Wee Welsh Beastie. Birthday Boy.

1 04 2010

Around 5 years ago I had to make the really heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to sweet Iron-Will Kate, the aireheaded Airedale. I let a nearly a year pass mourning her loss with Ivan the Great and Terrible, the world’s most caring black cat-dog. Ivan had been with me through the loss of two dear pooches and one sweet, if aloof, cat-cat.

We spent evenings and weekends that year curled up together, him insisting on some part of him touching me at all times, while we looked at books on dog breeds. Lots and lots of books on dog breeds. I gave myself a year to be dog-free, mainly because I felt that I’d not allowed enough time between losing Kipper my heart dog, and bringing Katie into the fold. I felt I’d been hard on her, expecting a big, goofy, leggy, but ridiculously loving Airedale to be like my laid back, sensitive, ball of love Sheltie. No dog will ever be capable of filling Kipper’s paw prints and it was wrong of me to expect that of her. Eventually we worked it all out and I found that she was no Kipper, but she was one hell of a Katie. She constantly amazed me with her clown-like quirkiness as much as she amazed me her protectiveness.

After I lost Kipper, I left Shelties, mainly because I knew there would never be another like him and I’d constantly be comparing them to him. He was bigger than most, calmer than all, and had the great Roman nose of a Collie. After Katie, however, I wanted another Airedale. Badly. I knew it was impractical. Her size was off-putting to people regardless of how sweet, loving, and gentle she was. She didn’t get to go to as many places as Kipper because of her size and after having to carry Kipper around after he lost his leg to cancer, it struck me the night that I lost Katie that if she hadn’t been able to walk into the vet’s office on her own I wouldn’t have been able to carry her.

Life with both beloveds taught me what I did and didn’t want in a dog. Not big on shedding, big on walking/hiking, definitely loveable. Ivan and I looked through book after book slowly narrowing the field, but we were still left with quite a list! I also kept coming back time and again to Airedales.

I discussed all my options with friends, getting feedback, discussing the positives and negatives of each one. Imagine the feeling the day I found the book with what at first glance made me think AIREDALE! Welsh Terrier. So Welsh Terrier went to top of list along with Irish Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terriers (seeing a trend?).

I figured I had it all figured out (and said as much to all I encountered), I wanted a puppy because I had lost 3 dear animals in too short a period of time. So my plan was to get a puppy in the spring and pass on those 3 AM potty breaks in freezing temps! I was SO sure of myself and yet at the same time there were a couple things I hadn’t considered: a) every animal that had been a part of my life FOUND me, not the other way around so I wasn’t sure how that would work with a puppy, b) I knew I needed to find a breeder, but I hadn’t QUITE settled on a BREED, and c) I was running out of time in order to ‘My Plan’.

Best dinner discussion EVER involved me outlining my (in my mind) well thought out plan, when I was met with a heart stopping question, “if you are planning on getting puppy sometime in the spring have you found a breeder yet? A puppy old enough to be able to be with you by then would need to be born any day now”.


The ‘Planner’ was completely stumped.

Hadn’t settled on BREED yet (though WTs did keep floating to top of mental list), I hadn’t even looked at breeders yet, and THEN that doesn’t even take into account that they would have to have puppies on the way!

As it turned out, my landlord was a Scottish Terrier Breeder and she gave me some good advice…there was a dog show in town that weekend. She suggested that I go walk around the show, seek out the short list of breeds, talk to the breeders, and meet the dogs. I walked around that arena for two hours. Irish Terrier?Check, but no. Lakeland? Check, but no. Wirehaired Fox? Check, but only maybe. I was still hung on my attraction to an Airedale in a more ‘travel-friendly’ size so where was that Welsh Terrier anyway? No where to be found.

I left the arena feeling completely defeated. I got into my Jeep, crying a bit wondering how my puppy would be able to find me if I couldn’t find the puppies? I put car into reverse, looked in rear view mirror, and almost stroked out. There, perfectly centered in my rear view mirror, was a Welsh. Terrier. Puppy. Obviously I was delirious and seeing things.

I threw the car into park, jumped out, and ran like a crazy woman across the parking lot towards the puppy. The handler was on the phone, but I managed to eek out if it was indeed a WT and could I please, please, please play with her a little. Click. Decision was made. I wanted to be a Welsh Terrier Momma…BAD.

