Canada Day was a sad one for Corky Williams.
Williams was bush trimming at his son’s place off Highway 20 near Bell-E-Acres Golf Course, when his canine companion Festus encountered a protective doe and died shortly afterwards.
“I went to my son’s house to do some yard work and when we arrived I noticed the deer up the driveway and her fawn,” Williams said.
Festus had barked and wanted to run after the deer, but Williams called her back.
A few moments later while he was running the bush trimmer, however, an eerie feeling came over him so he stopped the machine. That’s when he saw a little shape about 50 feet away on the driveway.
He went up to investigate and realized Festus had been attacked by the deer who was protecting her fawn.
When he realized what had happened he grabbed the dog, put him in his truck, and drove into Williams Lake to the vet.
“He was still breathing at that point so I was trying to comfort hi, as much as I could while I drove,” he recalled.
The vet on Broadway Avenue North was closed, but a woman arrived with her pet looking for care, and told William to follow her to the vet’s clinic on Cattle Drive.
“They were open and everyone there tried to help,” Williams said. “An X-ray showed his jaw was broken because of the deer’s sharp feet.”
Festus was a 10-year-old papillon that Williams had owned since he was a pup.
In February the two moved into Seniors Village Retirement Concepts.
Since the death of Festus, Williams has received an outpouring of support from residents and staff at Seniors Village.
Holding up a card filled with sympathy notes, he said everyone welcomed Festus when they moved in.
At Seniors Village there’s a yard where dogs can roam freely on the grass and socialize with other dogs.
“That yard has a real calming affect on the dogs,” he said. “My dog adjusted to living there faster than I did.”
Williams misses the dog and said if he’s going to get another one it will have to be the right dog because it would be a time commitment to train a new one.
He said he wants people to remember that deer have the capacity to harm and inflict damage, especially if they are protecting their young.
Williams moved with his wife from Los Angeles to Anahim Lake in 1969 to become ranchers. He moved to Texas in 1990 to work in theatre productions with his brother Jaston Williams, and performed on major stages in the U.S.
In 2007, he returned to the Cariboo and has become well known as one of Western Canada’s most beloved cowboy poets.
Last year the book, Corky Williams: Cowboy poet of the Cariboo-Chilcotin, was released by Caitlin Press.
Williams wrote the book with local author Sage Birchwater. Since its release the two have travelled to communities in the province to share its stories.