There they were, Bonnie and Beau, coming back from the park and they were not alone. They were with ANOTHER DOG. Not just any dog but Daisy, the poodle upstairs. As Abby watched their return from her favourite spot on the balcony, she got more and more frustrated. Why was she sitting here while they went to the park with DAISY!?! Why was she not there enjoying a good game of catch. Finally, her frustration all came out. She barked angrily to the world. “Why Me? Why am I stuck here?”
My mother, who was visiting, rushed to the balcony to tell Abby to be quiet. Before she could get there, Abby came bounding in. She was practically leaping in the air with each bark (which as you know is no mean feat for a Scottie).
She was mad. She wanted to go to the park and she wanted to go now. My mother, having heard enough of the tirade, told Abby, “You just be quiet now!”
Abby stopped, looked at my Mother and then proceeded to walk over to a stack of books on my coffee table and push them all off with her nose.
My mother could not believe it. This was a doggie temper tantrum. She had not seen something like this since I was two.
Abby calmed down after that. However, she was a little cool to Daisy for going to the park with her boyfriend, Beau, and her good friend, Bonnie.
Scotties just seem to know how to expand into any space on the bed and take it over completely.
Chelsea liked to sleep under the covers and curl right into your stomach. God forbid if you moved. She would march right up in your face and give you a look that said “Stay still! I am trying to sleep here.”
Angus liked to sleep with his back right up against your back. This was like sleeping against a brick wall. Unfortunately, he slept with his bum toward your head so if he farted you were a goner. He usually moved into this position after you were asleep so you could be totally unaware until the fart hit you.
Angus once jumped on the bed and stepped on a sleeping Chelsea. She came charging out from under the covers and let him have it. He did not know what hit him. After that, he would walk very slowly on the bed and step lightly.
Abby just jumps on the bed and drops where she lands. Usually this is right on my side of the bed. I get her to move but it is like moving a teenager. She will move a little bit and look at me with what I imagine is a “What!?! I moved” expression.
It would be easier to not let them on the bed in the first place but well, they enjoy it and so do I. But the farts…..
Bridget was missing. It was Tuesday morning and Ann had her out for her regular morning stroll through the park. Bridget decided that Tuesday was the day to go AWOL. She had done this before but has always turned up nearby within a short period of time.
Today would be different. There was no sign of Bridget. There were early sightings of her in her favourite neighbourhood but as time went on there was no news. No phone calls saying someone had found her…nothing.
Ann spent the day doing what every dog owner does. Trying not to panic, contacting animal services, the local veterinarian, other dog owners, and walking the neighbourhood calling for Bridget.
I stopped by to see Ann on my way home from work to see if there was any news on Bridget. Bridget went AWOL at 10am and was still missing at 5:30pm. You could see the worry in Ann’s eyes. She was concerned that Bridget had gone further afield than in her previous adventures. I called Raymond who is the other member of the Weekend Terrier Group. He was ready to help with the search and off we went. Ann went north to try to enter the ravine and work her way south. Raymond went to the ravine entrance which Bridget had been known to use as an escape route and I went to Bridget’s favourite neighbourhood. Ann had already searched these places but we decided to start where Bridget was last seen.
As I walked by the houses that backed on to the ravine, I called for Bridget. I heard a high pitched “yip.” I waited and called again. Nothing. I called one more time and heard a “yip.”
Raymond was shortly on the scene after having no luck with sighting her further up the ravine. We walked further down the street and went back into the ravine via very icy wooden steps. As we descended, we called to Bridget. We we so excited to hear another “yip.” We were pretty sure it was Bridget. Because of the ice storm earlier in the season, the ravine was covered in a thick layer of sheer ice. Raymond was concerned that it was too icy and told me to go back up and meet him at the other entrance to the ravine. Typical of Raymond to worry about everyone else before himself.
Raymond made his way toward the place we thought we heard the “yip” coming from. He did not hear it again but kept hoping he would see Bridget. Finally, he saw her. She was all curled up in a little ball further up the steep hill. To get to Bridget, he had to grasp on to twigs and branches that were stuck in the ice and crawl his way up to her.
