MacTavish was born on July 5, 2007. When the pups were 2-3 weeks old the breeder Bobbi Jo sent his first pictures. When he was four weeks my mom and I took the drive to PA with my Westie Alexander to pick out which of the pups would go home when it was time. Alex chose MacTavish, not once but twice. We were inside the house and we put Alex on top of a chest freezer so he was at eye level with the puppies we were holding. When I was holding MacTavish of course Alex came straight over and started licking him. So Bobbi Jo called Alex's name and he turned around and my mom and I switched puppies we were holding. Alex came back took one sniff and walked over to mom and started licking MacTavish again. This was the brother he wanted. When I would hold him he would snuggle and give kisses and his puppy brother just looked at me. MacTavish had picked his mom as well. I said a number of my favorite names while holding him and every time I said "MacTavish" he would start licking my neck and chin so from that moment on it was his name. The breeder called him this until the day he came home. |
When he was almost nine weeks old Tim (Bobbi Jo's husband) drove half way from their place and mine and we met so that I didn't have to take the three hour drive round-trip. We met at a McDonald's right off a highway exit and sleeping in a soft bed next to Tim on the front seat was MacTavish. He handed him to me and gave him a pet goodbye and he was by my side ever since.
MacTavish came home home to live with his 8-year old Westie brother and two six year old cat siblings Michael & Padraig. Michael was Alex's cat and Padraig had been my late Westie Diarmid's cat. So Padraig immediately took to MacTavish and this became "his" dog.
MacTavish spent his first year in a kids portable playpen when he had to be left alone. I used a kids soft playpen and lined with plexiglass panels so that he could see out but not chew his way out. To him this was his home and he was quite comfortable. From time to time would put Alex in there with him when I was making short runs to the store so he wouldn't get lonely. The playpen was in my bedroom so until he was old enough to sleep on the bed with his brothers he slept next to the bed in the playpen.
Being a true terrier he was a chewer those first two years. When he was about 8 months old he and Alex took a car ride with me to pick up a prescription. There was a problem and I had to go in and not use the drive thru. I was in the store 10 minutes and he was sitting there with his brother relaxing. It was 45 degrees out so they were comfortable in their sweaters and when I returned I found the coating on the emergency brake handle chewed off and the back seat belt buckle ends chewed apart. He was busy in 10 minutes, but he was a terrier, so I wrapped the brake handle in a scarf (the sharp plastic and metal hurt the hand) and waited until he was out of the chewing phase to have it replaced. Had the seat belt buckles replaced and then tucked them down in the seat gap so that he didn't know they were there. Rarely had someone in the back seat, but if popped the seat-backs down (like when need something larger in the trunk) they were safely there if needed. When he was about 2-1/2 had the brake handle replaced.
As the chewing terrier his other thing was prescription glasses. It wasn't like I set them out - nope he was sneaky. Once he unzipped my purse, opened the glass case and took out the glasses. Chewed them to pieces, but not a mark on the purse or case. If I fell asleep watching TV I would be awoke to the sound of crunching as he would take the glasses right off my head while I was asleep. I decided to put them on the fireplace mantle. No luck there, the cats just knocked them off to him and again "crunch". Until he was two he completely ate three pairs and the temples of another four pairs. He holds the record at my optometrist's place for ordering new lenses, frames or frame parts in one calendar year!
MacTavish loved my dad and along with Alex they spent the day at my parents home while I was at work. I would pick them up on the way home, sort of like stopping at the baby sitters. Like all my dogs over the years, he rarely spent any time alone. Once well behaved he and his brother had run of the house when I was gone and you would find them taking the steps up to my bed and sleeping.
MacTavish was a well behaved guy. He excelled at his obedience classes and was the smallest guy there among larger breeds and he loved it. He had buddies on both sides of our fence that never barked at and they would run the fence lines and play. Actually, he didn't like barking and if Alex barked at something he would "bite" his butt or tail to tell him to shut up! Good thing that Alex was a rare barker himself.
From his first winter his favorite thing was snow. If it was raining god forbid a raindrop hit him. But snow, that was a different matter. Put on his sweater and off he went rolling in the stuff.
When he was about 7 he was trying to run up the basement steps at my folks house taking more than one at a time and fell backwards landing awkwardly on his legs and tore both his back ACLs. He had repair of the first and then 8 months later the second. After the second one was done his knees were stronger than before and he had no issues whatsoever.
He loved having birthday cones at East Coast Original Custard every year. Best thing was that he was July 5th and Alex was Aug 3rd so they got to go twice each summer. The birthday boy was always in the front seat with me and the other was in the back seat with my mom having their cones.
When he was 8-1/2 his big brother Alex passed away and he was alone with his two cat brothers. Alex had been Michael's cat so he then attached himself to MacTavish and he and Padraig 'double teamed' him.
About six months after Alex passed his breeder Bobbi Jo called to let me know she had a Westie litter that had just been born and there were three males if I was interested. When the pups were 5 weeks old MacTavish took a drive with my mom and I back to his "old home" in PA to meet them and there he picked out Hamish and Hamish picked out he and us.
Saturday of Labor Day weekend that year we took the drive back to PA to pick up Hamish. Put him in a clear open topped carrier in the back seat with MacTavish at his side. Hamish started getting very fussy and MacTavish was beside himself. So my mom got in the back seat and took Hamish out and put on a towel in her lap. I figured it was because we were in very hilly country driving and my ears were popping so I am sure his were as well. MacTavish cuddled up next to his grandma and put his head on her lap and his nose against Hamish. With that his brother settled down and slept the rest of the 3 hour drive and a bond was formed between the two of them that was never broken.
