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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Emma

Emma, the day after we got her.

Meet the newest addition to our wolf pack, Emma!

Emma is now a four and a half month old Corgi that has been a part of our family for about seven weeks now. A lot of our friends and family have asked us a few questions about her, including the most popular question: Why did we get a Corgi? So I thought I'd share a little about our experience welcoming her into our home.



It's hard to pinpoint how long I've wanted a Corgi, but it's definitely been at least four years, and it was definitely me that wanted one. I, like most people, was drawn to their adorable little bodies: their short legs, their happy faces, the big ears, and their cute little butts. I kind of identified with their bodies because I also suffer from short-leg problems and am kind of stocky in general. But when I read more about the breed, I grew to really have an appreciation for their personalities, and fell in love with them even more. Corgis are basically big dogs in medium bodies, and that was what we were looking for. I was also drawn to the fact that they're smart, high-energy, spirited, goofy and loving. We've only ever had small dogs because we've lived in apartments until we bought this house. And, once we moved in, we were ready to graduate from little Betty to someone a bit bigger and more energetic. We also wanted a companion dog - one who loves to take trips, run around and play fetch, go on hikes and learn tricks. Betty is many things, including sweet, low-key and seriously low-maintenance, but she hates traveling, doesn't play with toys or play fetch and does not like to walk more than 5 minutes. She's a great little house dog to keep us company while we have down time. And over the years, we've worked a lot with her to overcome her severe anxieties because we're fairly certain she was abused before we took her home from the shelter - we're really proud of her progress and we're happy to give her a home where she can just be herself (which is sitting on her bed being super chill). But, we felt something missing in our routine.



We've both been advocates for adopting animals, and in our adult lives (basically, the whole time we've known each other), we've always adopted our pets and supported local shelters. So, I started looking for a Corgi at shelters. I was on PetFinder all the time, looked into local breed rescues and had zero luck, even though we were willing to travel pretty far to get one. I hate to say it, I also started to follow so many Corgi Instagram accounts, and my heart just felt so happy scrolling through pictures of these little guys, and also a little sad that I may never experience owning one of my own. After two years of searching, I got really discouraged, and finally had a conversation with Josh about looking into other options.

She sleeps on her back a lot, which is standard for Corgis.

Emma had tape on her left ear for the first few days we had her because her breeder said it
was struggling to stay upright, and needed a little help.

He agreed that we should start looking into breeders. I know that Josh was apprehensive about it, but he also said that two years was a long time to look at shelters and rescues, and he knew how badly I wanted a Corgi in my life. It wasn't just a "They're so cute! I want one!" obsession. It was an actual connection with the breed.

I contacted a few breeders that just didn't sit right with me, or, didn't have any puppies available for the foreseeable future. I also checked online websites that ended up being flooded with scammers (I could not believe how many people out there post fake ads online for puppies asking for wire transfers - it was insane, although, I'm not sure why I was surprised). There was a lot of back and forth that led to nowhere, but finally, I found a breeder about two and a half hours away that just felt right. I called her up one day, and we had a great conversation about Corgis. She talked about how much she loved them, and asked what made me want one. I told her my reasons why, and our conversation led to me explaining how we tried to adopt one for two years and never found one. She responded with, "Oh I know, it's near impossible to rescue them because everyone who has one ends up keeping them for the most part." She had rescued a few older Corgis over the years, but she said it's incredibly rare to find younger ones, especially puppies, at shelters.




The breeder had one female left, a little red and white one, and we committed to her over the phone without even meeting her because I had such a good, strong gut feeling about the situation. The breeder didn't do a lot of advertising, and she had so much passion for the breed. On top of that, she also ran a shelter for German Shepherds, so it was kind of the best of both worlds.



We had to wait until our little one was 10 weeks old before she was released to her new parents, and between the phone call saying we wanted her, to the day we picked her up, I was ridiculously over the moon with excitement, and ridden with anxiety. The anxiety was mostly just me waiting for something to happen because it was working out a little too well, and I had somehow already connected with this little puppy, even though I had only seen photos of her. I kept telling myself she wouldn't end up in our home, something would go wrong. But we carried on with the mindset that in a few weeks, we would have a puppy (because, you know, there was literally nothing wrong except my seriously disturbed brain that likes to ruin a perfectly lovely experience). We started puppy planning, and buying everything we needed. We had to puppy-proof the house because we have power tools and screws and nails all over the floors most of the time. We made sure Betty still had her designated areas to feel supported and safe, and created new areas for the little puppy. By the time pick-up day had arrived, we were ready to go.

