Of all the relationships in my life, I think the relationship with my dogs is probably the least complicated. That’s a good thing because everyone needs something that is joyful and reliable. We have a pair of West Highland White Terriers (Westies for short) and they are the joy of my life. You see, my husband travels a lot and I work from home, so I spent a lot of time by myself. Without the Westies, this would be a lonely place indeed.
Westies are interesting creatures. Unlike many breeds of dog that worship you unconditionally, Westies are incredibly loyal and loving but also highly independent. They know what they want and if you’re not careful, they’ll have you eating out of their hands instead of the other way around. My children used to tease me that the dogs have more toys than they did as a child. On the other hand, I never had to worry about my children eating my shoes if they didn’t have enough chew toys.
They are also a source of constant entertainment. Westie wrestling is a favorite sport at our house. In fact, that’s why we have two – so they can wear each other out. When Westies get excited, they tear around the house, rolling and playing. It lasts about 15 minutes and then they need to nap for a couple of hours.
They also seem to be one of the most photogenic dogs, as evidenced by the fact that virtually any product for small dogs will have a photo of a Westie on it. The irony there is that the Westie is always shown carefully groomed, which would make you think they’re fussy dogs – when in fact, they are fierce little hunters and much prefer rolling in the dirt over riding in some lady’s handbag. I think it’s funny that we create this idealized picture-perfect version of dogs instead of relishing in the real thing. The real Westie (at least here in Colorado) is hiking up a trail, hip-deep in mud, looking for something to bark at.
Americans are a bit like that, though. We want things to be simple – black and white – when in fact, life is hardly ever that way. While my dogs are sweet and loving to me, I would not want to be a rabbit because Westies are fast, and they are fierce. In some ways, that’s the beautiful of it, though. Like people, dogs are multi-faceted creatures, all of which we can appreciate if we try. Vive La Difference!