Nelson: Too Stubborn to Quit is from Annie, hailing all the way from Hull, England. 07-2011
Hi there fellow sufferers.
Just a quick pic of our second Cairn, Nelson, so called because he was born blind in one eye.
This is the picture that suckered me in.
We have had the year from hell because at the age of 6 months and six days Nelson had a ruptured disc which damaged his spinal cord and paralyzed him in all four legs. He, however, wasn't bright enough to know that this was a potential death sentence and was back on his paws within a week, albeit a bit wobbly, and now is so fast that I can't keep up.
Oh, and he learnt to swim as well, with the help of cheese cubes and a squeaky ball. Absolutely ball obsessed.
I decided to mail you after spending most of the last year either laughing at your site or sobbing into a gin and tonic. I wanted to officially record that yesterday (July 15, 2011), at the grand old age of one year and ten days he came when I called him. And this was in the park and he was being called away from other dogs.
He came and sat at my feet and looked up at me, and I swear to God he smirked. I gave him a treat and then sent him off again. And when I called him again he came back again.
I really wanted to mail you:
a) To boast
b) To ask is this the beginning of the end of the torture? Is there hope?
Comment: Greetings from the other side of the pond!
As to an end to the torture, I could pretend that the glass is half full (figuratively) but for the next year or eight, it won't be.
I think however if the glass is half full of Gin & Tonic, you will probably have the darkest moments covered.
Speaking of Gin & Tonic, my favorite gin is Boodles, an English gin discovered solely by accident back in the 80's. There were a collection of novels written by John D. Mcdonald called the Travis McGee series. One of the fictional characters had an affinity for Boodles gin. I always thought Boodles was fictional as well until one day whilst perusing the liquor aisle at 'Mel's Discount Fine Wine and Spirits', I chanced upon a faceted glass crystal bottle of Boodles Gin. Boodles is now one of my favorites. Katie Kat
Now if you tire of Gin and Tonic and are in search of a sweeter alternative, might I suggest a Manhattan?
Oops, got a little off track there. Cairn terrier ownership will do that to you.
Best of luck with Nelson. One thing you will have to say for Cairn Terriers - they are tough little dogs, highly adaptable to new surroundings and conditions.
They tend to forget that we humans are highly adaptable too, depending on the offensive act committed by the little buggers.
Why there is Gin & Tonic, the Manhattan, Merlot, a glass of Dogbolter, Highballs, Tequila Shots, Bloody Mary's................................
#2 comes from Cheryl in Sunny Southern California, the home of JAWS. 09-2011
Hello there – found your site quite entertaining and informative and wanted to share my (honest) experience with you.
I have owned two Cairns – both VERY different from one another. My male (Louie - the darker one) was the most wonderful and most horrible dog at the same time. He peed on everything, was stubborn as hell and in his later years became very aggressive and violent; however the aggression was due to a stroke so I loved him until the very end the best I could. Most people would not have been able to handle him; so he was a lucky little guy in that I loved him and spoiled him unconditionally in the end.
Louie and I had a connection though, and I have never loved a dog more. I’ve never had such a connection with an animal. In his early years he was so entertaining; he made me laugh every day. He did not play with toys, he would just disembowel them. Louie was quite intelligent too, which can be a crap shoot as you know. I had to put Louie down last April (he was 12) and I still (and probably always will) cry about it. I miss him terribly. He was my heart.
The day before he died; he was sleeping in his little Cheetah bed and wouldn’t come out for anyone. I came home and my mom said as soon as he heard my voice, he struggled with every little bone in his body to get over to me even though he could barely walk. So much love.
Maggie (the lighter one) is a little sweetheart. There has never been a sweeter dog. Everyone loves Maggie. She will roll over on her back and let puppies run all over her, has the patience of a saint with unruly children and is always happy and playful and loves toys. She doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body, unless you try to hurt ME.
Maggie is 11 years old and acts like a puppy, but she is not as intelligent as Louie was. The only health problem she has (and has ever had) is she doesn’t produce adequate tears and I have to put meds in her eyes everyday indefinitely. Louie was extremely healthy all of his life until he had the stroke at age 11.
Maggie has a whine/yelp/bark that goes ultrasonic – and when she is in the car, you go deaf. Louie just kind of “talked” rather than barked. Maggie occasionally has an accident in the house, but only when you forget to take her outside.
