ten years of cody

A few months ago, we celebrated the two-year anniversary of adopting Tala. Today is the ten-year anniversary of our adopting Cody.

Cody now is probably older than any of our dogs ever were. We think she was between one and two years old when we got her, probably almost two, so that makes her around 12. For a rescue, especially a larger dog, that's quite senior.

I've been sad about Cody lately, wondering if today is our last Cody Day. But she's doing well, enjoying her life, and we're enjoying every day with her.

Cody is an odd duck. I sometimes say she's a cat dressed up in a dog costume, the least "doggy" dog I've ever known. She's strange, quirky - and so sweet.

* * * *

Cody's been through a lot; she's a survivor. Someone found her living on one of the busiest streets in Jackson Heights, Queens. A man selling "meat on a stick" - that's what it's called! - threw a chunk of meat into traffic so she would chase it. A woman saw that, corralled Cody, and took her home. She was ten pounds overweight - the only dog I've ever heard of who was an overweight stray.

The woman who rescued Cody already had four rescued dogs in her small apartment, and she wasn't managing well. She hung up some signs, hoping to place a few of them for adoption.

We lost our first dog - the beloved Gypsy, a dog in a million - in November 1998, and by early 1999 we could no longer stand to see her little friend Clyde so lost and lonely. We needed to adopt a friend for Clyde. I started looking into some breed rescue - I believe this was pre-Petfinder - when Allan saw a sign at work that brought us out to Queens.

Cody was dirty and depressed. She was the last one in the crowded apartment, and she spent her days on a leash tied to a doorknob. We met another dog from the same household who was healthy and high-spirited, but Cody needed us more. Also, Clyde was a very strong alpha terrier, and we thought Cody would be a better fit.

Poor Cody! April 19 was not a very fun day for her. First some strangers put her in a car and drive for an hour. Then she walks for almost an hour, over the George Washington Bridge. (It was my mother's car and we had to return it, then walk home.) Cody had never walked very much, plus the trucks on the bridge are noisy and scary. (There's a pedestrian lane, it's safe, but she didn't buy that.) Then it got worse!

When we got home, I held Cody's leash while Allan went up to get Clyde. Clyde immediately knew what was going on, and set about punishing Cody. She would jump up and nip Cody's face - over and over. This went on for three days. Cody had little pock marks all over her face where Clyde had nipped off her fur.

After three days, Clyde accepted Cody as her slave, and Cody was grateful for the privilege.

Cody adored Clyde. She lived for Clyde's attention. Cody was much bigger than Clyde, and she liked to put her mouth around Clyde's entire head, a show of affection. Clyde, the alpha, was outwardly indifferent to Cody, as she had been to Gypsy; that's how alpha dogs are. But they had a great time together.

We thought it was the beginning of a new era, changing from Gypsy and Clyde to Cody and Clyde.

Four months later, while we were on a baseball road trip, Clyde became very ill. She hung on until we got home, and died two days later.

Gypsy and Clyde were together for nearly 10 years, and we lost them both within 8 months of each other.

[Long pause here.]

Then it was only Cody.

Cody and Clyde had played together constantly. But alone, at the dog park, Cody would just wander around by herself, never playing with other dogs. (She's still like that.) If any dog ever needed another dog to be happy, it was the young Cody.

And we needed another dog, too! Cody was so quiet and dull, it was hardly like having a dog at all.

In December 1999, on the phone with my sister, I said, "I think we're ready to get another dog. The next stray that crosses my path is ours." A week later, I found Buster.

For the next six years, Cody was the constant, faithful, adoring companion to an emotionally disturbed, medically unstable pit-mix.

Our move from New York City to Canada was traumatic for Cody. She huddled in a cave of boxes for ten hours (plenty of stops, as Buster was on high doses of prednisone at the time!). Towards the end, an ironing board crashed down. She hated us.

Cody was depressed for two weeks after the move. But after she snapped out of it, she discovered the joys of a backyard, neighbours (she lived for the sound of our next-door neighbour's gate opening, so she could run over to say hello), walking by a lake, and of course... sticks.

Ten weeks later, we lost Buster.

[Long pause here.]

Then, again, it was only Cody.

Strangely (to me), Cody was never depressed after Buster's death. She settled in to her only-dog life, and seemed very happy. Her life actually improved, as without our special-needs boy, we could do more, and Cody could often come along.

But Cody just isn't enough dog for us. It was a full year after Buster's death before we were ready to think about getting another dog, but a few months after that, along came Tala.

Cody's life was ruined. For a while. But dogs are pack animals, they want to live with other creatures, and eventually Cody accepted Tala as part of her pack. Today, they love each other, in that asymetrical dog-love way: Tala loves Cody and Cody permits her to do so. But since the arrival of Tala, Cody is healthier - she's lost weight, gained muscle, is more active, more spry.

As I write this, I hear them playing in the backyard outside my window. Those playful grunts and growls are the sweetest sounds.

* * * *

Allan put together a little photo retrospective of our life with Cody.

First pics of Cody, Upstate New York, 1999

cody upstate

Cody and Clyde, Summer 1999

clyde & cody 02

Cody and Buster, New York City



cmtc (cody moves to canada)

drive_north 007

First Nap in Canada

drive_north 022

Port Credit Yard

moving in 014

Playing with Buster

pups at play 002

Forks of the Credit, October 2005

fork of the credit 03

fork of the credit 09

US Thanksgiving in New Jersey, November 2005

canadian cody 002

Cody in Winter

cody backyard snow 007

wmtc1 (2006)

wmtc party 6.17.06 009

wmtc party 6.17.06 001


cody raking leaves 002

cody raking leaves 008

US Thanksgiving, 2006

thanks nj 07

We Meet Tala


Cooksville Backyard

new house 01.04.07 012

More Sticks!

dogs in the sun 08

EZ-Bake Cody

dogs in the sun 05

Snow, February 2008

backyard snow feb 07 08 024

tala cody backyard snow2 007

Mid-Hike Treats

elora gorge 29 april 08 011

August 2008

tala & cody august 08

Dirt Dog

cody dirt 004

tala cody autumn 2008 055

January 2009

tala cody snow jan 09 062

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