No reading.

He's got to be below 91.

Signs of nystagmus.

He's probably suffering
from ataxia.

Let's do an "istat."

Check his blood sugar.

I need a red blood-cell count,

check his electrolytes,
kidney values.

His pulse is low.

It's 60. That's not good.

Get him on oxygen.

25.

Systolic pressure's below 70.

He's not responding.

Let's bolus this guy.

Start an I.V., 25% dextrose,
and make sure

we have a 30 milliequivalent
of potassium standing by.

We're not putting this guy down
without a fight.

We heard the bad news, Terry.

Sorry, man.

Thank you.

You didn't want him
to suffer, Terry.

Yeah.

All those horrible things
we saw in Afghanistan.

Men... women...

Civilians...

Horrible.

But I just couldn't face
being there

when they put him down.

It's not easy to watch
someone you love die.

I abandoned him.

Don't do that to yourself.

You left him in good hands.

That's what I do.

I abandon.

I walk away.

Hell, I'm an expert
at walking away.

Walked away from my own family.

That's the worst thing
I ever did.

I can't figure out
a way to fix it.

- Hey.
- Hey.

Look at that face...

He's always watching us,
even when he's in pain.

This one's a heartbreaker.

What do you think caused this?

Could be neurological. Drugs.

He could've eaten
something toxic...

Kidney failure.

That's more activity

than we've seen out of him
all day.

I think he wants some popcorn.

You think?

You hungry, Duke?

Still too sick to eat?

Maybe it's not about hunger...

Maybe the popcorn
means something to him.

You're quite a mystery,
little guy.

What? You knockin' now?

Hey. Here you go. Thanks.

And thanks
for the lifeline, man.

Cannot tell you how many times
you've saved my life

these past few years.

What's going on?

I don't know. I just need a...

A change of scenery.

Where're you going to go?

Away from here.

Terry!

What does "away
from here" look like?

Church parking lots?
Under freeway Bridges?

Come on, Terry.

You gonna bug out like that?

Just need to clear
my head, that's all.

I'll be fine.

Come on. Hey, hey.

Do me a favor, will?

Find a home for this stuff.

Give to somebody, donate it...

I don't care.

Terry!

This what you're gonna do?

Really?

I can't believe
we've been here almost a year

and we're still unpacking boxes.

Some of this stuff
I've been saving

for the nursery.

By the way...
I'm really liking this yellow.

It's gender-neutral.

What do you think?

My god...

What is this?

It's still standing
after all these years!

My dad helped me build it.

Okay, but...

What is it?

It's the Santa Barbara mission.

It's the last thing
we did together.

Do you think we're going to
be good parents?

Are you kidding me?

Of course, we will.

You parent kids
in your classroom every day.

You know what I mean, Matt.

I was 12 the last time
I saw my dad.

We weren't exactly a family.

He tried.

He was just in so much pain.

Well, I wonder what
was going through his head

the day he left.

I don't know.

My mom got home from work

and there was
a heartbreaking letter.

Hey...

We don't have to
talk about this.

No, it's okay.

You did everything possible

to track him down.

And he did what he could.

You know, at least
he sent you money

from time to time.

I just hope that he's alive.

I mean, he was in
such rough shape

when he left.

I'm sorry, honey.

Even after everything
that happened,

I still miss him.

So.

What are we gonna do...

With this fantastic
piece of art?

How about a shelf?

I want our kid
to have a sense of history.

It's important to know
where you came from.

Okay. Why don't you
just have a seat?

We'll be with you in a sec.

- Morning.
- Morning!

How's Duke?

He's still pretty listless.

I've got the mobile-m. R.I.
People ready for your call.

Great.

We'll start with x-rays,
but I have a feeling

we're going to
have to go further.

By the way...

that woman
from pet sure's corporate office

is here... Janice Evans.

Tell me you're joking.

- No.
- You're not joking?

Not today.

Yeah.

She has been all over
my front office,

digging through files,

asking about billing practices.

They want to evaluate the clinic

before they make
their final buy-out offer.

Okay!

Let's put her on rounds.

Goody.

