Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Sweets!

Every Sunday we showcase the sweeter side of cairn terriers. If you would like us to consider your cairn’s photo for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets," send it to

(All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

The pups in today's Sunday Sweets are in special medical care for respiratory problems. If you'd like to help with their vet bills, please see their Facebook fundraising page.

Mother St. Lucia

Puppy Capri

Puppy Fitzroy

Puppy Santorini

Puppy Tanna

Puppy Tonga

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday Funnies

click on image to enlarge 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday training tips: Planning for sick days and beyond

Do our dogs know when we are sick? I had some surgery last week, and my dogs behaved like angels while I was recovering at home. No barking to demand walks, no in-and-out to the backyard, no roughhousing… Each one of them (I have five) gave me gentle nudges, kisses, or cuddles. I swear, they took turns lying quietly by my bed, giving me comfort.

"I'll just play quietly while you rest, okay?"

I’ve read articles with various theories on how dogs read our health and our emotions, but I’d love to see some scientific research on it. In the meantime, though, I love my dogs even more for their sensitivity to my recovery. (Of course, now that I’m substantially recovered, their goofball antics have resumed.)

Even though my surgical procedure is a fairly common one, I couldn’t help but worry just a bit. On top of the quiet fear that something could go wrong, those of us with dogs are concerned about them. What will happen to them if I need to spend a couple of days in the hospital? What would happen if something more dire occurred?

You never know when you are going to have a medical emergency, so it’s good to be prepared ahead of time, as much as possible. Let’s start with the easy stuff…

My surgery was in and out at my local hospital, and they told me I’d be able to leave by 5 p.m. That would give me enough time to give my dogs their evening meal, but I knew I’d be taking pain killers. With dogs ranging from nine months old to 12 years old, and with various allergies and preferences, the meals can be a little complicated – and certainly beyond my capability at the moment. So I prepared their dinners ahead of time, put name tags on each bowl, and stored them in the fridge. I also made sure that their medications and supplements were included in the appropriate bowls. Then, knowing I might want to sleep in the next morning, I did the same for their breakfast.

Now, who was going to feed them and make sure they had access to the backyard? One of my collies (5-year-old Rosie) does not like strangers in the house, so I called on friends who had already developed a friendship with her. Fortunately, I have GREAT friends who came by during those first hours and days and helped me with the dogs.

What would have happened if the surgery didn’t go well? Or if I was hit by a bus walking to my car? What would have happened to my dogs?

Everyone should have an advance directive for your own medical decisions, and you should also have an advance plan for your dogs. Petfinder has an excellent information sheet that will help you plan for your dog’s future without you. The site explains the pros and cons of using a will, a trust, or power of attorney, as well as other vital considerations.

And finally, for your very long-term planning, remember the words of Will Rogers:
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday Tails: Here in this house

This essay can be found on many websites. Thanks to Col. Potter adopters, it is for all of our dogs. 

Here in this house...

I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs "out there." I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake my world will not have changed. I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat. I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat. I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness, and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose. My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.

Here in this house...

There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level. I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand, I can enjoy the warmth of the words. I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many. My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!

Here in this house...

I will never be a substitute for anything I am not. I will never be used to improve people's images of themselves.

I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone's idea of who I should be. I will never suffer for someone's anger, impatience, or stupidity. I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all. If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.

Here in this house...

I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch... knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me.

If I am ill, I will be doctored. If scared, I will be calmed. If sad, I will be cheered. No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and thought to be of value. I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough.

My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought. I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.

Here in this house...

I will belong. I will be home.

Granby (still waiting to find his home)

(author unknown)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Sweets

Every Sunday we showcase the sweeter side of cairn terriers. If you would like us to consider your cairn’s photo for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets," send it to

(All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)


Foster Cothrom

Darius Rucker

Foster Elsa


Foster Sprite Boy


Sondra Dell

Foster Sondra Dell



Foster Sham Rocky

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Funnies

Corwgwn Comics

Click on image to enlarge 
by Sarah Schmid 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday training tips: A sidewalk not taken

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When you stop to think about, our dogs don’t have a lot of choice in their lives. We tell them what they can eat, and when. We tell them where they can play, and when. We tell them to sit, stay, look at me, go lie down. We do this mostly for their good, and to make our homes as safe and comfortable as possible. Still, it seems that one area where we could give them more choice is during their walk.

