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A Tribute to Cally (1995-2008)
Eight puppies were born to breeder Pam Allen, Chimera Cardigans. The litter sire was Barry (Ch.Vestavia's Royal Blue) and the dam was Sinner (Ch. Heart of Gold Chimera Sinner). Calla, as named by Pam, is the black and white puppy on the right with her head resting on her litter mate.
When Calla was old enough, she went to live with Rachel Doggett of Tregaron Kennels. Her name was changed to Ebony, and it was intended that she would grow up to be mated with two-time Westminster Best of Breed, Robyn (Ch. Chimera Robyn Emrys), seen in the bottom picture. Robyn's pal John (the blue dog on the right) got to share in playing with the puppy.
At six months old, Pam and Rachel decided that Ebony really wasn't breeding material; her toes were a bit too splayed and she walked a little bit like a bull dog. We had just lost Mandy, our pound puppy of 13 years, a few months before. A chance meeting with Pam at the Labor Day Doggie Olympics in Alexandria, VA, brought this beautiful black and white dog into our lives...and into our hearts. It had to be fate! We immediately changed her name back to Calla, reminiscent of the calla lilies that were part of our wedding.
As we said, it had to be fate that Cally came to us (or us to her!). Here is the formal portrait that Ken took of Mandy. After Cally had been with us for a year or so, Ken was looking at this portrait of Mandy, which hangs over his dresser and noticed something incredible. Look to the left of Mandy, at the shadow along the pillow. There you will see an image of Cally, lying in one of her favorite places...the pillow above our heads. You can see the two corgi ears, her nose pointing to the left side of the photo, even the white on Cally's snout. Cally was indeed meant to be with us.
One of her first days with us in the townhouse on Mt. Airey Lane in Annandale, VA.
When we got Cally, we decided that we wanted another dog to keep her company while we were at work. In April 1996, Louis (named for St. Louis, MO, where we first lived together) became part of our family. Let's just say that Cally didn't immediately take to the new puppy.
Isn't this just so cute?? OK, to be honest, we waited until they were both asleep and then pushed them together. Cally would have been just fine to never have to sleep that close to the new puppy. As he got older, and maybe a little less pesky, she didn't mind at all.
Relaxing on the couch in the Annandale townhouse.
We took the pups to a border collie sheep herding demonstration in Loudoun County, VA. Only problem was that companion dogs weren't allowed into the show. Cally and Louis had to stay in the car...but not before getting to do some romping (and posing!) in the field.
Very quickly, imprinting took place and Louis took to following Cally wherever she went. It was that way for the next 12 years. He always looked to her in whatever we were doing. Must have been in part because she looked a little like his mother, Treasure. Or maybe just because she was older and was always the alpha dog, even when we got the other pups later on.
A month after we got Louis, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary with a 3-week cruise and land tour in Alaska. Louis went back to his breeder for a visit, and Cally went back to Pam and Chimera. Cally is pictured with her Chimera family above in the bottom left-hand corner. To the right of her is Barry, her father, and in a line above Barry is Charm (Cally's litter mater), Raven, and Grits (also Cally's litter mate). On the right side of the picture is Cerise, whose future daughter, Tulla, would give birth to Kiva's litter.
To test out the new (and now seemingly primitive) digital camera, we snuck into our neighbors back yard. She had some beautiful flowers there, and we wanted to have some color in the picture. The photo in the upper left-hand corner we lovingly referred to as Louis' Kiss.
Cally and Louis under the Christmas tree in 1996. Then, the two of them in front of the fireplace in the Annandale townhouse at Christmas in 1997.
For Christmas in 1996, Ken took a formal portrait of Cally and Louis. In the morning, he supposedly left for work but then returned home just after Judy went to work. Before she got home that evening, he had posed the dogs, taken a bunch of pictures, selected one to print, printed it, matted and framed it, and wrapped it up. This in one of our favorite pictures of them. Notice how Louis has his paw around her paw, like he is holding on to her. Isn't that sweet?? He could never get enough of Cally.
In May 2001, we rented a 21 foot RV and drove out west for a three week vacation. One bed was really the couch folded out...the other was the dinette folded down. It was small! Cally and Louis spent most of the time on the couch, as seen in this picture. Cally never was quite comfortable when we traveled in our RVs. She hardly slept while we were moving. Louis, on the other hand, conked out before we even got out of the driveway!
On that trip, we visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a hot day! Someone recently told us that this photo could have been one seen in a magazine....such good looking subjects!
Same RV trip in 2001. Here Ken is standing in Utah and Colorado; Louis is standing in Arizona and Colorado; and Cally is standing in New Mexico, with a back paw in Arizona. Four Corners is the only place in our country where four states connect at a single spot. The Four Corners Monument is in the Navajo Nation.