Our little one was ready to come home the weekend we were in Vermont. We had already booked our hotel prior to finding our puppy, so thankfully, the breeder was able to hold her for us for another week. So while we were in Vermont, of course we both had puppy on the brain. We more than enjoyed our trip, but I, especially, was counting down the days.



Then, Corgi Day finally came, and it was such a great day. We drove to the breeder's house after work, and when we arrived, we were greeted by a little Corgi statue on her stoop. She showed us where our little one was hanging out, and guys, we walked into a room with like, six Corgis in it. It was heaven. And in the corner was little Emma, the last one in her litter to get picked up. The breeder handed her to me, and said, "Yeah, she was the chunkiest in the group," to which I said, "Well, I can identify with that," and I kind of loved her even more for it. When I first saw her, I couldn't stop smiling.

We spent some time with all the Corgis before leaving with Emma in tow, and then spent the night at my mom's so we didn't have to drive all the way back home that same night. My mom, I kid you not, hosted a "Corgi Party" with her, a wonderful friend, and us. What is a Corgi party, you ask? Well, it's when you get a Corgi puppy, and you drink wine to celebrate, and you eat a delicious cake that has a hand-made Corgi statue on the top made out of a combination of clay and love by said amazing friend. It was pretty awesome, and we had so much fun that night getting to know Emma. She was the star of the evening, and our little clay Corgi statue sits in our kitchen now with the happiest of memories attached to it.


Emma's first night away from home - we were both exhausted.

The next morning, we drove back home to get Emma into her new house and routine. She picked up so many things, including her name, really fast. Other things, like walking with leash and harness, not so much. We started working with her on basic commands, house-breaking and general merriment in the form of fetch with about 10 different toys right away, and she started to come out of her shell a little each day. After about four days at home, she pretty much exposed herself for the goofball that she is, and we're pretty excited about it.



She just passes out cold right in the middle of play time a LOT.

It's definitely a challenge introducing a puppy to an older dog that's never really been around a lot of other high-energy dogs. Betty gets very territorial around her own food and "Betty Spots," like her bed and her side of the bedroom, etc. But if we feed them separately, and as long as Emma doesn't encroach on these areas, Betty is learning to be around her. I'm pretty sure she's thinking, "Why does this one have so much energy and hop around all the time?" and it's been an adjustment. We have moments where Emma hops around Betty while Betty's in her bed trying to be chill, and Betty definitely snaps at her, but they go on walks together and walk around without any issues. So, small victories! But this will take some time, and something we anticipated to be a challenge.

I spy a Corgi butt.

Why did we pick the name Emma? Well, funny story. I showed my mom a picture of her that the breeder gave us the day we committed to her over the phone, and my mom said, "She looks like an Emma." I liked the name, but wasn't sold on it. We wanted something British because, you know, The Queen, but couldn't really think of anything that was short enough for a dog to understand that we both really loved. My front-runner was actually Daisy because I love daisies, and figured if we couldn't go British, at least she would be named after a happy little flower. I honestly thought that was going to be her name, but Josh and I agreed to wait until her personality came out a little to decide. For weeks, my mom would text me, "Have you named her Emma yet?" and "Only X number of days until you pick-up Emma!" When we brought her to my mom's house that night, she called her Emma every time. When Josh and I got in the car to drive home the next morning, he turned to me, and said, "I don't know if it's because your mom just kept calling her this, but I kind of love Emma now." And I said, "I know, me too!" And that was that.






We also call her Andouille Sausage because it's fun to say and Andouille sounds like it could pass for a really weird but oddly cute French term of endearment. Also, she's shaped like a sausage, so, you know. I also call her Magwai sometimes because of her ears, and our actual nickname for her is Emmie. She only responds to Emma for obvious reasons.

Also, we just had that big Nor'easter this March, and Emma loved the snow. It was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen. At first, she was confused by it, and wasn't sure what to do in it, but after about five minutes of exploring it, it was hard to get her to come inside. We got over two feet of snow, and we had to dig out tunnels in our yard for her to run around in because it was well over her head, but she was a trooper and mushed through it like a champ. She loved burrowing her head in it, diving in it, eating it. Everything about snow was amazing to her. But mostly, she loved eating it. The snow is now melted, and I'm pretty sure she's looking for more when we take her outside.

