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The 9th Council Member
Clifford LaDuex

Clifford LaDuex, a standard poodle, passed away on Saturday, December 7, 2013.  Clifford was considered the 9th Council member of the Osawatomie City Council.  

By day, Clifford was a professional therapy dog who worked with his owner/handler, and councilwoman, Karen LaDuex in her classroom at Osawatomie Middle School.  Because Clifford had been evaluated for temperament, he had extensive obedience training and passed a public access test, so he was certified to accompany Karen anywhere that is open to the public.  For that reason, Clifford had a better attendance record than most any person that every served on the Osawatomie Council, missing only two meetings in over six years.

Clifford firmly believed that everyone attended just to see him and he functioned as the Council's official greeter.  He also thought that meetings ended when there was applause and/or the gavel strikes the table—giving us a reminder that perhaps the meeting had lasted long enough.

In his early days, Clifford was a show dog, being shown by his breeder.  However, he grew too tall and began losing points because he was not the optimum height for a standard poodle.  At this point, Clifford was donated to CARES because his breeder saw in him the potential to serve others.  His temperament and intelligence made him a perfect candidate for therapy dog training. 

Clifford was first placed in a group home for emotionally disturbed teenagers.  This placement proved to be unsatisfactory and a CARES board member confiscated Clifford and returned him to Concordia.  Coincidentally this same board member, Danny McReynolds, had been recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and needed a mobility dog. 

Clifford went through additional training and became Danny’s dog.  He helped his owner maintain his mobility--to sit, to stand, to negotiate stairs, to keep his balance—and retain his job.  After several years Danny’s MS went into remission so he no longer needed Clifford.  Realizing that Clifford’s career was not over and that he was too valuable to become a house pet, Danny donated Clifford back to CARES, where Clifford again went through training and was offered as a therapy dog.  It was at this juncture that he came to live with Karen.

Clifford was a regular fixture in John Brown Memorial Park and probably one of the City's best experts on the grounds.  He loved to roam the area and even when his eyesight was fading in his later days, he let his nose guide him around on a sunny day after school.

Clifford's calm, yet joyful, demeanor will be missed at City Council meetings and in his visits to City Hall.  We hope that his legacy of loyal and joyful service will be a constant reminder to elected officials and City staff alike as we work toward the betterment of Clifford's community. 

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City of Osawatomie 439 Main St. Osawatomie, KS 66064 Ph: 913-755-2146 Fx: 913-755-4164