On the way back from the Southwest, we stopped in St. Louis, MO, to see our friends the Kuklas. Maria took this photo and sent it to us when we got home. Cally was always resting under chairs and tables with her head propped up. It was if she wanted to sleep but didn't want to miss anything either. It was the path of least resistance to just have to open an eye when she heard a noise.
Kiva (named after a Native American sacred place that we learned about on our RV trip) came to live with us in March 2002. Once again, Cally only reluctantly accepted the new puppy. I think she never quite understood why these tiny little mutts were coming into our lives and why the humans couldn't just leave well enough alone!
We loved getting poses of the new puppies with Cally. In this one, she is clearly showing her aversion to being forced to pose with the puppy while sleeping.
But, Cally did eventually adopt a maternal stance with most of the puppies (maybe not Pico!). Here she is with Kiva for her first experience with snow. Cally would often lick Kiva's face in a very maternal way. Such a cleaning became one of Kiva's very favorite things...she would practically beg Cally to clean her face, even to the point of pestering Cally until she would concede. Kiva loved it!
As Kiva grew, we realized that her ears were not going to go up without some help. We went to Wilmington, NC, to see Judy's parents and while there went to a cardigan breeder who helped tape up Kiva's ears...with duct tape of all things! It was a hot, hot day, but that didn't stop our corgies from romping in the back yard with all the other corgies. The breeder had a water bucket for the dogs to drink out of to cool themselves. Louis decided that it was much faster to cool himself off by just jumping full-body into the bucket. Cally decided it was just easier to plop next to the bucket.
Susan Jackson of Wilmington, NC, adopted one of Cally's litter mates, Molly (Ch. Chimera Devilwithabluedress). Here the two sisters meet for the first time since leaving the litter. Susan also adopted one of Kiva's litter mates, Louie. Kiva and Louie both share the lack of a gene for black...they are what Pam calls "dudleys". They also shared the need to have their ears taped up.
Cally could have cared less whether Kiva's ears stayed up or not. At least she got used to having the puppy around and is not showing so much aversion in this photo. Yes, we realize we have a lot of pictures of the dogs on our bed!
Whenever we had a meal, Cally always found her spot under the table, at someone's feet. We used to say she was waiting for food to jump off of the table (or counter, for that matter) and into her mouth. Cally was always very food motivated!
In the summer of 2002, this time in an RV of our own, we traveled to Canada for an Albers family reunion. After a week with the family, we traveled through Ontario and into Quebec, then down through New England on our way home. Here, the corgies are posing in a canoe that we rented in Algonquin Provincial Park. It was intended to be our Christmas card photo, but that didn't happen. Cally traveled quite a bit in her 13 years. She always would have much rather stayed home.
Cally loved the snow. She easily made her way through snow no matter how deep, including the 3-foot snow storm in 1996 in Virginia and the 4-foot snow storm in Garrett County on President's Day weekend 2003. She would jump like a rabbit through it and often eat as much snow as she was moving aside. Here's three of the corgies enjoying the snow on our back deck.
For Judy's 40th birthday, Ken took a formal portrait of the three dogs. When asked how he got them to pose, he used to say it took him three hours and three rolls of film. Judy loved this picture. It was our Christmas card photo that year, and Judy's parents surprised us both that Christmas with a flag made from this photo. We hang the flag outside only on very special occasions.
Cally always enjoyed other dogs....only if they would accept her as the alpha dog, which most did. Here she shares the couch with Hoover, Judy's brother's young black lab. Actually, she loved big black dogs for most of her life. It was the littler ones that she wanted to know that she was boss!
Another trip we took in the RV with the dogs was to New England in the summer of 2004. The real reason for the trip was to celebrate Judy's grandmother's 85th birthday in Boston. We just kept on driving north after that. Here Cally poses with Judy, Louis and Kiva on top of a rock in Acadia National Park.
When we got married, we had a pound puppy named Mandy that we had adopted from the shelter in Washington DC in 1982. We were 20, and she was with us for almost 13 years. Mandy was with us on our honeymoon, during which we took a picture of her and Judy similar to the one above. Of course, Judy was a lot younger in the first photo, but the sentiments of love and joy are just the same in this photo with Cally.
The looks on their faces seem to indicate that they weren't too happy to have this photo taken. But, it's a cute picture.
The pose in this picture was a favorite of Cally's....she was conserving energy but ever watchful, just in case she needed to be up and ready for action!
Judy's brother's daughter, Taylor, loved to take long baths. If the corgies were able to open the door and be inside the bathroom, they would often want to give her a bath of their own. Cally in particular loved to lick water off of someone just coming out of a bath or shower. It must have been a maternal thing...she was doing her part in taking care of you.