As he got to Bridget, she barked frantically as if to say ,“It’s about time someone found me.” When she made her big escape her leash was still attached. The leash had gotten caught in twigs and branches and Bridget found herself unable to move. She had curled up and waited. We think she had been in that one spot since the time she had disappeared. It was a very cold day so she curled up into a tight little ball.
Raymond decided that to go back down the hill would be too dangerous so the only other option was to go up. There were houses that backed on the ravine and he was hoping he could get to one. They made their way slowly up the icy slope.
Once at the top, Raymond put Bridget over a five foot fence and then climbed over all the while holding on to Bridget’s leash in the event she decided to try her luck again. Now, they were on their way home.
I was making my way back to the point we said we would meet and had stopped to ask other dog owners if they had seen Bridget. As we were discussing her big escape, I looked down the street and saw Raymond. Bridget was by his side practically dancing with glee.
I called Ann right away with the news. Ann was already making her way toward our location after I had informed her that we thought we heard Bridget in the ravine.
Ann and Bridget were reunited and I have never seen Bridget so excited to go home.
Raymond is a hero.
It was very scary in those moments when we didn’t know where Bridget was. The Weekend Terrier Group is close and we care so much about each other’s dogs. It was a very emotional moment to see Bridget come trotting down the road with Raymond.
We are so glad she is home safe and sound with Ann.
What is it about Scotties that they know how to maneuver their little bodies in the opposite direction from which we want to go making themselves as immovable as a cinder block?
Upon entering the park today, I started to walk in the normal direction we take. Abby decided that today she wanted to go the other way. There we were, a taut leash between two stubborn females. I tugged on the leash to let Abby know that we were going to go in the direction we always go.
Abby responded to my tug with moving her body fully in the opposite direction. This was done by spinning herself around by moving her back feet quickly in a 180 degree spin. It was like watching a 18-wheeler where the back end moves but front end does not. But she was not done. She then crouched down and made her body a complete dead weight. This maneuver makes it very difficult to move her.
I tried bribery, a stern “Let’s go” and finally “Let’s go find Beau”. As we stayed at this impasse, other owners walked by with their dogs. They gave us an amused look. I felt their sympathy. They knew that what stood before them was not the alpha dog in the relationship. The alpha was laying on the ground burrowing herself into the snow.
I don’t know of any other breed that knows how to do this. It must be passed down from Scottie generation to Scottie generation.
We had a lovely walk though. The new direction was kinda nice. I might get used to it.
As I walked through the park today, I was reminded how much our dogs bond with their friends. There is a small group of us “terrier” people who meet up on the weekends to walk our dogs. The group is composed of three Scotties (Abby, Bonnie and Bridget) and one Cairn (Beau).
Due to vacations, we did not see Beau or Bonnie for three weekends. I noticed during this time that Abby was a bit quieter. She was overjoyed to see Bridget but I could tell they both missed the rest of the gang. We met Bonnie on a walk one day and Bonnie and Abby were so excited to see each other. They were just like teenage girls trying to tell each other all their news after a summer break. Last weekend was the first weekend that the whole gang was together in awhile. I could tell the dogs were overjoyed to see each other. I wonder if Beau told Abby, Bridget and Bonnie of his adventures at the dog sitters while his owner told the humans of his adventures in Florida.
If a new dog approaches the terrier group, Bonnie seems to go out as the ambassador. She is calm and friendly and if she is okay with a dog, the others will be too. Bridget is also good at checking out any new dogs. Although she does not like jumpy puppies or Boston Terriers (that is a story for another time). Abby is getting a bit tougher to judge in her reactions to other dogs. Sometimes she is very friendly but there are times when she will try to nip them which needless to say does not go over well. I have learned from experience that if one dog picks a fight with another member of the group, the rest will join in to back up their friend.
I remember visiting a dog park with Chelsea and Angus. Chelsea was sitting at my side as she was not one who liked to socialize with other dogs. She preferred the humans. Angus was playing chase with a young whippet. (You guessed it – Angus was not winning the game.) The whippet nipped Angus in the backside causing him to yelp loudly. Before I knew it, Chelsea tore across the park and t-boned the whippet knocking him to the ground. Angus and Chelsea ran back to me with gleeful expressions. His big sister had taken care of the bully. Mind you, I did have to do some apologizing to the whippet’s owner as it was a very minor nip.