Neither of them were diggers and never chewed up anything that didn’t belong to them. They really didn’t bark all that much unless there was someone at the door. They were both crate trained from puppy hood. Occasionally they would fight, but for the most part lived very well together. Louie would get pissy about his food no matter how alpha I tried to be, but I can take food right out of Maggie’s mouth without incident.
Hope this is interesting for you – it was fun to write!
Sincerely, Cheryl (a.k.a Crazydogmama)
Comment: Boy that is one nice set of jaws on Nelson! I know just where to use a piece of that picture. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. The longer they live the tougher it gets and Cairn Terriers can last a long time. Others have mentioned that high-pitched squeal that Maggie has but I have personally never heard anything like that - and don't think I want to either.
Rufus isn't aggressive at all either unless it involves vermin and that leads me to answer the question I've gotten several times as to how Rufus managed to catch a cottontail.
Well.......he had a little help and help came in the form of a standard poodle named Max.
Max is a relatively large standard and his joy in life is to race out of the house in the morning to the back and dive through Mormon Tea, Sagebrush and other bushes in hopes of scaring up breakfast on the wing, which usually comes in the form of California Quail.
Max is fast enough to nab a cottontail and one day he got a piece of an ear. He'll wind up with the entire rabbit sooner or later.
Rufus has long since given up trying to keep up with Max but he does make something of an effort most mornings, especially if he knows you're watching.
One morning while Max was doing his tear-assing thorough the sagebrush thing, he totally surprised a rabbit. The rabbit instead of bolting forward, jumped and spun around, did a 180 and took off straight into the jaws of Rufus who was about 10 feet behind Max.
The resulting cacophony was epic, but short lived.
That is how Rufus got the rabbit.
#3 is from Phil, north of the border in Fournier - Ontario, Canada. 10-2011
Hi, Hope you get a good photo size for my boy.
Had him since 8 weeks and he is going to be 9 in January.
Not a lap dog for sure.
He is also a motorcycle rider for 8 years. He does want to be with me. He doesn't really like riding.
Last year he had to adapt to Candy a 12 year old lab/cocker mix I adopted from a friend.
He adjusted well and they played together twice and fought twice. It's even.
I had just explained to a friend whose dog is named Baloo how important it is to be in charge of play time when Baloo, a huge St bernard/Rotty/Boxer with a great disposition gave him the " I want to play" body language.
Spirit ignored him and even made him back off as if he was disinterested.
A few minutes later after Baloo stopped pestering him, Spirit went and gave Baloo the play sign so they played a few minutes - 16 pound dog with an 80 pound dog. Then Spirit stopped and snapped at Baloo to tell him no more.
She was amazed to see Spirit do exactly what I was proposing she do with Baloo.
Her love for Baloo and ego for owning Baloo (a real handsome boy) got the best of her and she often refers to Spirit as "The little bastard" because when a Cairn dominates another dog it is quick, sharp and clear. Not mean, just all business.
Comment: Wow! A second Canadian Cairn! Spirit - I really like the name and it is interesting that Spirit is one month older than Rufus. He is a nice looking dog and I like that you can still see the black tips.
Rufus has never been very aggressive towards other dogs but there are exceptions, like when the standard poodle drops a toy on his head one too many times. That really lights a fire under him, much to the delight of the poodle.
Thanks for taking the time to write in and who knows, one of these days I might actually see a Newfie Cairn!
#4 is from Karen and Buster (8 months), down in Houston, TX 01-2012.........All in a Day's Work
It's Monday, time to get up and get ready to hit the grind.
Need a snack to get us going.
........and of course a tummy rub always helps with digestion.
In this household, everyone pitches in. No outsourcing here!
All that computing requires a nap, something to recharge the batteries because.......
It's time to chase the big, black and white fuzzy thing (aka Bandit) !
Bandit finally tired and Buster after having put in another hard days work......
joined the Crowd.
Comment: Boy it must be a small world.
We have one of those big, black and white fuzzy things too!
Nice pictures and congrats on making it 8 months. Only 14 years or so to go!
#5 is from Monica in London, Ontario CA with Kit(ty) - 02, 2012 ........Kitty??????
