Reba The Svelte
(Reba's Story continued)
Those of you who read Reba's story are perhaps curious to know what happened to her after she was returned to her breeder and fostered by George and Nancy Stephens until she was ready for her forever home. Read here the beautiful tribute written by Reba's later owner for the subscribers of Corgi-L.
Honeyfox Reba Welsh Lass
July 3, 1996 - April 2, 2010
This is the post I never wanted to write. Today my beautiful Reba, the Svelte crossed the bridge.
When Reba was ready to be placed, I was told I lived too far away, but it was fated to be. Placement after placement fell through, until in February 1999, Susan called me and asked if I were still interested in Reba. Three days later Reba was in Maine.
Reba, the Svelte
Reba was a dog who was always happy. She was a dog with no issues. New places, new people, big crowds, strange dogs - nothing fazed Reba. She was a social butterfly, greeting friends and strangers alike with a big corgi grin and a ton of self-confidence.
Reba happily let children maul her. She obligingly rolled over to allow people to see the extra skin that never went away after her weight loss. She sat quietly to have her nails done. She slept through thunderstorms. She was always game for whatever activity you had in mind. The only thing she hated was being left out. She wanted to be in the thick of everything.
Reba loved to travel and went with me to dog shows and corgi picnics down the eastern seaboard from Maine to Virginia, across the Trans Canada Highway to Michigan, down through Kentucky to Tennessee and back again. She liked to run on any beach and loved to wade in the Carrabassett River on a hot day.
Reba plowing the snow
She was equally happy plowing through two feet of snow, as she frequently did in Maine winters, or herding sheep on a 90°F (32°C) day, as she did the day she passed her herding instinct test.
Reba became my mother's constant companion when I was at work. Mother called her "precious dog." Over the years, as my mother slipped into the shadows of Alzheimer's disease, Reba was always by her side. When mother went into a nursing home, Reba went to visit.
Reba wasn't perfect. She was the smartest dog I've ever known and was an escape artist of the first order. Fences and gates were no match. She figured out that if she could stick her nose through the gate slats and bite the throw rug on the other side, she could pull the rug through bit by bit until it popped the gate open. And then there was the time she climbed the chain link fence.
She hated being left out of anything. At a corgi fun day in Connecticut one year, I wanted her in her crate so I could have lunch in peace. (She loved her food and she loved everybody else's food, too.) As I led her to her crate, she pulled an old trick from her 70 lb. days, laid down and rolled over. I walked back toward her (and also toward the room where lunch was) and she got up again. Turned toward the crate and down she went, belly up. This went on until she had the entire roomful of people in stitches. I finally had to pick her up and carry her to her crate.
She talked back when she disagreed with you and frequently commented on her condition in life in such a way and with such timing that it was both very human and very funny. She was Madame Queen, my golden girl, my ReebeeDee.
She was healthy and vigorous until the end. She had an attack last week of what was diagnosed as pancreatitis. She spent several days at the vet's and then came home. She was doing well and I thought everything was back to normal when she had a second attack early yesterday morning. She went up and down, as did my hopes, but early this morning, she crashed. I sat with her at the vet's and realized it was time. Apparently too much internal damage had been done. I sat head to head with her and talked to her and as I slid my hand over and over the soft smooth fur of her head, she slipped away.
There will never be another corgi quite like her.
My thanks to Susan Strickland, who bred such a smart, sassy corgi girl and to George and Nancy Stephens who did such an incredible job reducing her, giving her manners, and making her bulletproof.
Consoled by Owain, Heart, Olivia and Pandee
Who are missing their big sister
In the beautiful North Woods of Rome, Maine
Reproduced with permission