25 April 2024

Going solo…

We’d never had a dog. But after raising a family and having retired, I needed something more in my life. So, I pestered my husband David for a dog. While narrow-boating, I spied a Scottie trotting along the towpath and it immediately tugged at my heartstrings. As a child, I’d had a toy Scottie on my windowsill. It was a Scottie I wanted with all my heart.

Chris and Anne Mills were local Scottie people who had just had a litter. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw the puppies. We were thoroughly vetted, with house visits and so on, and three weeks later were thrilled to be told we could have a boy, who we named Barney.

Chris, an experienced dog handler who knew Barney was of good stock, took him to ring craft classes. He handled him at a championship show where Barney won third place and qualified for Crufts. Barney was filmed on our narrowboat as part of “The Road to Crufts” promotional video depicting Scotties on various modes of transport en route to the NEC. At not even a year old, Barney came highly commended and fifth in his class at Crufts.

18 months later, Barney’s father had sired another litter from which we got Wilma (of course). And what a great pair they made. Barney showed at Crufts eleven years running and was placed every year bar one. His best result was a first in the veteran category. Wilma supported him as a cheerleader throughout.

We mated Wilma with another local Heather Green Scottie sire resulting in a litter of five – three girls and two boys. My son Ian put together a wonderful video of them on YouTube (search for Scottie puppies playing 14 years ago).

We kept one of the girls, Rene, who was six when she had her only puppy Pixie, who we also kept. But Rene kept her distance from her offspring. Unlike Wilma, she was not a natural mother! Pixie was very much a one-off and remained very aloof with the other dogs in our pack – probably because she didn’t have puppies to play with early on. She was the most stubborn of all our Scotties – and she detested being groomed in any way.

Barney lived to twelve and a half, and Wilma to eleven and a half – a good age for Scotties, but it’s always tragic when they pass.

When Rene was ten and Pixie was four, we looked for a little boy to mate with Pixie. Milo was the smallest of the boys and the loudest of all the puppies, so he caught my eye immediately. A few weeks later we were told there was one little girl left in the litter. It was fate and when we went to collect Milo, Flora came home too. We were back up to four Scotties again.