The Gothic Reading Room on the second floor of Duke’s Rubenstein Library serves as a gallery of noteworthy figures in the university’s history. Portraits of Washington Duke, James Buchanan Duke, and Benjamin Newton Duke are surrounded by those of trustees of the Duke Endowment, Duke’s previous presidents, and other distinguished personages from the past.
Today, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor, the Duke University Libraries are pleased to unveil the newest addition to this pantheon of worthies: Nugget, Duke’s famous golden retriever.
“Over the past few years, Nugget and her paw, Keith, have become fixtures of campus,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price at the portrait unveiling ceremony, flanked on either side of the dais by presidential pets Scout and Cricket. “Throughout the dog days of midterms and ruff final exams, they are always there with a wag and a wave, reminding students to never stop retrieving. Those familiar with their story know it as a tail of serving others and spreading joy.”
Price noted that as the university places an increased emphasis on student and employee wellness, “It is only fitting to recognize Nugget’s uncanny ability to breed positivity and lower stress.”
In a nod to her own pawpularity on campus, the honor of pulling down the black cloth was a special treat reserved for Peaches the calico cat, who promptly curled up on it and napped through the rest of the ceremony.
Attendees at the event commented on the portrait’s rebarkable likeness and how well it captured Nugget’s well-bred dognity. It came as no surprise to learn from the university’s official portrait painter that she had maintained great pawsture throughout the painting session, obediently responding to his commands of “Sit,” “Lay down,” and “Stay.”
“For years, Nugget and Keith have been hounded by the puparazzi every time they set foot on campus,” said Price. “Now, we’ve captured that lovable smile and silky golden coat in a manner that can last fur-ever. Though the idea of placing her among such esteemed company here in the Dukiest place on campus may seem far-fetched to some, I think we can all agree it’s about time Nugget gets the appaws she deserves.”
“After all,” the president concluded, “she’s such a good girl.”