I became a pet owner on accident. On a random Sunday, I made a pitstop at PetSmart to pick up a toy for my parent’s new puppy. As I walked into the store I realized there was an adoption event happening that day. Yes! I loved seeing dogs despite my insane jealousy that I did not have one of my own.
Immediately, I saw a woman holding the leash of quite possibly the cutest dog I had ever seen. She was talking with one of the rescue volunteers. Her dog was so cute that I couldn’t help but sit down and start petting the cute little nugget. He couldn’t help but get comfortable in my lab. I looked into his eyes and he looked in mine and that was it. There is such thing as love at first sight. But this was someone else’s dog. Just as I could feel my heart breaking, I overheard the woman holding the leash tell the rescue volunteer, “I need to go home and get my cat. He can’t come home with us unless he likes the cat.” The volunteer politely agreed but told her she couldn’t promise her that he would be there when she returned. The leash holder shrugged her shoulders and said she would be back shortly because she just lived down the street. She handed the puppy’s leash back to the volunteer.And my life changed right at that moment.
I stood up and at the exact same time the volunteer and I said “I’ll take him!/You’ll take him?”
The dog was a black and white cocker spaniel who they guessed to be between 1 and 2 years old. He was shy. He hated his butt being touched. He didn’t like to be picked up.
His name was Korky.
The volunteer told me that he was a jumper who loved to try to get over the fence and could spend the whole day in a mud hole.
I have to laugh when I think of that little tidbit. Korky was NOT a jumper and he hated getting dirty. Just like his mom. 😉
I always like to tell people that Korky and I picked each other. But when you think about our story, it is absolutely true. Thanks to a cat and a well timed visit to PetSmart, we were united.
I had no business owning a dog. I was young, depressed (there is no shame in this) and just kind of a mess. Fortunately, Korky was also young, depressed and just kind of a mess. We were instantly two peas in a pod.
Korky was my first major adult purchase. Owning him gave me a purpose. I had to wake up each day to walk him. I had to feed him. I had to be responsible for him. All of these things became part of of not only taking care of him, but also taking care of myself.
One of my first memories of introducing Korky to someone new was when I took him back to Pensacola to meet my parents. He ran inside their house with puppy enthusiasm, threw a kong toy into their glass entertainment center and then hopped onto their coffee table.
Just like his intro to my parents, our start together was also a little bumpy. If I got upset at him for anything and raised my voice a little, he would run away and I would find him cowering in the shower. He hated when I touched his butt and would often growl. It was obvious that Korky had had a rough life as a puppy. I was ready to turn our lives around.
Over time, we grew up together. As I started to love him more, he tolerated me more. A few months into our time together, he let me scratch his butt. It makes me laugh to think about how big of a step this was at the time because as he became older he made it his mission for every human he met to scratch his butt.
Korky had a unique personality that required constant supervision and a patient attitude. Two things that I was unable to provide 100% of the time. When I didn’t, Korky would remind me that he needed those simple things from me by deliberately crapping in my kitchen, or chewing a piece of paper towel into about 10000 pieces or, my favorite, eating red chapstick on a white carpet.
Over the years he became known for his antics in eating random things. If you and I have been friends for any length of time, I know that you have an amazing story about how Korky tried to eat or succeeded in eating something from your purse or kitchen. He was a magician at being cute and deceitful all at the same time.
Korky and I met in Tallahassee, Florida. We lived together in 3 states and 7 different apartments. Along the way we made lots of friends and even gained a family member (the husband).
When I started this blog, A Girl & Her Mutt, it was about my life as a duo. Korky and I were a pair experiencing life together. To know me was to know my dog. The blog has changed over the years to include my adventures with friends, family, my husband and everything in between. There were times when Korky wasn’t the center of attention on the blog, but he was always the center of my life.
If I was sick, Korky was by my side. If I couldn’t sleep, Korky was next to the bed for me to pet. If I was sad, Korky was there for me to cry into his fur. If I was happy, Korky was there for me to dance with.
This past summer Korky turned 15. I have no idea when he was actually born so we celebrate his birthday on the date that I took him home with me. His advanced age was never more apparent than it was this year. His hair was more grey than black. He walked up each stair with more effort than usual. He snored like a bear in hibernation.
He also became the MOST LOVING dog over the past year. He loved to lay on his back and have his belly rubbed. For hours! He would curl up in my lap and let me pet more than just his butt. His Dad (my husband) would hold him like a small child as they watched tv together.
Last Tuesday we found out that Korky was in kidney failure. The most difficult decision I have ever made was to say that it was Korky’s time to go. And as horrible as it sounds, it was also the easiest. Korky had led a wonderful, long life and we all knew it. We also knew that prolonging his life would be a selfish thing for us to do. Korky wasn’t in pain and we weren’t about to make him suffer.
On Korky’s last day, I took the day off from work to spend it with him. We did everything he loved. We cuddled on the couch, ate french fries from McDonald’s and antagonized the bunny that lives in the yard next to our house. He even spent a little bit of time in his favorite spot in the house, his bed in our living room. I used to think he loved the bed more than anything but I realized he actually loved the spot the most. He could see any doorway in the house. Even during a nap you could find him with one eye open keeping an eye on our whereabouts.
On Wednesday, 11/11 at 5pm, we said good-bye to Korky.
Writing out the date and time in words is more painful than I thought it would be and I had to take a small break because I was crying so hard.
We were together as a family as he took his last breath. He could feel my husband’s hands as he petted his belly like he had done thousands of times before. He watched me with his eyes and I told him how much I loved him, how much he would be missed and how much I appreciated all that he added to my life.
Then I told him it was ok to go. And he left us.
I never really paid much attention to the story of the “Rainbow Bridge” prior to last week. When I found out that we would be saying good-bye to Korky I decided to look it up and give it a read.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
I have never believed in something as much as I believe in the Rainbow Bridge.
I’m writing this a week after his death and I still cry when I think too much about him. Each day gets a little easier as we go through a bunch of “firsts”. The first time I came home to an empty house. The first time my husband went to work without walking him in the morning. The first weekend where we didn’t spend it together folding laundry and cooking in the kitchen.
The support of my husband, parents and friends has been overwhelming. I posted a note about his passing to my Facebook and was blown away by not only the number of comments on my post, but the touching words of those comments. When people thought of me, they thought of my dog. It felt good to be in such great company. I’ve received texts, phone calls, and sympathy cards.I know that if others knew how much I loved him, then that means Korky had to have known how much he meant to me.
I gave Korky a great life. Even more so, he gave me one.
So what about A Girl & Her Mutt? Well, I’m still A Girl & Her Mutt. As long as I am here, so will Korky’s memory.
Thanks for reading my little blog and being a part of my life. I hope you will continue to follow me as I start a new chapter of life. One that is filled with love, laughs and many more great memories.
Erin & Korky