Westie Terrier to the Rescue

Willow the Westie Terrier

Introducing Willow

I retired last May and, of course, my life changed completely.  One of the biggest changes was the entry of a little Westie terrier puppy named Willow into my life. My wife Marilyn and I are now raising this adorable little furball and the effect on our lives has been amazing.

Marilyn and I had been without canine companionship for over a year when Willow arrived. Our previous dog, Saladin, was a Norwegian Elkhound/Spitz mix, and he brought joy, love and laughter into our lives for forteen years. He was such a special friend that we didn’t know whether we would ever own another dog. We certainly didn’t feel ready last May. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved dog knows what I mean. The void a good dog leaves behind when it passes seems unbearable.

Our Westie Terrier arrives

Then came the fateful knock on the door. One of our neighbors had bred a litter of Westie terrier puppies and one of her sales had fallen through. When she got the dog back it was pretty messed up. She had watched us working with Saladin over the years and asked if we would take this puppy off her hands. She even waived the $600 fee she was charging for her pups. We had some hesitations, but agreed to take the pup on a trial basis. At that point I had no experience with West Highland Terriers at all. Marilyn had known a Westie terrier that lived at a horse farm in Aldergrove where she worked for a while. We were totally unprepared for the Westie Terrier experience. To boot, it was almost fifteen years since we had started a puppy and, frankly, we had forgotten how much work it was. So, in our blissful ignorance we agreed to take the pup.

Well folks, that little Westie terrier may save my life in a very real sense. Getting a dog at the same time as I retired was a true blessing. For the first time in my life I had enough time to devote to the care and training of a dog. The fact that the dog in question was a Westie terrier just added spice to the mix. When you stop and think about it, most dogs don’t have a very good life. We get a puppy and try to shoe-horn it into a life already filled with earning a living and trying to have a social life. The dog is usually loved and pampered, but there simply isn’t enough free time to exercise or train it properly. So the dog spends most of its time alone, seeing its owner briefly in the evenings and on the week-ends. Then, if the dog develops behavior problems, we think it needs to be trained, as if it were a broken appliance that needs fixing.

But you know, I never appreciated this until I found myself with a new puppy and enough free time to try and do it right. I’ve had to throw out a lot of things I thought I knew about dogs in the process. In subsequent posts, I’ll be sharing my experience coming to grips with this new reality. I’m learning all new ways of building a relationship with a dog and a Westie terrier is the perfect dog to teach me. Westie Terriers are so intelligent, so energetic and so loving that they just drag you off into new areas whether you want to go there or not. As time goes on you’ll get to know Willow and me very well as I chronicle the trials and tribulations we go through day by day. Stay tuned. Go Westie terrier!