Note the Jack handle at the back end.

Note the Jack handle at the back end.

She came in a wooden box. From Ireland. A West Highland White Terrier.

All these years later, we’ve had a Scotty. They’re supposed to be the feisty ones. Take it from me. Westies are feistier. She would snarl and snap when my mother tried to groom her. It was a clown show. My mother used her tail like a jack handle, just as rough in her own terrier way as Pacey was.

Actually, The only one she had any use for was my mother. White is a relative term. Other terms would be greyish, yellowish, dull whitish, brownish, mild charcoalish, and glum.

I once nearly killed her. Guilt things you don’t get over. A longish story with a short punchline.

We were all in First Class. Big mistake for a Scot.

We were all in First Class. Big mistake for a Scot.

So we went to France on the Queen Elizabeth. Dogs had to be housed on the upper deck. With the other noble breeds. Pacey fell in love with a French Poodle. Nobody knows how the anatomical considerations could have been worked out, but she was in full Audrey Hepburn mode, and the poodle was doing a commendable Louis Jourdan impersonation. Thing was, they were feeding all the critters pure chicken, and it made Pacey sick.

By the time we got to our apartment in Nouilly, Paris, she had stopped eating altogether. She was the same size as Muffy, but now she was listless and sickish. They don’t have vets in France. So we searched out broths she might eat. Found one she seemed to like. Put it in a bowl in the kitchen. Where you know who managed to trip over it and spill it all on the floor.

Inconsolable ten year old. They tried to console me. Tell me that Pacey’s inevitable death wouldn’t be my fault.

Looking back, it might be that Pacey heard the talk of her impending death as a challenge. She recovered swiftly and lived to the ripe old age of thirteen.

Never what you’d call a “nice girl” though. She spent her last four years in virtual silence. The terrier curse.

But we loved her. As we do all of our childers.


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