There's no masses
in the abdomen,

and his lungs look clear,

although let's watch out
for any pneumonia

or any secondary infections.

His white-cell count is way up.

He's probably got a u. T.I.

Let's start him
on one gram unisym t. I.D.,

and send a sample
out to the lab for a culture.

You can't keep that
dog here indefinitely.

I know, I will release him

as soon as he's ready.

Your job is to heal him
and send him home.

The clinic is not a charity.

I don't need you
to tell me my job, Janice.

Look, I'm not trying
to throw cold water

on what you're doing.

Okay? I have pets
at home, I get it.

I'm paying for this
out of the trust fund.

The trust fund is tapped out.

I asked Cami to run the numbers.

You've racked up
almost $2300 in-house,

not to mention outside labs.

I just don't know any other way

to practice medicine.

Listen. You've seen almost every

independent clinic in this area

either go bankrupt or shut down.

I don't want to see that happen.

We want to buy you

that endoscopy we talked about,

we want this to be

a state-of-the-art facility.

Look...

I'm not the bad guy here, okay?

It's not that I don't care
about that dog,

it's just a matter
of dollars and cents.

I don't care about
the dollars and cents.

I'm not putting him down

and I'm not gonna rush him out
when he has nowhere else to go.

Hey! How's it going, reverend?

Hey! Terry!

Hey.

- Good to see you again!
- Good to see you.

You still have that
wonderful dog of yours?

Well, actually...

Duke passed away.

I'm... I'm... I'm sorry, Terry.

I know how much you loved him.

I did.

So, do you think I could,

park my vehicle out in front?

I'm afraid you can't
more than a couple nights,

my friend.

The police'll give you a ticket

if you don't move
every 48 hours.

Do you think you could use a
little help around the church?

You know, sweeping up,
or cleaning,

or stacking chairs, whatever...
Something?

Aren't you still doing
your appliance repairs?

I am, but I...

I have to get out of
that motorhome, you know,

because, everywhere I look,
I see Duke, and...

You know,
so much time on my hands,

that's not a good thing.
I gotta...

Well...

We are doing
a big pancake breakfast

for father's day.

Guess I could use
an extra pair of hands.

I could give you gas money,

and maybe trade some
meals at the rectory.

Well, what do you say to that?

I think that'd be
a good deal. Thank you.

- Okay.
- All right, then!

Good to see you again, Terry.

Good to see you!

I'm starting to think vestibular
disease.

I mean, he's showing
all the hallmarks...

Ataxia, the head tilt,
nystagmus...

Is that like vertigo?

Except much worse.

It affects everything...

His navigational skills,
his inner-ear balance,

motor control.

Good news is, it's gonna
resolve in seven to ten days,

with the proper meds and rest,

but we need to get
this u. T.I. Under control,

or he's never gonna get better.

Hey, bud.

As you all know,

Duke is finally stabilizing.

If he continues
to improve like this,

I think he can go home...

Wherever home is.

He doesn't have a microchip,

and we only have a couple of
clues about his owner.

He's out there, somewhere,
probably feeling horrible,

and he has no idea
that his dog is alive and well.

So, I've contacted the herald,
and they've agreed to help,

but I need some more ideas...

What else can we do to find him?

All printed off
and ready to go, Cami?

Yes, we are!

Thanks a lot. Wish us luck.

Good luck out there.

When you came in that morning

and you saw Duke,

what was it that made you think,

"I can save this dog"?

I looked into those eyes
and I saw a spark of something.

I saw something special...
A fighter.

I saw an animal
that wasn't ready to move on.

Duke's an old soul.

He's really beautiful.

And does this happen often?

No!

Not very often, in 17 years.

Any luck finding his, his owner?

We've had a few phone calls, but
nothing solid yet.

This is when all the crackpots
come out of the woodwork,

so we have to be really careful.

Matt, it's me.

Call me as soon as you get this.

It's urgent.

I think you'd better
come to the front desk.

Okay.

Can you take kitty
for blood work.

Alice, this is Dr. Geddings.

Hi. My name's Alice barelli,

and I saw your flyer about Duke.

