Corki-dog joined our family as a ten-week-old puppy. We were looking for a youngster to give our elderly mongrel, Bunko, a new leash on life (yeah, I said that!) I visited a local rescue group’s website, armed with my Accomplice’s requests: smaller than 100 pound Bunko, less hairy (Bunko was a Chow/German shepherd/Aussie/border collie, and he had two thick coats that left his hair everywhere!), with a tail that was less lethal to cups of coffee left on the coffee table (Bunko’s tail was a glorious curling plume that did abundant damage)…
Oh, and he wanted a puppy who would bark less.
Enter Corki – so named because his tail belonged on a bulldog. It was stubby little thing with two distinct curls, so tight to his body that we could usually only tell he was wagging it if his entire backside wiggled! We were told he was a lab/shar pei, but, the first time he turned upside down, we were confronted with the truth – the huge jaw of an American Staffordshire Terrier – in slang terms, a pit bull. The end of his muzzle and his rear end, though, were slender, and I was sure he had Vizsla blood, as well.
Whatever his heritage, we saw him twice at the adoption clinics – the first time was to do our paperwork and get ready for a home visit, and the second time to adopt. We’d been looking at a different dog the first time, and so had only seen Corki briefly, in a pen with his eight siblings, none of whom had that lovely tail.
By the next weekend, we’d pretty much decided on him, and were there bright and early in hopes of bringing him home. I sat on the ground, and Corki was released from the pen – and trotted right over to plunk himself in my lap.
And that was that.
We brought him home in a cat carrier, and, when we opened it, he curled up on a blanket one of the kids had left on the living room floor and fell asleep. Just like that, he was part of the family – to everyone but Bunko, who never liked his new “companion.”
Corki grew up with the children, but, in the way of dogs, he aged faster. The last couple of years saw him going gray and slowing down, although he remained sweet-tempered and adoring.
It was mid-August when we noticed he wasn’t eating his dry kibble. We moistened it, and that helped for a few days. Then we went to a gravy-rich brand, then kibble with moist pieces, then canned food. He’d eat each for a day or two, then stop.
By then, we knew what was happening. Our beloved dog had a swift-moving cancer, and we had neither the money for expensive treatment, nor the wish to put him through that for the few weeks it might have bought him.
When he wouldn’t even eat cheese, his favorite human food, we knew he would die soon. He took to spending more time outside, and, on September 11, I saw him outside my bedroom window. I told him he was a good boy, and I loved him. He looked back at me.
Twenty minutes later, my Accomplice went out to bring him water, and he was dead.
To say he is missed is an understatement. He was family, plain and simple. He was part of the fabric of us, and we’re who we are in part because he was part of us.