Friday, November 07, 2014

Our Princess, Our Rosey

Rosey, our first Cardigan Corgi—the clincher, in her case, the one who spoiled us on any other breed, odd since we're not the purebred types, being mutts ourselves—aka Rosey Toes (or just Toes), Miss Rose, Our Princess, Rosey Roo…the list goes on.

After our first dog, a lovely Husky mix named Nikki, passed on at an advanced age, I was ready to downsize. I'd met many Corgis of the Pembroke persuasion, the smaller, docked-tail dogs that are the familiars of the Queen of England and, while I liked their size, I (no offense) was put off by what I perceived as their yappier, snappier personality. I met my first Cardigan, a dashing fellow named Tai, with a jaunty flag tail and generous nature and thought, "This is the dog for me."

Rosey was born, amazingly enough, in Australia, with the fancy and somewhat ridiculous registered name of Pawcific Post-it from Penrose, from a long line of champions and a delightful little section on her mother's side of non-champions like Lees Black Heckle of Gorthleck. She came to this country as a mere pup, shipped over in a crate that was flooded in transit, the poor thing sopping wet up to her nose in standing water. (To her receiving breeder's credit, she never flew again, one near-drowning being enough for any dog to endure.)

It's odd, as a family of mutts, to be thrown into the world of a dog who has had a "career," especially one as storied as our Rosey's. She apparently raced through her show career, achieving champion status in record time. Her breeder remembered she always got quite excited in the ring, and at one show in particular she jumped three feet straight up in the air, leaving quite an impression on the judge. (She was known to do the same thing at dinner parties, popping up behind our astonished guests.)

She went on to bear four litters of pups, many of whom then became champions in their turn and bore champions of their own. Her longterm lover, and, in dog terms, her husband of long standing, was the superstar Carbon Blue, the first Cardigan Corgi ever to win Westminster. Seeing them together and so besotted was a thing I'll never forget, a lifelong love affair that continued until he passed on four years ago.

Despite the monikers enumerated above, I always thought of her as a bustling house manager in a Downton Abbey-type manor, all petticoats and black skirts as she kept the youngsters in order and the house running smoothly. In her later years she settled into dowager mode, still able to keep up with the younger set on long hikes in the woods, pointing out squirrel nests and bird species, but not above a romp on the beach (her favorite) or digging a den in the dirt at a campsite.

Today was a sad day at our house as we said goodbye to this most graceful and fun-loving of her breed at the ripe old age of fifteen-and-a-half. Ten years with her was not enough, and we will miss her mightily.

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