My husband and I are loving owners of West Highland White Terrier dogs. My sister-in-law calls them our "Snowflakes." This photo is the screen saver on my PC and my iPad.
Sadly, yesterday my husband and I said good bye to our oldest snowflake, Duffy. Duffy was called home by God at the age of 15 years, one month. I held him in my arms and whispered in his ear that I loved him, that he made my life a joy and that it was okay for him to go to the Rainbow Bridge. Everything was always easier for Duffy if I was at his side.
We adopted Duffy 5-1/2 years ago. He was already a senior dog at the time, aged 9-1/2 years, and had only been in the shelter for two days when we adopted him. He had only just arrived in Pittsburgh after being rescued from a "shelter" in Georgia where, incredibly, he had been on a list to be euthanized.
I don't know why I felt the need to adopt another Westie at the time that we found Duffy. I already had three Westies. But I went to Petfinder. I searched and there he was (his name was Wesley at the time) only 2 miles away in the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. I called my husband who was home and told him about Duffy. He said without hesitation, "Go get him." I was at work at the time so on my lunch hour I went to the Humane Society and asked to see the scruffy little Westie that I had found on Petfinder that morning. As we walked to his kennel, the girl told me Duffy's story, that he had only just arrived two days before. I visited with Duffy in a small room for about 20 minutes. I sat in the chair and let him come to me. He walked around sniffing and sniffing the walls and floor of the room where many other dogs and cats had been before him. After about 10 minutes of sniffing, he came over to me, sniffed me up and down and then sat next to me, pressed to my leg. After a minute or two, he looked up at me and that was all she wrote. I knew he was mine.
Since I already had three other Westies, I had to bring them down to the Humane Society so that they could interact with Duffy and he with them to determine if they were a good fit together. So I told Duffy I would see him soon and left after making arrangements to return that evening with my other dogs for the meet and greet.
It was Friday of Memorial Day weekend of 2010 and as my husband and I together with Rosebud, Spencer and Molly B made our way back downtown to the Humane Society it was raining buckets and buckets. We piled into the meet and greet room to wait for Duffy. When the staffer brought him in, my other pups checked him out. He checked them out and that was that. All good and we were homeward bound.
My husband held Duffy as we drove home that evening as we had no time to get him a crate for the car. Duffy laid quietly in my husband's arms, not sure where he was going. When we were almost home, Duffy sat up and looked out the window and the scenery and then to me and I told him that it was all okay, he was home.
I don't know why Duffy was surrendered by his previous owners. I don't know what his life was like with them. It doesn't matter. Duffy came to us and enjoyed the very best days of his life. I KNOW this to be true. He lived each and every day with us to the fullest, I made certain of that. Running and barking and playing with his fur brother and fur sisters, hiding my husband's socks under the bed, barking with that big, deep booming bark that he had, so un-Westie-like, going to the dog park for training classes and socializing with his two-legged and four-legged friends, my friends there in that magical place called Misty Pines. Duffy sat by my side always as we watched TV or just relaxed at home. Duffy always slept at my feet while I wrote posts for this blog. When I was in the kitchen cooking or baking, he was always there with me or lying on the foot rest in the family room where he could watch me always.
Anyone who has ever rescued a dog will tell you that there is something special about the bond between you and the dog which is not present in the relationship between you and a dog that you raised from a puppy. It seems that the rescued dog knows that he has been given a second chance by you and he is forever grateful to you for it. He never forgets it. I have rescued three Westies so I know that this is true. This was at the heart of my relationship with Duffy. I felt it in his warm presence next to me. I saw it in his eyes. Farewell, my beloved Duffy. I will always love you.