I shared with my friends, I looked up breeders in our area, thought MAYBE I had found one, but how do you do that? Make that first connection. Also? Welsh Terrier breeders don’t grow on trees (a bit of a bonus if you ask me) and it isn’t like you see Welsh Terriers all over the place.

Well, I’m now convinced that my animals will find me using any method necessary, even the ones I need to seek out.

I received a call the following Monday. No greeting, only 6 words…’The bitch is due ANY day!’ Pardon me? ‘The BITCH is DUE ANY DAY’. I’m sorry, WHAT? ‘The. Bitch. Is. Due. Any. Day.’ Who’s a bitch?

Turns out that my friend’s sister used to live in a neighborhood where a wonderful Welsh name Blue lived. He was well known for his wonderful temperament and his owner was a breeder who was known for dogs with good temperaments. Sister wasn’t quite sure where they lived, but my friend went and sought them out. She knocked on the door and told the son who opened the door the story of her friend who was looking for a WT puppy. He let her know his mom was away, but yes they had puppies on the way and they were due any day!

“Call her RIGHT NOW”. But… “CALL. HER. RIGHT. NOW.” What if they don’t like me? ‘CALL HER and when she loves you because we all tell her what a wonderful dog person you are I get to be the Dog Mother!’


I don’t do well cold calling people. So I wrote the most Cruella DeVille sounding ‘I need one more puppy for my coat’ type email ever written. I wouldn’t have let me pet a puppy looking back at that desperate sounding, clumsy, clueless puppy questioning email (I told you they always found me, there IS a reason for that…I apparently suck at finding them without SERIOUS intervention).

Despite my email, I was called anyway and it was kindly explained to me that you didn’t ‘reserve’ puppies prior to their birth, that she’d like to talk to me some, let her adult dogs meet me, and then let me meet puppies before we went further.

After two conversations over the phone where I apparently managed to convince her I wasn’t a COMPLETE lunatic, I was getting to go meet Blue and Miss Jennie (the momma). My heart leapt again meeting these two sweethearts. Most especially since Miss Jennie did SO many things that made me think of my dear Katie Bug. Even better? Miss Jennie liked ME. She wanted to play with ME and let ME love on her. I passed Miss Jennie’s test. I was going to get to meet PUPPIES. There were four in the litter, 3 boys and 1 girl, all named after members of Carolina Hurricanes players.

They were SO small at that point. SO clumsy. So FUNNY as they fell all over each other and tumbled into me. Squirming as I snuggled and played and blew kisses. I was in love. How in the world was this going to work. I now was convinced my puppy was in that little puppy pile, but which one and how would I know?

Process of elimination helped some. One was claimed by stud and it was decided I didn’t want a female which left two males.

On the big day, I sat in the middle of the floor and both candidates were released to see what they did. One set off investigating the room while the other made a beeline for me and launched himself into my lap and snuggled up. Heart. Melted. On. The. Spot.

My little guy is easy to spot in a crowd since his tail curls to touch his back, but I never really needed that. He claimed me that first day and after that whenever I came to visit him, he calmly waited while his siblings would get their greetings from me knowing that they would only get quick greetings, but HE was guaranteed a thorough loving. Leaving him each time was so hard, but returning each time was so cool. He knew I was his. He never doubted it for one second. He didn’t need to since he’d won my heart the day he flew across the room to claim his spot in my heart.

On a June evening I giddily went to pick up my little Wee Beastie, heart near to bursting. Realizing as I left with puppy, crate, crate pad that smelled of his family, a variety of toys, color, leash, some food, and a family photo album that while my heart was bursting with excitement and love another heart was saddened by the loss of the little man she helped bring into my life. Not a permanent loss since we lve nearby and she gets visits and updates.

First stop on the way home was to his ‘Dog Mother’ and ‘Dog Auntie’ who were also key players in making sure that once again, the furball full of love meant to bless my life found his way to me.

Happy 4th Birthday to my wild, wee Welshman.

Thank you for the over abundance of love, laughter, joy you’ve brought me.

Thank you for constantly pushing me with your, ALMOST wider than mine, stubborn streak.

I’m looking forward to more adventures with my wee co-pilot!




2 responses

1 04 2010

Awww…what a great story…and that moisture in my eyes is completely allergies…..

A very Happy Birthday to you Mr. Fergus!

1 04 2010

Thanks! Moisture in my eyes while writing was also due to allergies!

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