When I was a child, I paid more attention to dogs than cats. Then I went through a period of of big change in my life where I was suddenly alone. I bonded with two cats of my friend’s, adopted two cats of my own, and a lifelong love was born. I never disliked dogs, I just got busy with cats. And so my focus became feline. We had dogs and cats for many years. I just always felt as if I related to the cats better and understood them better. Then I met two Corgis who changed my life.
My good friend Lois (who was kind enough to offer me a home for my cat Zorro, if I didn’t think I could make a cross-country move with this rescued feral boy) introduced me to Corgis. Lois and her sister (and my friend) Laura owned and operated a Dollar Barn in our town. Lois and Laura are big-time animal lovers, and already had several farm animals, dogs, and cats. But Lois decided to get a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy from a nearby reputable breeder. Enter Walli (named after Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor).
Walli quickly charmed everyone she met. She spent days at the Dollar Barn, happily chasing a ball down the aisles for whoever would throw it (Walli was very insistent about having her ball thrown). I fell in love, and so did everyone else. How could you not fall in love with Walli? She was smart, it seemed as if she could almost read your mind (I think she CAN read my mind), and she was so darned adorable.
Walli’s popularity quickly climbed and she got her own Facebook page. Lois and Laura joked that Walli had more Facebook friends than they did. Walli probably had as many friends, or more, than the population of the town. She was featured in ads for the Dollar Barn. Walli helped organize a fundraiser for area abandoned animals, and she raised the most money of all the sponsoring stores and their pets. Of course Walli won. She’s that kind of a girl. Walli’s smart, and she means business. Walli is just one of those beings who gets what ever she wants, but she has an easy, sweet, and charming way of doing it.
Lois and her husband decided that they wanted another Corgi, so GusGus joined the family as a puppy. GusGus and Walli shared the same mother, but were born in different litters.
I didn’t expect it, but GusGus worked his way into my heart more quickly than Walli had. GusGus was gawky at first, and he didn’t have Walli’s “down to business” attitude. But Gussy loved me and somehow, through our eyes, we connected. This was so strange for me, a person used to deep bonds with cats. Lois said I was Gussy’s second-favorite person in the world — that’s a big deal!
I’m sure many dogs do this, but Walli sings “Happy Birthday.” Lois will hold Walli, the humans can start singing, and Walli will join in! I almost died laughing the first time I took part in this.
Sadly, the Dollar Barn burnt down. But resilient Lois and Laura are developing a new business. Lois had always wanted to share her love of animals, nature, and her family farm. The Cook Country Connection will open this June, with a mission of connecting people, animals, and the land. And GusGus and Walli play a big part in this operation! Lois and Laura believe that Corgis really need to feel that they have a job to do. Walli will be an official greeter, and she will still want to fetch her ball (she lives for this). She’ll sing to guests if they wish it. And GusGus is an extremely good herder. He takes care of making sure that the other farm animals (llamas, ponies, etc.) stay where they’re supposed to stay.
I don’t know that I would ever actually have a Corgi. I don’t have the alpha dog thing mastered yet, and I understand from what I’ve read that a Corgi needs a special kind of person. But I sure love these two dogs. Somehow they wormed their way into my heart! Halfway across the country now, I really miss them. I can’t wait to see them when I return to Minnesota soon. I’ll let them kiss my face and jump all over me — something I’m really not used to from a dog. I’ll stick my nose in their fur and rub their cute little tails — this, from a cat person! I’m totally taken.
Have you ever been surprised to connect in a way that you didn’t expect with a cat or a dog? Share your thoughts in the comments!
All photos courtesy of Lois Pajari.
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.