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A Day in the Life of a West Highland White Terrier (Westie)
Is A Westie The Right Dog For You?
West Highland White Terriers lead busy lives, getting into all kinds of mischief, but they also make great pets. However, before buying, or adopting a Westie, you need to consider whether they're the right type of dog. Follow Poppy on her journey through an average day and you'll get a sense of what it is to add one of these active little bundles of fun to your family.
Typical day for a West Highland Terrier
My day starts around seven o'clock when my family gets up. Before enjoying a breakfast of prescription dog food (like many of my breed, I suffer from allergies), I make my first rounds of the garden. It's important to me to protect my family and so I need to ensure that there are no rogue birds or cats out there. If there are, then I'll shout to make them go away. I spend a lot of time barking at things. It's important for me to make myself heard. Some people don't like that, but Westies like me are vocal creatures and we just can't help it.
After breakfast, I usually have a brief lie down so I can digest my meal properly and avoid making myself ill. When my mom drives the kids to school, I like to go along and get a quick walk in the park after they've been dropped off. Walkies are my favourite activity, but my mom can't ever let me off my leash because, although she's trained me well, I can't resist my natural instincts to chase after little critters in the bushes. Like other terriers, my breed was developed to chase rats, badgers and other animals down holes and given half a chance, that's just what I'll do.
When we get home, I'll take another nap - I love to sleep and spend at least 16 hours a day resting my eyes. After lunch, I like to patrol the garden again. If it's sunny, I like to lie in the shade, but if it's not too hot, I like to explore. Typically this involves digging up stuff I buried and finding new places to hide it, or searching through mom's favorite plants. I sometimes tear up her flowers, but that's ok, because she loves to plant more.
When the kids get home from school, we play fetch for a while. I love my little blue ball. They throw it and I run after it and when I bring it back to them, they tickle under my chin and make a fuss. Like other Westies, I like praise. It lets me know when I'm doing things right.
At dinner time, I have to go outside while the family eat because I tend to hang around the table looking hopeful and mom doesn't think that's a good idea. I'm only allowed occasional treats because it's important that I don't get overweight. Also, my tummy is sensitive and I don't want to get sick - going to the vet can cost a lot of money. I guess with the health problems Westies can suffer from, looking after us can be expensive at times.
Later at night, when mom and dad are watching television, I like to curl up at their feet. Like most Westies, I love being close to people. When it's time for bed, I go to my little cushion in mom's bedroom. Sometimes I try to sleep on the bed with them, but I'm not really allowed. I keep one ear open all night, just in case I have to alert my family to danger. Most nights are uneventful and we all get a good night's sleep.
So, what have we learned about Westies?
- Westies like to bark. This can make them good watch dogs, but can annoy some people
- Westies like walkies. It doesn't have to be miles a day, but they do like to stretch their legs
- Westies are explorers. Given a chance, they get into everything.
- Westies are prone to a number of illnesses. They don't all get sick, but if they do, it can be expensive, so insurance is recommended.
- Westies need regular grooming. They can get very matted if you don't brush them often enough.
- Westies can be trained well, but sometimes natural instincts over-ride this. Be aware that when they're young, they can run really fast and if they break away from you, it can be hard to keep up.
- Westies are loyal, people-loving and usually compatible with families. They like to fit in with what you're doing and become an integral part of your pack.
- Westies like to sleep. Don't worry if they sleep 16 hours a day. Sometimes they're just resting their eyes and they're still aware of everything that's going on.