I will miss this face until my very last breath. On Christmas Day 1998, she came into my life. While visiting Michael’s family for the holidays, I saw her get punted off a tall porch by a woman, and well, if you know me, you know how it went. We drove back to Virginia from Kentucky with her with the notion that we would find her a good home. After 6 months of turning down “unworthy” applicants, we found the perfect one. She was set to go to her forever home, but the night before, I cried as I buried my face in her fur. It turns out she was already HOME. She was with me through so much. She was the one constant I had in my life through all of the deployments, deaths, and depression. She literally saved my life. She loved to snuggle, and her silly antics never ceased to bring a smile to my face.
Korkie loved her stuffed animals. She would suckle on them like she was puppy nursing, and she always had one nearby. Mamma bought her a “toddlers” duck costume one year, thinking she could use it as a comfort blanket. She would suck on the stuffed animals like a baby on a bottle, and Mamma thought she would like it. Mamma was wrong. She LOVED it. We put it on her for Halloween and went to PetsMart. Normally, Korkie didn’t like other dogs. She wasn’t confident like that – unless she was wearing that duck. That night she walked up to a huge German Shepherd who wanted to play like it was nothing to her. Michael and I joked that she was saying, “I’m a duck motherfucker, QUACK.” From there, the tradition began – every year, she would get a new costume.
She was such a goofy thing. We used to go to a park in Newport News, VA, for walks and picnics, and one day as we walked by an empty playground, I decided to go down the slide. Michael took her leash and waited for me. She waited silently until she saw me go down the slide. As I was heading back to the ladder, she started to whine and pull at the leash. It turns out she wanted a turn. After that day, anytime we were at the park, she had a go at the slide.
We found out she had adenocarcinoma in July 2011. After all of the treatments and attempts to save her life and keep her happy, she died in my arms 8 months later. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice the hole she left in my life. She was my familiar, part of my soul, and she was so much more than a dog. She knew when I was struggling and would instinctively make a point of distracting me with her goofy smiles. When my pain and anxiety would start to ramp up, she was always there for me, reminding me simply by being there that it was going to be okay. I was going to be okay. We were going to be okay.
It has been nearly 9 years since I had to say good-bye, but not a day goes by that I don’t wish you were still here with me. Thank you for finding me and for choosing me to be your very own Human. I will never be able to put into words what you did for me and how the memories of you carry me through. I miss you, Korkabork. I always will.