My name is Monica, and I live in London, Ontario, Canada with my 2 year old female Cairn, Kit. Her name is actually Kitty.
After our Lab, Bird, died in 2009, I jumped the gun and purchased a Cairn from a home breeder as I had always wanted one and a quick check revealed that they are low to no shedding, obedient, and "the most docile of all terriers".
My husband was against it from the get-go. This is why the dog is named "Kitty"; if I was going to get a dog he did not want, he was going to have the privilege of naming it.
Kitty is his eternal revenge, as one can imagine me standing in the dog park, yelling "here Kitty, Kitty" like an a$$hole. The joke is on him; the name suits her to a T.
I've been reading your blog off and on for the past couple of years and it's provided me with much relief regards things that I attributed to my "faulty" dog, which turns out to be pretty much par for the course, I've come to learn.
I have a love/hate relationship with this dog. This is a dog that performs perfectly in obedience, then wreaks havoc at home. This is a dog which emits the kinds of sounds that cause people to leave their homes and stand in the middle of the street in order to determine where the unholy sound is coming from.
This is a dog that clearly requires some sort of anger management, as the merest suggestion of movement is enough to trigger a 4 am tsunami of backyard barking which the neighbors have yet to assemble an angry mob to address.
It's been a few months since I've read your blog. I came across it today as I feel that Kit's finally calmed down enough to entertain the notion of some sort of agility training. I Googled "cairn agility training" and there you were (again). Spent a good hour reading over the newest entries and laughing my ass off.
We are insane to own this breed, yet they are so undeniably full of a manic personality that's both evil and genius at the same time. Bi- polar dogs, for sure.
As often as she is completely flipping out in our backyard at some squirrel's audacity to run along the fence, she can be seen crashed flat out on the kitchen floor like some narcoleptic hobo. Her newest trick is to wake me up at 4:20 am and not do anything outside before crawling back into her crate to fall back asleep leaving me bleary eyed and up, already, for Pete's sake. I'm not sure if we'll be ready for agility. She tends to obey when it suits her. I secretly like this about her, sigh.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog. It helps to know that one is not alone in the insanity of owning this breed. Helps hugely to know that your dog isn't the only dog that has that glint in the eye which suggests she's carefully weighing what you're asking her to do against what's in it for her.
Hope you keep the blog going; it's cheaper than therapy. Here's a picture of Kitty.
Maybe I'll follow up with an email should I happen to bite the bullet and sign her up for agility.
The one thing that's preventing me from making that telephone call is the mental image of my walking an 8 pound, writhing, frothing, completely out of control in a fit of barking dog into the ring or the image of my asking her to weave or jump or whatever, and her looking away from me in that "get stuffed" way.
I'll be sure to check the refund policy before I sign on the dotted line.
Comment: "the most docile of all terriers" - Someone obviously has a sense of humor.
I don't know which I like better - Kit(ty)'s coat colors or the woolen socks!
That was a very funny, well written piece and it can only come from someone who is actually living the life.
Correct me if I am mistaken, but is that a 'Barker Breaker' attached to Kit's collar - the scented variety?
You know, I might give the agility course a shot if you are so inclined.
If you haven't seen this, here is a page devoted to someone who is doing just that: Showdog!
Thanks for taking the time to write and oh, my wife says that for those particularly trying days, a bottle (not a glass) of a really good, meaty Merlot can work wonders.
#6 is from Maxine in the Carolinas (I think), profiling Rufus's long-lost sister, Lucy - 03, 2012
My whole family loved your stories about Rufus, because we think we own his long-lost sister. They sound like they are cut from the same . . . hide, which, lucky for her, is too small and scruffy for a rug. We got Lucy when she was a puppy, as a Christmas gift for the children. Why a Cairn terrier? My ex-husband was charmed by another Cairn terrier who greeted people at a small fixed-base air terminal in South Carolina. He thought the dog took a special liking to him, little knowing that the dog liked everyone, without exception.
It is a love-hate relationship, can't live with her, but think we might miss her if she were gone. I got her in the divorce, and he didn't even put up a fight. Lucy is eight years old now, but hasn't slowed down much. She still crosses two counties when she gets out for a run, but the animal shelter persists in calling us when someone brings her in. She has that same manic look in her eyes that Rufus has, the same insane teeth, and no loyalty (my son says she is a "terrierist"). She is very bossy, and seems to be motivated only by self-interest (treats are a major motivator). She has no interest in coming when called, yet we know she can learn things if she wants to!
