In The Beginning........
In The Beginning………
The first experience having a Scottie came, when my Pom cross female, Mitzi began to lose her hearing. Although she was a small dog, she came across with a loud voice when protecting her property. Having experienced an incident that alerted me to the fact that uninvited persons were coming into my property, and Mitzi did not sound the alarm, that was the deciding factor that I needed to bring another canine companion into the household.
My search began with the want ads in the local paper. I came across numerous ads for large dogs, but having been raised with medium sized dogs, (Cocker Spaniels, Shelties, Smooth fox Terrier) that was the avenue I choose to pursue. In the ads, a variety of “purebred” dogs were up for sale. Each had his or her own admirable qualities, but I wanted a dog that was smaller, and had a large dog bark. This led me to contact a family that was “giving away” a purebred Scottish Terrier. I quickly researched the breed and decided to check out this dog.
McNeil, Earl of Seaforth”, an impressive name on an American pedigree was the drawing card that got me interested. Although there were numerous warning signs evident during our first meeting, I was impressed with the personality of this dog. The owner spent time explaining why they were giving MacNeil away. At that point, I should have clued in that I might be adopting a barrel of trouble.
McNeil was three and a half years old, and I would be his third owner. That should have alerted me that something was amiss. My main concern was that Mitzi was my alpha dog and MacNeil was going to need to learn that he was “third in command”, after Mitzi and myself. MacNeil accepted Mitzi as the alpha dog, but he had a mind of his own. Here was a Scottie with an attitude problem, all due to previous owners who thought Scotties should be rough and gruff. These people did not know or understand that dogs are like children. They all need to learn proper behaviour and accept rules and consequences for inappropriate behaviour.
So began a long period of obedience training. After a year and a half, MacNeil began to understand and respect that fact that he was not the leader of the pack, that was my position.
By this time, I was gaining an interest in having a “show quality Scottie”. I contacted a number of Scottie breeders, who finally put me in the right path to acquire a female. My first girl, Ceili, did not possess all the qualities needed for the show ring. She did have a litter of pups, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she died shortly after giving birth to four pups.
Then the real work began, I became the “single working mother”, having to prepare formula, bottle feed and give these pups total care, twenty-four hours a day. As the pups grew, McNeil was interested in the “wee one’s”, wondering if he would ever get to see them.
For all his gruffness, McNeil was a terrific step-dad. Since there was no Mom, he took on the role as parent and teacher. Being the ever-watchful parent, the pups grew up accepting him and playing with him as if he was the Mom.
McNeil continued in this role as step-dad for many litters and was the most lovable gruff boy in the household.
McNeil lived to the age of fourteen when a form of cancer altered his quality of life and was required to be euthanized.
McNeil, Earl of Seaforth, never had his own canine family, but will always be lovingly remembered as a true Scot, who loved life and people.