Location: Minneapolis, MN
Type: West Highland White Terrier
His response: “Do you want help with the application?”
My “War and Peace”-length paperwork, illustrating that ours is a Westie-Wise Household (we’re on numbers three and four), apparently won the hearts (or at least numbed the minds) of the volunteers in charge of screening adoptive parents because, though they said they’d been drowning in applications for this little girl, then named Kiwi, we and one other family were the only ones to make the cut.
Now fully committed, I admit I stacked the deck for the home visit, presenting my sister Diane, whose yard is Puppy Club Med and who baby-sits our dogs when we have to be out of town, and our friend Cathy, owner of The Urban Dog, a dog-walking/pet-sitting business, and who often tends to our four-legged kids, as members of the “village that would be raising this dog-child.”
But the real ace in the hole was Blanche, our nearly 3-year-old rescued Westie. She was the actual impetus for our getting another dog because her older brother, Mortimer (our North Dakotan rescued Westie), is 9-ish and has arthritis, so his playtime is pretty limited, and Blanche has a ton of puppy still in her that was going to waste.
She and Keely (the pup’s new moniker, named for jazz vocalist Keely Smith) raced around the house like Keystone Cops, sliding into walls as they rounded corners because they couldn’t stop on the wooden floors. They’d made their choice to be together quite clear.
From the moment we picked up Keely from her foster mom, Robin, our three dogs were mellow and perfectly adjusted to one another, as though they were being reunited rather than newly introduced. Even our 11-year-old cats, Giles and Xander, accepted Keely immediately. It feels as though the family became truly complete once this bundle of white light and energy joined us.
And although Keely is wily enough to know to “fake” going potty outside to get a treat, housetraining is still a challenge. When she recently made it 48 hours without an indoor accident, we thought of naming a national holiday to commemorate the milestone.
In the meantime, to keep my Zen-like cool, I just walk around singing this song I wrote when potty training Blanche a couple of years ago (to the tune of “The Water Is Wide”):
The doggies are white
And the cats are dark;
And I live in
A Noah’ Ark
With two (or three) of each
And all I do
Is pick up turds.