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Corky

Corky came to us one dark and stormy night. No, really! We had recently been bereaved, losing our second elderly rescue Dalmatian in six months, and desperately wanted a new little friend.

No luck at a dog rescue centre so one Monday tea time my husband showed me a beautiful Border Terrier cross – free on Gum Tree! The only problem was he was seventy miles away and the October weather was dark with a spiteful rain and side serving of heavy, lurching winds.

Corky

Corky loves resting on the bed!

Undeterred, we contacted the owner and begged him to hold him for ninety minutes – until we could get him. A hairy but uneventful motorway drive took us to the most adorable little boy ever. I’ve only seen that look on my husband’s face twice before – when each of our children were born. Destiny – we were meant to have him. We first discovered what a challenge he was to be the next morning when my husband took him out for his first walk. You’d have thought we’d unleashed the hounds of hell – he was terrified of and aggressive towards everyone, every dog and every new experience. Hindsight is a wonderful thing – we’d never heard of ‘Reacitive’ dogs before – but we’d twenty years’ experience of undoing the poor behaviour of erstwhile rescue Dalmatians (bonkers at the best of times) so undeterred we set about his rehabilitation.

We sadly resigned ourselves to the fact that this little chap would probably never be ‘Off lead’ but still, we had chosen him and we were determined to change him into the happy boy we knew he could be.

We began dog training lessons – a big mistake – he went into meltdown whenever he saw a dog on a lead so you can imagine us in a church hall crowded with assorted misfits. We figured this was doing more harm than good so needed a rethink...We did not realise either that a Terrier is not contained by a 6’6” hedge, even one which had been embedded with a metre high industrial thickness fence for twenty years. It was at Christmas we got the ‘phone call every owner dreads ‘It’s the vet. I’m afraid Corky has been bought into us’. He’d somehow got out of our ‘secure’ garden.

Mortified, we raced the fifteen miles to Petersfield where we spotted him a small crate – he was panting frantically, his gums and tongue were white and there was a red dipstick on his tail.

Yet even though in considerable pain he brightened when he saw us and desperately licked my hand while the vet gave us the grave news. He’d been hit by a car two miles from our home on the motorway by a car doing 70. A young lad stopped his van (!) and picked him up. Enter our second guardian angel – a lady who had been walking her two dogs at a nearby beach and had spotted this poor lad who looked shocked and helpless. She took him and drove to her local vet who had then contacted us. The news was grave. ‘If his pelvis isn’t broken he will live. His back legs are smashed. He will need specialist surgery at our spinal unit in Winchester. It’s going to cost £4,000 to £5,000. We let this sink in – the week before Christmas. But there was never any doubt – he was our boy and if we didn’t have the money we’d borrow it.

Corky

Corky recovering

Corky had major surgery the following day. His back foreleg was broken in four places and his opposite hip was out of its socket. We had to drive him from the vet in Petersfield to Winchester to a unit identical to Noel Fitzpatrick’s, although we hadn’t heard of him then. We bought him home Christmas Eve. and he spent best part of twelve weeks in a crate where he healed. His back end looked like a plucked chicken.

By March the only thing that hadn’t recovered was our bank balance! My husband spent the winter fencing off half our garden to make it as Corky proof as we could – but never under estimate a Terrier – we don’t turn our back on him now! We put him onto a raw diet – we were unaware that the ‘food’ we’d been feeding him was the equivalent of raising a child on Skittles, burgers and Coke. His behaviour improved dramatically and he quickly became a different dog. Pretty soon he was off lead and obeying commands. Although like most Terriers he’s selectively deaf...

Corky Chilling

Corky chillin'!

Two years on it all seems like a bad dream. He now spends his days having long walks and tummy tickles. His favourite walks are over Hayling Beach with his best friend Ralph the Poochon. See lead photo.We’ve been told he may have a touch of arthritis when he’s older and he walks with a bit of a gait. He’s now known as Corky the five thousand pound hound. And he’s worth every penny!

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