So when I was about fourteen, my mother replaced my brother and I with a West Highland Terrier she called Piper. No, I am not kidding. My mother was so enamored of Piper that she quickly acquired another West Highland Terrier which she and my dad called Impudence, prettier than Piper but less well-behaved. From that time on, my parents always have two Westies. Today, it is Mercer (after Johnny Mercer) and Too Tall, a rescue that is far larger than the Westie breed standard. In photo collections whether in albums or digital, ever since the late 80s, my parents photos are more Westie than human family.
When my dad published his first book, Waldo Chicken Wakes the Dead, in the little author blurb that goes with books, he mentioned my mom and the Westies, but no mention of his two kids. We were totally overtaken by the little white ratters.
This once bothered me, when I was still a kid, before I had a child. Now I sort of get it. About dogs. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kid more than I love myself. I would trade my soul to protects hers.
I would also do that for any of my dogs. They are far more agreeable than people. And Westies have no idea that they are dogs. They are the joy and exuberance that somehow my parents could not allow themselves in their own lives. My dad, maybe, but my mom she gave all her joy and possibility to her dogs and put her own in a bottle.