Reilly came into our lives when my wife Sharon conspired with our sons Adam and Liam to give me a puppy. They knew that I missed our old dog, Spurr, who died a few years earlier. Spurr had been sick for a long time and her constant shedding had been enough of a disincentive for us to forgo getting another dog. However, Sharon knew that I missed having a dog and reluctantly agreed to give me a puppy for my birthday. Sharon is a very sensible woman: she didn’t go to the pound, grab a dog and bring it home; instead she gave me a bag full of dog toys and told me to pick a puppy that “isn’t going to be too big” and “doesn’t shed.” These were conditions I could live with.
I surfed the net looking for a breed that met the criteria. There were plenty of candidates to choose from but, after a lot of internal debate, I eventually settled on the idea of a West Highland White Terrier. Actually, the decision was a bit of an epiphany. I had actually been leaning toward a Brittany Spaniel or a Golden Doodle but I wasn’t really sold on these breeds. I was sitting at my desk, looking at dog pictures, when I noticed a little Westie statue that the boys had given me years before. They knew I had a Westie growing up so they thought the cute little icon would help bring back some fond memories. Suddenly it was clear: I needed to look for a Westie. It was a breed that fit our family’s criteria perfectly.
The search did not take long. I found a breeder a few hours from my house that was selling West Highland puppies. I made an appointment and one Saturday morning in late June my son Liam and I made our way to a farm in Grimsby, Ontario. When we arrived, the breeder ushered us into her dining room (!) where about seven Westies were roaming around in a makeshift pen. The puppy was for me so I surveyed the pups and picked the one I thought I wanted. I reached into the pen and lifted one up. He was extremely cute but when I turned him around he (there’s no way to put his delicately) hadn’t finished an important export into the outside world. Do you get my meaning? I actually thought, “Puppy, if you can’t finish a little chore like this, I’m not sure you can live at my house.” I put the dog back in the pen and asked Liam which one he liked. He picked up a pup and handed him to me. I checked the dog’s behind and, seeing a fully functioning export system, knew that we had our pup. I paid the breeder and Reilly, Liam and I made our way home.
Reilly came into our lives because he was a strong finisher. I am sure that other dog eventually learned how to finish what he started but Reilly had learned it sooner and entered our lives because of it. He was an instant hit and we’ve never looked back.
Except to tell this story.