I could hardly believe my eyes,

it looks so much like
the dog I grew up with.

My dad and Duke
were inseparable.

Is your father with you?

No...

I haven't seen my dad
in about 10 years.

Okay.

I appreciate your situation

and I certainly hope
that you find him,

but we need to be very cautious.

Of course.

We had a woman call in

and say that Duke was her...

Dead husband, reincarnated.

Could I see him?

I know that it sounds
really far-fetched,

but I'm sure
that he'll recognize me.

He's been through an awful lot,

and a parade of visitors
is not what he needs right now.

But if you can find your father,
please come back.

Alright?

It was good to meet you.

Alice?

I really do hope you find him.

Me too.

Excuse me?

Are you a social worker?

Yes, but if you want
an appointment...

I can't wait five weeks,

look, I need to talk
to somebody now.

I'm sorry. I'm trying

to get to my son's soccer game.

Okay, well, how
long does it take

to walk to
the parking structure?

That's all that I need.

He came home with
a spine full of shrapnel,

nerve damage, and p. T.S.D.,

so I'm sure that there
would be a record

of him being treated here.

Hippa laws prevent us

from releasing
any personal information.

I think he may be
on the streets.

I don't know how else
to find him.

I'll be straight with you.

California has
the largest population

of homeless veterans
in the country.

In a city like L.A.,
on any given night,

there's about 75,000 people
living on the streets,

and nearly half
of them are vets.

So... you're saying
it's pretty much hopeless?

Even with a p. O. Box,

you might never find him.

Look at reality.

Has he made any attempt
to contact you?

No.

And how long has he been gone?

10 years.

Even if you're lucky enough
to locate him,

you have to prepare yourself.

For what?

If history is any indicator,

he may not want to see you.

Well, I want to see him.

I wish you luck.

I was always the grill-meister
and pancake chef.

The only two jobs
I ever got right as a dad.

Now, I suspect
you did better than that,

after watching you
with that dog of yours.

I think you were
a pretty good dad.

Are you really expecting
this many people?

Well, this is
one of the biggest days

of the year for us.

I'm going to be relying on you
in the kitchen.

Well...

Bunnies, giraffes,
you name it...

I can make it in a pancake.

My daughter, Alice...

Boy, she lived
for "pancake Sundays."

You okay?

Yeah. I'm okay.

All I wanted was
for Duke to get better,

but, I'm sorry, I don't
believe in miracles.

I don't.

Well, a miracle or a cure,
you wanted him to live.

Ain't nothing wrong with that.

It's a...

It's a horrible bargain
we make with our pets.

And they give us
unconditional love...

and, then,
the day of reckoning comes.

They die,

and it makes us feel like
it's the end of the world.

It breaks our heart,

and we act like,
somehow, it's unfair.

You will heal, Terry.

You'll heal...

And then you'll learn
to hope again.

But it is unfair.

It is unfair!

And I don't know
what hope is anymore.

You know what?

It sounds like

you're punishing yourself
for something.

But what is it?

I went to the clinic

to make sure

that he died peacefully...

I didn't have the courage
to go in...

and I just walked away.

Like I walked away from my wife,

and I walked away from my child.

Life tested me and I failed!

I failed!

And I don't know how to fix it!

You have to forgive yourself,
Terry.

I can't!

It's too late for me.

Have you...
Have you ever stopped to think

that the most important thing
in the world for a dog

is to live for his master?

Duke dedicated his life to you.

Come on, don't...

Don't squander that gift.

Use it.

Use it to turn your life around.

It's never too late.

It's never too late, my friend.

It's never too late for that.

Hey, how you doing?

Hey.

That's clear-heart redwood?

Gonna be a beautiful house.

You have any work here?

You're gonna have to
talk to George.

He's the general contractor.

Yeah.

Yeah, I was a finish carpenter.

I've got my...

My workshop is on my truck,
got all my tools.

Yeah, I can do caseworks,

moldings... You name it.

Buddy, I'm on the clock.

Alright.

You know, the truss joist
is undersized.

Got to be reinforced
at the load point.

