Two years later in October of 1998 when Jeff and I moved to our new home, I told my sister I wanted a Corgi, and I wanted it by Christmas. “You’re crazy” she said, “How am I going to find one for you that quickly?” She located a breeder in Connecticut who also did rescues, and got on on the list for pups .
The rescue we’d come to meet was Bridget, who became our first Corgi. Bridget had lived a tough life and was in pretty bad shape. She was left in a basement for twelve hours at time and nobody was taking care of her, since her owner was a young lady who’d gone off to college, leaving her mother to take care of the dog. Things took a downtown for poor Bridgie then, as this woman had no real interest in caring for her. She was returned twice to rescue, but she was a very good dog. She was limping, skinny, and had no interest in us. Bridget had a bad kidney infection, a leg that couldn’t be fixed, and some missing teeth. She’d survived being hit by a car and an attack by a Rottweiler.
Jeff saw her and knew he wanted to take her home. With us, Bridget’s new life began.
Two years later in 2000 we decided it was time to adopt a puppy. Our Komodo (Thirteen Maples Komodo Dragon) was born on April 7, 2000. We wanted to wait and see if he was going to be show quality. I think we called the breeder every day — it was hard to wait! When the answer came back as “yes,” off to Connecticut we flew.
Komodo was beautiful. A little ball of fur. Jeff sat in the back of the car and held Komodo all the way home. Our firstborn, but his baby. Komodo became the joy of our life. Bridget did not take to him, though. It took her two months to even acknowledge we had a puppy!
Jeff taught Komodo how to play ball and he loves it. Grandma used to call him the greatest ball player. Komodo is the “big dog” in the pack: what he says goes. He’s a tough little guy who won’t back down from anything, claiming his spot as the alpha dog in the pack. He was spoiled rotten. Komodo delights in his belly rubs but when he’s not in the mood for lovin’ he’ll show you his teeth.
No matter when or where, Komodo loves his car rides, and he has a special talent for telling time. He knows when it’s treat time. No fooling him! His various nicknames include ‘The Rat’, ‘The Dragon’, and of course ‘the Blonde’.
Komodo has had his share of ups and downs. He broke a tooth, got it extracted and then developed a really bad infection where his face was very swollen. We found a lump on his back leg. We had it removed and follow-up testing showed it would grow back. Komodo began chemo but it dried his skin so horribly it cracked. Last year he started to pant and drink a lot of water. He tested positive for Cushing’s Disease. I researched alternative treatments and found a place that did Chinese herbs. I read that if you can control it, the herbs would work. He has been on them a year and no more panting or drinking water. He looks great!”
Two years after we got Komodo, we decided he needed a partner. Our breeder had Tri’s available from a new litter, and a Tri is what I wanted. Of course, all the puppies were irresistibly cute playing on the grass, but Angel put his head on Jeff’s foot. We knew then that he was “the one.” He looks like an Angel.
Back at home, Bridget took to Angel (Thirteen Maples Angel Delight Dragon). Komodo loved to play with him. Angel loved to bark and still does. As Komodo’s half brother, they share the same father, Ike. His littermate Lily lives with my sister, and she’s a barker too. When our Bridget died a few years later at fourteen, Angel changed. He came out of his shell. With Bridget gone, he thought he was the alpha.
Komodo put him back into his place.
Angel is my little guardian, following me everywhere.
Angel adores playing ball, especially his Babble ball that makes animal noises. He loves car rides, snack time, chasing Blue and Gator around the house, nursing on stuffed animals, and trips to the ocean.
One day I went with my sister to a dog show where I saw my first Blue Merle Cardigan. It stopped me in my tracks — “what is it?” My sister said it was a Corgi with a tail, and I wanted one. It took my breath away!
Jeff had never seen one. In our neck of the woods, you don’t see a lot of Cardigans, never mind Blue Merles. You see a lot of Pembrokes but not Cardigans. Jeff agreed to a Cardi and the hunt was on. We even called Australia looking for a Cardigan. After a while, we finally got leads and in 2005 found a breeder with a litter due. On the day we met her at the dog show, Jeff saw his first Blue Merle and fell in love. He couldn’t wait to get one.
On the day we went to pick up our Blue Moon, we loaded the dogs in the car and headed out in an ice storm. We made it to Pennsylvania and found ourselves stuck in an accident for two hours on the highway. After a long day, we finally arrived at the breeder’s home. She brought out Blue (Xtacee Blue Moon Dragon) and handed him to Jeff. He was an adorable puppy, with a little tail and beautiful markings.
At last we had our Blue! When he entered our lives, I had to take the magnet off of the car that said “real dogs don’t have tails.”
Blue is our movie star with one China eye. No matter where we go, people stare and come over to pet him, which he laps right up. Our nicknames for him are Blue Ham, BlueBlue, The Moon, and Billy. He’s very easy to train, loves having his picture taken and lives to perform. Jeff trained Blue for agility, and he loves the backyard agility we do with him.
In his off-hours, Blue loves to sleep in my chair with me.
Even with three Corgis I wanted another one, but Jeff insisted at first that three was enough. In 2008, when we learned about a brindle Cardigan puppy whose people couldn’t keep him anymore, a window of opportunity opened. We went back and forth — Corgi number four? — and even though we didn’t have a picture of “Gator” and didn’t know much about him. Jeff eventually jumped on the computer and e-mailed to say “we want him!”
Not long after, we were off to pick up the new addition.
The breeder Kathy Schwabe was having a puppy party that summer day for a litter she had and the puppies were going to their new homes. Gator (Xtacee Gator Dancing Dragon) took to us right away. People attending didn’t know we just met him. He was so good.
Gator is a love Corgi who loves to love. He like to play with a rope toy and ball and chase Blue and Angel around the house and the fenced-in yard. Gator’s got quite the bark on him. It scared me the first time I heard it! Like the other dogs, he enjoys riding in the car.
Back at home, Komodo and Angel didn’t care that were adding a new dog but Blue was another story. He didn’t like him. When we got home that night after a ten hour round trip, we took Blue and Gator for a walk. Jeff walked them side by side, and this approach worked. Their relationship improved over time.
We decided to try herding with Gator; turns out, he’s a natural at it! He loves it and we’re going to start up again in the Spring.