Corgis come together Sunday at Off the Leash event at Perry Dog park

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April and Matt Leber of Perry organized Sunday's Off the Leash Meet and Greet at the Perry Dog Park. The Lebers are active in the Des Moines Corgi Club and often hold corgi-come-togethers at the Des Moines farmers Market.
April and Matt Leber of Perry organized Sunday’s Off the Leash Meet and Greet at the Perry Dog Park. The Lebers are active in the Des Moines Corgi Club and often hold corgi-come-togethers at the Des Moines farmers Market.

Corgis saw nose to nose Sunday when about 20 of the short-legged herders and some 30 of their fellow travelers congregated at the Perry Dog Park for an Off the Leash Meet and Greet event.

The two-hour encounter, sponsored by the Des Moines Corgi Club, was organized by Matt and April Leber of Perry. An informal survey showed about half the attendees were from Perry and most of the rest from Des Moines, with puppy lovers from Paton and Luther also represented.

Matt Leber said he was please with the turnout. His announcement promised visitors would “experience a huge dog park packed with as many fluffy butts as we can get for this,” and the promise was made good.

April Leber said her 2-year-old Lily could be a little shy around camera-toting strangers at first. Before long, Lily was photobombing right, left and center.

Tom Slaughter and Cindy Leister made the drive from Des Moines with their 9-month-old Derby. Slaughter said Derby has a special attraction to squirrels. Her obedience training is coming along slowly, he said, except when the sight of a squirrel overpowers her nature.

Corgis are highly agile, acrobatic dogs, as Derby showed with a few deft turns on the ramps and see-saws. Abby Benifiel, director of the Humane Society of Perry, said the Perry Dog Park was an ideal setting for the corgi come together, with plenty of room to run and diversions to interest the intelligent canines.

Nine-month-old Derby was attended at the Perry Dog Park Sunday afternoon by Tom Slaughter of Des Moines, right, and Cindy Leister of Des Moines.
Nine-month-old Derby was attended at the Perry Dog Park Sunday afternoon by Tom Slaughter of Des Moines, right, and Cindy Leister of Des Moines.

The breed originated in England and was trained to herd cattle. Their herding instinct is still very strong, and they will cheerfully nip at the heels and nudge with their muzzles any passing news person who seems to stray from the herd.

Dog treats for the Off the Leash event were provided by Big Creek Barkery in Polk City. Leber said he supplied the human treats: cookies. Many of the corgi lovers brought dog toy, such as balls, Frisbees and similar, and the cordial corgis shared all in common.

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