Diva, A Special Girl

Sua Mah Dragon Storm Diva April 18, 1996-August 9, 2010 Photography by Michael Joseph

On August 9, my family lost one of its smaller, furrier members: Diva, my aunt’s beloved Pembroke Welsh Corgi. My aunt, Alice Vinson Lynch, purchased Diva on July 13, 1996. From that day forward, the pair shared a very special bond. I want to share the story of their incredible life together with you.

Diva (registered name: Sua Mah Dragon Storm Diva) was the daughter of Champion Sua Mah Dragon Storm and Sua Mah Chloe of Fiesta Farm. A red-headed tricolor (specifically, black and tan with white markings), Diva’s adorable puppy face and charming nature won my aunt over the moment she spotted her at breeder Judy Hart’s in Knoxville, Tennessee.

A very young Diva with her owner. Photo courtesy of Lynn and Lee Westenberg. Lynn appears on the right with her Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Roxy.

Diva was off to a great start as she attended obedience classes and earned her Canine Good Citizen certificate, and she displayed excellent manners! The first time I met her was over Thanksgiving 1996. My aunt had told us she’d have her new Corgi with her for the holiday, and we couldn’t wait to meet her. “Where’s the puppy?” I said, as Aunt Vinson showed up at our side door. “Oh, she’s at the front door,” Aunt Vinson said, adding that I could go meet her if I wanted. So I walked to that end of the house with a funny image of a dog politely waiting at the door. Well, that’s just what Diva was doing – happily sitting on the front porch, with a huge puppy grin on her face. She didn’t jump up at me when she saw me; she just bounded right in to make my acquaintance! She was a big hit with my mother, father, and sister too.

Diva in my mother's kitchen at Thanksgiving - the first time we met her! Photo by Martha V. Lynch.

Christmas in King George, 1997. Photo by Martha L. Lynch.

Diva was an outdoor dog if there ever was one. She loved daily visits to the farm with my aunt, then a horse-owner, where she enjoyed meeting horses, people, dogs, and barn cats. She made fast friends with other dogs everywhere she went, including many of her neighbors, and thought playing and wrestling with them was a great way to get some exercise!

Her playful but respectful and non-threatening nature meant she got along well with many cats, too. Our family cat Smokey, usually very territorial, once walked up to a sleeping Diva to sniff her. Years later, I caught my kitty Sumo sitting directly behind a slumbering Diva at Christmas, just quietly observing her. And my sister and brother-in-law’s friendly orange tabby, Merlin, even walked right up to Diva, rubbing his head against hers to say hello!

Diva as a puppy, happily wrestling her friend Roxy. Photo courtesy of Lynn and Lee Westenberg.

Diva’s spirit of adventure made her a wonderful travel companion to my aunt. They enjoyed many trips together, including to Emerald Isle, Key West, and Nova Scotia. Diva really loved making new friends and experiencing new places. My aunt recalls that at an upscale hotel lobby in Halifax, Diva trotted by with poise and struck perfect poses for a crowd of admirers, as though it were her job! “I felt like I was the assistant to a movie star,” my aunt remembers.

Diva just loved car rides with her owner. Photo by Jeff Bolognese.

Diva on the beach with my father, Emerald Isle, 2007. Photo by Catherine C. Lynch.

Despite her relatively small size compared to many other dogs, Diva was an expert and very fit hiker! In fact, she was a member of the local K9Trailblazers, an on-leash hiking club for dogs and their owners. Diva lead the pack on almost every hike, causing my aunt to excuse them as Diva eagerly rushed past much bigger dogs! And Diva’s inquisitive, intelligent nature showed on these hikes as she tackled every challenge, always choosing to go over a log or boulder rather than simply easily stepping around it.

Diva hits the trail. Photo by Jeff Bolognese.

Her beautiful coat shining in the sun. Photo by Jeff Bolognese.

Diva’s personality wasn’t just fun-loving; it was heart-warming and comforting. A member of People Animals Love (PAL), she visited veterans and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. What a wonderful therapy dog she turned out to be for so many soldiers and their loved ones. Along with a year of service in this capacity, Diva also served as a monthly visitor to area nursing homes for several years. Her natural and genuine love of everyone she met made her a hit with all of the residents. In fact, I still recall the smiles on residents’ faces at my grandmother’s resident hall when Diva, just a very young dog, ran right up and greeted them! Even with all that energy, Diva still understood that she needed to sit quietly in Grandmother Alice’s lap when she was in her wheelchair. She was excellent at knowing just what to do in every situation.

On top of all of this, Diva was amazingly courageous and brave. She had a fear of water and preferred not to go beyond a safe boundary. But at a pool party one day, Diva spied a young boy going under the surface repeatedly. He was just bobbing around, but Diva took immediate notice and became very concerned, racing around the pool near where he was. Still very afraid of the water and not even knowing the boy, she finally dove right in to help. That was Diva – able to clear any obstacle, even her biggest fear.

I truly believe that the greatest wish of our animal companions is to love and be loved. Well, Diva had that wish granted many times over, every day of her life. With the love, care, and constant companionship of my aunt, she lived the best life any dog could ever have. Everyone who met her loved her, human and animal alike, and she loved them back. In her own way, she made the world a better place for so many. We will never forget you, Diva!

Here are some additional images of Diva’s life.

Hiking in the snow. Photo by Jeff Bolognese.

Diva is ready to lead the K9Trailblazers! Photo by Jeff Bolognese.

Making pawprints in the sand at Emerald Isle. Photo by Catherine C. Lynch.

Always poised. Photo by Martha V. Lynch.

Inauguration Day, 1997. Photo by Martha V. Lynch.

Adorable girl! Photo by Eric Mercado.


9 responses to “Diva, A Special Girl

  1. This is a fabulous tribute to Diva and means so very much to me. I really appreciate all of the work that you and Eric put into this. Your writing and the photos really capture Diva’s life. The photos lightened up perfectly, and I know Eric spent a lot of time on that.

    A big, heartfelt thank you.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I have a Corgi myself and I know how much he’s brightened my life. It’s obvious Diva was a wonderful dog who was well loved.

      Our pets are with us for such a short time, but they make our lives so much better.

  2. So sorry for your loss. Diva sounded like an awesome little gal. And absolutely adorable.

  3. Hey Alice
    great pics
    she always was happy ready
    to go
    thanks for sharing her with me
    there has always been a special
    place in my heart for her
    she gave you uncondiction love
    Alice was put in your live to serve
    and give you all that beauty of her

  4. Alice: What a loving and very fitting tribute to a wonderful and special girl.

    • Thanks Liz — I’m glad you enjoyed this tribute. I’m so proud of my niece for creating it, and so lucky to have had Diva in my life.

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