Marietta Pritchard: Meet Ripley, a dog you must believe
AMHERST — I’ve noticed recently that people have started smiling at me, even stopping to talk when I’m out walking. This has nothing to do with an improvement in my personality, but rather that I once again have a corgi at the end of a leash.
Corgis tend to make people smile more than some dogs, partly because they are basically quite funny-looking. Head and chest rather like a collie, but then those very short legs. Someone once stopped his car when I was walking our previous corgi, rolled down his window and said: “Where’s the rest of her?”
There’s a whole series of videos on YouTube of corgis, almost all of them comical. “Corgis trying to do things” is one of my favorites, and I just sent my husband a different one for his birthday, a row of the cute critters barking out Happy Birthday to You.
Ripley is our new dog, thanks to the generosity of her breeder, Mary DeToma of Winddancer Corgis in Framingham. Retired as a show dog, Ripley — her official name is Aylesford Believe It or Not — gave birth to her second and last litter of puppies in September, seven healthy, smile-provoking beauties. She looks a lot like our old dog, Kirby, who died in January at age 16, but there are some real differences. A little longer, more pointy-faced and blonder than Kirby, the 4-year-old Ripley is more overtly affectionate and more overtly anxious about strangers.
Equally responsive to the thought or possibility of food as was her predecessor, she considers raw vegetables a treat, and vacuums the floor under the kitchen table where we have our meals. Another big difference is Ripley’s evident willingness to come when called. We never were able to work that out with Kirby, who sometimes came, but mostly had her own agenda.
We had not been dogless since the death of Kirby. We adopted a rescue dog, Sadie, a schnauzer mix, about whom I wrote back in April. That turned out to be a sad episode, with lots of hopes and lots of effort, but in the end, the effort didn’t work out for us.
Sadie had too many “issues” for us to handle. She was devoted and cuddly with my husband and me, but fearful and extremely aggressive toward anyone who came into our orbit. We worked with a trainer for a month, and thought we were seeing a little improvement, but at the end of that time, when she tried to bite our grandson, we decided that we could not keep her.
PAWS New England, the organization through which we had adopted her, was thoroughly responsive and responsible, and even found nice volunteers in Northampton to drive her back to her previous foster home in Connecticut, sparing us that painful exchange. I have since learned that the foster family has adopted her permanently, which is excellent news, since it is a household with many dogs. I think Sadie is probably more comfortable surrounded by a pack than when she felt she alone was responsible for protecting two hapless adults.
Dogs make a big difference in the lives of those who like to share space with them. For me, they have become a necessity, offering a friendly greeting in the morning and at other times, getting me out in all weathers, providing companionship during my hours at the computer, covering my floors and clothes with blonde fur.
She is a lovely addition to our household. Welcome, Ripley.
Marietta Pritchard can be reached at email@example.com.