He became very vocal in his protection of Hamish. No growling or barking, but would get this high pitched, "no, no, no" kind of vocalization if someone he didn't know got to close to his baby brother. He had always loved to ride in the cart at the local pet store and taught Hamish the same thing. Was easier to put them in the car over trying to push the cart with two dogs in tow on their leashes. They would have people galore come up and ask it if was ok to pet them. He (and Alex and later Hamish) loved the attention and would give kisses to everyone he saw.
I bought a pet playpen (nice metal bars with upper/lower wood frame) that had a front door that opened (I don't like crates and prefer to have open top for dogs that can't jump out) and MacTavish had a fit that Hamish was inside and he was out. So I opened the door and inside he went. From that day on the dog who had run of the house the past 6-7 years was now in the playpen with his baby brother. If he brother had to be inside he wanted to be there as well so was fine with me.
MacTavish taught Hamish how to behave, walk properly to the car, garage or house without being on a leash and listening. They had a fully fenced backyard and loved to play for hours on end when the weather was cool and dry. Have French doors to the backyard that they loved as they could come/go as they pleased since their "doorman" was always available.
MacTavish loved to either sit under the huge maple tree or lay on the top deck step platform when he wanted shade. The year after I had the deck steps done I had a paver patio put in the backyard and that became his new favorite place to lie when he wanted to be in the sun.
The was always extremely active and quite the timely eater, so on September 21st when he refused to touch most food (and then for the next two days) was very unlike him. He started to get lethargic when all of the sudden (had been playful earlier that week). I had my mom take him to see the vet on day 3 of this in the AM. He appeared fine, had no pain, no masses and she could see nothing wrong with him so drew blood work. Just before 5pm that Friday she called to tell me his creatinine was 9.8 (normal is 2 and under) and he was in renal failure for some reason. I had an unopened bag of LR with tubing and needles left from Michael's infusion days and infused 250 subQ for the evening and in the AM he went to the hospital for three days of IV fluids. During that time he was under the care of one of her partner vets and his energy picked up and he was playful and eating so on Monday the 24th they drew more blood. When I took Hamish and Michael in for their annual check-ups that evening was also picking up MacTavish to bring him back home.
Unfortunately his creatinine only dropped to 8.2 so he came home with me knowing that he would not have a long time. As long as the daily infusions of LR kept the creatinine from going higher, that he was happy, playful and eating I would keep him home with me. He did all of that eating his Science Diet ID (1/2-1 can a day), along with shredded chicken, Chobani yogurt and the occasional whipped cream for a treat. He was happy and doing as well as could be expected. Biggest thing was that he was eating, active and in no pain.
On October 10th all of the sudden he wouldn't eat more than two spoonfuls of food all day. He was still playful, moving around with no issues, giving kisses and playing for short bursts with his brother. The next day he wouldn't eat much more and by Saturday AM he was refusing any food (only drank water) and would lock his jaw tight if I tried to feed him anything. I knew that he could not go on long this way and called the vet. That AM he got down off the bed and marched to the backyard like normal with his brother. He didn't seem any different, but I knew better. He walked out to the car for his final ride, picked up my mom and we headed out. He spent the 30 minute drive getting petted by his grandma and checking things out the window.
When we got there put on his leash and he walked in (slowly, but slow was normal for him going in to the vet any day). He said hello to everyone wagging his tail. We went in the exam room and he jumped up on the bench next to me while waiting. The vet came in and we talked about a few things and he checked him out. While he went to get the meds I sat back down on the bench and MacTavish was on my lap. He crawled up and put his paws around my neck giving me a couple kisses and then he curled up and put his head on my chest and moments later he went limp. I could feel his heart slowing down and he had not even had any meds. When the vet came in with the sleeping med and final med realized that he was already checking out on his own. In my arms he was given a tiny amount of the final shot to speed up his final moments so he did not suffer. One small breath and he was gone. My baby was gone in my arms and I was heartbroken. I at least had the comfort knowing I made the right decision and instead of dying slowly throughout the day at home he was one in a matter of minutes with his mom and grandma with him.
It was not fair that the dog who had never been sick a day in his life developed acute kidney failure at only 11-1/4 years of age. He should have had another 5-6 healthy years, but it was not to be. So at 11:30 AM on Saturday, October 13, 2018 my sweet boy passed to the Rainbow Bridge in my arms leaving his mom, grandma, Hamish and Michael at a loss. He was the sweetest thing who only ever wanted to give and accept love and will be sorely missed.
When I got back home Hamish had managed to let himself out of his playpen (got the door open) and was beside himself hyperventilating. His brother was not with him and he was confused. I sat in the chair and cried so Hamish and Michael crawled in to my lap and there we sat for hours missing MacTavish together.
Five months after you passed we rescued Dugall, another Westie who was only 2-1/2 months older than Hamish. He had been in commercial breeding in a cage his whole life so Hamish has taught him all about life like you taught him. They are two peas in a pod, except that Dugall only makes noise when he wants back in the house. We call Hamish "crowbar" as he pushes to the front for everything because you always let him have his way. You were such a good big brother.
There is a new Cairn in the house named Feargus to play with Hamish & Dugall. I have to keep reminding Hamish how he bugged you and after a few days found him playing with the little stinker who was only 1/7th his weight. Feargus will probably be more Angus' color and maybe a bit lighter. He is as feisty as Hamish and as loving as you were my boy.
Run free my baby. You are now with the siblings who went before you. Ti, Angus, Pooh, Maxie, Diarmid, Alexander and Padraig were waiting for you along with cousins galore who have blessed our family in so many ways. A year after you passed Michael joined you so now you have everyone you knew with you. I will miss you always my boy and so sorry you didn't get all the years you should have. Always.... Mom.