The dog has died. Not our dog, my parents' dog, the family dog, Corky. Yes, our dog.
She drowned at the lake house this evening, where she is free to roam and swim and bark terrritorily at anyone who drives down her road. Where it gets very dark and where my parents could not see her when she had a seizure too close to the shoreline or slipped off the dock and into the water.
She swam really well. She loved to swim and she would often follow us out to play in the water, paws frantically paddling. As she got older, we put a child-sized life-vest on her so she could swim easier with us. She would emerge from the lake, fur dripping, tongue hanging, tail wagging, a happy, happy dog.
She was fourteen years old and epileptic and arthritic. We knew she wouldn't live much longer. We just didn't suspect my parents would be burying her on the hill overlooking the lake and the house and her road so soon.
Before Lil E, she was our living room entertainment. Like many pets and people, in her age she was sometimes nippy and crabby. But there was still that sense of mutual love when she was around us, when she barked and paced protectively when Lil E cried from his crib and when she waited patiently at my dad's feet at just about 9 o'clock every night for my dad to give her permission to go to bed.
My dad, the one rather irritated that my mom gave him a puppy as a present, said he never wanted a little dog to carry around in the crook of his arm. After he saw her, named her Corky as a reference to her Welsh Terrier breed's liveliness and also for Corky Sherwood-Forrest on Murphy Brown, he made her his dog. A few days later, I spied him walking through the house with Corky nestled in the crook of his arm.
My dad had a special whistle for her. When he whistled it and called her tonight and she didn't come, he says he just knew.
She was a jumping jumping jumping dog, the one we called Corky Phyllis, Corky Arlene, Corky Anne, Corky Lu.
We are sad. Crying and very sad. And we somehow have to tell our boy who had a love-fear relationship with the being in our family closest to his size. I am going to miss that little crazy dog, miss her waggy tail and her love of microwave popcorn turned snack time into a gane of fetch. I am going to miss her at our feet and in the yard and most of all, swimming with all her heart along with us at the lake.