CPCRN foster Professor Hawking loved to walk with my senior collie, Eddie.

I live in the suburbs, and our neighborhood has sidewalks for about half the blocks – people have to walk in the street for the other blocks. So, to keep me and my dogs safe, I had a regular route that we followed when we went on our walks. I always assumed that my dogs would want to revisit the trees, hydrants, and bushes that they sniffed yesterday, so we would automatically head south when we reached the sidewalk. But then I read an article suggesting that dogs get bored walking the same routes every day. Perhaps my dogs want to sniff new areas, to walk on a sidewalk not taken.

Now, when we get to the sidewalk in front of the house, I give them a choice. Do you want to go north or south? I actually say it. “Where do you want to go this morning?” I love seeing my dog lift her head, sniff the air in both directions, and then set off in the direction she wants to go, tail wagging. And I give her another choice at the corner, east or west?

Sometimes, though, walks can be miserable, even if you allow them to make choices. I’m referring to reactive dogs, of course. My collie Rosie was so reactive – to other dogs, to people, to unfamiliar sights and sounds – that we spent time and money attending some of the nation’s top reactive dog workshops (Pat Miller’s Reactive Rover workshop and several of Suzanne Clothier’s workshops, like this one). Both Rosie and I learned a lot, but our walks were still challenging. She and I both anticipated and tensed up as we passed certain yards with barking or charging dogs, and I couldn’t find a route where there weren’t any triggers for her reactivity. And then a trainer told me she was at a seminar where another trainer made a common sense solution: don’t walk the dog in the neighborhood!

The people and dogs who triggered Rosie’s reactivity, her barking and lunging, weren’t going anywhere, and it didn’t matter how many treats I gave her (“good things happen when you see a husky!”) or how quickly we turned around when a loose dog came bounding up. Rosie’s anxiety was reinforced every time we walked in the neighborhood. Her high cortisol levels, heightened after every incident, never had a chance to recover. (It can take up to 72 hours for cortisol levels to drop back to normal.) So we didn't walk in the neighborhood. For three months, we got in the car and went to the park. I gave her a chance to re-wire her brain and hormones, to forget the neighborhood triggers, to truly relax. It worked for us.

I’d be lying if I said we went to the park everyday. I was working full-time, and many days we just didn’t have the time. So was (am) I a bad owner? (This is another example of my "au contraire" thinking, because I honestly don’t think so.)

Dogs Today Magazine, in the UK, had an insightful article on the subject:
“When it comes to feeling guilty about our four-legged friends, the most common reason for owners feeling guilty is when they haven’t walked their dog everyday of the week. Most training books, websites and professionals will tell you the number one rule of dog ownership is you must take your dog for at least one walk a day, everyday…. 
“...However, there are many things you as a dog owner need to consider before taking your dog for a daily walk. Not all dogs love going for walks and can even find them stressful. Some dogs are too scared by things in the outside world, such as cars, bikes other dogs and people. Although they might not seem hugely distressed because they are not pulling to go back home – although some do – there will be other signs that your pooch is not enjoying their outing…”
I highly recommend that you read “Does not walking your dog make you a bad dog owner?” Like Robert Frost, you and your dog may decide to take the sidewalk “less traveled by,” or to make the walks less frequent. It can make all the difference in your dog's happiness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Tails: Happily ever after for Holly and Winston

Debbie and Ron had adopted four rescued cairn terriers or Westies in the last decade, and CPCRN’s Wunorse Open Slae (now Holly) was the latest, adopted in January 2018. Holly settled in quickly, following Debbie around the house all day, but she remained a little timid, especially around Ron. Although Holly shared the home with another cairn terrier, Blue is a senior and content to be by himself. Debbie and Ron started to wonder if Holly would enjoy a more active cairn companion. Perhaps a male cairn would help her self-confidence?

Enter CPCRN rescue Darmok (now Winston), a 12-year-old stray rescued in May from the streets of New York City. After his fostering, Debbie and Ron adopted him in July. The planets were in perfect alignment for Holly and Winston, and the stars twinkled just a bit more brightly when these two dogs came together. The doggie companionship was not immediate, of course, but Darmok (now Winston) bonded with Debbie from the get-go.

