This week’s snowfall has given enhanced meaning to the adage that corgis are German shepherds with three-inch legs. At our farm, we surpassed the weatherman’s prediction of three inches, raking in about six inches of depth, which is almost the height of our corgi, Maggie’s, torso. Consequently, when we take her for a walk, rather than leaving footprints in the snow, she makes a veritable trough through it, excitedly romping away.
She thoroughly delights in the adventure, almost as an Alpine skier would revel in a challenging downhill slalom. Her head remains above the surface, allowing her to enjoy the experience without fear of a dog-level avalanche. Whereas a German shepherd or a Newfoundland would be tromping across the snow, a corgi glides through the accumulated floes on the lawn, incapable of discerning the usual enjoyable sniffing locales, and therefore oblivious to the familiar sensory landmarks.
Once out in the snow, the density of a corgi’s coat keeps her warm—all the while I might add, my own feet are freezing waiting for her to be ready to turn homeward. I always have to tell her when our external sojourn is finished, and virtually beg her to let us return to the warmer clime of the house.
Once she understands that we are heading homeward, she races ahead of me, plowing through the snow, and as soon as I remove her leash, she proceeds to her preferred spot by the woodstove where she basks in its radiant warmth, drying off whatever melted moisture that remains clinging to her. She prefers the woodstove method to being towel-dried, but after warming herself, she likes to move to the wood floor as the rug by the stove becomes a bit too hot for her tastes. Indeed, as far as dogs go, Maggie does have her particulars.
Corgis are somewhat cat-like in their behavior patterns. Not only do they share pointed ears with their feline cousins, they also like to be in charge. The saying that a dog has a family, and a cat has a staff can be seen as a trifle applicable to a corgi, but a corgi understands she has her own supportive role to play in a family. She views being in charge as doing her part to serve the interests of all, unlike a cat who tends to ask—or perhaps I should say ‘meow?’—“What’s in it for me?”
Maggie has no interest in other dogs, and I do not think she knows what a cat is. She is oriented toward our family, and doing her job keeping us together. She very willingly has added the new B.E. as one of her charges, always wanting to lie near her. For her part, the B.E. seems to be mesmerized by her canine relative.
Maggie readily discerns when a family member is not feeling well, and then makes clear that she wants to be near the person. If someone rests on the library sofa due to having a headache, she likes to be as close as possible, frequently staring the recumbent one in the face as if to ask what she can do to alleviate whatever discomfort the person is experiencing.
Having been born in our house, Maggie has known no other home. She was almost nine when Lily, her mother, died last year. Until the end, when we would come in from the rain or snow, Lily would proceed to lick whatever moisture remained on Maggie. Licking her puppy clean was a maternal instinct from the time of Maggie’s birth that Lily never forgot.
As I am writing this piece, the second snowfall is upon us, filling in Maggie’s previous troughs, and about to apply an exciting new surface through which she will be able to plow to her heart’s content, and to the endurance of my freezing feet.