1966 – 1980
Bryn, a Welsh Pembrokeshire Corgi, was my first dog. I had wanted my own dog for as long as I can remember and when I was 13 years old, my parents finally allowed me to have one. A friend of my Mother had been given a Corgi puppy for a Christmas present by her son, but luckily for me her ageing Yorkshire Terrier wouldn’t accept him. We discovered this by chance when we met her one day whilst we were out shopping and she told us the sorry tale, saying that she would have to get rid of the Corgi. That was enough for me! Despite already having a Beagle puppy booked, I pleaded and pestered until my parents gave in and agreed to go and see this unwanted puppy. Once I’d seen him that was that, it was love at first sight and I just had to have this gorgeous bundle of fluff. I didn’t even mind that getting him, meant I could no longer have the Beagle puppy, after all, the Corgi was here and I would have to wait for the Beagle puppy……it hadn’t even been born. The temptation was far too great. And so Bryn came home with us there and then. He didn’t have a pedigree or any kind of KC papers, but I didn’t mind, I was so thrilled to have my own dog at last.
He was adored by the whole family and I spent many happy hours looking after him, walking him, taking him to obedience classes and teaching him to fetch various items, including the post. My Father would put his wage packet through the letterbox and Bryn would very proudly pick it up and carry it to my Mother without damaging it. He gradually learnt the names of several different items which he would fetch when asked and he would pick up and carry whatever I gave him, taking it to the lucky recipient. One night I made the mistake of giving him a large old fashioned hole puncher made of metal to pick up and take to my Mother in the next room. He had difficulty taking it from me, so I put it down on the carpet and he then picked it up and carried it through. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that he had picked it up the wrong way round and when he came to give it to my Mother, he couldn’t drop it. It was stuck fast over his large eye teeth. Understandably he was frantic, desperately clawing at his jaw in an effort to remove the offending object. We had a mustard coloured carpet at the time and in a very short time it looked like there had been a massacre, as the blood from his mouth sprayed everywhere. I had to lie on the floor with him, trying to hold him still and keep him calm, whilst my Mother called the emergency vet and we waited for him to arrive. It seemed to take forever, but in reality wasn’t that long at all. He arrived and promptly started laughing, so comical was the scene. After sedating Bryn, he very gently removed the hole puncher, explaining that his mouth would not feel any worse than if he’d had a full dental clean, but he would never have got the hole puncher over his teeth by himself and actually had been in danger of severing the lower part of his jaw. I know that he dined out on this story for years; he would always mention it whenever I saw him in later years with one of my Irish Setters. From then on I was extremely careful about what I asked Bryn to fetch!!
Another time, Bryn took himself upstairs whilst we were out. Again, this was my fault, as I had taught him to climb the stairs. Once upstairs, he jumped on the bed and discovered an interesting package on the bedside unit. He settled down for a good chew and my Mother came home to discover her solid gold watch in minute pieces and totally beyond repair. Of course Bryn was forgiven, but I was extremely unpopular! There was another incident when we were out shopping one day. Having been to the butchers, we left our parcel of sausages on the rear shelf of the car whilst we went to the next shop. Bryn was also in the car and of course when we came back the sausages had completley vanished! I’m pleased to say, that time it wasn’t my fault.
One of my favourite memories is of the day we had a visitor at the house. He was a dog lover and owned several himself…………he also had a goatee beard. As he bent down to say hello to Bryn and make a fuss of him, Bryn could not resist the urge to grab hold of his beard and he hung on as if his life depended on it, tugging with all his might. Of course we were all profusely apologetic, but I have to say that as soon as the visitor left we were all helpless with laughter and still often laugh about it all these years later. Both Bryn and the visitor had a glint in their eye, but for very different reasons!!
In a round about way, it is due to Bryn that I now have Irish Setters. A family lived opposite us who had an Irish Setter called Shandy, who was an escape artist………he was forever getting out and wandering over to our house, much to Bryn’s disgust. He positively hated this gorgeous dog and would go into overdrive at the sight of him. Many was the time that we had to separate them because Bryn had started a fight. One time my Father had to pick Bryn up, putting him around his shoulders, getting badly bitten by Bryn in the process, as it was the only way he could stop the ensuing scuffle. The memory of this beautiful red dog stayed with me and I’ve had a thing about redheads ever since!
Corgis are feisty little dogs, originally bred for herding the cattle, which they do by nipping their ankles. This behaviour is inherant in the breed and Bryn was no exception, he would wait until you were about to put a foot onto the first step of the stairs and suddenly rush full speed down the hall and gently nip your ankles, running away looking very pleased with himself. In later years my prospective future Mother-in-Law came to stay for the weekend. She owned a dog, so was used to them, but after our evening meal she seemed to be taking an unusually long time to come back down. We discovered her sitting on the bed, nervous of coming down stairs. She admitted that she was frightened of Bryn, as during the meal, he had been sitting under the table and every so often would nibble at her shoes. As things turned out Bryn proved to be an excellent judge of character!!!