In the end, it’s not about us… the fur-parents… it’s about this lovely, wonderful Soul that has wandered into our lives.
I’ve been around dogs ever since I was old enough to go outside on our farm in Nova Scotia, Canada. My father was a shepherd on the islands surrounding England, and when he and my Mum came to Canada in the late 70’s, he kept his love for Border Collies very much alive; training hundreds of working dogs for handlers around the globe, breeding from some of the best Border Collie lines, and producing the top Border Collie training videos world-wide.
I still remember my first sweet Border Collie named Spot. I was 11, and she was the first dog I officially “started”; the process of teaching a herding dog about their natural ability to run around stock and bring them to you. (An utterly magical thing to watch). Me and Spot even managed to snag a feature in my dad’s second training video! Through my teens I worked with a lot of dogs; some of them our own, and some for my dad’s clients. It was my job to teach them the ground basics (that’ll do, stand, etc) they need before going to the stock, and then to take some of the more timid younguns and get them started before passing them on to dad. As you can imagine, I grew to love that internal process of connecting with an animal one-on-one and helping it learn the ways of being a working Border Collie.
But, out of all the wonderful dogs I had the chance to help train, and the couple I was
able to take to small dog-trials around where we lived, there was no dog I loved more than my sweet Sammy. Not only was he wonderful to start and work on the stock, he became my lead dog in my first dog-sled team, and the lead dog in the first all Border Collie dog-sled team Manitoba had ever seen!
Note: Best winters of my life, running those dogs!
Though I always knew I wanted to work with animals in a large way, it was hard to know where it could fit into my life. Now having just turned 30, I’m a singer/songwriter half the time, and a video producer/social media marketing consultant the other half of the time… I’d resigned myself to thinking working with animals in a larger way was going to have to wait until I retired.
Plus, how could I possibly own a dog OTHER than a Border Collie?
Back when my husband and I had been dating for a while, we both agreed we wanted dogs in our lives. Unfortunately, he grew up with Jack Russells (which I didn’t feel was a good way to go), and I grew up with working dogs (we obviously weren’t going to go that way whilst we were living in a city)… we were stuck. I knew it needed to be a smaller dog, but I needed something with smarts and practicality. It was only when we went to visit family in Nova Scotia that we got to experience a Westie.
We arrived at my Aunt’s house and began to unpack our suitcases. Out of nowhere, a little white dog trotted up, bold as could be to greet us. Complete strangers. I looked at him and was so amazed to see him looking straight back at me, in the eye. He gave us a nod of approval and a little wag of his tail, then set off through the bush to the side of the house. I was bewildered. And I knew that was the dog I wanted.
Peach was our first Westie. We were living in Australia, and the chance to find one
was utterly slim-to-none. Out of the blue my Aunt told us she was buying a pup from a 2-puppy West Highland Terrier litter, and would we like the other? Um, YES!
Peach traveled from Aus to Canada with us, and from Canada to the UK (and back) with me last year. She’s such a sturdy, wonderful little dog. A wonderful first Westie.
Lucy was the last of a pedigree litter from the BC interior. We knew we wanted to
have two (meaning: I knew I wanted to have seven, and my husband gave in on at least one hee hee!), and after a few weeks of looking, Lucy was found. Our little trio made the 5 hour drive on an early Saturday morning out to Salmon Arm, and Westie numero 2 arrived! Utterly the opposite to Peach in every conceivable way, she’s perfect. Hilarious. Lives up to her nickname “Goose” more than Lucy. We’re so glad there’s a face-palm emoji now, because that describes her the best.
But, still… living in Vancouver meant 2 dogs, working hard on my businesses at home and dreaming of the piece of land I’ll have when I’m 50 where I can have my army of dogs and help people connect to their own.
It was only when I begrudgingly began an Instagram account for Peach and Lucy at the beginning of 2017, finally finding a home for all the pictures I had, did I realize the community online was such an incredible place for what I dreamed of doing. Here were the conversations about breeds, temperament, tips, recipes, and of course… copious amounts of gorgeous dog pictures and videos. Heaven was presented to me… on the internet.
Note: I do realize the irony that I’ve been working with people and my own personal brand on Social Media for years without realizing there was a place for my love of dogs.
So, here we are! This is a place I wholeheartedly welcome you to. I don’t have all the answers; I’ve only been at this a relatively short amount of time compared to a lot of the breeders and trainers I meet, and I welcome any chance to learn something new. Because, in the end, it’s not about us… the fur-parents… it’s about this lovely, wonderful Soul that has wandered into our lives. Blessing us with their snuggles, snuffles, licks and love. Every day is a new chance to better their existence and their experience in the world, and I see that as such an amazing honour; to be chosen to be loved by a dog.
If you’re interested in working with The Westie Besties, please email us! We revel in the chance to connect, even if it’s just for a coffee to squeal over the cuteness of Emma the Westie’s latest posts.
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