On the face of things, my two West Highland Terriers are just your very ordinary, yet utterly loveable, pet dogs.
But when I started thinking about it a bit more, as I was desperately trying to overcome the horrendous pain in my neck and force myself to sleep a few nights ago, I realised my dogs are a bit weird. I think.
Digby, named after that big dog in that film, was the first of the two to join our family, about five years ago now. We drove all the way to a farm in Bristol in order to pick a dog – knowing we were getting a Westie, we were warned before hand that female Westies tend to be bitches – and Digby, a boy, was chosen after being there for mere minutes. He was the most adorable bundle of fluff you’ve ever laid your eyes on. He was cute enough to melt even the most cynical of hearts.
We transported the little puppy, wrapped in blankets, back home where he soon settled into domestic life. His first round of injections went off without a hitch and everything was absolutely splendid. Then he went to the vets for another dose of injections, and then a startling revelation was revealed to us:
Digby was a girl.
Somehow, the dog had managed to trick its breeders into thinking she was a he, and then evaded detection when she was thoroughly inspected by FOUR different adults, all of them confirming she was indeed a man.
This unexpected surprise hit me and my brother rather hard, mainly because our giggling
little sister could barely contain her excitement over the prospect of the dog being renamed ‘Princess’. Even though in hindsight the name suits her perfectly, we protested resolutely and managed to strike a compromise. From that moment, ‘Digby’ would be now known as ‘Ruby Princess Murphy’.
Yes, we named her after the song.
Remember when I said we warned not to get a female Westie as they can be bitches. Yeah? Yeah.
You have never seen a more pampered, self entitled, whiny rat bag of a dog in your entire life. As I said, the term ‘princess’ suits her to a tee, she’s only ever truly happy when she, and she alone, is the complete focus of your life. If my other dog, who we’ll come to swiftly, shows the audacity to go up to someone, it won’t be long until Ruby barges her way through and gets all the attention she craves. She’ll even go to the length of ripping hair our of her own arse so people will look at her.
Amongst other baffling things she does are actions like:
– Randomly ripping up her bed, or cushions, for no apparent reason.
– She’ll steal my other dogs things. For example, for Christmas they both got a new chew toy each. Ruby was soon bored with hers and then stole the other one. Then she tore it apart.
– She can jump onto the couch just fine on her own accord, but if someone is already sat there she’ll moan, and squeal, and sigh, and cry, and beg until someone finally picks her up.
– Finally, and probably most annoying of all just due to the pointlessness of it, she’ll often take bits of food out of her bowl and just scatter them about the house, as if she’s channeling the spirit of a squirrel or something.
Now on to my second dog, who arrived at my house about 18 months later, Jack, a medical bill personified (dogified?). But first, let me take you back to the beginning.
His first owner was an older lady who’d just lost her husbad, she sought for company after
losing her soul mate, but a young dog turned out to be too troublesome for her. After being tossed around for a short while, we were finally told about Jack by my Aunty and Uncle (two of the people who expected Ruby) who asked if we wanted to adopt him. Father was’t pleased, and mother was hesitant, but me and my siblings managed to convince them to save Jack and a few weeks later we went to pick him up from my auntie and uncle’s.
We went down to Gloucestershire with Ruby, and it was love at first sight between the two. Unfortunately, that did lead to Jack and my Auntie’s dog having a fight over her, so they don’t get on anymore.
We got Jack home and it soon became apparent that Jack BARKS AT EVERYTHING.
Be it a door bell on the telly, the wind slightly rustling the trees, a car pulling up across the street, anything that makes a slightly unfamiliar noise – he’d bark at. The reason for this is probably because he spent the first period of his life was spent in the country and his ears weren’t accustomed to suburban life.
This unfamiliarity to a life in the town, rather to one in the country, is more than likely what led to his first big medial problem. I’m no vet, but he basically got the dog version of eczema. We don’t know what caused it, if he’d had a horrible allergic reaction to something or if the general air here didn’t agree with his skin, but it wasn’t nice. He would scratch and gnaw at himself all day, due to his skin being so unbearable irritating. The result was hardly any fur on his back at all, his skin regularly bleeding and at some points his skin getting so black and hardened it resembled a rhino.
After multiple trips to the vets and several attempts to find the right thing to make him better, we finally hit gold with a combination of some weirdly smelling shampoo and steroids.
He grew to be quite a fat dog due to the drugs but now, I’m delighted to say, his skin is all cleared up and he posses a wonderful glossy coat.
Butttttt, he’s got diabetes now.
And as a result he’s gone blind.
So aye, he now has to have two injections a day, gets plagued with ear infections and can no longer see. Reckon his hearing and smell may be slowly deserting him too.
However desperate that may sound though, I guarantee you, his life is a million times better now than it was when his skin was in a mess. He no longer lives in a constant burning pain and now seems pretty happy. Even if he is a real grumpy bastard when people get in his way (he’s bitten (scratched with his teeth) me three times).
His blindness leads to some pretty funny moments too, I will never tire of watching him accidentally bang into shit and the time he tried jumping on the couch, but missed, had me doubling over in laughter.
Although it may seem from this piece that I don’t particularly like my dogs, especially Ruby, I bloody well love ’em. They’re a bundle of joy and I wouldn’t swap them for the world.