Thursday, January 25, 2007


My dog, Huwie, was born today, 17 years ago. He's not with us anymore, gone to that great tennis-ball-filled Field in the Sky. He was a red-headed tri-color Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He was my devoted companion for 10 years.

He was a very active puppy, didn't want to sleep at night, (he was actually very good preparation for Gus.) We lived in Old City, near Front Street, in Philadelphia in the early 1990's, before that part of the city was woefully built-up and super-coolified. We took a twice-daily constitutional to the park at Front and Chestnut Streets (elegantly known to local dog owners as "The Poop Park"). The park had been developed during the Bicentennial and promptly neglected thereafter. It was populated by homeless people, who slept around the edges of the park and who would complain in the early mornings when Huw would joyfully and noisily run after a tennis ball and wake them up.

When Huw was a couple of years old, a neighbor told me one day that he (Huw) howled all day long while I was at work. Oh no, he's lonely, I thought. I decided I would get Huw a companion. I contacted the local rescue society and adopted Trevor, another red-headed tri-color Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Trevor was handsome and phlegmatic (though with a dark side that came out later) and athletic - all the things that Huw was not. They loathed each other on sight. Huw didn't cry during the day any more; he probably spent the day sleeping with one eye open to watch his enemy.

In 1996, I moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, and the dogs of course came with me. Trevor and Huw started getting into pretty vicious fights, and I decided to return Trevor to the rescue society. I didn't want to subject Huw to that. The night after Trevor reurned to the rescue society, as I finished up my shift as a bartender at the local bar, a phone call came in for me. Who would be calling me at 2 in the morning? Why, it was my downstairs neighbors; they wanted to know if I could come home because Huw had been howling all day. Damned if he did; damned if he didn't.

When I moved home after West Virginia, Huw ensconced himself permanently with my parents and stayed after I moved out. I didn't want to subject him to more time alone in an apartment all day, and besides, I don't think my dad would have let me take him. Dad and Huw had a special bond (see January 5 entry).

Huw was funny and affectionate and often worried (I spent a lot of time on walks saying things like, "That's just a trash bag." or "That's just a bush." or "That's just a spare tire." If that wasn't enough to reassure him, I would speak really slowly and ennunciate carefully, "That's....just....a.....trash.....bag...." as if that would make it clearer to him.)

Sometimes on walks, he would decide that he could go no further (and honestly, he did have really really short legs). He would exert Negative Canine Gravity, and there would be no budging him. So I would end up picking him up. Because he was so oddly shaped and heavy, I would have to carry him belly up. When I picked him up, he would throw his head back dramatically. This I called his "Victorian Lady with the Vapors" pose. One time the elevator in my building broke, and despite all my cajoling and pleading, I (in my business suit and heels) had to carry the Victorian Lady with the Vapors up six flights of steps.

Well, anyway, you know the drill. Everyone has a beloved dog who made them laugh. There was nothing special about Huw, except that he was himself, and I loved him dearly.

Here he is, looking rather dashing in a cowboy hat, which he wore without complaint...


Blogger Liberty Fan said...

One of the finer gentlemen that the leggy, super-model has had the chance to spend a few days with. I didn't realize Huw's birthday was the day after "Dress Your Dog in a Silly Outfit Day." Really! It was!

3:37 PM  
Blogger CurlyGirl said...

Remember when I was driving you and a young Huwie out to the suburbs and it started to rain? So I put on the intermittant wipers and each time the wipers would swish, Huwie would bark at them. I remember us looking at each other knowing that I'd have to put the wipers on full force as the rain intensified. It was a VERY pleasant drive! Huwie!

And the fake heart attacks on our walks. "Uh-oh Laura, I don't think I can go any further." "Uh-oh, I'm tipping!" "And I'm down and rolled on my side." "Now you have to carry me." And as I carried his heavy, weirdly-shaped body, muttering at him, he'd look up at me and give me a kiss. "Thank you, Laura." Huwwww!

10:17 AM  
Blogger DMJ said...

Old Huwie was a fine Welsh corgi, with a great predilection for chasing a tennis ball across the lawn and returning with it, until he should have been ready to drop - but if you wanted to keep tossing the tennis ball Huw would continue to chase it. Many great stories about lovable old Huwie - a fine doggie!

9:23 PM  
Blogger diana said...

And don't forget when he stole the peanut butter cookie and hid under the bed, growling furiously.... WA HA HA HA!!!

And remember when we gave him a piece of pizza for his birthday and he turned into a wolf?


5:59 PM  

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