These stories were compiled by Sue Storms of the Little White Terriers group here in Minnesota. My thanks to her for her tireless efforts to promote adoption of animals, Westies in particular. — Sid

A number of Westies were adopted this past year by members of our Little White Terriers group.  I have asked their new families to write their ‘love story’ to share with us. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

Give your Westie an extra hug while you read these happy-ending stories.

Cleo (formerly Baer)

I adopted my Westie from a Craigslist ad that Sue had forwarded to me. I was skeptical, but something inside of me said to go ahead and email to find out more. And…I am SO glad I did.

Baer (now named Cleo) was very well taken care of by her family that lived in Stillwater.  She is a purebred Westie that was bred in Missouri and shipped to Minnesota and her family when she was 8 weeks old. I honestly don’t think they had time for her so they wanted to adopt her to someone who would take care of her the way a Westie should be. Since I owned a Jack Russell Terrier, they thought I was the best candidate (there were many people interested in her apparently).

She is not a show dog, but she is a show-off! She is probably the smartest, sweetest dog I have ever had. She will be 2 years old in March and she is a true Westie! Loves squirrling, loves car rides, walks and everyone she meets! Oh, and she is quite independent, but loves her time with me and my boyfriend (and his Doberman Pinscher puppy!).

She has gone to obedience class and is a quick learner. She goes everywhere with me and she’s been a great addition to my home since my Jack Russell Terrier passed away.

Thanks again, Sue! Merry Christmas and God’s blessings for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Andrea Manos

Angus – told by Sue Storms

Kris, a Westie Rescue Missouri (WRM) friend in Iowa, contacted me in November last year about an older Westie-boy in the shelter in Mason City, IA.  WRM was filled up – could we help? Those of you that know me, know how the older ones tug extra hard at my heartstrings, so Westie friend Judy Regan and I drove to Mason City.  Angus had quickly won the hearts of the shelter workers – he was not in a crate or pen; he had his own room! He was SO needy that he was at the feet or in the lap of someone all day long. If he got very far away from somebody, the barking began. He had come from an unpleasant, abandonment situation that we believe caused some of this anxiety (maybe all) so we knew he would need a family that could give him the attention he so badly needed.  John and Steph Wisecarver agreed to foster him so off he went to Maple Lake.  After spending one night with a new family, it was determined they could not care for him. He needed to be lifted up and down steps and his new mom was about to have knee surgery – that would not work! And the incessant barking when he was away from somebody was also not going to work….so back to John and Steph’s he went….and then where did he go? Nowhere!  They decided he had already been through enough and at his age, it wasn’t fair to put him through any more anxiety. So, “Angus Burger”, the needy, barky, demanding, snuggly old man, found his retirement home with the Wisecarvers and their pack.  He’s a happy old man!

A New Twist on Adopting Oliver, that Little Dickens

By Sid Korpi

Sometime last spring, I think it was, I dutifully posted to my “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” blog and its related Facebook page some pictures and a blurb about a Westie named Fonzie that needed a home. I tried not to look too closely at his adorable little face (for what other kind of face could a Westie possibly have?) because I was not in the market for any more animals in my home. We already had seven rescued pets—three pretty young Westies, two older cats and two finches. I didn’t want a fourth dog. I didn’t need a fourth dog. I knew I’d need my head examined for even for a moment considering adopting a fourth dog. Avoidance was my best defense against temptation…

NOTE: I ALREADY PUBLISHED THE WHOLE STORY ON THIS BLOG. TO READ THE REST, JUST SCROLL DOWN.—Sid

Higgins (formerly Mr. MacTavish)

by Cari Wolfe

When we lost Tyler, our 13 year-old Westie, in February of 2008, it seemed like a good time to further simplify our lifestyle and live without a Westie for the first time in nearly 30 years. We live in a downtown condo and while the building is pet-friendly and has a park right across the street, it’s not the same as opening the back door and letting the dog out. We enjoyed the “freedom” through the spring and much of the summer; coming and going as we pleased, not needing to get home to feed anyone or take anyone out, not having anyone to greet us when we got home…

That mindset lasted until some time in August when we started to actively seek out a non-puppy Westie to fill the gaps in our too-simplified lifestyle. We “met” Sue through some on-line research in September. She didn’t know of anyone who fit our profile at the time but said “you just never know when someone will turn up.” She advised us to apply with the Westie rescue organizations in Missouri and Nebraska since she could perform the home visit for them and we would be able to qualify even though we live out of their normal adoption areas. Only a couple of days later Sue contacted us and said that a scrawny little 2 year-old named Mr. MacTavish was about to be given up in Missouri and he might be just the boy for us. He would need some TLC, good food, and time, but he seemed like a good match.

