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Barr Thornrow CD CGC
Profile for kilvroch

aka "Jimmy Joe"
    8 July 1987 - 26 august 1999

Jimmy Joe was a Cardigan Welsh Corgi .

He was a unique individual and not the easiest dog in the world.


Jim came to live with me at the age of 1 1/2 years. My house was his fifth home before his second birthday. The guy had not been taught any basic socialisation skills or obedience. Instead he was shunted from home to home. The man who fostered him before he came to live with me told me he would chase Jim with a broom and Jim would hide under his desk. The breeder was supposedly going through a divorce and wouldn't take the puppy back. None of his interim homes did any sort of obedience training with him.


Jim never got along well with humans. There were only one or two who gained his trust beside myself. Jim was a serious dog - whether at work or at play. He would corgi wrestle for ages on end, he would zoom around, and turn on a sixpence. He loved working on 'projects' in the woods behind my house in Georgia... digging deep ditches, ripping out tree roots... so focussed. He loved strong cheddar cheese and big band jazz music.


One of the first things I did with Jim was enrol in an obedience class and also to teach him that nipping at feet was not acceptable in human society. However it wasn't until Nick came into my life that I became involved in competitive obedience. Jim and I competed together when he was 8 years old and he got his AKC 'Canine Good Citizen' certificate and his Companion Dog title. He loved doing obedience - having a job to do was important to him. He had excellent attention in the ring because other people and dogs didn't interest him.


Jim loved long walks in the countryside. sitting by waterfalls, enjoying the beauties of nature. He loved to ride quietly in the canoe as I paddled on lakes or streams. He loved neck massages, playing ball or tug.

Nick and I used to do some sheep herding. I tried Jim at herding but he wanted to make friends with the sheep. He became a founding member of Herders Against Herding (HAH). His slogans were "Sheep are people too" and "Kiss sheep, don't herd them". I guess my training him not to herd people rubbed off when it came to herding sheep.


Jim hated being groomed or having his toenails done. He guarded everything on the floor. He hated the vacuum cleaner. He hated me emptying the dishwasher or opening cupboards under the counters. I used to have him practice his down stays so I could do housework.


I looked forward to many years with him here in the UK. Our run of bad luck began when the dogs finished their time in quarantine. It was two more months before we could move into our house. The boys spent that time in the 'regular' kennels at Ryslip. For one of those months I had to go back to America, but for the other we were able to get out on weekends and go for some walks and expeditions together. as long as the boys were back before closing time at the kennel. We had some lovely long walks getting to know the Berkshire and Wiltshire countryside.


We finally moved into our house in July of 1996. Then, one day in August I think it was, I came home to find Jim partially paralysed. It turned out he had ruptured a disk. I had to consider whether to put him to sleep or have expensive surgery. We opted for back surgery and it took him several months to recuperate - he had to relearn to walk.


When we had worked up enough stamina for a long walk I took him to Cumbria. On our first morning out a cow kicked him and he suffered two broken hips. That was in June 1997. He was never the same since.


This past year saw Jim becoming increasingly grumpy and obnoxious. He had a difficult time settling, would get bored, but couldn't enjoy playing or walks, so he'd bark, show his teeth, guard things, and be generally unpleasant to live with. Green lipped mussel tablets helped ease his discomfort for several months, but finally not even prescription medication could help him. His attention span had become minuscule. He couldn't focus long enough to hold a down stay. He was having occasional bouts of incontinence.


It was a tough decision. He still had that special sparkle in his eyes on occasion, but the body just wouldn't work properly. Hearing was always his keenest sense. He never had 3-d vision and his sense of smell wasn't as keen as other dogs'. I think the fact he was going deaf aggravated everything else. I had the impression he was living in constant low-level pain.


It was finally time to free him from that cage of a body. It was truly special to see him relax as the vet gave him that injection... to see the guy finally be able to let go. His ashes are in a special place in Wales which he would have loved, but never had the chance to enjoy.