Our Authors & Their Animal Families: Laura Koerber and Willie, aka Sponge Face

koerberPetslo

This series of blog posts introduces you to the animal families of our authors here at Who Chains You Books. As a company dedicated to animals, animal lovers, and their stories and missions, we thought you’d like to meet some of our animal friends, too. Enjoy!

laurakoerbercolorAuthor Laura Koerber recently lost her beloved dog Izzy (pictured left), so tells us the story of how she came about rescuing her new pup, Willie:

“From the moment I met Willie, he reminded me of a homely little gargoyle. He always has bed head—and bed body, I guess you could say, since the fur on the rest of him sticks out in random directions, too.

I call him Sponge Face, because his little furry mug is always wet; his face is completely flat, and he cannot drink without nearly drowning himself. His favorite way of sleeping is to mash his wet face against my thigh while we sit together on the couch. When not engaged in transferring dampness to me, he’s a menace to shoes and anything else he can pick up off the floor. He terrorizes anything that he can fit into his mouth.

pupyOh, and he eats poop, too.

He’s a shih tzu. I don’t know if this is normal for the breed or not, but I hope, for the sake of other shih tzus, that Willie’s attributes are not normal!

Willie’s former owner, a paranoid schizophrenic, died and no one noticed for six weeks except her crazy son. She lived in a cabin off in the woods. Her son’s response to her death was to kick a hole in her front door so her dogs could get out and that’s all he did. Just walked away and left the dogs alone. There were five dogs when the owner died.

Six weeks later, Willie was the only one left. He rescued himself by walking down the driveway to the dirt road and down the dirt road to the pavement—a distance of several miles through the woods.

A man driving along the paved road saw Willie in the ditch. He knew that no dog, especially not a little one, should be out there alone, with nothing for miles but commercial timberlands. So he scooped Willie up and took him to a friend of mine who has a reputation for rescuing dogs.

Willie stank. He was missing about half his hair and what he had left was full of fleas. He had eye, ear, nose, skin, and bladder infections. He was incontinent. He was old. No rescue wanted him.

My beloved Izzy had just died and I was not looking for another dog, but I took Willie in since no one else wanted him.

I confess that I didn’t love him at first. He wasn’t Willie to me. He was Not Izzy—the dog who was not my Izzy.

But time passes. I still love Izzy and grieve for him, but I love Willie too. He is over his numerous infections and has grown into a cheerful, affectionate, playful boy. It breaks my heart to think of him wandering down the dirt road through the woods, looking for help, after all those nights alone.

Now I’m so glad to have him here with us where he can live out his days, safe and happy.”

Laura Koerber is an artist and writer who lives on an island with her husband and dog Willie. Laura divides her retirement time between dog rescue, care for disabled people, political activism, and yes, she tells herself stories while driving.

Her first book, The Dog Thief and Other Stories (written as Jill Kearney), was listed by Kirkus Review as one of the Hundred Best Books of 2015. She’s also the author of The Listener’s Tale, I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, Limbo, and The Shapeshifter’s Tale.

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