You’re Getting a What?

It seems like many of my recent conversations with friends and extended family have migrated around to the inevitable “What’s new with you?” question.  That’s when I share our latest news.  We’re getting a puppy.  It’s been interesting to note the types of responses this elicits.

1.  Hey, that’s great!  These folks seem quite happy for us.  They’re enthusiastic, go-with-the-flow types of folks.

2.  Why?  This response usually comes after a moment of stunned silence followed by a wide-eyed look of astonishment and the unspoken (or sometimes plainly stated) feeling of “Are you NUTS?”  Often these folks are empty-nesters themselves who are now footloose and fancy-free and can’t imagine why we’d voluntarily tie ourselves down to a new little one in our family.

3.  What kind?  The folks asking this question are often dog-people themselves and are naturally curious about the breed we are getting.  Of course, they COULD just be nosy but hey, let’s be generous here, ok?  I would fall into this category.  I always want to know what kind of dog a person is getting because it gives me a clue into the type of person they are.   It just seems like certain personalities are drawn to certain breeds of dogs.  And therein lies my dilemma.

Let me just categorically state here that I do NOT have a terrier personality.  At least I don’t think that I do.  I have never in my entire life felt that I had to get one of the terrier breeds.  I always was drawn to the herding breeds or the working breeds.  I had two Shetland Sheepdogs and an Australian Shepherd.  They were smart as could be.

My Eskie was very smart, too, and my personal bodyguard par excellence.  I also really liked the idea of owning really big dogs.  When I was a teenager, I wanted Irish Wolfhounds or Scottish Deerhounds.  In college, I lusted after owning an Afghan Hound.  I always thought that it would be nice to have a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Well, we’re getting a West Highland White Terrier…..a Westie!  I’m not quite sure how that happened.  One of my friends has one and when she went up to see her breeder about getting another dog, I rode along.  I had a hole in my heart  after Fresca’s death and apparently, it was just the right size for a Westie.

I’ve done my research and know that this is NOT going to be a herding dog.  Westie folks (and I’ll be one of them shortly) say that they are smart dogs in their own way but stubborn and that THEY have to decide they want to do something before they will do it.  Hmmm, this will be different.  My other dogs all lived to please me.  I was the Queen Mum in their lives.

 “Run an agility course?  No problem, Mom.  Here I go!”

” Run circles around the rest of the group in this Obedience class?  Just give me the training manual, Mom, and go sit down.  I’ll read it myself and have it all figured out.”

I can’t wait to see how Puppy Kindergarten and the subsequent obedience classes will pan out with my little Westie.

I was describing our upcoming puppy to someone today.  “He’s a West Highland White Terrier,” I told her.

“A terrier?  What do they look like?” she asked.

“You know the dog that is on the front of the Caesar Dog Food containers?  That’s a Westie,” I responded.

She looked blank so I tried again.  “Do you know what a Scottie dog looks like?” I asked.

“Yes,” she grinned, her face brightening.

“Well, they look kind of like a Scotty but they are all white, their faces are rounder and they tend to be a little shorter,” I explained.

“Are they the ones with the long hair?” she asked.

“Oh,oh…she’s thinking of a Maltese or a Lhasa Apso,” I thought.

“Their hair is more wiry….like a cairn terrier’s,” I told her but she just looked at me blankly.

“Well, I DID want a greyhound rescue but my husband thought they were too big. They’re nice, quiet couch potatoes, though,” I continued.

“Aren’t terriers happy little dogs that have a lot of energy?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m going from a couch potato that just wants to sit around or eat to one that wants to run around or eat and I just hope it’s not the grandkids,” I laughed.

I’m getting a puppy….a terrier puppy.  Batten down the hatches, hide your children, and pass the Prozac!

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