In my adult life I have been fortunate to own several dogs. Or some might say they owned me. Dogs have given me great joy, some laughs, and much pleasure. The caveat is that one must know when bringing a dog into your life you are assured of a heartbreak in time. They have short lives that should be as happy as possible. They leave us with sweet memories. I enjoy the company of dogs, on my walks and in my quiet hours. I even like grooming them. The terriers and the bouvier do not shed, so grooming by hand stripping their coats occasionally is necessary. Some do not mind; others tolerate it with good patience.
When I lived in Key West, there was Tillie, Merry Mathilde on her papers, a Basset. The Basset is a venerable breed, a French scent hound originally bred to hunt hares.
Their sense of smell is second only to the Bloodhound.
The name Basset is derived from the French word "Bas", meaning "Low" and the suffix "-et" meaning "Rather Low".
Tillie was an uncharacteristically small Basset, very pretty and sweet natured.
After Tillie's death and a move to Pensacola, there was Chester P. MacWoolloof, a CairnTerrier.
The litter he came out of was advertised as "Toto" dogs. This is how they are recognized even today from 'The Wizard of Oz' fame achieved in l937. The Cairn is the oldest of the Scottish terriers; that is, all of the Scottish terrier dogs were bred over time out of the Cairn, a short-haired dog from the Isle of Skye and the one known as a Skye, or the long-haired dog from the same island. Over a couple of centuries different characteristics, propagated through breeding, brought about different dogs, such as the Scottie, or Scottish Terrier. (The West Highland White is, in a word, the white Cairn.) The Cairn is a working dog, small and lively. Their original work was to keep vermin out of the castles, the farmers' field cairns, and sometimes they were used to root foxes out that had gone to ground. It is said that Mary, Queen of Scots, went to her beheading with her Cairns under her skirts.
was adorable and very smart. He worried when things did not go as
they should. He
When Chester was about a year old, along came Barney, a Scottie. Barney was black/brindle, very solid of body and not the alert, little take-charge dog Chester was. Barney deferred to Chester, acting as Chester's bigger-in-size little buddy.
Barney was a self-contained little beastie. He lived much in Chester's shadow.
was a very special friend. She was a Belgian Bouvier. The Bouvier
des Flandres is a herding dog breed originating in Flanders. They
were used for
general farm work, including cattle droving,
sheep herding, and cart pulling, and nowadays as guard dogs and
police dogs, as well as being kept as pets. The French name
breed means, literally, "Cow Herder of Flanders", referring
to the Flemish origin of the breed. They
themselves on the battlefields of World War One retrieving wounded
soldiers by pulling litters to the medical aid stations. Their
breed was almost entirely destroyed in their service as ambulance dogs.
Muddi loved to lean on people. This pushing, or leaning on whoever or whatever is the way they herd cattle. She had a special instinct as to which people could be trusted.
She had a nice way of being protective and with her size and power she could subtlely ward off any ill-intentioned threat. The Bouvier is known universally as about as fine a dog as there is.
They have great, equable personality traits and great intelligence. They are working dogs who take themselves seriously. They have great big hearts and are very giving dogs.
Happy was a Wire Hair Fox Terrier. Two of that breed's most distinctive traits are its energy and intelligence. It has a low threshold for boredom and requires stimulaton, exercise and near-constant attention. Happy was not happy, nor was he Happy when we first met. When I walked Muddi by the house where the little Bobby Burns, as I called him then, lived he always came to the back corner of the house and barked at us.
We stopped and I spoke to him from the sidewalk. Many months passed until one hot July morning as I took Muddi out to walk, there appeared little Bobby Burns who apparently had torn away from his tie-up or leash. This was my first close-up look at him. He was filthy and smelled awful. I determined to take him back to his house. No one answered my ring at the door. I went to the back door where I saw that he lived in the open backyard with a waterbowl full of mud and no shelter except a pastic dog house. I saw where he had been tied. I took him back to my house and ended a few hours later by adopting him from his very negligent owners. He was 3 1/2 years old, not house-broken, no shots, not neutered, no veterinary anything, and full of parasites. My vet took him in. I hoped the vet would help me find him a home, but as it turned out, Happy had found himself a home. My thought is that dogs like this know when they have succeeded in finding a better situation and they respond accordingly. In only a couple of weeks, with Muddi's help, better food and shelter, and a chance to learn what behaviors were expected of him, he became the nicest, cutest little pet you ever could imagine!
Maisie is my second Cairn Terrier. Maisie is the resident 'Mutt de la Maison'.
She was born in Indiana in December 2009. Her breeder was also named Louise and had not only the Cairns, but also a Bouvier of all things! She gave Maisie a very good start.
Maisie came to me knowing all the basics of good manners. There was a short transition period, of course, but all-in-all it has been smooth walking and traveling and whatever I need her to do. She is very amiable but a bit of a barker. Her little protective nature is ever alert. She loves to travel and calmly spends 13 hours in a van transiting from Toronto to Louisville. She loves David's house and neighborhood. His ravine keeps her on the alert for hours of every day.
This site was last updated 04/18/16