When Alex Mooney’s beloved Corgi Otis Mooney lost his fight with lymphoma in March of 2012, she thought she might never have another pet. Like so many who have loved and lost a precious companion, the pain and devastation had her nearly convinced of it.
As a citizen of Corgi Nation — the community of fellow Corgi Lovers connected virtually around the country and the world — Alex had a balm for her heartbreak. The show of solidarity and love from Corgi Nation — many of whom changed their Facebook profile to Otis’s picture — was overwhelming. In the week following Otis’s loss, her mailbox was full to overflowing with written cards and notes of sympathy. Most of these people had never met Otis, but they knew. They understood. With their help, Alex survived what felt like the un-survivable.
On the day Otis went to the Bridge, a Corgi mix in a shelter across the country was scheduled for euthanization. Starved, mostly hairless, with putrid, infected skin and long-neglected nails, this lost soul wasn’t long for the world when fellow Corgi lover Mark Segers (who wasn’t even sure if this was a Corgi) saw his photo on the shelter site and decided to bust him out.
Thus began a chain of merciful acts for this mangy dog. The tide of his fortune had changed — and changed for good. Mark brought the (literal) stinker home, fed him and got him on the road as far as Tennessee, where Judy Lyons picked him up Chattanooga and delivered him to Rebecca Garret’s home for tender loving rehabilitation. His smell, his pitifully thin frame and extensive infection shocked them.
Rebecca, known by many for her uncommon touch with “hard cases”, took this starved boy under her wing and began giving him daily baths. Under her gentle ministrations, he started to blossom. His tags said he was originally from Florida, though the tags hadn’t been registered to anyone in particular. He was still intact, and once his skin had stabilized and he was more acclimated, he was neutered and able to enjoy the distinct Corgi pleasure of lying flat on the cool floor!
At first they considered naming him Otis Junior, but Alex had a better idea, a name that would embody the spirit of Corgi Nation. The little dog was named Nation. Nate for short.
Rebecca wasn’t very subtle about posting Nate’s updates on Alex Mooney’s Facebook page, even though Alex wasn’t ready yet for another dog. By May, however, she had already fallen in love with Nate and was prepared to open her heart fully to him.
Enter stage right Randy Szczepaniak, who worked a little magic to get Alex flown out to Kentucky, where she met Nate’s contingent of heroes for the first time. On arrival at Rebecca’s, Nate came out with the rest of the Corgis and proceeded to pee on Alex’s pants. As if to say “This one’s mine!”
Nate went home with Alex to California, and is now officially a bi-coastal Corgi. On his first trips to the ocean he was timid, but by now he’s completely fearless and at home in the water. Nate actually runs directly into the surf, and will bound through the waves, nipping at their crests as if playing with them.
In September, Nate accompanied Alex to the Florida Corgi Picnic, where he frolicked on the Florida beach, mingled with the Florida Corgis and got to ride in the front of a Fiat.
When Nate first arrived, he was fairly aloof and distant, sleeping at the end of the bed facing away from Alex. Each time they traveled somewhere and returned home, Nate’s bond deepened. Now he sleeps up on the pillows, resting his chin on her head.
Nate loves visiting Alex’s horse, Milo, at the barn. At first, he wasn’t sure what to make of Milo, and tried to bark at him to get the horse to play. Now he’s settled into easy companionship and walks alongside Milo as they amble around the ranch.
This lucky dog goes to work with his Mom every day, usually in his own trailer behind her electric bicycle. In her off hours, they hike, visit the park, negotiate over ice cream (and cheese), and frolic at the famous Southern California Corgi Beach Day, where this last time in July, there were 350 Corgis on the beach!
In July he took an amazing birthday trip back to Kentucky to reunite with the people who got him out of the shelter, nursed him back to health and delivered him to Alex. They are his “first family”!