The only time she slows down is when the children handle her. Since puppyhood, Lucy has been carried like a rag doll by my youngest daughter, who is now 18. Lucy becomes completely submissive when the children hold her, and nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see her completely dominated, instead of being her usual bossy self. That's how my daughter got her to pose for the pictures I attached!
All in all, she is a "stand-up" little dog, and I wish I had even 10% of her ability to focus, even if it is only for a few minutes! I can't say that I'd ever own another Cairn, but she has become part of the family, and we love her. Have fun with Rufus!
Comment: Yup, that does look like Rufus's long-lost sister all right. I can't see Rufus posing for either of those pictures, though. Thanks for passing those along.
I might be able to get a picture of him begging for a treat, or maybe an action photo of him trying to rip the throat out of a standard poodle after said poodle dropped a toy on his head one too many times.
Speaking of manic expressions, I would have to say this is my favorite of all time
#7 is from Karen and Annie - (Sent from my iPad) - 03, 2012
I just finished reading about Rufus and he sounds like my Annie. She is a 4 year old Wheaton and I love her, but she drives me crazy.
Sent from my iPad
This is our cairn terrier Annie. She was a dark little fuzz ball when we got her and went through quite a transformation her first year. Now that she is over four years old and settled down some I almost miss the little vixen she was the first year. I enjoy reading about other cairns and I hope you keep on with your blog.
Sent from my iPad
Comment: That's nice picture and a beautiful dog. I really like the tips. Annie actually settled down after only four years? Took Rufus about six.
Thanks for taking the time to write and glad you like the blog.
I am however considering branching out and starting up an 'Introduction to the Standard Poodle'. One of these days.
(footnote - in 2012 I did manage to accomplish that.)
Sent from my LapTop
#8 is from Bethany, all the way from Manchester England! - 06-2012
I have a Cairn crossed with a West Highland Terrier. Thought you might be interested in some pictures. Everyone who sees him says they've never seen a dog like him. His fur when it's cut looks a bit like a tiger. He is a brilliant little dog, called Oscar.
Not bad bone in him! Loves everyone and everything and has a very cheeky streak! Brilliant dogs!
He turned one in April.
I have attached some images because it said you were interested on the website.
Comment: Beautiful little dog and looks close enough to a Cairn Terrier to me for an honorary inclusion.
Very nice pictures too - that is obviously not a cell phone camera you are using.
One thing I like about the British newspapers is they are not shy about publishing nice, large images that one can actually see without the aid of bifocals. On this side of the pond, many sites are quite stingy when it comes to uploading pics. Me, I think the Brits have it right and with the aid of decent sized images...I return the favor.
Thanks for taking the time,
#9 is from Inez. in Iowa and................a Former Nevadan!
Hello - from a lifetime Northern Nevadan now in Iowa. I grew up in Yerington and then lived in Reno from 1981-2001.
Left to go to grad school and now professing at a university in Iowa.
I was contemplating adopting a young adult cairn and found your site, which was wonderfully helpful -- and entertaining -- in making the decision. I will admit part of me thought, while reading your cautionary tales,
"I've had terrier mutt/mixes all my life, including a cairn/?? mix (Emmet) -- how different could a full cairn be?"
I've never met such a self-assured little dog!
This morning, she wriggled away from me in the 5 feet between the garage door and the car (she'll be leashed next time) and ran across the street. She proceeded to trot around and behind the neighbors' houses, completely ignoring me following her, until I lost sight of her. There's a busy road just beyond. I thought I'd see her again at the local pound, if ever, and crossed back to my house to get my cell phone (it's a small town. local police will actually keep an eye out for a lost dog). I turned around and there she was, trotting up the driveway. She stopped at the car and looked at me, ready to go to the park now.
It's clear to me that cairn terriers were bred to be so cute and charming so their owners wouldn't strangle them.
I named her Magpie. She and Emmett, the cairn mix, have a terrier wrestling smackdown a couple of times a day. Jasper, the schnoodle, just watches in disgust.
