Has a rescued animal rescued you?

By Latrece Zahos Barcik

It was August of 2003. I had lost my dog, Frank, very suddenly, very traumatically, in September 2002. For the past eleven months, the entire house had felt the loss.

I hadn’t been able to make peace with the decision I’d had to make to let Frank go over the Rainbow Bridge. Our Aussie, Molson, had become moody and a little snappy with the cats, which was completely out of character for him. And my husband John was at a loss as to how to make me feel better about losing my dog.

I woke up on a sunny Saturday morning, and something was different. I woke up with one thought — I wanted a dog. My own dog. Molson was always John’s dog, and I wanted another Frank. We went to brunch with my parents to celebrate my dad’s birthday, and I announced that we were going to the animal control shelter afterward.

I think it probably shocked everyone, but I had it in my head and it was almost like something, some unknown force, was pushing me there. John didn’t want to go; he had other things he wanted to do that day, but I insisted. I was going with or without him.

We went with the idea of getting another Frank, a look-a-like, but I was really open to any dog. I remember the shelter being quite full. There was every kind of dog, every shape and size, old and young.

I had to look at them all. I passed by a pen with puppies…not interested. They were adorable, but I preferred to rescue an adult dog. In the next pen was a little black-and-white dog. He was short, from what I could tell. According to his card, he was a Corgi mix, a year or so old, and he’d been there seventeen days.

His “date out” was going to be on Monday. I knew what that meant. Poor guy. He had a collar but no tags. Obviously he’d been someone’s dog. Why had no one come looking for him? I talked to him softly and then moved on. John was getting impatient, as I’d seen every dog there and was going for another pass.

I went back to the little Corgi mix and talked to him some more. He came forward and put his paws up on the gate, then retreated, but our eyes were locked, and I felt it. In that moment I knew he was going to be MY dog. There was personality in him; I just knew it.

Everyone was cooing over the puppies next door. An animal control volunteer came by, asking if anyone wanted to meet with a dog. I took the little Corgi out for a walk in the designated area. It wasn’t anything special; he just seemed happy to be out.

I told John this was it. He told me I was nuts. He didn’t see what I saw. I said I thought the dog would be a great companion for Molson, who was eight by that time and didn’t need a spastic puppy bouncing around.

We filled out the paperwork, paid for my little “blob” (John’s description of him), and I rode with the dog, in the backseat, on the way home. By the time we got there, he had a name – Corky the Corgi. If his ears stood up, he really would look like a Cardi, but I think his ears are perfect as they are.

At first Corky was timid. Then he saw the half-acre of grass in the backyard and took off like a shot. Molson dashed after him to see his new brother. Corky ran and ran and ran some more. Molson was happier than I’d seen him in almost a year, and they seemed to bond almost instantly. My heart was suddenly lighter than it had been in almost a year. Corky just made me smile.

I spent all day trying to figure him out. As I suspected, he had been someone’s dog. He was housebroken, knew how to sit, learned his name, and was very sweet and obedient. He became a cat magnet right away. My cats loved to groom and love on him. He was an immediate hit, and I felt our family was complete again.

That was seven years ago, and Corki is as much of a joy now as he was the day he helped my heart begin to heal. He truly was the only thing that made it somewhat better. As anyone who has lost a pet knows, there are no replacements, but sometimes you find another to help fill the hole that’s left when we have to say goodbye.

I call Corky the therapy dog because I had been wondering if grieving for a dog for almost a year was normal and if I needed to see a doctor about it. No doctors needed, it turns out. Corky was the prescription to turning things around.

I vowed never to let grieving go that long again, and when we lost Molson in December 2008, I began pushing for another dog almost immediately. I saw everyone grieving including Corky but especially John. I knew the answer was to save another dog.

John resisted, but two months later we rescued Chloe, a golden retriever mix from the same shelter where we got Corky and Molson before him. Having experienced the same kind of grief that I did after Frank, John agreed that I was right to push for another. Not a replacement, as there are none. In saving a life, we have that deed returned. I believe that when we rescue a shelter dog, we truly save US.

I believe there was something that drew me to Corky that day. I believe we were meant to be his family. The Universe knew something that I didn’t, and I’m glad I listened.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/nlimage41.html to see a delightful image of Corky.

Latrece Zahos Barcik is a part-time pet sitter from Lawrenceville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. In addition to Corky and her husband they have five cats and a dog named Chloe. They are all rescues.


Has a rescued animal rescued you?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family

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