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The Adventures of Stella Fairysteed: My Life With Corgi
THE ADVENTURES OF STELLA FAIRYSTEED: My Life With Corgi
I am a dog person. I have been all my life. In fact, I am now a dog groomer and a pet photographer, so I am passionate about these magnificent creatures. I have owned Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Labs, mutts, and more. I longed after one particular breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I grew up reading the pages of Tasha Tudor books, and she has corgis. They are in all of her stories. I fell in love. I waited and waited, but no Corgi puppies appeared beneath the Christmas tree.
I am married now and I have three children. Years have passed, and yet my Mom never forgot. Five years ago, for Christmas, I got a corgi pup! I named her Stella. Stella Fairysteed because everyone knows the fairies rode on the backs of Corgis through the woods of England. I had no idea what I was in for with Miss Stella, but it was a pleasant surprise.
The first thing we noted about Stella was her fearless nature. Corgis are used for herding cattle and sheep in the UK, so it comes as no surprise that she is not a bit afraid of larger dogs and other animals. She is curious about everything and has no qualms about ambling over to check out someone or something. She instinctively herds chipmunks around the yard, neighborhood dogs around the street, and she even herds our children away from the road. We used to have ferrets, and she was pretty good at herding them too.
The second discovery was language. I have never owned a “talker”. Stella will talk your ear off. She is very vocal about all sorts of things, and she doesn’t just bark. She has a wide range of huffs, squeaks, hums, and tonal inflections that sometimes make her quite human. She knows just what to say and we now know the difference between “hey the water bowl is empty” to “I’m ready to go out now.” I love the fact that she is a talker and I wonder if all Corgis have this delightful trait.
Stella has a great personality; I take her to work with me often. She loves to travel, swim, interact with children and people, meet other creatures and she is very obedient. She has never bitten a soul, and my husband says she makes the worst guard dog. “If we get robbed” he says, “she’ll demand a belly rub!!” I believe he is absolutely right. It does tickle us, however, that should any dog wander toward our street and Stella sees them, she will charge toward them and woof a big dog’s woof. One is an enormous Boxer and another is a giant lab. They immediately cower and move on their way. Did I mention Stella weighs 30 pounds? This scenario simply cements the idea that her very presence commands attention.
Pembroke Corgis average around 30-35 pounds in weight, and they have a deliciously thick coat that can be orange and white, or tri-colored. They are the only breed of dog born without a tail; instead they have the cutest little “nubbin” back there that wiggles when they’re happy. We live in the South and Stella gets a haircut in the summer…otherwise she is miserable. She is at her best in cold weather, when her “frisky-factor” goes up several notches. Corgis have very short legs so the cows kick over them, allowing the dog to perform its famous Corgi roll. (Stella does this when playing herding games with our other dogs.) She is remarkably agile for her stature and I see many Corgis perform in agility competitions. Pembroke Corgis can live up to 20 years! They are easily cared for and have delightful personalities. They do very well around small children.
The Vikings had Corgis and Valhunds (Valhounds), which are closely related. They used them for herding and companionship. Not long ago, archaeologists unearthed a Viking King’s burial site, complete with several skeletons of his favorite dogs: Corgis. Their skeletal structure was identical to today’s breed! The Pembroke Corgi does not have a tail, while the Cardigan Corgi has a gorgeous tail. Besides their little legs, the Corgi’s most prominent feature is their ears. My, what big ears you have! Hey, it makes them adorable…although some prefer longer legs. I hear runors of designer dogs now being mixed with the Corgi breed, like Dorgis (daschunds) and Borgis (beagles??), but I’m hooked on my Corgi. I cannot imagine life without her!