In the spring of 2000, two burlap bags were found on the side of the road in Virginia. In one of these bags, there were three puppies. One was a female golden retriever, one was a male lab/retriever and then, there was this ugly, spotted canine whose breed was undetermined. The puppies were taken to a shelter and were ready for adoption. A lady from the Canine Underground Rescue Railroad (CURR) had brought these puppies by my firehouse and asked if anyone wanted to adopt one before she took them up to Massachusetts. I was going to take the female golden but then I looked at puppy with the funny spots, floppy ears, fat belly and sad face and I realized that if I didn't adopt her, she may be put down. The choice was clear, this my my puppy. I named her Cory and brought her home to meet her new family: Beener, a black lab/husky and Maty, a Dalmatian. I took her to the vet and asked what breed they though she was - no one could figure it out - but it really didn't matter since she grew up into a beautiful dog. |
In 2001, I went overseas to medical school and left Cory and Beener with Maty's mom and my best friend, Jenn. Jenn was the best fur-baby mom in the world and she took great care of these three hellions. In 2003, I went to Colorado to finish my clinical rotations. I met a wonderful man named Frank and eventually moved in with him. Jenn called me one day in tears. Maty had died. I told Jenn that I wanted her to have Beener and that I would bring Frank to Virginia to meet Cory. Beener was getting older. Cory was still young and could enjoy the outdoor fun in Colorado. If they got along, I would take Cory back to Colorado with us. Jenn was so happy. She loved "the Bean" and Beener loved her. Frank met Cory a few months later and it was love at first site. They bonded instantly. I lost my spot on the bed but that was okay because I was heading off to do my residency training. Frank took care of Cory and Cory was always there for Frank. They did everything together. She was his shadow and his constant companion.
A few years later, on a dirt bike trip to Moab, Utah, I saw a man walking a dog who had Cory's body and characteristic spots but a different head. I asked him what breed his dog was and he said "Dingo head on a red heeler body." I finally had my answer. Cory was part red-heeler. That explained her herding instincts, loyalty, agility and those spots!
We moved to Montana in December 2010. Cory loved her new house, her huge yard, the nearby lakes and mountain trails. She loved RV trips to exciting new places with new critters to meet and chase. She loved camping food: beef ribs, steak and road trip McDonald's French fries. Cory went with Frank just about everywhere. She was his "shadow." Nothing made her happier than just going for a ride in the car. In the winter, she loved to ride on the snowmobile with Frank. He made her homemade dog food every night. And after dinner, she had her place on the couch with Frank and the "back-scratcher." As she got older, he would carry her to bed where the two of them would snore in harmony.
Cory's main source of entertainment in the past 6 months has been the presence of a little female fox that we named Fuzzy. Cory loved to chase the fox around the driveway. The fox didn't run too far since she sensed that Cory was getting older and would never catch her. Eventually, Fuzzy would come to our front porch every night for food (to which we added mange medicine). She and Cory would stare at each other through the window. Dog-Fox Detente. Cory barked at the other foxes who also come by the for the free buffet but never at Fuzzy. They were friends now. Sometimes, they would stare at each other from both side of the fence in the back yard, but every night as it got dark, Cory would go to the front window and wait for Fuzzy.
Fuzzy never came by the night before Cory died and she hasn't been back to the porch since Cory's passing. The two male foxes have been by, but not Fuzzy. I don't know what happened to her and I fear the worst, but in my heart, I'd like to think that Fuzzy was Cory's "Spirit Guide" to the Rainbow Bridge where she will be reunited with Beener and Maty.
Cory was almost fifteen when she died. She was a very healthy dog. She was never really sick, she just got old and as our wonderful and compassionate Vet, Dr. Rich said on her last day, she just started "folding up." After he examined her on Sunday morning, I took her outside to get her favorite blanket from the back of my SUV. She didn't even try to jump in the back as she always did. Cory knew it was her time to go and her passing was very peaceful. She lived a good life, made even better by the loving care of her daddy, Frank. I miss her so much. Our house and our hearts are empty without her. She will always be remembered and will be in our hearts until we all meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.