The first pictures we saw looked a little like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, but Mac’s little face stole our hearts right away. Mac was turned over to Westie Rescue of Missouri and then Kris in Iowa fostered him for a couple of weeks to care for his skin problems and put some weight on his bones. On a Saturday in October we drove down to Iowa to finally meet Mr. MacTavish. What a lover he was from the first minute we saw him. He curled up and slept on my lap nearly all the way home with one relief stop along the way.

The first couple of weeks he was the biggest pleaser you ever saw. He couldn’t do enough to show us what a wonderful dog he was and what a good decision we had made to bring him home. We tried calling him Mac but it just didn’t seem to fit this tiny little guy, so he became Higgins. He never barked, he figured out the outside routine amazingly fast, he had no problem with being kenneled when we were at work, and was the all around perfect dog. Then he got comfortable, and confident, and crazy. Now he barks at many real and imagined events. He barks when we sneeze. He barks if he isn’t the center of attention.  He demands our attention and likes it best when the three of us are all within easy petting distance. He prefers family walks, hunts down anyone who may be planning to skip this particular outing, and is uncooperative about sitting still while the harness is put on until he’s sure we’re all going out together. He’s a sock savant, removing every sock (and only socks) from a pile of laundry and even makes a grab for the one you’re trying to put on your foot. He’s most content when he is in constant physical contact with his people, using our bodies as his personal lounge furniture.

And he is always right by the door to greet us enthusiastically when we come home. Higgins has been with us for over two years now and there is no comparison to the scrawny, furless, 11-pound, little anything-but-a-Westie looking boy we brought home. He’s all Westie and is a wonderful companion; we couldn’t be happier.

The Rescue of Kenzie and Caleigh

Deb Theisen

Hi! I’m Kenzie.

I am five years old, but I feel like a puppy. I try to forget my early years. My mom, sister and I don’t talk about it, it is just too horrible. But mom says sometimes it’s good to get it all out. So I’ll tell you my story.

There was a time when I lived in a crate. Day and night. I never got to be around good people, I was just around other dogs.  Lots and lots of dogs.  It was bad smelly (not good smelly), and noisy cuz everybody was always barking cuz they were hungry or cold or hurt. Nobody loved me or anybody else.  The people there were not very nice.  They yelled at me all the time and sometimes they hurt me. I wee’d and poo’d right through the grates in my crate. I got to eat but the food wasn’t very good.  I was left outside when it rained and when it stormed and when I hear thunder now, it reminds me of that terrible, terrible time in my life.

It was so humiliating. They made me have babies so they could make money.  Yes, I was a workin’ girl. It was awful. They made me have babies over and over, and I was such a good mother. I tried so hard to keep my babies. Even today when I see baby puppies, I try to take care of them and teach them stuff. Most of my babies were rescued, and went to good homes, thank God. I would be so upset if I thought their lives were anything like mine.

Then the good people of Westie Rescue of Missouri saved me! I was so scared, and so afraid. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me. I went to live with Molly and 4 other good dogs in Iowa City so I could adjust to life outside that horrible crate. They used to call me Caroline. I had a great time there with everybody. Then one day last January, my mom came to get me.  Let Caleigh tell you her part, then I’ll tell you the rest.

Hi!  I’m Caleigh! (fka Sophie)

I’m the party girl in the family. (Did you know a caleigh is a party and dance in Scotland? I’m Scottish, you know.) I don’t remember much of my early childhood.  All I know is that I had a family, and I lost them somehow. I can be quite an escape artist. Sometimes that is not a good thing. Luckily, the good people at Friends of Animals in Junction City, Kansas found me. They tried to find my first family, but they couldn’t. They said I was “stray.”

So I was lucky and went to live with a family: a Cairn named Danny Zuko and two kids. They were really nice, but being the party girl I am, they thought I was just too much.  Danny wasn’t that much fun (I tried to get him to play with me, but he just got mad at me.) And the mom didn’t like it that I ate poo (hey, I was hungry! I had been stray, and I never knew when I was gonna get more food), so THEY GAVE ME BACK to Friends of Animals after one month. I couldn’t believe it. I am so much fun!

Cathy, at RC Kennels, told me they found me a good home with another new Westie.  I was so excited! (You see, I am the excitable type.) So I got all dressed up and got into a truck with some nice people that drove me to Des Moines, Iowa to meet my new mom. I was only nine months old. But I had lived a lifetime already.

I learned alot from my street friends. They said you got to make the best of every situation. And when you meet your people, make sure to love them up alot. That makes everything ok.  I learned good from them, cuz when I met my mom in the parking lot, I got out of the truck and ran right up to her and jumped up on her and gave her smooch after smooch. (that’s just one of the things I learned from my street friends.) Then we got in the car, and I laid my head in her lap.  I just knew she was gonna be a good mom.

