16 Dec Tale of a westie
I’ve dreaded the day I would have to write a piece about my beloved westie, Jake. I always knew I would need to when he left us, to help me in the grieving process. The time has come and I feel so empty, but I think it may help to sort out my feelings. Or it may make me feel worse. In any case, I can’t run away from the sadness so I’m forging ahead and writing about this sturdy little Westhighland Terrier that stole our hearts.
This is really a love letter to Jake, who made our home more than stylish. He made it, well, home. It was lively and loud at times, but always full of heart because of him. I have so many pictures. Here he is, one of his favorite stations, on the landing at our old house where he had a great view of people walking or driving by.
Another spot, on the couch, but this struck me as funny because he didn’t know quite what to make of the westie ornament on the end table!
And this look got me every time. That innocent beautiful face.
After my previous westie, Abby, died suddenly fourteen years ago, we knew we wanted another one but waited til we found Jake near Old Hickory Lake. Make that Jake and his little brother, Willie. Two comedians actually raised the westies out on the lake, and I think their sense of humor rubbed off on the dogs, seriously!!!
(In this 2004 photo, Keith is holding Jake. I’ve got Willie, the runt of the litter!)
I don’t know what we were thinking at the time. Well yes I do. Two would be twice the fun and they would have each other. But Willie was a handful, chewing off the woodwork, and right after getting the brothers, my husband Keith had to have back surgery. He couldn’t bend over to pick them up and I was working five nights a week as a news anchor at the time so we were overwhelmed.
We called the breeder and asked if they would consider taking Willie back. Sounds awful I know, but it really worked out for all. They kept Willie and ended up breeding him, and Jake quickly adjusted to being an only dog. He loved digging around our back yard, and we’ll never forget the day he came to the back door like this.
(What Mom? I’m just a tiny bit dirty.)
A friend of mine had a fit over this picture, noticing the perfectly formed ring of mud around his nose!!!!!! Obviously he’d been quite busy burrowing down to get a mole which sadly he didn’t get that time. Wish I had a picture of the time the skunk did get him though. We tried everything to get the smell out. Finally we realized it was his collar we hadn’t washed. That must have driven him crazy. Another funny story my friend Robin Campbell reminded me of was the night she watched Jake when I anchored the news and Keith was out of town. I didn’t want to leave him alone because of a big storm. She said she was cleaning out a cabinet, and Jake tinkled on her pasta pot! Thank goodness she thought it was hysterical.
Jake adjusted to life at our lake house in northern Alabama where we soon found out he loved fishing as much as Keith.
It almost looks like he’s smiling in this picture. He, like Keith, is probably happiest on the water.
He would stand at the front of the boat, following Keith’s fishing line. Once he even fell in trying to bite at the fish. He was made for lake life.
Even with a cone on his head during the healing of one of his many skin or eye ailments, he was not about to back down from a decent fish.
He enjoyed all our gatherings, including the big Handy Fest concert on the river which was held at our dock several times. He was well behaved, for the most part.
A little mud never bothered him either as you saw in an earlier photo. Or alot of mud. After this escapade, traipsing through a swampy area at my brother’s lake in Ohio, he could barely walk the next day from overexerting himself.
We called him our two toned westie. He was also made for hunting in wood piles. An elusive chipmunk taunted him for hours near our garden shed at our lake house. Poor Jake. He hunted and wore himself out searching but not finding. We laughed so hard as he barked and kept at it. Determined little rascal.
He was with us when we officially broke ground for our new house. We included him whenever possible.
He mixed well with others and was invited to friend’s lake houses, like the Ellises, and the Newtons at Center Hill.
But as time stole Jake’s hearing, vision and strength in his hind legs, it was time to think of him and not ourselves. What a horrible decision as many of you have undoubtedly had to make for your pet’s sake, not yours. We rest assured that he’s better off. We’re definitely not, but we are all the richer for having this spirit in our lives for as long as we did. A friend, Joy Huber, shared this beautiful quote from Pope Francis that is hanging in her home. I need to get this for us.
He enriched our lives beyond measure. But I wanted more time with him. Selfish, but true.
I could say Rest in Peace little buddy, but I’d rather say, keep chasing those squirrels and chipmunks Jake.
Thank you for reading this blog. Anyone who loves dogs like we do understands, but I promise not to post another sad one anytime soon. xoxo Amy