Pink belly alert!






We recently look her on a trip to Boston for the weekend, and we stayed at a Kimpton, which is a pet-friendly hotel chain that a friend of mine told me about. Betty got to stay at home for a relaxing weekend with Josh's mom while she house/dog sat for us. We were worried Emma would be totally overwhelmed because we hadn't socialized her a lot since getting her since she could still contract parvo and rabies. Her last round of puppy shots was completed two weeks before we left so we were excited to start de-sensitizing her to new surroundings. And she was a champ in the city. The loud noises and cars flying by didn't phase her too much (although, large tour buses scared her a little). Everyone wanted to stop and pet her or take her photo, and she loved all the attention. Other doggies in the parks came up to her, and she tried to play with them like it was no big deal, and we had a serious proud puppy owner moment. The only thing she would not do is the revolving hotel door, which is probably a little scary when you barely clear 10 inches tall.

Look at that neck floof.





After having her for a few weeks now, I told Josh that I'm not sure if I can ever not have a Corgi. I know it's hard to say because, like, it's only been a short time, but she's seriously so much fun to have around. Having a puppy is hard. Not giving-birth-to-a-human-and-raising-it hard, but it takes a lot of consistency and energy and always being on high alert with active, smart dogs like her. Housebreaking has been an on-going struggle because she's still so little and her brain can't yet distinguish from peeing inside or outside. So we have to take her out every 45 minutes to an hour (I kid you not). But, she gets better every week, and we've prepared for it to be an on-going education with her. She now looks guilty if she has an accident inside because we think she knows she's not supposed, but she just can't hold it yet if she's awake. She really has an accident in the house once every several days now, so she's showing so much improvement. When we first got her, we weren't even sure if she was peeing outside because her legs are so short, she doesn't really need to squat very far down to assume toe pee position. So definitely for the first few days, we had to train ourselves what a Corgi puppy pee stance actually looked like (it pretty much looks like she's standing with the tiniest back-leg squat).

We subscribed Emma to BarkBox because she gets bored with toys SO easily.
Having new ones sent to us once a month is so great. She LOVES her NYC pretzel.

Flower crown from Bark Box had to be used as a collar because she would NOT wear it
around her head (no surprise there). This was taken a few days before Easter.

Emma's first bath.

She also needs constant mental stimulation in the form of playing and learning tricks (she's mastered sit, lay down, roll over and shake). If she's bored, we hear about it, and she'll bark and be all over us. As I'm proof-reading this, she's all over my laptop, probably thinking, "Why did you stop playing tug of war with me? Is it playtime again? When is it playtime again?" But, the payoff has been so great. Seeing her personality come out little by little, and working with her on commands only to see her little face thinking and processing the information to actually learn them has been so rewarding. But really, we just love her little Corgi personality. She's active, smart, curious, playful, and also, super goofy and a little sassy.

Emma, while I was proof-reading this post.

Hello, my name is Samantha, and I think I'm addicted to Corgis.

7 comments:

  1. She is seriously THE CUTEST! And looks like she has such a wonderful personality. She must bring you both such joy!!! YAY!!!!

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  2. Congratulations! She is just so precious. My family had a Corgi, Molly, when I was a kid and she was the best dog we could have ever hoped for. One of the toys she loved the most was one of those smooth, rubber balls you find in the kids toy section at Walmart (which are only $1-3!). She enjoyed it being oversized, and would push it around the yard with her nose. We would even "toss" it to her and she would bounce it back to us using her snout! So cute. Enjoy Emma. It was meant to be! :-)

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  3. Adorable...and Queen Elizabeth swears by them so you know they are great pets.

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  4. She is the sweetest little thing! Dogs bring so much joy and life to a home. Enjoy your new baby.

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  5. Congratulations Sam! What a sweet corgi story! I love your life! ♥️

    Shirley

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  6. Oh.

    Oh oh oh

    OH OH OH OH OH!!!!!!

    I don't even know what else to say. Too adorable for words, seriously.... just.... OH!

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  7. Welcome to the family Emma!! You are simply adorable and I'm so glad you have the best furever family to enjoy your life with as i know they will you. Congrats to you both Josh and especially Sam! The dedication you've put into getting your corgi baby reminds me of myself the last few yrs trying to locate another Maltese pup. It's not an easy task but when its something you love you may just goto the ends of the earth to achieve it lol!! Enjoy your new puppers,I know you both will. love auntie wendi xo

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