Winston gazes lovingly into Debbie’s eyes on adoption day, while Holly waits next to them.

It was easy to see that Holly wanted to make friends with Winston, but Winston didn’t give his heart away lightly.

“I’ll just take this corner of the bed. I hope you don’t mind my butt!”

As the days passed, Winston obliged Holly with an easier friendship -- while still maintaining his own space. Holly was determined, however.

“Hey lady, you can lay next to me, but just don’t touch me, okay?”

The weeks passed, and the two started sharing more activities, including the clincher: chasing chipmunks!

"Chipmunks, come out, come out, wherever you are."

The tired couple came in the house after an exhausting and fun search…

And they lived happily ever after...

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Sweets!

Every Sunday we showcase the sweeter side of cairn terriers. If you would like us to consider your cairn’s photo for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets," send it to

(All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

Foster Granby

Foster Daris Rucker

Angus Digging for Chipmnks

CP Pablo


Harley 'Truly'


Smudge fka CP Champ

Willie fka CP Schumann



Foster Sunny Days

Sondra Dell


Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Funnies

Ichabod the Optimistic Canine

Note: Click to enlarge

 by Ayla Stardragon

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday training tips: Give her time

How early is too early for training our dogs? I made the mistake of waiting too long to train one of my dogs, so naturally I want to avoid that mistake with delightful 8-month-old Peaches. But is there such a thing as “too early” for her?

I especially started thinking about this when I saw a photographer’s advertisement for dog portraits for the holidays. “Dog must have a reliable sit or down / stay.” Peaches knows how to sit, she learned “down” this week, and she will sometimes stay.

Collie Rosie is helping Peaches learn her sit/stay.

I am reading The Puppy Primer (Second Edition), by Patricia B. McConnell and Brenda Scidmore. It is keeping me realistic about what I should strive for, and what can be accomplished without breaking a puppy’s spirit.
“Asking a puppy to sit still without getting up while distracted is like asking a toddler to sit quietly while all of his friends are running around in the same room. However, teaching a solid stay is actually not hard, if you have realistic expectations and approach it as a game that your puppy can’t lose. Young dogs need time and maturity to develop the emotional control needed to stay in place when distracted, but you can start now and create the foundation of a solid stay that will eventually do you and your dog proud.”  
And again they stress, “Asking your pup to sit and stay at the front door when guests arrive is like astrophysics to your puppy. Don’t expect graduate work out of a first grader!”

McConnell and Scidmore also point out additional behaviors that require a certain maturity:

  • “It can take 2 years to get a solid off-leash recall in the face of major distraction.”
  • “Guard against expecting a lovely heel from your pup at this phase, and avoid trying to force him to walk quietly by your side on his own.” (Note: you want to teach the pup to enjoy staying with you, not forcing him.)

How many of us feel like failures when our pup seems to forget her housetraining? I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. I was surprised to learn that puppies don’t have full bladder control until they are about 7 months old – or older, in the case of small breeds like cairns and Westies. Until then, according to McConnell, we need to try to take our pups outside every hour or so (while they are awake). Personally, I find that to be an impossible standard, but at least I understand why Peaches is still having accidents in the house. It’s not her fault, and she isn’t being “stubborn.” She is being a puppy.

I remember the first time I had a puppy. I think I was yelling “nooooooo!” at least 7 times a day. (Moses B. Beardog, forgive me!) I recently picked up a copy of As a Dog Thinketh, by Monique Anstee, and I love the approach she espouses:
“When you have a young puppy in your home, he should rarely hear the word “no.” Almost every bad behavior stems from a lack of management. Reward all of the wonderful things that you see, redirect him before he gets into trouble, and exercise the snot out of him as you show him the world. Enforce naptime, too, so he is not overstimulated. Having a young puppy should be a fun experience that leaves you exhausted from all your efforts.”
Anstee definitely has that “exhausted” thing right!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Sweets!

Every Sunday we showcase the sweeter side of cairn terriers. If you would like us to consider your cairn’s photo for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets," send it to

(All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

Now this is a face you have got to love!

Foster Bennie


Foster Doris

Foster Elsa

Harley 'Truly'

Julie and her new Blankie



Foster Roland