Owain Dances with Broccoli

Coltsrun Owain Gwynedd
December 12, 1998 - March 8, 2013

Owain Dances with Broccoli left for the bridge today. Owain was diagnosed with lymphoma on January 28. I didn't realize I would have so little time left with him.

He did well for about three weeks; then it was clear that he was getting worse, refusing food after food, finally existing on ice cream, tapioca pudding and bits of rotisserie chicken. Since Owain was 13 and asymptomatic for DM, I wanted to donate his brain and spine to the DM study at the University of Missouri. My vet worked with me and we tried to find a place that could do the procedure. As of yesterday morning, we still had had no success.

At 7 yesterday morning, while I was disposing of Owain's pitifully small poop, I looked up on the hill and saw Owain lying in the snow. I made my way to him through the crusted snow. I thought he was gone, but he wasn't.

I took him to the vet's, thinking that he would be put to sleep. The vet who diagnosed Owain was not working, but she had passed her information of the DM study to another vet. He examined Owain and said let me make some phone calls. I left Owain at the vet's. I don't know what kind of magic he worked, but he called me at ten minutes to 5 yesterday to tell me that he had a vet who could and would do the collection today. Dr. Rice who diagnosed Owain, Dr. Balboni who examined him yesterday, Dr. Coates in Missouri and Dr. Lichtenwalner at the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory worked a miracle of cooperation.

This morning, Owain's spirit left for the bridge. His body left for the University lab. The pain of taking Owain's body to the lab was eased by the company of my longtime dogsitter Barbara, who had known Owain almost as well as I did. An hour and a half later, Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner met us at the lab. Her sympathy and understanding made the process endurable. I was, and still am, amazed at the cooperation that made today possible. I miss my boy terribly, but donating his organs to help the corgis of the future has eased my pain.

Owain arrived at my house as a 12 week old puppy, just two weeks after Reba the Svelte (the Formerly 70 lb. Corgi) took residence. He was a joy from the beginning. His idea of fetch was for me to throw the ball and him to chase it, run around with it, and drop it. At which time, I was to walk over and get it and throw it again. He never did bring the ball back to me.

He earned his name because he loved to play with his vegetables. He would carry a broccoli floret into the living room, toss it in the air, pounce on it, play with it and throw it in the air again to repeat the process. Only then would he eat it.

Owain provided me with the revelation of watching a herding dog come alive to its heritage when I took him to a herding instinct test and he lit up with the joy of chasing sheep. He gave me many nights of warmth and companionship as he earned his BDX (Bed Dog excellent). Owain amused me every evening as he performed his dinner dance, which grew more and more extravagant as he got older.

Owain loved to climb the rock outcrops and glacial boulders in the yard. He barked at the birds and squirrels and even barked at the moose that appeared at the fence early one morning. He liked to travel and covered a lot of territory from Maine to Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Quebec and Ontario. He charmed visitors to the house by cuddling up next to them on the couch. And he and Reba kept my mother company when I was at work and she was fading into the fog of Alzheimer's.

I always thought of Owain as slightly fey and otherworldly. He often stood outside perfectly still, as though listening to something, or perhaps, to someone. He gazed at the sky and always barked at contrails. He once told a reader that they were his spirit friends. Considering how absolutely accurate her other statements from and about Owain were, on things she couldn't possibly have known, I can only believe they were.

Owain never appeared in the show ring and he never won an AKC title, but I could not have had a sweeter, more loving, funny, corgi boy.

Good-bye, Owain, my BunBun, my BunnyBoy. Wait for me at the bridge.

Jan Reynolds, Rome, Maine
Heart, Olivia and Pandee
Reba and Owain at the bridge

Reproduced with permission