by Maureen Guthrie
My first encounter with a Scottish Terrier was when I was about 5 years old. The Scottie, Tippy, was owned by Bob, the rag-and-bone man who was a regular visitor to my home area in the East End of London.
Around this time, polio was very rampant and I fell very ill. Tippy and Bob took time out to collect a very urgent prescription from the 'very' late night chemist (1.30 a.m.) in White Chapel (we lived in Upton Park E13). Tippy and Bob returned with the medication (Penicillin) thankfully and all was well - just a kid's thing. Tippy stayed with me overnight, on my bed. That was it! I said to my Mum, "When I grow up I will have lots of Scotties, a donkey and a tortoise".
What a sweet boy Tippy was. He was about 13 years old when he sadly passed away. My goodness! Bob was devastated - he thought he was tough, but he cried like a baby and over the years I have done the same. A Scottie dog remembered - who would have thought a 'wee boy' from Plastow E13 would now be recognised after all these years?
In 1976 Oscar, my Westie, had to be put to sleep - he was only 16 weeks old. Taffy, my Westie lived with me at mum's house before I got married to Andrew. Mum loved him so much she refused to let him come with me. My lovely boy passed away in 1987.
Next was my darling Bruce. Wow! what a lovely Westie. He was the light of my life and we were inseparable. It was always Bruce and Maureen or Maureen and Bruce. July 16th 1993 'killed me'when Bruce had to be put to sleep due to massive internal bleeding. To this day I still believe that a vindictive neighbour deliberately applied toxic weed killer. We had the very best vet (Mr.Patrick Eves) and I asked him "What can you do?" as he always put things right. He replied, "Sorry, I can do nothing, it's best for you if you say good-bye". I kissed Bruce and said "I love you." He had heard it so many times before; he trusted me and fell into a deep sleep. We brought him home and he's with us in our garden.
Darling Lady, my very first Scottie, came from Muriel Owen of Wheathampstead. Lady came into our life via my husband, Andrew, on 13th September 1993. For weeks I had been adamant that I couldn't have another dog but (thank goodness) Andrew knew better. There she was, a total powerhouse, and I thought, "God! I love you." We called her Lady and had 13 glourious years until Mr Eves was once again called to make that life-saving decision in 2006. Lady had liver disease and was taken to the doggie hospital where she remained for 8 days. Once again I had to say goodbye to a very special friend.
During 1999 whilst Lady was very much alive, an 'unloved' Shannah came to our house. Shannah pined for Lady for quite some time but we had the great pleasure of her companionship until she passed away last year.
Dudley is now our resident Scottie, and do I love him? You bet! I’ve even provided Marion with some images and you can see them on Dudley’s very own page.
Thinking back to the words I spoke to my Mum all those years ago, I have had three lovely Westies and three super Scotties - but the donkey and the tortoise? - well, I am still waiting!
Editor's note - Maureen's poetry also features in our Poems Section