A Corgi’s look at 2013
Although he is well known to be a fan of history and historic events, Jamie has never been one to dwell on the past and he’s usually looking ahead – to his next meal.
But due to popular demand (he demanded because he thinks he’s popular), he recently decided to do a “year in review.” So here’s a look at a scant few snippets of what the Big Lug experienced during 2013, broken down by month.
“It’s cold,” Jamie said. “Wake me up in April.”
When a winter storm hit the Ozarks and dumped several inches of snow and sleet topped off with some freezing rain, Jamie had a blast hanging around outdoors in the resulting layer of what seemed like “frozen mashed potatoes mixed with cement.”
“This stuff’s weird,” he said. “My paws don’t go into it, and my claws can’t grab ahold of it. And if I get up any speed, I slide.
“I like it.”
When an early spring storm brought wintry weather back to the area and dumped about six inches of snow, Jamie had even more fun since he was able to plow through it instead of having to walk on top of it.
Part of the Big Lug’s enjoyment came from trying to keep up with our other Corgi, Gertie (the Permapup), who is always on the go, but shifts into an even higher gear in the snow. Jamie ran after her as she would literally run in circles at top speed, and then stop suddenly and take a big bite out of the fluffy white stuff, like it was frosting on a gigantic cake.
“That dog’s crazy,” Jamie said. “I like it.”
I told Jamie that Gertie can’t help herself, because to her, everything is exciting.
“Even a dead skunk?” Jamie asked. “Or a piece of rotten asparagus?”
“Well, maybe not quite everything,” I said. “But I’d say a dead skunk might just qualify.”
Spring settled in, with far more palatable weather, and Jamie got outside and took advantage.
“This is more like it,” he said. “Why don’t we cook some hot dogs over a fire tonight? I might need a little help – no thumbs, you know.”
“Great idea, big man,” I said. “I think we can arrange that. The moon should be out and the coyotes will be singing.”
“Extra bacon grease and chicken gizzards on mine,” Jamie said. “And hold the mustard, ketchup, onions and relish.”
“Nice,” I said. “That’ll be a dog fit for a dog.”
Wanting both to see what all the hubbub was about and offer suggestions and criticism only a wily, 35-pound Pembroke Welsh Corgi could, Jamie decided to accompany me on a day at work.
Highlights included having him help proofread stories and ads, select and add captions to photos, and even gather and share breaking news. But when he and I went out to take care of business around town, Jamie was in top form.
Especially at the Houston City Hall, where mayor Don Tottingham and Police Chief Jim McNiell discussed with him the possibility of forming a K-9 unit. But when Jamie brought up his keen ability to find pork chops hidden in fenders, it was apparent that his idea of the job didn’t match up with that of the city officials.
“Uh, Jamie, what they might need even more is an animal that can detect drugs,” I said.
“No chops?” Jamie said.
“Nope,” I said.
“No ginger snaps?” he said.
“Nope,” I said.
“Thanks for your time gentlemen,” Jamie said.
Along with me, my wife, a friend and Jamie’s partner in crime, Gertie, the Big Lug more than once went to our favorite local lake for a grill-out and swim.
Unlike Gertie, Jamie’s not too fond of water, but he’s a master swimmer and has no trouble staying on top of the water.
“All right, who wants to race me to the other side?” he said. “Actually, I’ll just go to the edge of these lily pads and then back to shore and leave the rest to y’all. Wouldn’t want to make things too crowded out there. Around water, it’s safety first, I always say.”
“I don’t know, Mr. Phelps,” I said. “Seems to me like you’d simply rather be on dry land.”
“They don’t call me a land manatee for nothing,” Jamie said. “I’m a land lover, and proud of it.”
“I believe that’s landlubber, big man,” I said.
“Whatever,” Jamie said. “When do we grill the Oscar Meyers?”
“It’s hot,” Jamie said. “Wake me up in October.”
During the incredible onslaught of wet weather at the beginning of the month that brought close to 16 inches of rain to Texas County in about a week, Jamie managed to avoid catastrophe when he went outside to “do” his business – barely.
“A little help over here,” he said. “Throw me a rope or a life preserver!”
“It’s not that bad, big man,” I said. “You’re just standing on a saturated section of grass.”
“Saturated, smaturated,” Jamie said. “I think I just saw a shark fin go by!”
“You’re gonna to need a bigger boat,” I said.
“Funny,” Jamie said. “May a great white swallow your favorite fishing pole and capsize your canoe.”
After finding out that a cat was elected mayor of a small Alaskan town 15 years ago and still holds the office, Jamie was inspired to ponder entering the political arena himself.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that I will seek office in 2014,” he said.
“Yes sir,” I said, “We’ll check back later with your PR people. So just out of curiosity, if you do run, what office do you figure you’ll go after?”
“That has yet to be determined,” Jamie said. “Maybe pork chop commissioner, ginger snap council member, or apple pie administrator. But I intend to announce my intentions soon.”
“Ooh, pins and needles, big man,” I said. “I’m sure your fans will be waiting anxiously for you to intentionally share your intended intentions.”
“Funny,” Jamie said. “Don’t expect to be my assistant.”
A visit to a local dog grooming facility allowed Jamie to make a new friend (spa owner Dianna Bennett) and share some of his unique canine perspective and wisdom.
Although he pulled the scared Corgi card when Ms. B got out her nail clippers, he for the most part enjoyed his stay.
“You know, in some parts of the world they would consider that Walmart bag full of fur you just collected from my coat very valuable,” Jamie said. “They would spin it into fine yarn and make shawls and blankets fit for royalty.”
“I thought they did that with silk, alpaca fleece and other softer, more supple forms of animal hair,” Dianna said.
“Yeah, the average woman might think course dog hair felt a little funny next to her skin,” I said.
“Alpaca?” Jamie said. “Why would anyone want to wear anything made from the dreads of one of those overgrown billy goats?”
“Because their fleece is known to keep people extremely warm, it makes smoother-feeling material than almost any other substance, and it’s just generally nice,” I said.
“Your point?” Jamie said.
“Um, well, I guess I’ll look into having a Corgi sweater made before spring,” I said.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Jamie said.
A big-time winter storm dropped a foot of snow on the remote Texas County outpost where Jamie and his family live – more than the Big Lug had ever seen on the ground before.
When he moved around outside, his long and low frame basically created a trench in the deep white layer.
“Up periscope,” Jamie said.
“Enemy vessel at two o-clock,” I said.
“How could you possibly know that?” Jamie said. “It’s only 12:30.”
“Never mind skipper,” I said.
All in all, Jamie made about as much as possible of his 2013, and he certainly left nothing on the table and everything on the field (so to speak).
“This was a good year,” Jamie said, “but it’s got me dog tired. Wake me up in 2015.”
“Right, Mr. Van Winkle,” I said. “Sleep tight, Rip.”
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Jamie is a big ol’ Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie hangs out on a dirt road during one of his journeys in the Jillikins late in the winter of 2013.
Jamie and Houston Herald reporter Doug Davison look for a word file in a desktop computer in May.
Jamie get a fur trim from Dianna Bennett during his trip to the spa in November.
On his way to another journey in the Jillikins, Jamie lies on the seat of his sidekick’s truck.
Gertie, a.k.a. the Permapup, ponders entering one of several trenches left in deep snow by herself and her Corgi cohort, Jamie.
Jamie hangs out with his buddy, Sharp Shooters Gun and Pawn store owner Gary Parish.
Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell and Mayor Don Tottingham check out the city’s proposed K-9 unit during May.
Jamie begins his planned lengthy recovery from a busy 2013. “This was a good year, but it’s got me dog tired. Wake me up in 2015.”