You know that, right?

Look, you really
shouldn't be here.

You gotta wear a hard-hat.

It's union rules.

That's a code violation.

What?

I said, it's a code violation.

What's a code violation?

Well, building and safety'll

hang you out to dry
with the truss joists.

The load point
needs to be eight inches.

- Boss, it's fine.
- Son of a...

Make it right!

Good eye.

Thanks.

I was a general contractor
myself.

Name's Terry pulaski.

Shouldn't be here
without a hard hat.

Well, yeah. Union rules. Right?

It's new construction.

And... and historic
renovation...

Doesn't matter, I can do it all.

You obviously know

your way around the table saw.

Thanks. What's more,

I'll be first guy on-site
in the morning,

and I'll be
the last guy to leave.

What's wrong with the leg?

Just some...

Shrapnel in my back
when I was in the service.

I pretty much ignore it.

Ordinarily, I don't
hire anybody off the streets...

And, with your back,

yeah, you're an accident risk.

Nobody wants
a workman's comp case.

Yeah. Listen.

I haven't had a job interview
in a while,

you know, so...

I'm pretty rusty at this.

I mean, what more
do I need to tell?

I do need to start hiring finish
carpenters

for the phase ii kitchens.

Might be able
to put you on a crew.

Give me a call
in a couple weeks.

That'd be great!
You won't be sorry.

I promise you.

There you go.

No, I can't take this.

Take it. You saved me a citation

from building and safety.

You earned it.

We're here
at the valley animal clinic

in Sacramento

with a heartbreaking story
about a veteran and his dog...

The support is outpouring
for the dog,

but also the owner,

who is believed to be thought...

The TV news people

want to talk to you
when you're free. And...

I need some extra help
on the front desk.

I can't keep up with the phones.

Is there any new leads?

No, but...!

We are getting donations...

Cash, food cards,

pet store gift certificates
for Duke... you name it.

That's amazing!

Yes! Over $700 so far.

And...!

This...

You won't believe this.

People are calling in
with odd jobs

for Duke's owner...

Anything to help.

That's great.

Sorry.
I couldn't help overhearing.

Just a thought.

You might want

to consider using
some of those donations

towards Duke's
outstanding medical bills.

I can't re-appropriate
the funds, Janice.

It just doesn't feel right.

Look, could you...
I need to talk to you.

Could you walk
with me for a minute?

I need to be able
to practice medicine

without the approval

of some corporate committee.

I also need to know

that I can guarantee
my staff their jobs,

some of whom have been with me

since the very beginning.

I appreciate everything
that your company is offering...

Angela?

Today is my last day.

I have to finish that report
and send it in,

so I'm gonna level with you.

Okay.

You have an amazing practice.

It's compassionate,

skilful, professional,

but you run it
like it's mayberry r. F.D.

Now, your competition
is going to eat you alive

without our help.

I follow my heart.
I just try to do what's right.

The value isn't in the building
or the equipment,

it's in people like you
and your staff.

There's an incredible level
of dedication.

I saw it every day
in what you did with Duke.

I... sn't expecting
a compliment.

Having said that,

if you continue
to practice medicine like this,

I guarantee you,

you will be out of business
within two years.

Nevertheless,

I am going to recommend

that we complete the purchase.

Congratulations.

Matt?

You weren't supposed
to see this!

What are you doing home?

Sara and I switched shifts.
Why? What's up?

Happy first father's day.

I was gonna hide it
until Sunday.

I am the worst wife.

It is crooked...

And the frosting
came out of a can.

But it's applied
with such loving care

it's beautiful.

And it's... it's perfect.
I love it.

You're going to make
the best father.

So, hey, how'd
you make out today?

I took some flyers

down to the shelter
on Chatsworth at lunchtime.

Somebody there knew a guy
named "camper Terry"

who parks his motorhome
down by the river...

And he said he has a dog.

Really? Any address?

No, but he said that he parks it
in the carport at a house

where they kept
the Christmas lights up

all year-round.

Look, honey, I just...

I feel like you've been
running yourself ragged

these last couple of days.

If I have to go block-by-block
knocking on doors...