Then we drove to Iowa City to meet my sister. She is SO pretty! And SO petite! I am tall and thin, and she is short and has that perfect Westie look with very soft hair. My hair is kinda thin, and coarse. Mom says she likes it that way – that I have the “scruffy” look, and I have to say I am quite proud that I look a little bit different from everyone else.

Mom says she drove 700 miles that day to get us. We had to stop at a hotel on the way home cuz it was too foggy to drive. I totally remember that it was VERY cold with snow. Neither me nor Kenzie knew how to walk on a leash. Mom tried to get us to wee outside, but we wouldn’t – it was too cold. She couldn’t get us to go thru the door at the hotel. Finally we got thru. Then as soon as we got inside the hotel room, we both wee’d right there on the carpet. It was hysterical!

We slept right there on the bed with mom that night. And every night since then. It is really cozy.

From Kenzie, the elder

We love our furever home and our mom. She takes us to all kinds of fun events. Our best people friend is our walker and sitter, Robin. She loves us as much as our mom. And every day when mom’s at work, she comes to take us out to see the squirrels. And whenever mom goes on vacation or travelling for work, then we get a vacation too, cuz Robin comes and stays with us and we have a big party the whole time.

We got to be in our first Westie parade this year. That was a ball! We really thought we were somethin’ else. All that attention. We deserve it! We have NEVER seen so many Westies. We get to go to Central Bark and see our good people friends Stacie and Micaela every week. And at Central Bark we are part of an awesome pack. We have SO MUCH FUN there.  And now we hang out alot with our cousin Gracy, she is a very cute doxie only four months old. We’re showing her the ropes.

My sister Caleigh is a super-star. She earned her STAR puppy award, her Canine Good Citizen award, and is now doing Agility classes at Dog Works. She has her own fun tunnel at home. And she is not even two years old. She is SO SMART, she learns everything very quickly. But she HATES to be away from me. If mom tries to take me somewhere without Caleigh, she lets out a scream that you wouldn’t believe.

I, Kenzie, now “go outside” to wee (well, most of the time.) I’m not afraid of stairs anymore and navigate them confidently (sometimes TOO confidently!) I do my “happy dance” every mealtime. I LOVE my food.  Am no longer afraid of other people, and I LOVE hanging out with other dogs. I LOVES to play toy. I am such a happy girl. I LOVE my life.

We are two super-happy, healthy, fun-lovin’ Westies. We love each other very much.  We let our mom do anything to us; brush our teeth, give us baths, brush our fur, put on coats, whatever she wants. Cuz we are so happy we found her. And she is so happy she found us.

Fred

by Anna Jacobson

My family has been a two-Westie family for about 10 years. That changed this May when we lost our almost 16-year-old Lindy.  I found out right before my finals week at Bethel so I felt the affect of loss right away. Our other dog Lucy hung in there though , even though she seemed lonely at times.  Lindy left a hole that needed to be filled, but we waited for a while because we wanted the right dog to join our family. We tried for one dog this fall, but because it didn’t work out we gave up looking for a while.

Then one Monday, Sue sent us an email with a link to a PetFinder site for a little Westie named Fred.  There was something about his picture and his description that moved us to give him a shot. My dad brought Lucy down to Owatonna to see if Fred would fit and he went home with them that same day.  (A sweet side-story that showed us Lucy was ready for a new brother: she rode in the front seat on the day down to Owatonna, but on the way back, she laid right outside of Fred’s kennel in the backseat.) His goofiness and affection have brought joy to our life every day since then and we couldn’t be happier to be a two-Westie family again!

Background on Fred: We adopted the almost 8-year-old from the humane society in Owatonna. He was originally from Arizona, but he is adjusting really well to his first MN winter!

Owen

by Kyle, Debbie, Andrew, and Erinn McIntyre

Owen was pictured on a Westie email this past September with “Fun” being described as his middle name.  We saw his story of being rescued from the St. Cloud pound and contacted Steph and John Wisecarver, who were his foster family.  We arranged a meeting at the Crossroads Animal Shelter and from the moment we saw him, we knew he would make a great addition to our family.

Owen gets along great with his older Westie brother Oscar (6 years old). Our Vet estimated that Owen was a little over one year old when we adopted him.  He has lots of energy and our family has had a lot of fun watching “our boys” play and romp through the house and yard.  They both love their daily walks and enjoyed the Scottie/Westie Halloween party this fall.  One of their favorite things to do is to sit side-by-side and watch for squirrels out the window (see attached photo).  We will sometimes catch Owen staring right at us, as if he is deep in thought.  We like to think that he is thinking about his fortune in becoming permanent part of our family.  Adopting Owen was the best thing we ever did!  (A special thanks to John and Steph Wisecarver for initially fostering Owen until we found him!)

