Ah, Corona. All who knew you, loved you. A beautiful, friendly Chihuahua and my wife’s constant companion and best friend during a decade-long love affair, we lost her on September 2, one month ago. Fashionista, therapy dog, traveller, foodie, consummate snuggler, bootie-hater and relentless shedder, she was Princess Corona, Miss C, La Chihuahua Famosa and the Great White Bed Hog all in one.
I first encountered Corona some weeks after I met Elin. Elin was living in a condo on Bloor Street at the time and Corona welcomed me into her realm with her usual enthusiasm and interest. She was a people person, never failing to greet newcomers with a tail wag and a snuggle. She loved attention and rewarded those who appreciated her beauty and grace. Her mission was to make everyone she met a Corona fan and supporter. We rarely saw her fail in this mission. Visitors to her home, family members, strangers on the street, colleagues, friends and friends of friends, she won them over one by one. “Conquering the world one person at a time”, we used to say. She often greeted homeless people on her walks, never disdaining their attentions and giving them the same friendly attention she gave to all. This segment of society, so used to being shunned, was uniformly amazed and delighted by Corona. The ministry of Corona won many converts.
Her legendary openness did not mean she was intimate with all. True intimacy in her care and feeding was reserved for very few. Not all could walk her, fewer still were permitted to rub her belly. Those who were cherished the privilege. When I was first asked to walk Corona on the broad sidewalks of Bloor Street, I struggled. I knew it was a test and I was anxious to perform, but her coats were challenging and those small-dog booties, should there be snow or ice, near impossible. Even when I had her fully coated, booted, on the leash and in my arms, upon setting her down on the street, it was a trial. Corona would walk where she wanted and go when and if she wanted. Not on my schedule, but on hers. She was the boss and I, if diligent, careful and conscientious, might one day be admitted as staff. As the years went by, I was admitted as an esteemed staff member, and we developed an easy affinity on her walks, but it was earned.
Corona was much admired for her travels. She went with Elin to Italy a total of 18 times, many more than the vast majority of us in a lifetime. Oh, how the Italians loved her. Italians love dogs and particularly admire small dogs. Italians, of couse, also prize style and comeliness, and Corona had those qualities in spades. They would gush over her in bars and restaurants, on elegant streets, under graceful arcades and in the shadow of timeless cathedrals. Her pleasure in receiving these attentions was manifest. She learned Italian and spoke it well, no doubt due to the similarities with her native Spanish.
Corona’s wardrobe rivalled those of many a model walking the catwalks of New York and Milan. She was a patron of Gucci and Burberry and could be seem in Prada, and, of course, Pucci. She looked particularly stylish in pink, red and black, all of which brought out the lustre of her white coat. She had myriad dog beds, multiple carrying bags, dog strollers on two continents and ate from fine china. Pampered perhaps, but never spoiled. She was not a pretender to fashion, but truly fashionable.
She slowed down in the end, as do we all. Slept more, struggled with her breathing, required medication, and visited her vet and chiropractor regularly. She became more of a worry to her care givers, this worry was shared by many caring friends and family, to whom we will always be grateful. Finally, her heart, so big for such a small creature, gave out on her. She died as she lived, with dignity and grace, in her Burberry dog bed, quietly in the night in the company of those she loved and who loved her. There will never be another. She will be missed.
November 29, 2003 – September 2, 2017