Well, what if you do find him?

This might not be
the movie moment

that you've been hoping for.

I just don't want to see
you get hurt.

I just want to find him, Matt.

Yeah.

Where the hell are you, Terry?

♪ I knew you felt
it would last forever ♪

♪ But it don't seem
like half as long ♪

♪ And it was grace
that's kept you ♪

♪ Safe thus far ♪

♪ And grace will lead you home ♪

♪ I knew
you wanted something better ♪

♪ I guess you wanted
something, too ♪

♪ And it was grace
that kept you ♪

♪ Safe thus far ♪

♪ And grace
will see you through ♪

Alright, alright. I'm movin'.

Don't give me a ticket.

No ticket! It's me, you idiot.

Where've you been?

Have a look at this.

It's Duke.

He's alive.

He's alive?

Hey!

He's alive!

He's alive!

Alright!

Come on. Please.

No...

♪ I knew you wanted
something better ♪

♪ I guess
you wanted something, too ♪

♪ And it was grace
that kept you ♪

♪ Safe thus far ♪

♪ And grace
will see you through ♪

♪ Out in the middle
of the ocean ♪

♪ Where the fishing
looks so fine ♪

♪ That's where
you'll find the grace ♪

♪ That'll keep you safe ♪

♪ And ease your worried mind ♪

Hey.

Hi.

One of the kids down the street

said you might be able
to help me.

My name's Alice pulaski.

I'm looking for my father.

Alice?

♪ I know god will keep you ♪

♪ All of your days ♪

♪ As grace
will see you through ♪

So, I've been going around
the neighborhood,

and I figured that,
eventually...

Alice?

Dad?

Is that you?

You're so grown-up.

Why, I...

I can't believe it!

10 years.

You're not my... you're not
my little girl anymore.

Look at you... Gray hair!

So...

What, are you married?

Do you have a...

Do you have a boyfriend,
or a family, or...?

So many questions.

I know. I'm sorry.

I just don't know
where to start.

I'm not good at this.

I mean, all this time, I...

I was afraid
that you'd passed away.

What happened to you?

I was on the streets.

How did you survive?

I had Duke with me.

God, you look just like
your mother.

How is she?

Dad...

Mom passed away.

Two years ago.

She had cancer.

She fought hard.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, Alice.

She deserved a lot better
than the life that I gave her.

Both of you did.

I'm sorry.

Look, we can't change
what happened, but...

We can start over.

I don't know how.

Well, there's a lot
that I want to say to you,

and a lot that we need
to talk about, but...

Maybe we could just start
with the easiest stuff.

After everything
I've done to you...

You're still my father.

Time doesn't change that.

Okay! Yeah, that's great.

Okay. Thanks.

So, I just talked to Dr. Angela,

and they're closed
for the night,

but she said we can meet her
first thing in the morning

at the clinic. How's that sound?

That's great. Great.
I'll pay you back.

Dad.

No, pumpkin, I promise.
I'll do it.

"Pumpkin."

Nobody's called me that
in years.

Sorry.

You're not a child anymore.

Honey,
I don't know how to do this.

Do what?

Figure out
how to be a father again.

I'll see you in the morning.

When did you find the time
to do that?

A future mother's work
is never done.

Happy father's day, Mr. Barelli.

Thank you, sweetheart.

Are you sure
you don't want me to come?

I want you to meet him, Matt.

It's just he's pretty fragile
right now.

Are you nervous?

In a lot of ways,
he's like a stranger to me.

Tell me
everything's gonna be alright.

Everything's gonna be alright.

- I love you.
- I love you, too.

Hey.

I see you're still
drinking "the Earl."

Yeah.

After you.

Are you okay here?

I mean... don't you
ever get lonely?

Yeah, sure, sometimes,

but I was never alone
when Duke was around.

All right, let's go.

I need to ask you something.

Yeah. Anything.

Why did you leave?

Was it because of me,
or because of mom?

Was is it something that we did?

No.

Marrying your mother,
having you...

Were the best things
that ever happened to me.

Then why?

I've never been able
to understand it.

