Antonucci - Kodiak - Tacoma, WA
Kodiak (formerly Kobe)
In June of last year, Kim Spooner, our club’s rescue coordinator called and asked me if I would be willing to foster a geriatric Berner. An 87-year old woman with dementia was Kobe’s owner. Kobe had escaped his enclosure and was found wandering the streets of Vancouver, WA by Animal Control. He was very neglected and underweight. He was literally skin and bones and weighed in at 43 pounds. At first they didn’t know if he would survive, but thankfully, Kobe had a good appetite and a great spirit.
Since my house was still feeling empty after losing Whidbey, my own geriatric Berner the previous year, I agreed without hesitation. So we trekked down to Vancouver and couldn’t believe our eyes despite already knowing his situation. I don’t think Kim or I will forget the smell that wafted from Kobe as we walked into the room that day. Wherever he went he left a smell that lingered like Pigpen’s dust trail. He was covered in mats, and when we got done clipping him, the only fur he had was a little tuft on the top of his head. But alas, Kobe’s tail never stopped wagging! It took us over 3 hours to make him “presentable” and when we took him outside to potty, he spent 5 minutes rolling in the grass feeling what could only be sweet relief. Well, Kobe was clean for the ride home, but Kim and I were a bit worse for wear, not to mention smelly!
For 6 months we worked to get Kobe healthy. He put on 40 pounds, got neutered, got rid a few infections, was housebroken, and got his incontinence issues under control with medication. We did exercises to build up his muscles, socialized him, and I began using him as a therapy dog with my patients.
He was ready for adoption in December, and I planned to place him owing to the fact that I felt Kobe deserved a home where he was front and center for all canine attention, and I already had Orcas and was planning for a new puppy. But after a particularly heartwarming therapy dog session with a patient, I decided I that this guy’s gift as a therapy dog needed to be honored. All of my dogs have been therapy dogs, but for Kobe, this work came naturally to him.
So in January, I officially adopted him. I changed his name from “Kobe” to “Kodi” – short for Kodiak to keep with the island-themed-naming of all of my Berners, and he has settled well into the household. He and Orcas have come to a level of understanding and respect, and he knows that Skagit, the cat, is ultimately in charge.
Kobe is a rags-to-“almost-riches” story. He doesn’t live in a palace or drink from diamond-encrusted bowls but he eats 2-squares a day, and sleeps on a Tempurpedic bed. He goes to work with mom almost every day and gets loves regularly. That’s rich enough in our book.