Miss Penny's New Life

It all started many years ago, when I had seen a corgi. I fell in love. But I was an Australian Shepard person, through and through. I had raised and trained Australian Shepards for almost 40 years. When I lost my heart dog due to cancer at the age of 15 1/2 years old, I thought about getting another Aussie to keep the other old dog company. But then I thought, now is the time to get a corgi.

So, I started looking. I contacted several people, went to see their dogs, but not one of them appealed to me. I found and kept a phone number of a man about 150 miles away from me. I put it in the desk and looked at it from time to time. Finally, one day I called him. He said he always had puppies and was willing to meet me halfway between our cities. Then he said - I have an older dog, if you would be interested in an older dog. I was. He told me that the people that had her had not paid for her, and that he was going to pick her up. She would then be mine. I agreed to LOOK at her, not to take her sight unseen.

I met him in a parking lot. After I had sat and watched him take her out of the car and walk her around. She was hesitant, but I told myself that it was just the ride, she didn't know where she was... He dragged her across the parking lot at the end of a leash. That was when I stepped out of the car and went to talk to him. I already knew, after what I had seen, that she was coming with me, even if we didn't like each other. She was NOT going to be DRAGGED anywhere, ever again!!

So, Miss Penny arrived in a new house and was welcomed. My other old dog (14 years old then) and Miss Penny got along great from the start, but Miss Penny preferred to be in the corner somewhere. She would not ask for attention, would not look at me, did not know what a leash was, except to cringe if I picked one up, she would hide her head if I looked at her. I knew she had been abused.

Miss Penny
Miss Penny, afraid and suspicious

... and months later

After almost 2 weeks here in our house, she very hesitantly walked to me one night and let me pick her up. I took her to the couch and sat reading and petting the dog. Every time I stopped, she wanted to get down. Away. "Leave me alone", she said. "I am scared."

I called the man I got her from and asked questions. He said that she had been in two other homes and that she did not get along in any of them. He said that she had had three litters of puppies, and lost them all, and that his vet recommended spaying her. She would never be a good mother. She would not nurse puppies. He also said that she had never had any training of any type and was a reluctant dog to work with, she was standoffish, really did not care for people, and she did not fit in his breeding program.
At 2 years and 4 months old she had had three litters already. That means that she had been bred every heat cycle, including the very first one.

About a week after that, I noticed that she was gaining weight. She turned over on her back that night to sleep, and I noticed that her teats were swelling. We went to the vet the next day, and he confirmed her pregnancy.

So, now I had a pregnant dog that did not trust me yet. Great!!!! I had no idea when she was due to whelp, but from all signs, within about 10 to 14 days. I was livid with anger.
That week, I was sitting on the couch again, reading. Miss Penny was at the other end of the couch. She very slowly got up and crept toward me. Fear in her eyes. Hesitant. I stayed still, and she got all the way up to my lap and lay down. That is as far as she could let herself go. She was actually shaking in fear. I put one hand on her ruff and started scratching. She put a paw on my lap and left it there. I gave her a hug. She very slowly put her nose under my arm and pushed.
She gave me her heart that night. She relaxed, and allowed me to touch her without shrinking away. I promised her that night to love her and cherish her, that she will never be mistreated, that this was her very LAST home and that I will never leave her.

Well, I sat up a whelping box and we waited for puppies.
The night she whelped, she did not know whether to trust me or not all the way. But I stayed with her, helping when needed.
With no prenatal nutrition until late in her pregnancy, she lost 3 out of 5 puppies and she had very little milk.
When we went to the vet for the postpartum check the first morning, it was cold and we almost lost another puppy due to the cold. Miss Penny got supplements, pudding, flax oil, and puppy formula to increase milk production. I fed both pups for about 3 days until she started producing enough milk to feed one pup. I kept bottle feeding the female puppy, the one we almost lost, and supplemented the male pup. Of course, Teegan was not going anywhere after being bottle fed. Her brother is now living in a wonderful home that loves him unconditionally. A young, just married couple fell in love with him and took him home.

Miss Penny learned to trust, and learned that she could play and be happy. She learned that a leash meant a walk, and that walks were good things. She learned that a hug is a good thing. It didn't mean that she was in trouble. She learned that when the cabinet was opened, there was likely a treat inside for her, and that if she brought me her bowl, it got something in it. She learned that if we went somewhere in the car, she was going to come back home with me again. In short, she learned to let herself love again.

It was my plan to let Teegan have one litter, as I wanted a threesome to work cows. But when she was about 8 months old, she swallowed half a kitchen sponge, which caused a huge obstruction. When we took her to surgery to remove the sponge, I had the vet spay her at the same time to save her an anesthesia.


So, I let Miss Penny have one more litter before she was spayed, with the idea of keeping one pup from that litter. I did not find a good home for the other female pup, so I kept both of them. Those pups are Brynn and Nan. The others from that litter found excellent homes, where they are working dogs.
It was not my intention to keep two pups, but I am finding that a team of 4 work very effectively together. The young dogs are really starting to work independently now, and will bring in cows and sheep from the fields.

Miss Penny has lived with us for almost three years now. She is a much different dog than when I got her. She is outgoing, but will still look to me for direction at times if she is unsure. She stays under my chair, or at my feet, no matter where I am.

For Miss Penny to have approached this little boy at the preschool playground in the manner that she did, absolutely astounded me. She was calm, confident, and just wanted to love him. She has come a long, long way in the three years that she has been with me. Yes, she learned to love again. That is why I am so, so proud of her.

Sheree Blair and the Colorado Corgi Crew
October 2010
Reproduced with kind permission.