The first time Kristen Auerbach met Cora, she was shivering and hunched over in a corner of her cage. The dog looked awful, with gashes and staples covering her whole, tiny body.
Kristen — the Austin Animal Center’s deputy chief animal services officer — opened the kennel door. For a moment, Cora did nothing. And then she looked up at Kristen, giving what Kristen calls a “submissive smile.”
‘Basically, she put the sweetest, most adorable grin on her face. It was like she could sense I was a little bit horrified by her condition and she was telling me, Don’t worry! I’m gonna be okay!’
Being ok was not a foregone conclusion, not by a long shot. The small, white Pit Bull was discovered about six weeks ago, in an Austin backyard, near death. She had open, bleeding cuts all over her body, and was rushed into emergency surgery at the Austin Animal Center to hopefully save her life.
Mercifully, Cora lived. For a week, Cora had to stay in her kennel, quiet and calm so as not to reopen her wounds. During that time, Cora and another convalescing puppy would reach their paws out to touch between their cages.
Once she began to heal, Cora went for short walks on the shelter grounds — wearing a harness instead of a collar, since her worst injuries were around her neck.
Cora — whose name is a derivation of “corazon,” or heart, due to her heart-shaped nose — seemed to revel in the feeling of grass under her paws, and lounging about in the yard.
Says Kristen: “She loved to roll and would just lay on her back, staring up at me with that big grin on her face. She was just so happy to be alive.”
Life has gotten better since. In mid-March, Cora went to live with Melody and her wife, Anna — who have fostered an astonishing 87 dogs. Cora was still covered in staples when the couple took her home. At first, she was both playful, and fearful.
The staples came out about a week later. And Cora has bloomed.
She loves to pounce, and run, and play, and fetch, and go for walks, and ride in the car, and cuddle — and she especially loves to do all these things with her foster brother Rolf, who is showing her the ropes on how to be a spoiled pet.
Says Melody: “They nonstop flirt like boyfriend and girlfriend. When we take them for walks, she walks so closely to him that she actually leans against him and unintentionally veers him sideways.”
Kristen said that Cora’s case is still under investigation for animal cruelty. There’s been no official diagnosis of how she got so gruesomely injured.
“We may never definitively know what happened to her, but whatever it was, it was terrible. To see her safe and loved, well, that was just about the best feeling in the world.”
Indeed Melody and Anna — and Rolf — have fallen so hard for Cora that it is looking as if they are going to add her to the household on a permanent basis.
Melody thinks that Cora has forgotten, or put aside, the life that came before them. She thinks Cora is going to do great from now on.
Says Melody: “All we can tell is that she loves us and is so happy to be here and be a part of our family. We want to show her what a good life can be like.”
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