Saturday, January 03, 2004


This past week, we celebrated Franklin's fourth birthday. When he was 8 weeks old, I drove down to northern Alabama in a day, went to the breeder the next morning, picked him (it was between him and his brother. His two sisters were already spoken for). We drove back to Indy that day. He was about as big as my shoe.

His ears hadn't raised yet, the way Scotty ears do. A couple of different folk asked me at the time, why are his ears flopping over?. I had read as much as I could find about the breed, and about puppy raising. I fretted and worried about the different stages and if I was doing all that I could.

Meanwhile, the ears perked up, and have rarely been down except at those moments when I come home and he is showing dog loyalty to me, and when he plays with the big Airedale next door.

Scottys have small oval eyelids that block out much of the white of their eyes, making their eyes black on black. Throw in thick eyebrows and you might miss their eyes completely.

Raising Franklin as a puppy, it was in those moments when he looked back at me that I would see a little touch of white. Often when he was playing some puppy game or chasing after a stick or ball, or when I was chasing him that I would see that glance back.

He is a terrier, high energy, and somewhat independent. That means we had to work out boundaries and trade-offs. I provide as much walking as I can, and he has to hold back some of his inherent energy in the house. At age four, he is more mellow now than even last year.

When we were in England (Summer 2002), I came across a couple walking their Scotty in Chichester. They had named their dog Robbie after Robert Burns. We talked about Scotties, I got to pet their dog for a moment. This was on the next to last day before we left. One reason I was glad to get back home was to pet my own dog.

I try not to be cutesy with him and to recognize that he is an animal, and that his thoughts and joys are not the same as mine. Oh, there are a couple of times when we cross the line. He wears a black and white checkered neck scarf on racing weekend (a big deal in Indy), a gift from a townlet neighbor afer their West Highland Terrier died. And we bought him a Hawaian print shirt -- Target has or had a whole line of these dog clothes.

He's a social dog, unlike his breed, because I tried during his early days to introduce him to people and children as much as possible. Supposedly this kind of behavioral training needs to take place sometime around the 12th week. It took. So the shirt goes well at summer townlet parties. And we don't put it on him much.

No comments: