..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's Never Too Late To Change

(Corky at the airport)

Yesterday, Corky started his new life in Oregon.
He's as old as the hills and has been one of the
crabbiest dogs I have ever known. He is also
amazing. I first met Corky about 8 or so years
ago. He was dropped off at a kennel where some
friends and I who did "dog rescue" would keep
our rescue dogs while we found homes for them.
Corky had been dropped off by his owners and
"not retrieved." One can guess was the reason
was that he was too crabby. Only a guess.

He was not what you would call an "adoptable"
dog. None of the local rescues seemed to want
him. Not that I actually ever saw him bite
anyone. It was just the growling of that
little gremlin-like face that put you off.

So Corky was kind of "adopted" by the old man
who ran the kennel. The old man was nearly
blind and quite a character. Corky did not
get along with the man's other dog, so he
was gated in the kitchen. I used to visit
ever day to make sure the other dog got his
eye med's and Corky would always be there,
being Corky, which usually meant being
crabby. Once someone came all the way from
New Jersey, I think,to adopt Corky and
Corky just growled at them and went to
stand by Walter. He did not get adopted.
Corky is what you would call a "curmudgeon."

Well, Walter, the kennel owner, died this
year. We tried to find out what happened
to his dogs. Months later we found them
in a truly horrible condition. Corky was
just a matted, stinking mess. But what
could we do? He ended up coming to stay
with us for the last two months. Growling
and snarling all the way. But family is
family. We got him cleaned up and cared
for and he started to show signs of a
different kind of Corky, a mellower side
which actually might want you to come near.
I watched in amazement as he let my elderly
mom pick him up. He would follow her all
over the yard.

The day before yesterday we drove him to
meet some kind folks who had volunteered
to take him the rest of the way to meet
his new "mother." He crawled out of the
crate and slept on my friend's lap the
whole way. Hmmm. This was something new.

When we reached the place we had agreed
to meet these folks the man jumped out
of his car and so quickly came to look
at Corky that I had no time to say "But
wait, be careful, he may biteeeeeeeeee!"
but by then the man had already scooped
Corky up and cradled him in his arms.
Corky LET HIM. He leaned back against
the man's chest. No growling, no
snarling. Nothing. He wagged his tail.
HE WAGGED HIS TAIL! He looked alert and
happy. He looked at me directly, for
the first time. "Goodbye" I said.
"Goodbye!" I think he understood.

Yesterday these kind folks delivered him
to the airport where he was introduced
to his new mom and had a long, long flight,
in the cabin, to Oregon. We waited with
bated breath for the news of how it had
gone. His new mom called him "a trooper",
who basically slept the whole way. Today
he is settling into his new home, with a
kind, big-hearted woman and her other
canine companions.

I've learned two things from this: One,
its never too late to change, even if
you have been crabby your whole life.
Two, that God, in His infinite mercy,
loves even the smallest and most cast
aside of things, and using human hands,
can make a way for them.

Corky has dodged a lot of bullets in his
life. The last few he dodged were the
most amazing. The amount of things that
had to fall into place for this little
scrap of a dog to experience a real home
and warmth in his latter years is simply

It is never to late. We are never beyond
hope. God can still reach us. And yes,
we can change. Love does it every time.

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