Saturday, September 19, 2020
Westies Get Face Time During a Pandemic
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Dundee McBroom’s ears perk up as he spots Woody in Hulen Meadows Park.
   
Sunday, August 30, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Dr. Fauci might not have been amused.

The soccer-sized snowballs with fur tumbled across the lawn like an ever-expanding amoeba, pawing one another, crawling atop one another and—egads!—even licking one another.

And face coverings? Well, how could you possibly cover such a cute little face with those deep-set almond-shaped eyes?!

 
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Maria and Doug Grubb’s Trooper—or is this his twin Remington?—sports a patriotic bandana along with his Scottish plaid harness.
 

This past weekend marked the 12th annual Westie Reunion at Hulen Meadows Park. And, despite the coronavirus pandemic, it attracted about two dozen proud Westie parents and at least 14 Westies, although it was difficult to keep count as they zig-zagged across the lawn.

“I never thought about cancelling it. I decided we HAD to have it because everything else has been cancelled,” said Sherry St. Clair, who organized the first Westies picnic with Jane Beattie.

 Ralph Gomory and Lilian Wu’s Woody was the first to arrive. He’d spent the earlier part of the pandemic in Westchester, N.Y., watching as half of New York City’s residents fled the city for second homes and those who remained spent hours each day standing in line at neighborhood grocery stores.

“New Yorkers are intense anyway and this just made them more intense—they wiped down everything in sight” said Wu. “The pandemic hit and it was as if they flipped a light switch. Suddenly, we began hearing sirens constantly.  And, as soon as Starbucks went curbside, people began sitting in long lines for an hour to drive through and get their coffee.”

 
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Dru Shoemaker and Tom Neustaetter sport Westie face masks.
 

“People waited for line in hours in 110-degree temperatures in Las Vegas as soon as fast food places reopened,” responded Doug Grubb. “It was as if people said, ‘We’re tired of home cooking.’ ”

Gomory and Lu had re-read “The Wizard of Oz” just before they and Woody made their annual summer pilgrimage to Sun Valley. Lu remembered it as she and Gomory drove up Highway 75 towards Sun Valley.

“I said, ‘Honey, look, it’s no longer black and white. This is technicolor. It’s like the Land of Oz—sunshine, color. Woody noticed the difference, too.”

Dundee was the next to show. Seated on Sheila McBroom’s lap, the 14-year-old West Highland White Terrier’s eyes scanned the park as Martin McBroom pulled into the parking lot. Then, as his eyes fixed on Woody, he became animated.

 
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Lilian Wu is greeted by a few of her old Westie friends.
 

After dutifully walking his Mom and Dad six miles a day during the pandemic, it was his turn to run around with members of his tribe.

Within minutes, more Westies appeared. Every time a new one showed up, the ones already there flocked to it like a magnet, their stubby little tails vibrating as they sniffed out everything there was to know. Pretty soon the entire bunch were chasing one another around a big merry-go-round, rocking like hobby horses as they ran.

“Where else can you get this many dogs together without a lot of barking?!” exclaimed St. Clair. “They’re just so happy.”

Westies are great hiking dogs, according to Charlotta Harris. And, come winter, they love sliding down hills of snow on their bellies. Since they originated in Scotland where it’s cold and wind, they’re hardy dogs Wu said.

 
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Face masks differentiated the 12 annual Westie Reunion at Hulen Meadows Park this past week—at least, for everyone but the dogs.
 

St. Clair smiled as she watched her Nestie, named after the Loch Ness Monster, twitch its pointed ears back and forth. To an untrained observer it might have been difficult to tell the Westies apart, save for red and blue bandanas, plaid collars and other distinguishing outerwear.

But, St. Clair assured, “Every Westie is totally different. We can look at them in a crowd and pick out ours. The only thing that’s the same about them is they’re white.”

The dogs with their distinctive white coats that don’t shed were bred to hunt rodents in the court of  James IV of Scotland who reigned between 1567 and 1625. They do not seem to have minded the pandemic at all, save for missing some play dates, their parents said.

“Fargo has had us home more at night because we’re not going to parties. I imagine that’s making him happy,” said Tom Neustaetter and Dru Shoemaker.

“Woody ‘s just puzzled why everybody all of a sudden is wearing masks,” added Gomory. “I tried to explain it to him.”

“Nessie said to me, ‘You wear the mask, Mom, so you can stay healthy and take care of me,’ ” added St. Clair.

Eventually, the Westie picnic wound down. Normally, everyone would have packed up and headed off to a long list of people events.

But, on this particular night in the midst of a pandemic, they just went home—to spend more time with their Westies.


 

 

 

 


 

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Mill Lake Hike Gets a Makeover

Volunteers Wanted for Arboretum Cleanup

SNRA Needs Some Tender Loving Care After Record Setting Summer
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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