Unfortunately for Angus, Chelsea’s protective side only came out in certain moments. When he chewed apart my new Ottoman, she practically “paw” printed him for me.
For dogs, once a friend, always a friend. When Abby was a puppy, she used to play with a Rottweiler puppy named Cocoa. To this day, if Abby sees Cocoa she goes really silly and will drag me over to say hi. Cocoa is the same. They always remember their friendship even if they have not seen each other for months.
When you have more than one dog, they can become very close and the absence of one is felt deeply by the others. Once Chelsea was very sick due to coming into contact with many different strains of the lepto virus. She became lethargic and by the time the vet opened in the morning, she was not moving. Chelsea had to stay at the vet’s for a few days as they tried to save her. During this time, I had a friend who volunteered to walk Angus for me as I would go and sit with Chelsea each night for a couple of hours. Angus refused to walk beyond the front yard which was very unusual as he would never turn down a walk. When I had to go in to work, I boarded Angus at the vet for the day so he would have company as he had not spent a full day by himself before.
As we entered the back room at the vet’s, we could see Chelsea laying in a cage hooked up to an IV. Angus ran to her and jumped up placing his paws on the cage wagging his tail and crying with excitement. Chelsea, seeing him, stood up and placed her paws on his. It was a tearjerker moment that I only thought happened in the movies. Chelsea did recover (thanks to an awesome veterinarian and his team). She was back to her old ways of running Angus and me. Angus was overjoyed when she got home. He had missed her. (So had I.)
Dog friendships fascinate me. Dogs can have different types of friendships just like humans. They can have a friend who they can wrestle with, another to play chase, and another to sit and watch other dogs (I am sure they are just gossiping when they do this). They know exactly what type of friend another dog is going to be. Dogs always look for the best in everyone which is something we can all learn from. Although, it is hard sometimes especially with those park people who don’t pick up.
I have always loved terriers. My first terrier was a Westie called Chelsea. When Chelsea was three, I decided to get another terrier. A Scottie called Angus.
If only I had done more research….
Angus was an absolute delight but I have to admit I thought for a long time something was wrong with him. I would call him to me but he would just sit and stare at me. About ten minutes later he would suddenly run to me as if to say, “Oh, you meant me!”
It really concerned me until I saw an interview with George Bush. President Bush called to Barney and Barney came running. Unfortunately, Barney just kept on running. Right on by the President. Did not even stop to say hi.
It was then I realized that a Scottie is no ordinary terrier.
Angus loved to walk. I could power walk for 5km every morning and he would just race ahead of me. I figured it would tire him out but nope. He would do his donkey turn (turn around, face the other direction and bear down) just to delay going home. I have learned this is a common Scottie delaying tactic.
If Angus wanted anything, he went to Chelsea who would then communicate to me. For example, Angus wanted out very early on a Sunday morning. I luckily (or unluckily) had a touch lamp beside the bed. If you touch it three times, it gives out a very bright light. One day, I woke up to a eye-hurting brilliant light. Both dogs were sitting by my head staring at me. I turned the light off and waited to see what would happen next as I knew I had shut the light off when I went to bed. To my surprise, Chelsea touched her nose to the lamp three times. I have no idea how she figured that out. Anyway, we were the only ones out at 5:30am. I eventually had to move the lamp.
Angus and Chelsea had a special bond that remained until both passed in 2010. Angus had bladder cancer along with a tumor in his abdomen. It was too late for treatment and he was put to sleep once we knew he was beginning to feel uncomfortable. A month later, Chelsea had a large stroke and had to be put down as well. Chelsea was 14 and Angus was 11.
It was an incredibly hard time but I felt blessed to have had them in my life for the time I did.
I was heartbroken and could not even think of getting another dog until I visited my brother and saw Bridget next door. Seeing another Scottie was too much. I had to have another. The quirks of their personalities are too hard to resist. Abby is an incredible dog and brings me great joy (and yes, sometimes frustration) every day.
Anyway, enough about me. You will get to know more about my life with Scotties in the coming weeks.
Here are a couple of St. Patrick’s Day photos of Chelsea and Angus. You can tell from the pictures they are not impressed with their attire.