I didn’t mean to become one. My preferred dog breed is “mutt”. But there she was, at the Pound. Skinny, scared. A breeding bitch. Finally spayed at age seven after being surrendered by an owner who “didn’t like her”.
Yes, yes, cue the violins.
Suffice it to say that a year and a half with me has changed her life for the better. But enough about her. Here’s what she has done to me. She has turned me into a Westie Wonk.
I’d only had her a few days when I realized what I’d done. A neighbour pulled over in her car, blocking traffic, hung her head out the window and called “is that a westie? What’s her name? How old is she? I have a Westie too. We should get them together sometime!” If the car behind her hadn’t honked we would have exchanged contact info then and there. I knew then that I was entering a new world.
When did the invitation to the Westie playgroup come? Not sure. But I do remember hearing about the Westie Walk the day Betsy climbed a tree. We were in Riley Park. She saw a squirrel overhead. As I have learned to do, I dropped the leash to let her stand at the foot of the tree and freely harass the squirrel. What I had not noticed is that the tree was growing at a 45 degree angle. And so, moments later, there was my little white dog, hiking up the tree after the squirrel. I had to lift my arms to fetch her out of the tree and get her back on the ground. I guess I was still chuckling about this when, continuing our walk, we turned down an alley. A sedan approached, a nice one – Audi or BMW – and the driver slowed, I thought to let us pass, but no she rolled down her window and called “Is that a westie? I have a Westie too! Aren’t they great?” It was this person who told me about the Westie Walk at Confederation Park. I googled it and found a You Tube video online. Dozens of Westies, some in tartan, with their owners, marching through the park, led by a piper.
What a hoot! How ridiculous! But what really struck me as I watched the stream of little white dogs passing on the video, was that if I went to such an event, I might not be able to find my dog if I lost her. Because they all look the same. This is a problem I would never have had with any other dog I’ve ever owned. But with Betsy, I’d run the risk of going home with the wrong dog from the Westie Walk.
I’m not a clubby person, and the thought of having joined a club without really meaning or wanting to rankles a bit. But guess what, it’s a disease, it just takes you over.
And I realized that I was now hopelessly infected not long ago: there I was, sitting in my favourite local coffee shop on a Friday morning, having gotten there early enough to score the window seat. And on the sidewalk below, people passing by. And suddenly there’s a woman with a little white dog on a leash. And I confess, people, that I had to physically restrain myself, I had to wrap my fingers around the seat of my chair, to prevent myself from flying out the café door and down to the street calling out “is that a Westie? I have a Westie too!”
Click the link above for a video of the Westie Walk!