A Brother for Owen
By A. Rose
There must occur in many Corgi loving homes an awkward situation when it is realised that the idolised and aristocratic nose is to be put out of joint by the addition of a snub nosed human brother or sister. Such a situation we feel has been successfully faced and passed by our household with enormous credit to the Corgi and general enrichment and satisfaction to all members of the family.
Owen Caradoc Meredith was an only child for nearly eighteen months. His puppyhood was watched over by a devoted master and mistress. His sagacity, brightness and temperament were a joy to his owners and the admiration of the neighbourhood. His ability to play a Chukka of polo by accurately hitting a rubber ball with a rubber bone which he held in his mouth, and so travel round the room, was a source of surprise and delight to visitors. His obedience to his master, altho' not, it must be confessed, to his mistress; his gallantry in dealing with two Border Terriers at once; and in pursuit of Alsatians, Dandie Dinmonts, cat, rabbits and even hedgehogs called forth remarks of varying sorts, according to the loyalties of the observer.
The greatest anxiety was therefore felt about the possible psychological upset to Owen Caradoc Meredith by the introduction to the family circle of a new Homo sapiens. After much discussion it was decided that the Corgi's feelings must be spared as much as possible, and eventually a plan was devised and subsequently carried through.
While his mistress was in the nursing home and able to telephone home Owen was included in the daily calls and a special word of praise and approval was given to him. Later it was decided that this was not an unqualified success as the poor little dog immediately went rushing upstairs to the bedroom expecting to find his mistress there and spent all day and most of the night on the stairs convinced that his mistress must really be upstairs and eventually would come down, or alternatively was downstairs and must eventually come up. He even took his meals hastily with one eye on the stairs.
The nurse who was to bring the new baby home was sympathetic towards Owen Caradoc Meredith and agreed that the baby should be introduced as her exclusive property while the little dog's reunion with his mistress was to be undisturbed, and that for four weeks at least all loud and demonstrative admiration of the baby should take place when Owen Caradoc Meredith was out for exercise. It worked like a charm. The only difficulty was experienced with visitors who cooed at the baby and at the same time said "Get down dog" or even "Aren't you afraid that dog will be jealous and bite the baby?" The answer to this, of course is that if you shout at him when he is kindly showing you his brother, well, probably he will bite... but it won't be the baby! These sort of people obviously thought we would neglect the baby in favour of the Corgi... ("After all, it's only a dog".)
Actually we have found that the few weeks of care have amply repaid our troubles. At five months the baby confidently holds up his hand for Owen to lick each morning, and accepts with chuckles of approval, the offers of balls, biscuits and bones which he brings. While feeding time and napping changing routine is in progress Owen is in the room all the time and never attempts to jump on the bed which at other times he has done with impunity. He plays his polo game with ball and bone or lies quietly by the fire and he is always first upstairs and first downstairs before and after these proceedings.
We feel very strongly that too many people give up their pets because of jealousy for which they are themselves to blame. Owen Caradoc Meredith ardently demands attention and admiration from everyone who is admiring and petting the baby, and we try to see that he gets it. The baby's playtime between five and six in the evening is marked as a privilege time for the Corgi too. He knows his place in the family is secure and unaffected by the new addition and so his natural jealousy has never become a bitter or dangerous thing. We hope and believe it never will.
From The Welsh Corgi League Handbook 1947