Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The BEST Breed of the Pack

Left: Izzy (born 5/11/11); Right: Livvy (born 5/19/11), Inset: Abby (5/25/97 - 7/29/10)

Anyone that knows anything about me knows that I am obsessed with Scottish Terriers.  This is an obsession I blame totally and completely on my father.  When I was three years old he brought home our first dog and he was a Scottie Dog.  My mom named him Lord McDuff.  We called him Mackey.  He was an amazing dog.  We all loved him so much.  We had him for almost 11 years.  He died of cancer right before his 11th birthday and it was hard on all of us.  My dad and I used to always fight over who got to be the "Mackey Dog" when we played Monopoly.  

We had a few other dogs after Mackey and although I loved them all, none of them could hold a torch to Mackey.  So, I decided at a young age that I would have another Scottish Terrier when I grew up.  When my husband and I were dating and in the process of talking marriage, I made it clear that when we got a dog it would be a Scottie.  This was a big change for him as he grew up with miniature poodles.  

He was quite cute about it all because when we got to the point where it was time to get a dog after we'd been married for about two years he started doing research on Scotties.  He bought a book and read it.  This is huge because he's not a reader.  He also was scouring the newspapers looking for a breeder.  It was my husband that found the breeder we got our first wee lass.  

You see Scottish Terriers are not for everyone.  They are very stubborn and full of attitude.  They will do anything you want as long as they think it is their idea.  But, they are fiercely loyal and extremely protective of their humans.  Some say they are not good around children, but all four Scotties, I've had have been great with children.  They are like any other breed, it depends on the dog and how they are brought up.  The thing is with a Scottie, you do not own him/her.  He/she owns you.  And, they will train you.  

Scotties were originally bred to be vermin dogs.  They love to chase down all sorts of smallish animals.  Squirrels are especially fun to chase and pity the prey that actually gets caught.  Scottish Terriers have large, extremely strong jaws that lock.  They have a death shake to rival a crocodile.  Very few toys last long around a Scottie.  

Since they were bred to catch vermin, they are diggers.  Some you cannot break of this habit, but others can eventually be trained to not dig, mostly.  Either way if there is a mole or other animal that they think they can get to by digging, they will dig a hole and they are expert excavators.  They may have short legs, but those legs are powerful and strong and can dig a hole faster than you would think. It's actually very amusing to watch a Scottie dig after a vermin.

My husband and I brought our first Scottie home in July of 1997.  Her name was Lady Abigale.  We called her Abby, Abbadog, Abba dabba doo, etc.  She was our baby as we did not have any children yet.  Our daughter was actually born just two days after Abby's 2nd birthday.  And Abby was smitten with Michaela the minute we brought her home from the hospital.  Although, Daddy was Abby's favorite human.  

Abby gave us 13 amazing, wonderful, loving, fun years.  She died of cancer just about two weeks after the 13th anniversary of us bringing her home.  Our kids had never known the world without Abby and it was extremely hard on our family when we lost her.  Our house felt so empty after she died and it was so quiet.  Our Abby was an expert Arroooo rooooer.  That is a type of howling (sort of) bark that is unique to Scotties.  My Mackey dog that I grew up with did it, too.  But, not all Scotties do do it.

We waited a year after Abby left us before we brought a new Scottie home.  I had to do a lot of online research for a good breeder because the people we had gotten Abby from had died.  After much ado about trying to find a wheaten (white) Scottie and a black Scottie, we ended up getting in contact with a breeder in southern Missouri and another breeder in the middle of Wisconsin.

We were not able to find a wheaten Scottie, but we ended up with the most beautiful brindle girl from southern Missouri and a gorgeous black Scottie girl from Wisconsin.  We drove down to southern Missouri on the 3rd of July 2011, spent the night in Springfield and then drove to Willow Springs to get our Princess Isobel, whom we call Izzy.  So on the 4th of July we came home with our brindle girl.

Twelve days later we (with Izzy in tow) drove 9 hours to the middle of Wisconsin and spent the night before getting up and driving to Weyauwega to get our Countess Olivia whom we call Livvy.  By the first anniversary of the loss of Abby, we had two new puppy girls.  

We have had them a year and a half now and they are such a joy to us.  Izzy is our floppy, go lucky, clumbsy big girl.  Her paws are HUGE, and she is big for a Scottie.  She has the most beautiful brindle markings, especially right after she's been groomed.  She is all about playing.  She wants to play 24/7.  The times that she does slow down she wants to sleep on someone or something.  She loves her Pooh pillow especially if she cannot get on top of a human.

Livvy is our prissy, uptight little girl.  She is beautiful and loves to give kisses.  She'll play with her humans if Izzy isn't around to butt in.  She is our cuddler, but DO NOT touch her paws.  She gets very grouchy about anyone messing with her feet.  She is our dainty eater and can be a bully to Izzy when it comes to flip chips or antlers.

Izzy is a bull in a china shop.  Livvy is dignified and indignant.  Izzy gobbles her food down and expects more.  Livvy would prefer to graze all day, but can't because if her dish is left down, Izzy will eat what Livvy leaves behind.  They both race out the back door after squirrels, rabbits, etc.

Our house is so full of life and joy with them both.  They are stubborn and hard to get inside once they are outside.  They demand to be fed, loved, played with, etc WHEN THEY WANT, and not on our timeline.  They both get so excited when one of us comes home, they can hardly stand it.  Livvy has to have kisses from Mommy when I get home.  Her tail wags like crazy.  Izzy only wags her tail when she's really really excited or happy.  

Through my love of Scottish Terriers I have met some amazing people and made some great friends.  One of those friends helps to run St. Louis Scottish Terrier Rescue.  Through her we've been able to participate in some really fun events with our Scotties.  Scottish Terrier lovers are a breed of their own.   Our love of the breed unites us.

All of this is why I love Scottish Terriers.  They are the best breed of the pack.  What is your favorite breed of dog?  Why?

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