Grit Blogs > The Daily Commute

A Few Good Dogs

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief


Tags: border collie, westie, West Highland terrier, German shepherd, Cairn terrier, truck, International Harvester, IH,

WoodrowAs I was leaving for work this morning, Woodrow, our year-old Cairn terrier, was nowhere to be found.

Iris, the addled Westie, was still asleep in the house; Lucy, the Westie who claims the alpha position in our pack, was playing with Bosco the kitten by the garage; Gus and Clover, sibling border collies, were off chasing rabbits in the tall CRP grass.

Woodrow is usually everywhere to be found, so I thought it odd that he wasn’t snapping at my heels when I climbed into the truck – odd, but not odd enough for me to be concerned. I was actually a little pleased at the thought that he might be off marauding some pesky rodent or snake, an action that had the added benefit of him not following me down the lane and up the road.

Woodrow, all 13 or 14 pounds of him, has recently decided that wherever the truck goes, he is supposed to go. He felt so strongly about this twice that he ate more than a half mile of the truck’s dust before turning back for home. We don’t promote this behavior, mind you. And he has been pretty good the past couple of days, deciding to stay when I ask him to stay. 

Iris and Lucy

He completely outsmarted me this morning. As I made the turn onto the road, I caught a flash of Woodrow bursting from beneath the dense cedars at the end of the lane. He plainly wanted to go trucking. What he ended up with, though, was a couple hours of kennel time, which he never seems to hold against me.

Woodrow’s antics set the stage for my commute this morning. I mentally ran through all the good dogs that have graced my life, and it all reminded me of a fantastic Web site (www.GermanShepherds.com) devoted to German shepherds that I discovered yesterday. This is a comprehensive Web site with information about the breed, rescue, hard-core genetics, photos and much more. This site makes me want a German shepherd … but I think five dogs is enough for the time being.

I would be interested to learn of any and all comprehensive dog sites. If we discover enough of them, we will build a dog resource page right here at www.Grit.com.

 Gus and Clover


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

hank will_2
7/25/2008 10:04:44 AM

Hey Kim -- Cool website, thanks for posting that. I have had experience with the West Highland white terrier, Cairn terrier, Pembroke Welch corgi and miniature dachshund breeds. The Westies were by far the easiest to train. Lucy is my favorite ... she is smart, alert, obedient, responsive and willing to hang out in the kitchen alone for up to 10 hours without an accident. She loves a good romp and is curious about our 5 cats, but only occasionally chases them for sport. She never attacks them. So from my own experience, I would recommend a Westie for sure. I know there are many other suitable small breeds too. I saw some pretty cute miniature Australian shepherds the other day ...


kim_1
7/25/2008 9:22:42 AM

Hi Hank, Your dogs are so cute! I grew up with dogs (we had four), and they were all mixed breed German Shepherd/Doberman....gotta love that black and tan coat. As I got older and had to take more care of the dogs, I kind of started to resent them. I swore myself a cat person (I have a 12-year-old Siamese mix at my mom's house). Now, after seeing all the dogs in the office and playing with my friends' dogs, I'm starting to want one...but I live in an apartment :( Any recommendations for a smaller dog (20 pounds max) that is smart, protective and not too stubborn to train? I've been looking online a lot and stumbled upon this one: http://www.allsmalldogbreeds.com/small-dogs.html