Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

The extensive funereal coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth has returned the world’s attention to the sublime character of the corgi. Whether the dog’s prominence is due to the Queen or not, I cannot say, but I can say that she was the indirect cause of our family becoming a corgi household.

The situation began in 2007 when my Good Wife and I took the two B.E.s to see the movie, The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren. The subject centered on the tumultuous circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The Queen’s response to the events was interlaced with the life of her corgis, whose presence seemed to give stability to the chaos of the time.

For our part, the film was the most influential of any that our family ever watched because the Elder B.E. determined from viewing it that we should have a corgi. He was steadfast in his desire, and my Good Wife and I decided to explore the possibilities. I learned that Terry Moss at Kinsale was the great corgi guru of the Northern Neck. For many years I had been friends with her father-in-law, Earl Carter Moss, but I had not known of Terry’s corgi role.

I telephoned her and arranged a family appointment. When we arrived at what I only can term a “corgi heaven,” I realized that turning back was not an option. Terry had an expectant pair, Willa and Bogart, that synched the deal. The Younger B.E. pointed to Willa’s stomach, and said, “I want the one in there.”

We made repeated visits during Willa’s pregnancy, and finally one to meet the newborn puppies. Immediately, the Elder B.E. selected a female, and we followed her progress for the first eight weeks with continued visits. Going to get her for the trip home was a memorable experience. Our elderly dog accepted the pup, whom we named “Lily,” and was most hospitable in watching out for her.

On our first visit, Terry had said that corgis had a wonderful sense of humor. Quite frankly, I thought that was salesmanship. How wrong I was! And how often I apologized to Terry! She had hit the proverbial nail on the head. Corgis are a breed of herding dogs. They are obsessed with keeping everything in order. They are focused on being the boss. They do not like changes or chaos.

When Lily was three, Terry arranged a marriage with another corgi. She had a single puppy, whom we named “Maggie.” Lily remained maternally in charge of Maggie until she died two-and-a-half years ago at almost 13 years of age. Maggie now has assumed control, also liking to be boss, and equally determined to keep order on the farm. 

Interestingly, Maggie will not bark at me when we get ready to go outside, but she cannot resist barking at my Good Wife if she is taking her out. Apparently, she realizes that I do not like barking, and inasmuch as I am normally the one who feeds her, she toes the line. She looks extremely sad if we are leaving her alone for a trip to the store or the like and is jubilant when we return. She is also territorial, wanting to be in charge of visitors to the farm. Once she understands that someone is a friend, all is fine.

On many occasions I have rewatched classic films, finding nuances I had not seen previously.  I never have rewatched The Queen. I need only look at my pooch, and the entire drama unfolds once again. Thank you, Queen Elizabeth.