by Lee Juslin
Jake, an eight year old Westie, was an owner turn-in to Westie Scottie Rescue of Houston (WRSH). The all volunteer 501c3 group covers the Greater Houston area and Southwestern Louisiana. Their adopters are generally within that area as well, but they have placed dogs as far away as Massachusetts.
Jake’s owner, an older woman, had developed dementia. She was no longer able to care for him and went into an assisted living facility. Since there was no one in her family to adopt Jake, he was turned into rescue. Jake was suffering from some physical problems like hair loss, mostly caused by his owner getting confused and dosing him too often with flea powder. Jake also showed signs of fleas and was very itchy.
After Jake was vetted and put on a regime of good food, proper flea treatment and regular baths, he was sent to Billie, a volunteer foster mom. Unlike Billie’s own posse of Westies and other fosters who came in and out of the home, Jake was not happy. “Jake is a very sweet boy, but he didn’t connect with the other dogs,” said Billie. “He was looking for human attention and he was lonely. I could see that he wanted his own special person to love and cuddle with.”
WRSH, like all breed rescues, has a protocol for placing their dogs. An on-line application must be completed, followed by a checking of vet and personal references. A representative of the group talks to the prospective adopter and arranges a home visit. If the home is approved, a volunteer discusses the various dogs available for adoption looking for a good fit. Previous terrier experience is a plus, but not a requirement. Adopters do need to understand though, that Westies often have on-going skin issues, and rescued dogs come with baggage. “After all”, as Billie pointed out, “their entire world has been turned upside down.”
Billie knew that Jake needed a special person and that he would probably do best as an only dog, with someone who could give him all the attention he craved. “He was very vocal asking to be cuddled, and he was our morning alarm clock. I worried that it would take a long time to find him the right situation or that we might not find it at all.”
Bertie lived in Houston with her Westie and best friend, Sugar. Living alone, Bertie and Sugar were a team. For years, those of us on the Yahoo email list with Bertie enjoyed hearing about their doings and seeing the occasional picture of Sugar. At just over fifteen, Sugar died leaving Bertie alone. Now, living in senior housing with a nice patio area and rules allowing small dogs, Bertie began to think about adopting another Westie. “I had sworn for years that after Sugar died I would not get another dog. I thought at my age it was just selfish to take on another dog. But, I was lonely.” With the encouragement and support of friends and her daughter who lived nearby, Bertie applied to WRSH to adopt a Westie.
Once Bertie was approved, Billie talked to her on the phone and it became clear that she and Jake were made for each other. Jake had lived as an only dog with an older lady. Bertie lived alone, had had a Westie, and was ready to give another little Westie all the love he could handle. The match between two lonely, searching souls was made.
Today, Bertie and Jake spend their days sitting on the patio, watching TV in the air conditioning, going for walks around the neighborhood, and of course, cuddling. “He’s such a good boy. Why the other night we went out for a walk before bed and a man loomed up walking a big dog. Jake broke free. But, instead of running off, he just waited for me. We’re a good team.”
If you would like to volunteer, contribute, or learn more about Westie Scottie Rescue of Houston, visit their website.
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