There were ups and downs this weekend…but the one thing about this weekend is that Finlay…my old Westie…passed away on Saturday. He had turned 14 in October.
In 2004 I had been transferred to a new position in San Antonio, TX. I went from working crazy long hours (think 2 am – 7 pm…it was nuts) to working a more 8 am – 5 pm type job. Once things settled down I started thinking about getting a dog. I perused Pet Finder and multiple rescue agencies online…trying to see if the perfect dog was out there.
Eventually I happened upon a West Highland Terrier rescue organization an hour away in Austin. She had a little Westie named Reymie who had been surrendered by his owners. Would I be interested in meeting him?
Reymie had some anxiety issues and was also what she called a “fear biter.” I decided to take a chance and meet the little guy. I drove up to Austin, took him for a walk around the neighbourhood, and told her that I’d take him home. As I stood up and walked over to my purse to get my check book he jumped up and bit my knee. What was I getting myself into??
I wasn’t sure what had happened in his life to cause his anxiety issues so I figured with a fresh start perhaps he needed a fresh name. I picked the name Finlay…a Scottish name that means white haired warrior. It was close enough to his old name that within a few hours he responded to Finlay as his name.
Finlay was a smart little guy who was well trained and also very good at shaking his paw. He loved walks, sitting in the sunshine, sleeping in and stuffed dog toys with squeakers in them. He definitely had some separation anxiety issues though. He managed to do a number on my blinds and some door frames on my rental apartment while I was away at work. Needless to say I did not get my damage deposit back when I moved out of that apartment…
For Finlay’s first Christmas with me I flew him up to Kelowna where he got to meet Mackintosh (our very first dog), Maggie (my parents’ Scottie) and Zoe (my brother’s Shi Tzu).
He was pretty little for his breed, weighing in around 13 or 14 lbs. He was always the low dog on the totem pole. After that first Christmas my parents moved overseas temporarily. I was still living in San Antonio and Mackintosh had just passed away. They weren’t able to take Maggie with them so they asked if I’d look after her while they were gone. Maggie was a total alpha female because I think she had gotten used to looking after Mackintosh as he grew old. I picked her up from the airport and she walked into my apartment with the air of being the new dog in charge. Finlay was more than happy let her rule the roost and he loved having her around.
They were pretty darn cute together.
Both Finlay and Maggie loved Christmas…especially if their stockings were filled with treats.
In July 2006 I was ready for a different job and also ready to move back home to Canada. Maggie, Finlay and I packed up and moved to Calgary. I think Finlay was always a Texas dog at heart. He loved sunshine and warmth and was not overly fond of the snow.
In my new job the months of November and December required a lot of overtime work. I’d leave for work early, work late, grab a burger on my way home at 10:00 and do it all over again the next day. Being away from home for so long wasn’t fair to Finlay. After my parents had moved back to Canada (and they took Maggie back) they offered to look after Finlay for me while I’d be working long hours.
After a few years of back and forth in the winter it was really obvious that Finlay loved being out in Kelowna with my parents and with Maggie. My parents were retired so they were home most of the time, plus he’d have Maggie’s company. For a little dog with separation anxiety issues this was the best option for him.
Finlay became very attached to my dad and they were really cute together.
Finlay was a pretty lucky little dog. After being surrendered by his first owners he wound up having a lot of people that loved him and wanted to look after him. He also managed to stay pretty healthy for the majority of his life too.
I’m glad I got to see him the week before. I’ll miss this little guy. Love you Finlay.