When I came back
from Afghanistan,

I was...

I was broken.

I didn't want to be
a burden to you,

to your mother...

Especially after
the second surgery. I...

I wasn't a husband,
I wasn't a father.

I wasn't a man.

I wanted to die...

but I didn't even have
the courage to do that.

So, I left.

That's that.

Dad...

I'm pregnant.

You're going to be
a grandfather.

That's... That's incredible.

So, how far along are you?

Is it a boy? A girl?

Three months.

And we're going to wait
to find out.

But...

Matt and I really want for you
to be a part of the family.

Well, I don't know.

I wasn't much of a father.

I don't want
to disappoint you again.

My heart feels like

it's about to jump
out of my chest.

"Best foot forward," right?

Ready?

Hi...

Yes, I'm Terry pulaski.

I'm here for Duke.

It's nice to meet you,
Mr. Pulaski.

I just have a couple questions.

Okay. Can I see him, please?

It'll only take a minute.

Can you tell me

about the blanket
that he was wrapped in?

The blanket was, plaid...

He had a...

A red bandana around his neck.

Red's his favorite.
Feels naked without it.

The letter was beautiful.

And there was something else...

A medallion...

That I carved out of wood,

and, I carved a cross on it,

and...

He...

It was for a collar,

but he didn't like
to wear collars,

but, if you turn it over,
you can see I carved

"papa loves Duke" on it.

Mr. Pulaski...
He is an amazing dog.

Yeah. Yeah. He is.

Can I please see him now?

I will be right back.

Okay.

Do you think he'll forgive me?

He loves you, dad.

That's all that matters.

Hey-hey-hey-hey-hey!

You look good!
You look so good! Hey!

I've missed you!

That's my boy!

Look at you!

Look at you, man!

I've missed you.

You really took care of him.

Yes.

Is he going to be okay?

Absolutely.

He's going to be just fine.

Okay.

Hey! Do you remember me?

- Sure he remembers you.
- Do you remember me?

I missed you, too.

We're all together now.

I missed you too.

All together.

All of this...

Has been pouring in
since the newspaper story ran.

I'm calling it
"Duke's trust fund."

Hey, you hear that, Duke?
You hear that, buddy?

Yeah? You're my trust fund guy.

I can't... It's amazing!

I mean, how am I ever going to
thank all these people?

Just take good care of him.

This box...

Is full of contact information
of folks who want to hire you

to do... do odd jobs,
or whatever.

So...

All... all of these people
want me to work for them?

They were so touched
by your story,

that they wanted to have
a chance to give back.

I don't know how to thank you.

Come back and visit us.

As often as you want.

He understands
every word we say.

You know that?

This dog... Is one of

the most amazing dogs
I've ever met,

and I've met a lot of dogs
in my career.

Duke! Come here.

Hi.

You know, I'm gonna miss you
so much, little guy.

You've really shown me
why I'm still here

after 17 years.

Thank you.

Alright.

Thanks.

Thank you.

I'll get it.

I'd like you to have this.

Please.

You protected him
like he was your own.

He's your miracle, too.

Come on.
Come on, come on. Whoop!

The boy's back.
The boy's back! Look!

Come on. Back home!

Welcome home, buddy!

Look at him.

This is my number.

Promise that you'll call.

Okay.

Is it hard for you
to be around me?

Honey, honey...

It was never about you.

I know it's hard for you
to understand this...

But something happened to me...

And I never stopped loving you.

Okay?

I know, daddy.

Okay.

Lunchtime!

Hey, pumpkin!

There's my little girl.

Hi.

Come here, you. Come here, baby.

Dad, the place looks amazing.

Yeah, well,

George introduced me
to the new owners.

They want to do
some custom cabinetry.

Which will be great.

- Where's Duke?
- He's around here.

There you are. Hello!

There we go!

You're doing a dance for me?

Good boy!

Hello, beauty.

And guess what I've got

the kids at school working on?

What's that?

The California missions.

Do teachers still do that?

It's an institution.

In sugar cubes.

I still have mine.

No way.

Well, "nothing stands
without a good foundation."