On January 12, 1999 a small Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a rescue dog named “Roadie,” arrived in California, having been shipped from a rural area of Oklahoma. Painfully shy, but incredibly sweet, little Roadie had been described as a “mild-mannered,” tiny female. She weighed just 12.5 pounds (breed standard is 25 pounds) upon her arrival, which was also coincidentally, her first birthday.
During her first year of life this undefeatable little dog battled a severe case of generalized demodectic mange and sustained serious injuries when she was savagely attacked by one of the breeder’s dominant female corgis. The attack left Roadie with a deep bite wound just under her right eye. Her head had also been yanked, causing damage to her cervical vertebrae that would haunt her years later in life, but wasn’t obvious at the time.
That was our beginning. As a corgi rescuer, my plan had been to foster, then find a home for Roadie. Due to her exceedingly shy temperament and unexpected complications with her eye injury, the planned adoption fell through.
Ultimately her eye injury required surgery, and nine months of monitoring and medications until we’d finally stamped out a severe staph infection that had developed. Her damaged tear duct was unable to lubricate the eye and she required a rigorous protocol of eye drops and ointments throughout the course of her life. Had the infection not been caught when it was, it would have traveled down her optic nerve and been her demise.
The vet said that I saved her life, and she never seemed to forget it.
After nine months, we finally had a healthy dog. She’d matured, gained some needed weight and was starting to develop more confidence. She’d bonded closely with my own Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Kenai. Confident, but not dominant, Kenai was just the role model Roadie needed and they became fast friends.
I found myself unable to call this fragile little dog “Roadie.” That name just didn’t fit. I didn’t want to officially name her, or I knew she’d be mine. So I called her Little Bit, as she was just a little bit of a dog.
And you know the rest. Ultimately Little Bit was shortened to L.B. (spelled Elbee) and we declared her “our dog.” Elbee was Home.
It took about three years for her to become the dog she was meant to be. Big changes took place. She gained confidence, participated in basic obedience training and developed a deep trust in her human companions that was never broken. While she learned to trust Moe, I was always her #1 person.
Unadulterated sweetness was her trademark. Elbee loved nothing more than to cuddle in a lap, offering an infinite supply of soft kisses. She was my shadow, never far from me. Gradually I introduced her to the world. She became an ambassador for the corgi breed, approaching new people in her quiet, but very persistent way, asking for attention.
Her calm, sweet manner made her an unofficial therapy dog. She was instrumental in helping several small children overcome their fear of dogs. I could take her absolutely anywhere. She was wonderful with everyone, but never lost sight of my presence. When we were riding in the car together, she just couldn’t stop smiling.
One of Elbee’s proudest moments was in September 2009, the day of the local Canine Good Citizen test. She hadn’t been trained to take the CGC. I was actually taking one of my other dogs. As I was getting in the car, there was her smiling face, asking to go. I thought, “Why not? She knows how to do everything on the test.” I quickly popped her in the car. Not only did she pass the test with flying colors, she charmed everyone she met and officially became Bridgecreeks Little Bit, CGC.
Over the years, Elbee proved to be the most wonderful little Pembroke Welsh Corgi imaginable. She was always tiny, weighing just 15.8 pounds at her healthy, adult weight, but a bigger heart and a more powerful spirit I shall never know. In spite of her diminutive stature, she was every bit a Pembroke Princess. We have so many fond memories of her: how fast she could run, how inquisitive she was, what a food-a-holic she became, how loud such a small dog could snore, what cute squeaky noises she made when she “talked,” how her whole body wiggled in excitement when she greeted us, and her most delightful smile.
On December 23, 2010 at 3:00AM, after a few weeks of battling a suspected urinary infection, she had a seizure. We rushed her to the veterinary emergency facility. She was home for Christmas Eve and Christmas, but on December 26 she had another seizure. The morning of December 29, 2010, it was confirmed that her kidneys were failing. There was nothing more we could do for her. Her condition made the decision clear.
That afternoon Moe and I went to Veterinary Medical Specialists, where Elbee was in critical care, to say goodbye. You can see pictures and read the story of her last hours with us.
We took her blanket with all its familiar smells. She had a nice little walk outside, some of her favorite foods and was allowed to snuggle in her favorite spot, my lap, as she slipped away. A little dog, with a huge heart, that was never supposed to be ours, Elbee will forever occupy a place in our hearts. Our home feels empty without her.
Peace be with you, Elbee. You’re the best little Pembroke in the world. We will always love you.
Bridgecreeks Little Bit, CGC
Copyright 2011 ForPaws