Owning a Westie - An owner's perspective.


During the summer of 1994, we decided that we'd like to have a dog like "the one on the Milk Bone boxes".  Some investigation and a few calls to local dog aficionados and we were well on our way to buying our first West Highland White Terrier.  We bought many magazines and books on westies.   We also chatted with many Westie owners who, by the way, were always polite and more than willing to spend time discussing their little dog with others.  The general opinion was that a Westie could make you scream with anger and cry with happiness in the same instant.  Small, energetic little dog with loads of self-confidence and tenacity when he wanted.  All in all, nothing could have truly prepared us for what awaited us as westie owners.

It took a year before our westie was ready for us to pick him up and the initial meeting at the breeder was a tremendous experience for all.  He was small, cheerful and full of life with his traditional white coat and upwards pointing tail and ears.  We all fell instantly in love.  We decided that MacGregor would be his name and left soon afterwards with our newest member of the family in our arms.

MacGregor had little difficulty adapting to his new clan.  Many new owners complain about endless hours of whimpering and crying from the new family member, but our family certainly can't complain about those types of things.  MacGregor adapted instantly and not once did we hear him whimper.  We think he liked his new home and life. 

In 1995, when the opportunity to move to Portugal arose, one of the many issues we took into consideration was our six-month-old puppy's happiness and well-being.  Too many people this might seem strange, but MacGregor had not only become our family dog, but a true and often exacting member of the family.  Any major family decision had to be made with him in mind.  We decided that the opportunity would present challenges to all, including MacGregor, but felt confident that in the end, we'd adapt fine.

That was some time ago.  The bottom line is, MacGregor loves life in Portugal.  Our garden is large with a multitude of fruit trees and plant life and MacGregor diligently guards everything courageously.  He passes the days running back and forth, routinely barking at whatever he wishes while at the same time enjoying a level of exercise only dreamed of by other dogs.  One small word about exercise.  Westie's love it, they need it, let them run around as much as they like because it's what keeps them living well into their teens. 

MacGregor has been with us now for more than a decade and we can all honestly say that it's been the happiest time of our lives.  MacGregor has the ability to tap on all our emotions from happiness to anger.  Worst of all is the fact that he knows this and uses this ability shamelessly to achieve his immediate goal at that point in time. 

Our little Westie has certainly provided us with everything we expected and more.  We can't imagine our life without MacGregor, the littlest and most energetic family member we have.  So, if you enjoy screaming in anger and within an instant crying in happiness while not minding having strangers stop you on the street asking questions about your little white dog with upturned tail and ears, then consider a West Highland White Terrier.  But be forewarned, once the little Westie has established himself in your family, he'll most certainly attempt to dominate everyone and everything, and it'll be wonderful.



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