A picture of the late Belle looks over Daniel Luecke and his new pal Balto. 

Daniel Luecke opens his heart, home and store to a new rescue pooch after losing his beloved Belle

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Daniel Luecke of Luecke Audio, Video & Appliances was perplexed when he learned last year that his dog Belle did not win YSN’s Dog Days of Summer contest (she came in a close second).

Luecke was certain there was no better dog in any store, anywhere, period. He immediately demanded a rematch.

See: Dog Days has a Winner

Sadly, that rematch will never happen, as Belle passed away this spring. “It is with a heavy heart that I had to inform my customers and friends that Belle is no longer with us,” Luecke said. “She lived a happy and famous lifestyle here at the store and she will be greatly missed.”

Belle had many issues when Luecke rescued her from a shelter a couple of years ago. After nursing her back to health she became a fixture at his Seymour, Ind., showroom, with many customers asking for her by name. “Belle was my ride-or-die companion,” he said. “She went with me literally everywhere; didn’t matter if it was two minutes away or a five-hour drive. She was always by my side. Belle was the sweetest animal I have ever known. It was very tough losing her.”

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Luecke’s departed dog Belle was the face of the business, with her image plastered on everything from water bottles to the company van. 

As hard as it was losing Belle, Luecke opened up his heart, home and store to a new rescue dog, a 12-year-old Husky named Balto. “He may be 12 years old but he acts like he’s 4,” Luecke said.

Balto had belonged to an elderly woman who was moving into an assisted living facility and was forced to give him up. Due to his age, the hound would have been a very hard placement had the BrandSource member not stepped up and adopted him last month.

Luecke is a strong advocate for choosing a rescue dog. “Whether they came from a bad home or a good home like Balto, I believe these dogs deserve another chance,” Luecke said. “Most people won’t consider taking in a rescue dog and opt for a puppy from a breeder. The love and attachment you get from a rescue dog is so amazing; they are so grateful to be out of a shelter and in a loving home.”

Balto goes everywhere with Luecke and is proud to be a part of the team.

Understandably, Balto was a bit overwhelmed by all the new people, sounds and commotion during his first few trips to the store. Although he is new to this retail thing, he is quickly adapting to his fresh surroundings. “Just like Belle, he is a very sweet animal,” Luecke said. “He usually just lays in the office as long as someone is nearby, but the second we move away from him he stresses. I think being a new place, he just doesn’t want to be abandoned again.”

New dog Balto (left) rocks the company colors as proudly as his predecessor Belle did.

Luecke is letting Balto fully acclimate to his new environment before giving him access to the retail floor and, ultimately, free reign of the store. “He just needs a little more time,” his owner said.

Oddly enough, any resemblance between Belle and Balto is purely coincidence, Luecke said. Nevertheless, “It worked out well,” he noted, as Belle’s image can still be seen all around Seymour.

Luecke added that people throughout the town are already getting to know Balto, who is picking up the mascot mantle right where Belle left off. “I did the drive-thru at the bank this week with Balto,” he said, “and they immediately asked me if I was going to get some magnets and stickers made of the new dog. I told them it was already in the works.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.

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