Cally and Taylor in a stare down. The tub was just the right height for Cally. She could peer into it as she was sitting down or she could put her front paws on the edge of the tub to try to get a lick.
And she used it a lot. Cally was a licker. She gave wonderful doggie kisses. She gave feet massages if she found someone without shoes and socks. She cleaned the other corgies ears and faces. She happily washed human faces as well if she were allowed. And she happily licked off the lotion that someone might have applied to their bare legs. Here, she shows her licking prowess by licking her own nose!
The three dogs had birthdays in consecutive months: Kiva in January, Louis in February and Cally in March (believe it or not, when Pico came along he was born in April!). Most years, we tried to have a birthday celebration for all three of them on Valentine's Day, right in the middle of the birthdays. On Cally's 10th birthday, Judy had a dog cookie made by Betsy Herpel (Kiva was 3, Louis was 9). Here the dogs are enjoying their cookie very much!
In early 2005, Cally's back legs started "going down", meaning she started little by little to lose use of them. When our local vet couldn't figure out what was going on and it got much worse, we called Pam who told us that we needed to get her to a specialty vet as soon as possible. She probably needed major surgery. Sure enough, one of the discs in her back had exploded and she lost all use of her back legs. She had the surgery followed by a rather lengthy recovery. Ever after the surgery, she stumbled a bit and her back feet would roll a bit to the inside, but the fact that she could walk again was all that mattered. And it took a while but all her fur did grow back!
In June 2006, Pico (we named him Piccolo after coming back from a trip to Italy) came to Corgi Cottage. From day one, he was a beast...and still is! Cally was her usually suspicious self with the new puppy and truly never fully accepted him. He was just too much energy for her, we think. But they did get along, even though Pico would have much preferred Cally to play with him rather than growling and barking at him when he wanted to play. She was 11 years old when Pico came, a little old perhaps to ever be truly happy that he was with us.
When it was hot or when the corgies had run around too much, a cool place to lay down was the living room hearth. Cally often could be found here. On this particular day, she had to share it with Louis and Kiva. Pico wanted to lay here, too, but he couldn't find room. In a subsequent photo, he had to contend with lying down underneath one of the arm chairs....close by but not too cool.
Whenever it was time to go on a trip in the car or RV, the other three corgies would be raring to go. Cally, on the other hand, would rather sit far inside the foyer in a stance that let us know without a doubt that she rather not go. Of course, when it became clear to her that we were going without her, she would change her mind. Worse than having to travel would be for her to have to stay home alone.
This is a great photo! Ken tried to get Pico to pose with the others, but alas, he would much rather romp around the yard. Rare is a time when he will just sit still! Ken used this to send to the international girls a photo that said "we miss you!" when they went home for the summer. He had to paste in Pico.
This is our very favorite photo of all four dogs together. It was taken by Krista when we went to visit her, Lasma and Zummie at Bucknell University in the fall of 2007. Look at Cally's graying face. What a sweet, old girl!
And talk about a graying Cally face! This is another picture of the dogs on the bed....four in a row.
We found out on Friday June 20th that Cally's spleenic mass was malignant and the cancer had metastasized to her lungs. The mass was seen on an X-ray taken by our local vet. But, we took her to South Paws Veterinary Clinic in Alexandia, VA (where Cally had her back surgery) to have the mass removed. There, they found that the cancer was too advanced and that, coupled with her age, made surgery impossible. They told us to take her home and give her loving, supportive care. This photo was taken two days later at home, where we were giving her as much loving, supportive care as we could.
The days after her diagnosis at South Paws were really very good. Cally had energy and ate just fine (her appetite was good up until her final breath!). She even played with the other corgies some, barked her vociferous bark, and rolled around on her back. We found ourselves believing that maybe she had turned a corner, but the South Paws vet had told us that it could be any day before the mass on her spleen started to bleed. We just enjoyed the time that we had with her.
On Tuesday, June 24, at about 5:00 PM, Cally started to show signs of being in severe pain. She wouldn't lie down, as if doing so hurt too much. We gave her as much pain medication as we could, and she eventually laid down, but we knew it was time.
The next morning, June 25th, we made the decision to have Cally euthanized. It wasn't that hard of a decision...we knew it was the right one to end her pain and suffering. What made it hard, of course, was the sadness and loss we felt at the idea of not having her with us. Still, our loss was secondary to her peace. We were with her until the very end...she knew she was loved when she took her last breath. There is definitely a void in our house and the energy is different. Most of all, we are grateful for the 13 years of love, companionship, and joy that we had with her.