Comment: Wow! I think this now makes three people I've run into from Nevada now who are willing to admit they own or have owned a cairn terrier, but I don't know how many times I've heard the 'difference between a cairn mix and a purebred cairn.........how different can that be.....' question. One thing about cairn mixes - they do provide you some initial training for the real deal.
Oddly enough, two of the three cairn owners are teachers........
Magpie.......that's a uniquely Nevada name.
My wife says to tell you that while the Midwest produces an excellent selection of white wines, white wines are just not up to the task after a trying day of cairn ownership whereas a good red usually hits the spot. Unfortunately, the Midwest region is not known for it's award winning reds and my personal opinion of same would involve the use of coarse language.
My wife suggests a Rombauer Cab from the Napa region or perhaps a good Australian Shiraz. For me, a long gin and tonic hits the spot. Might I suggest Boodles as the gin of choice.
Funny how cairn commentary frequently morphs into the alcoholic beverage of choice.
Thanks for taking th time to write,
#10 is from Kathy in Northern Illinois with Sophie - 11-2012
I was up so late last night laughing out loud at your Cairn Terrier site that my husband, who was trying to sleep in another room, asked me to pipe down! You really capture the true and irrepressible essence of the Cairn. Your site is a must read for anyone who owns, has ever owned, has been owned by or regretted owing a Cairn Terrier! Your site is so well written and your humor so well crafted that I wonder if, like me, you are a professional writer? From your site, it seems you are an engineer! Who are you?!
You don’t mention Rufus stealing food. I am sending a photo of our Sophie, a wheaten-colored Cairn, from 8 years ago when her grandparents caught her eating Christmas cookies off their dining room table. This did not surprise us because once my husband left his kitchen chair away from the table and a fresh hot McDonald’s breakfast on the table while he called the restaurant to complain they had gotten his order wrong. When he returned, he did not have to worry about the missing cheese on his Big Mac; the entire sandwich was gone except for a few crumbs on Sophie’s whiskers.
You also do not mention Rufus enjoying watching television. Attached is a photo showing how much Sophie used to love TV. She doesn’t watch anymore since her vision isn’t as good.
Sophie is almost 16 years old and in good health. She has us to thank for her longevity and health, as last year we paid $2,000 for surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her knee and forced her to do pool therapy to strengthen her leg. She hates to swim, but as with everything she hates (and we learned the hard way, with many bitten fingers and knuckles), she will do it for a dog biscuit. When she bares her teeth as I brush her, I say, “No biscuit!” and she closes her mouth and lets me keep brushing her. I recommend the bribe to all Cairn Terrier owners. Of course, this will put your dog into the stout category of Cairn Terriers as opposed to the scrawny type, but your hands will thank you.
I hope you have many exciting years with Rufus!
Comment: Hi Kathy, Almost 16 years - congratulations!
Glad you liked the prose and enjoyed the site.
I'd be most curious as to what it was that inspired you to select a cairn terrier as the canine of choice in the first place and how you managed to get past the terrible twos. Misery or course, loves company.
Meanwhile back at the farm, 6 weeks after Rufus's extensive dental work.......he has returned to the obnoxious little *($%&) that we are so accustomed to.
Oh yes........helpful hint: If your older cairn terrier undergoes a transformation in personality, particularly from the typical obnoxious little *($%&) to that of a grumpy old man or woman............pry open the jaws and have a look. If you see broken teeth or vacuous spaces which should have contained teeth - best to pay a visit to the vet. It can work wonders for restoring cairn terrier character to that which we have all grown to have known and loved.
Thanks for taking the time to write and if Sophie makes it to 17, please send along a follow-up. She certainly looks as though she has a ways to go.
#11 is from Sue in the USofA, introducing Pepper - 11-2012
I stumbled upon your site recently and love it!!! It is so accurate and the stories from the Cairn Terrier owners are wonderful! Rufus is quite a funny boy and thank you thank you for your site!
I had a wonderful pitbull terrier who passed away 2 years ago. I thought a Cairn Terrier would be a good match - after all we had a PERFECT pitbull! ha ha!
I now have a 1 1/2 year old Cairn named Pepper (Scotch Broom Pepper Me With Love). She is a spicy one! The minute we brought her home at 8 weeks she promptly started digging a hole in my back yard's lovingly manicured grass! Yikes!
