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Rallying around a family after a tragedy

GoFundMe raises more than $2,700 for family after its puppy was killed in dog attack
TRAGIC OUTCOME Holly, a puppy the Corey family brought home just last month, was killed after being mauled by another dog on Jan. 18.

A local family is grateful to the Pemberton community after it rallied around their children following a heart-wrenching tragedy. 

On the evening of Jan. 18, the Corey children, 12-year-old Avi and eight-year-old Kade, were walking their puppy, Holly, outside their home in The Glen. A loose dog appeared and attacked Holly, who died of her injuries.

The family had only brought Holly home from Kamloops on Dec. 21, a day after Avi’s 12th birthday.

Word of the attack spread quickly in the community, which stepped up in a variety of ways, helping to support the children, according to parents Lindsey and Walter.

The children were taking Holly out for a walk after dinner, just two houses down. While Avi was picking up after Holly, a large, dark-coloured dog approached. 

“It was wagging its tail as she was bent down picking up poo, and Holly went to come close to her and the dog just jumped right on her,” Lindsey said. “A neighbour heard the screaming: the dog screaming, the kids screaming, and tried to come down the stairs and help.

“We went running and Avi was carrying this puppy home.”

The Coreys sent the children to a neighbour’s and packed Holly into the car to head to the veterinarian, but with the nearest available doctor being in North Vancouver, they realized the puppy wasn’t going to make it. 

“When we talked to the vet on the phone, she walked us through all the checks and then we collected ourselves, phoned the neighbour that had our kids and came home,” Lindsey recalled.

“It was traumatic, but it wasn’t a long, drawn-out piece,” Walter added.

Reaching out

As word of the incident spread after a neighbour and friend posted on social media trying to find the aggressive dog, the Pemberton community immediately began to extend support for the Coreys.

“Within an hour, there was hundreds of people sending their condolences through her on Facebook,” Lindsey said. “The phone was blowing up on our end with people asking ‘Are you OK?’”

Walter was appreciative of how creative people got, especially during COVID, as the family was overwhelmed with flowers, chocolates and cards, among other reminders that they were on their neighbours’ minds. Lindsey also expressed admiration for the maturity of her children’s friends, who made sure to pass along condolences to her as well. 

In addition to the community at large, Lindsey said the Signal Hill Elementary School community quickly rallied, reaching out the day after the incident.

“The school counsellor contacted me on her day off,” Lindsay said. “She came, social distanced, outside our house and talked with me and the kids.”

Added Walter: “The flexibility of the school counsellor so quickly afterwards was really nice, to hit it right away.”

When Avi and Kade were ready to return to school, they were given space to grieve and process what they had experienced.

“The principal met us at the door and she had a room set up that the kids were welcome to bring their friends into and do whatever they needed to: crafts, board games, chat, cry,” Lindsey said. “The teachers were amazing. They welcomed our kids with tears in their eyes.”

Avi and Kade, Lindsey said, are coping with the situation as best they can.

“They’re trucking through it,” Lindsey said. “It’s hard.

“It’s interesting to watch children go through grief. The grief part is OK. The trauma part is where they’re stuck.” 

To help the kids further, Lindsey said she has also connected with another specialist who “helps reprocess memories” and has booked an appointment for Jan. 29.

A GoFundMe page, in just over 24 hours, garnered 65 donations totalling $2,720 and blew past the initial goal of $2,000. At that point, the Coreys asked that the campaign be halted.

“The cost of counselling is not cheap, so we’ll definitely use it, and if there’s any money we don’t use, we’ll donate it,” Lindsey said.

Shelley Nicoll, whose son is the same age as Kade, set up the page, saying it was only natural to try to do something to lend a hand.

“We were all just looking for some way to help, and I know how much of an expense they were going to be going through,” she said. “It came to me that other people might want to help out as well, so we might as well put it out there and see what happens.”

Dog unknown

In a Jan. 25 statement, the Village of Pemberton said it was aware of the incident, but had no further information.

“The Village of Pemberton has received a report of a dog attack that took place on January 18th, 2021. At this stage, no one has come forward with information that would identify the dog responsible for the attack and there have been no reports to the Village of sightings of the dog,” the statement read.

The Coreys said they are looking to move forward from the incident.

“We’ve come to peace with never knowing who the dog was,” Lindsey said.