How “Lucky Laddie” became “Duffy”

by Mary Ellen Otis

Laddie entered into foster care March 22, 2008.  He had been a stray in Winona, MN.  I’m sure he is does not have any show dogs in his background… the poor guy has a pretty skimpy coat that tangles easily so 2 minutes after he’s brushed he looks “scruffy”.  He’s got long, skinny legs and very large ears… the first time my groomer saw him her observation was, “My, you’ve got really good reception!”  I applied for a rescue dog after losing my 16 year old male Westie, Cruz.  Cruz’s daughter, Jazz, and I were very lonesome, the house was too quiet, and I knew we needed another little boy to make us laugh again.  It turns out I was the “lucky” one.  After talking with people and being approved, I drove down to Madison, to Jennifer’s house, where Laddie was being fostered.  He and Jazz hit it off right away.  Jennifer was a wonderful foster mom and gave me many good suggestions about rescuing a Westie.  After ‘sleeping on it’ over night, Jazz and I went back the next morning, having decided to take Laddie home with us.

Everything went smoothly on the way home… he was nicely crate trained and traveled quietly.  He came in the house and made himself at home right away.  I wasn’t satisfied with the name ‘Laddie’… Jennifer said she didn’t care for it either.  It just didn’t seem to fit him.  About a week or so later when I went out in the yard to get him I just happened to kneel down, put my arms out, and called “Duffy, let’s go” in a happy voice.  He tore across the yard and threw himself right into my lap as if to say “Well, what took you so long to figure out my name?!”

Duffy has been with us now since May 2008.  He’s been a welcome addition to my home and heart.  He and Jazz play together a lot… he’s keeping her young at eleven years of age.  We have had a few problems along the way.  I had to get used to his vocalizations.  He’s a talker and sometimes the talking sounds like growling and sometimes it is growling.  We had a couple of discussions about who’s chair it was… if I got out of the chair he would jump back up and when I returned he didn’t want to move over… so he would growl and try to tell me it was his chair.  After dumping him out a couple of times he got the message and there hasn’t been a problem since.  He’s never had an accident in the house, he gets along well with other dogs that come to visit and he absolutely loves kids.  He gets a little excited if they run around and yell, but all it takes is one or two reassuring words and he’s fine.  I did as Jennifer suggested and put a chair by a window so he could keep an eye on things outside.  In the summer it’s on the screened in porch and in winter it’s in the dining room.  The mailman has made friends with him by offering treats when he’s being barked at, which I thought was very nice.

Duffy loves to go in the car.  We go to visit my grandkids where there is a bigger yard and he has a lot of fun racing around wildly, playing with the kids, chasing Jazz and any squirrel that appears.  He also likes to go to the dog park nearby & does well with all the excitement of groups of dogs.  He still barks at things on the television… watching Animal Planet became a whole new experience!  Earlier this year his barking annoyed the neighbors quite a bit, but we talked about it, I did a little more training, and they do a little more talking to Duffy through the fence so things have been much better.

We’ve done some obedience training also.  He is so smart and learns quickly.  He loves the mark and treat type of training very much and seems to have a lot of fun… very food oriented.  I tried the conventional training also, but that didn’t go as well.  They wanted me to put a pinch collar on him and that just shut him down.  So we’ve gone back to the other type of training.

He still jumps like he’s on a pogo stick when I’m getting the food ready… the grandkids get a big kick out of that!  He doesn’t “guard” his food, and doesn’t argue about food with Jazz… he really does have good manners.  He’s never tried to run away even when the gate has been left open a couple of times.  He actually will come as long as I don’t yell too loud!  He still whines when he thinks he’s been ignored long enough… especially when I’m on the computer.  One day he was pestering me, then started sniffing around on the floor by the desk, and the next thing I knew he had put his paw on the surge suppressor and turned off the computer!  As I mentioned, he’s very smart!

There were times when I didn’t think I had it in me to adjust to a dog I hadn’t raised from a puppy.  But Duffy has earned his way into my heart.  He is such a loving little dog.  Everyone that comes to visit likes him.  He is so funny and playful… he and Jazz make me laugh every day.  Another benefit from having him… he needs a lot of exercise so I have been walking him every day… last winter I walked every day even when it was 20 below!  We might only make it around the block but we do it, rain or shine.  He appreciates it and it’s certainly keeping me healthy and happy.  I wish I had better words to convey how much enjoyment he brings.

Many thanks to everyone in Wisconsin Westie Rescue for letting me have this darling boy.  I appreciate everything you’ve done and continue to do for these dogs.  Jennifer, thanks for being such a good foster mom, answering all my questions and helping me through a few tough spots.  Duffy has found his ‘forever home’ and filled a big hole in my heart.

We hope you have enjoyed reading these happy-ending stories!

“Adopting a dog will not change the whole world, but it will change the whole world for that one dog.”

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