Also, everyone commented on how "quiet" she was for a Cairn Terrier. I was so proud of my little digger - so quiet and sweet! ha ha Fast forward to 1 year later - we now have a lovely natural stone terrace for a back yard. Our front entry has a 6' iron fence around it with 2" wire going along the bottom of the columns for a height of 30".
Pepper has 2 name tags on her collar along with being micro chipped. She SCREECHES when she sees a squirrel and goes ballistic! When we go to the dog park people constantly say "Wow, your little dog is REALLY fast!" and of course she is!
The veterinary eye doctor who she was visiting asked her to leave the room when she started barking - said it hurt her ears................
Anyhow - love your site and all the comments!!! She is actually a wonderful feisty little dog - so full of spirit! I love her to death.
She is a handful and I dread leaving her with house sitters when we go on vacation trips because she will take advantage of EVERYONE! She escaped out the front door the other day and shot up the hill at full blast with me running behind her, blowing her whistle, clicking her clicker to no avail. I had no idea where she had gone but of course she showed up 5 minutes later right at the front door. Whew!!!
Pepper is 1 1/2 right now and I am dreading the terrible twos. She is a great Cairn other than screeching at squirrels, digging up the yard, barking at the neighbor's dogs (who are awful barkers too). She cuddles at night, sleeps in her crate without a complaint, alerts us to danger and keeps us entertained constantly with her cleverness.
Comment: Hi Sue,
A Cairn Terrier in lieu of a pit bull? I can see some logic in that. I've heard of screechy cairns before but have never personally witnessed it. Ours is big on yapping and moaning and has lately taken to doing a lot of groaning.
Your fence sounds like it ought to do the trick for keeping pepper in. Me, I had to do a fence modification where I ran page wire about 6" underground to keep Rufus from making the great escape. The hardest part escape-wise was (and is) keeping him from door-darting when we're not paying attention. After 10 years that is still great fun for Rufus.
Good luck with Pepper!
#12 is from Donna up North of the Border in Toronto, Ontario with Katie Kat
Hi Dan and Debbie
I'm Donna from Toronto, On. I love your blog!
Reading your blog, I have never giggled so much at truths my life has become. However, it's that very tenacity that I love about her.
I adopted a westie cairn cross to keep my shi poo company. Her nick name is "Katie Kat" because if you can imagine how a cat stalks it's prey.......that's how she stalks my shi poo JayJay.
She turned a year in July, so I don't know what to expect but so far we have had her for almost 8 months. There are days, I'm sure, I have asked for someone to take her ( in my head or otherwise); like the day she ate the specialist referral I had just gotten from my doctor.
My doctor still has the stickie note in my file that says "dog ate referral". I don't know if that is there as a giggle or a reminder that I own a shredder, otherwise seen as a dog. Or the third pair of BRAND NEW leather shoes of MINE that she has eaten. This of course is done just after I have arrived home from work, sat down to relax and taken off my new shoes to air out my feet.
I have attached the only picture I have (I think) of her sitting pretty. Usually when she sees a camera she is up in your lap licking the lense. We got her, actually both of them to sit like this by waving a toasted marshmallow over their heads. I actually have it framed on the wall!
Cheers and thanks again for all the laughs. I can so see Katie Kat in the same light!
All the best to your poodle!
Donna from Toronto
Comment: Hi Donna,
I never tried a toasted marshmallow before - will have to see how that works!
Nice looking pair of dogs and it is interesting that the crosses often have a white blaze on their chests and you can sure see the cairn terrier in Katy Kat.
We never had much trouble with Rufus chewing on shoes, power cords and the like and I think that was because he had a towel that he slept on from puppyhood on up to several years of age. Whenever he decided to finally settle down, he would get his towel, fluff it up, lay on it an occasionally nibble on the ends. It seemed to keep the chewing on things he was not supposed to be chewing on, to a minimum.
It looks like you have many interesting years ahead of you!
The poodle says 'Hi' back and.....
As does Rufus......
A new groomer whacked off his bat-ears again and now he looks more like a chubby, gray and black cat!
Pup vs Adult Coat Colors:
A number of people have asked if I have pics of coat colors as a pup and then coat colors as an adult.
I don't have many.
If you have a couple pics to spare of pup and then adult coat colors, I'd like to start showing the comparisons.