The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 13, 2013

BICKER: Celebrating a love like no other

CLINTON — Over the past 14 years, there has been one constant in my life and that one constant has been my dog.

For those of you who have read my column for the last four years, you’ve come to know my tried-and-true faithful companion, Cordy.

Toward the end of 2012, Cordy’s health declined and I almost lost her, but I’m happy to report that she is doing well and just celebrated her 14th birthday on Tuesday.

Cordy’s birthday is always a bittersweet time for me since she has endured so many health issues. She is definitely my comeback kid — a real fighter.

She has gone through several surgeries, which have included two knee replacements, and continues to battle thyroid and liver problems, congestive heart failure and renal failure. We’ve been through it all — together.

Cordy has seen me through the lowest of lows and it has been my privilege to stick by her as well. I would do anything for Cordy even if it meant walking to the ends of the Earth.

After Cordy got sick around Thanksgiving, our whole world turned upside down. Cordy had to be on a completely different diet — one she didn’t like very well. It was a real challenge for me and for her. Since Cordy didn’t like her new food, dinnertime proved to be very stressful in trying to get her to eat. After a lot of laboring and worrying, I came up with the perfect solution to our problem.

To camouflage her food, I got an old blender and started blending up her food into powder. To make her food more inviting, I boiled sweet potatoes and then mashed them into the powder.

To make her meal even more tantalizing, I added some boiled chicken. And, after all of this, Cordy finally liked her food again. What a relief. It felt as if a 2-ton truck had just been lifted off of my shoulders. As you can see, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her.

When Cordy’s birthday rolls around, I can’t help but think of that little ball of fluff she used to be. She was so tiny then — just 8 weeks old when I brought her home. It seems just like yesterday instead of 14 years ago.

Where did the time go? It seems even more unbelievable to me, that I was only 22 years old at the time.

Since I’ve spent my career in the newspaper industry, it only would seem logical that Cordy would have come to me through an ad in the classifieds. The owners simply advertised sheltie puppies for sale.

Since I grew up with a collie, I knew I wanted to check out these little puppies. After graduating from college and landing my first job, I deeply wanted a dog to keep me company. So, this brief ad in the classifieds was an answer to my prayers. Cordy has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

There were a lot of puppies in Cordy’s litter, but when I saw her I knew that she was meant to be mine. I’ve often wondered what has happened to Cordy’s brothers and sisters. Did they all go on to have happy lives? I guess, more importantly now, I wonder how many are still living.

I’m not sure how far back Cordy’s memory goes, but I wonder if she still misses them?

As I celebrate Cordy’s birthday, I want to share some words a friend of mine’s daughter sent to me. These words sum up how I feel about my dog.

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of his devotion.”

Happy birthday, my Cordy. Love, Mom.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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