For a long, long time, I’ve been thinking about what I would say when the awful day came and Tucker was no more. He has been Rugby’s best friend for many years, and they’ve had so many fun adventures together! When I got the simple text message from Tucker’s mom that read: “He is gone”, my heart sank all the way to the ground. I remember saying out loud, “What will I do without Tucker in my life?”
Tucker was loved by far more people and dogs than just Rugby and I! As of this writing, the Facebook post that announced Tucker’s passing has currently got 1,200 responses, 602 comments, and 144 shares! To say that he was well loved is the understatement of the year!!
His mom, Vicki Corwin, gave him the most wonderful voice and character that became so well known to so many through his Facebook page, Tucker the Corgi Master. She playfully created a little dog whose main ambition in life was to thwart the attacks of the evil squirrels who were always certainly trying to take over the world!
With his office as “The General”, he was able to recruit new members of his team, “The Squirrelminators” who were also dedicated in ridding the world from the evil squirrel takeover that all dogs will tell you is a very real thing!
It’s been overwhelming to me to read the comments on Tucker’s Facebook page about all of the various ways that he touched people’s lives. Post after post reads that “Tucker was my very first Facebook friend.” And so he was. Tucker was everybody’s friend. He didn’t know a stranger, and once you met him, it wasn’t long before you became one of his BFFs…..Best Friends Forever!
One of the truly delightful and wonderful things about Tucker is that he didn’t see breed or species. Tucker had friends from all walks of life, and from all kinds of species: all breeds of cats and dogs, from a rat to a peacock and from rescues to champions, Tucker only saw friends. He just never cared about anything else. He was Facebook’s welcome committee of one, and he had a wonderful way of making everyone feel like they’d come home….that they were safe….that they were welcome….that they were wanted…..that they were loved……and that they mattered to him.
Tucker didn’t have to talk to his friends every single day. He might not hear from someone for a long, long time, but when their paths crossed, it was as if he had just seen them the day before! His love was deep and his memory was long! If old friends drifted away and seldom came to visit him, he often sought them out and made sure they knew he was thinking about them. If you were Tucker’s friend once, you were his friend for life if he had a say in it!
Tucker was probably best known for being friends with everyone he met. But apart from that, he was also known for his desire to have fun!! When life became challenging or unusually hard, Tucker’s response was always to plan an adventure for his friends. Tucker’s adventures were virtual experiences that took us all back to childhood and a land of make believe. The adventure photos were often so funny with snappy captions that made everyone laugh and created wonderful relationships between dogs!
Tucker took his friends everywhere he could. If he could think of a place….he planned an adventure! He had adventures to Disney World, outer space, the mountains, the beach, camping in the woods, aboard cruises, weddings, picnics, barn dances….you name it! Adventures too many to mention!
For a couple of days, when Tucker had an adventure going, life at my house slowed to a crawl! I couldn’t wait to see what Tucker would post, and Rugby always had to think of a clever comment about the photo! Entire conversations happened in the comments, and something unexpected, unplanned and magical began to happen!
A loving, caring community began to spring up! When Tucker invited his friends on an adventure, they were all in it together. They interacted with each other not only in the photos that Tucker would create and post, but also into the comments as well. And as the magic grew, the virtual friends in Tucker’s adventures, became real life friends as well.
In Tucker’s imaginary world, there were no dogs who had aggression issues or health issues. There was no abuse or neglect, and pedigreed dogs stood shoulder to shoulder next to little mutts who were no account at all. Dogs and cats got along together, and the result was that everybody had fun! Tucker was such a catalyst for silly, goofy FUN!! Things that could never happen in real life were always possible in Tucker’s world of adventure. Tucker’s fun took grown adults back to their carefree days of childhood fun and pretend. When we were on a Tucker adventure, the cares of life were put on a shelf, and all that mattered was what photo would we see next on Tucker’s page!
Tucker was one of Rugby’s very first Facebook friends. Rugby started his page in November of 2013, and when I started his page, my hope was to provide support for other dog owners who had the difficult dogs of the universe. Not all dogs have behavioral problems that can be fixed, and I knew all too well the sting of rejection because I had a neurotic dog who wasn’t welcome anywhere.
When Tucker sent Rugby his “Squirrelminator ID Card”, I could have cried! Tucker didn’t notice that Rugby wasn’t a purebred Corgi or purebred dog in any capacity. He simply didn’t care. Because of Tucker, everyone got to play. There was no choosing sides, and no one got left out. He looked for the dog that needed a boost, and made sure that dog got to participate in at least one photo on an adventure. When Tucker’s friends would sadly go on to the Rainbow Bridge, Tucker began creating “angel appearances” on his adventures.
Tucker introduced so many friends to each other! Part of the magic that he created was simply providing the vehicle for people to get to know each other. It was commonplace to see a “New Friend Alert” on Tucker’s page, and it was an opportunity for all of us to help a fellow dog owner advance their pet page and gain new friends. It was as though Tucker had radar for finding new friends!
Through his page and his adventures, we all got to know each other too. We learned about each other’s pets, and their likes and dislikes. Little gifts would arrive in the mail for Rugby, and my mailman got such a laugh out of the cards and boxes that he would deliver addressed to Rugby James!
Because of Tucker, in Rugby’s first year on Facebook, Rugby sent out many little polka dottie piggies to his various friends. I have no clue how many of those little piggies we mailed that year, but I do remember ordering a ton of piggie boxes so that we could send Rugby’s very favorite toys to his new friends. It was so much fun sending piggies and smiling at the videos or photos that were posted. Because of Tucker, we were able to bring that joy to countless other dogs, and that’s something that still makes me smile after all of those years!
One of the posts I saw in tribute to Tucker this last week said, “Tucker made us a family.” Something inside of my heart leaped at that statement because I thought to myself, “That’s IT!!” That’s exactly what happened. Tucker had an amazing ability to work his magic and turned strangers into friends who became family to each other.
One special memory that I have with Tucker that was especially meaningful was several years ago, when Rugby had a big melanoma scare. He had a growth on his lower gum that grew in size over time, and started to push his teeth out of place. When his vet saw it, she knew it needed to come out immediately, and told me that mouth growths are all too often cancerous. Of course, this happened on a Friday, and Rugby had already been fed, so I had a long, long weekend to wait and think and worry! Tucker came to the rescue and posted a special prayer request for Rugby, and let me tell you, I cried such big tears that someone really cared about my little hot mess of a dog! So many people left the kindest, most heartfelt comments on that Facebook post, and all weekend long, when the fear became too much, I went to that post and re-read it all over again. Tucker gave me hope. He gave me courage. And when the pathology report came back clean, I had someone who wanted to celebrate with me!
Tucker’s nighttime prayers became a big part of his Facebook page, and everyone in our dog community knew that if you just said the word, Tucker would add you to his list and pray for you, as well as get the word out so that others could join in as well. It was just one more way that Tucker taught us how to be a family and care for one another.
So much caring has happened in an online dog community all because of Tucker. I think that a large part of that caring is because Tucker espoused many of the qualities that we all want to have as humans, but never quite manage to pull off. He was the best version of what a human could be, and that’s something that I think many of us grieve in his passing.
The good news is that in going forward in life, we can grab the best of what Tucker taught us: how to be a friend and how to have fun! Those are things that we can practice every day of the week, and it’s a wonderful way to create a living legacy for a little dog who touched so many lives in his fifteen and a half years.
I’m going to try to live my life with Tucker’s motto ringing in my ears: “Keep your face to da sun and Tucky lubs!”
Rest in peace, Tucker the Corgi Master. You changed my life forever, and you will always and forever remain as Rugby’s BFF!