Heather's Health Update

[caption id="attachment_453" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Heather and Mr. K Heather says, "Hey Mr. K - did you hear? I'm getting better!"[/caption]

Today, I got a call from the vet. Turns out, little Miss Heather's blood work came back. One liver value (named ALT, which can be indicative for liver disease) is now a completely normal 33 - last time was nearly 1,000. The other (named ALP, which tends to go up with gall bladder disease) is still up around 900, the normal value being about 150.

And so, the plan to help Miss Heather stay healthy is to keep her on antibiotics for another two weeks and bring her back to the vet for a recheck at that time. They'll do another ultrasound to check out the gall bladder and, of course, make sure those blood values continue to normalize. This little girl may not be entirely out of the woods yet but there is definitely some happy healing going on in that body!

You know your dog is spoiled when...


As a responsible Scottie Mom, I really try my best not to go overboard with my pups and sometimes, it is so incredibly hard to NOT shower them with everything and more, as I'm sure the other Scottie Moms and Dads out there can agree. Alas, despite my tough no human food and minimal treats rules, I've come to the realization that somewhere down the line, my Scotties have become very accustomed to a certain kind of lifestyle. I knew my dogs were spoiled when:

10. You schedule your entire day around potty breaks and extra walks.

9.  You have to refill an already full water bowl because Heather will sit there waiting, staring at you with those big eyes, asking for a fresh bowl until she gets one. (She thoroughly enjoys being the "first" to drink out of the water bowl when it is placed on the floor.)

8. They see the building's cleaning lady who likes to give them a treat from time to time and automatically, they forget about mom, rushing over to sit at the feet of the other woman - regardless of whether or not she actually has a treat for them. Then, it is impossible to tear them away!

7. Entire vacations are planned around the dogs and the availability of pet-friendly accommodations. If there aren't any available, too bad - trip canceled because no pet-sitting arrangement of any kind will suffice.

6. You prefer to be home with your dogs or out on an adventure with them over anything else in the world.

5. They own way more than they need to, be it a dozen toys at a time, more than one doggie bed per dog or the abundance of Martha Stewart Pets accessories.

4. The couch seat cushion is no longer enough. Now, it is time to go for the good stuff like the decorative pillows.

3. You have more photos of them than your closest friends and family members, vacation spots and commemorative moments...combined!

2. You celebrate every holiday with your dog. They get their own gifts on birthdays, a stocking at Christmas, treats on Halloween, etc.

1. You dedicate an entire blog to them!

The Road Less Traveled

[caption id="attachment_430" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Heather Heather takes the road less traveled.[/caption]

Every rescue Scottie has a story. And Heather is no exception. I believe Heather carries her experiences with her everywhere she goes. You can practically see it in her eyes when she glances your way...the depth behind her 'stolen' looks at you and those all-knowing gazes when she lets you cuddle close every now and then give her away readily. There is no sadness from what I can tell...just a profound understanding and acknowledgement of the wayward journey she took to find her happy home.

The important part, I've realized, is that though Heather indeed carries her experiences with her, she doesn't appear to let those experiences control how she lives her life now. That's an important lesson we all can learn from her. While she is all-the-wiser for going through the things she has (aren't we all?), she still has love in her heart to trust people and be compassionate to those around her, even the strangers she encounters on a daily basis. Sure, she still has habits from her 'past life' like going after those garbage cans but to come through all she has emotionally unscathed, that's an accomplishment!

They say experiences on the road less traveled help define a person's character. Well, I believe the same holds true for dogs. Heather can channel that inner street dog when she needs to, for life has taught her to be strong, but she also recognizes the importance of relationships and companionship. She doesn't hold back from expressing her emotions toward people and opening up her heart to them. In fact, it is this very trait that draws so many to like Heather instantaneously - especially since 9.9 times out of 10, that wagging tail and crooked smile is expressing just how happy she is that you've joined her on her extraordinary journey through life.

The Good vs. The Evil (Blanket)


When he's not destroying toys, Mr. K has to get creative and find other ways to keep himself (and his hoomans) entertained. Sometimes, that means stealing a sock. Sometimes, it calls for a dramatized Scottie 'flop and roll' with legs in the air to invite belly rubs. And sometimes, that means taking on a blanket that doubles as an evil attacker of Scotties.

Let me set up the scenario: Mr. K is sitting peacefully (or so we think) on his special blanket on the couch. He sighs. Obviously, he is displeased with the lack of attention. Then, out of nowhere, the evil blanket launches a surprise attack, jumps up and covers him. His eyes dart from side to side, waiting for the blanket's next move. Suddenly, there it is! The evil blanket moves, growling at him as it does.

Now, Mr. K is on full alert. The evil blanket has just challenged him to a dual. A poke in the side here, a couple of pats on the bottom there and then, even some head petting (how demeaning that blanket can be!). Mr. K scoffs and wiggles around in the evil blanket's hold, thinking how silly that evil blanket is for daring to challenge the great and powerful Mr. K.

He breaks free from the blanket's hold, jumps down from the couch and grabs one of his toys, shaking it from side to side with such force as if to warn that evil blanket: "This is what I'll do to you if you try that again!" Then, he leaps on top of evil blanket, who launches a counter attack. Mr. K snaps away at the evil blanket with his teeth. The two roll around. Mr. K whips part of the blanket back and forth like he did with the toy, but the evil blanket smacks him in the face. Revenge is imminent!

Alas, there is only one winner of this game and, without fail, Mr. K comes out on top each and every time...literally. For when he's done showing the blanket how it can be destroyed like his other toys, the evil blanket ultimately surrenders and Mr. K takes his rightful place atop of it. Then, as he settles in, a slight smile comes across his sweet Scottie face and you notice that while the hero realizes he must recover from his valiant battle, he attempts to do so with one eye open...just in case.

And so we wait...

[caption id="attachment_405" align="alignright" width="225"]Heather Heather cuddles with Scottie Dad while she waits for her results.[/caption]

When Heather got sick, she was extremely lethargic. The amount of water she drank increased a bit and soon, she began having accidents every two hours. Thinking it was a mere bladder infection, I took her to the vet on a Saturday morning, only to discover we had a much bigger problem on our hands.

Fast forward three weeks and Heather is still on four different medications twice a day. Her liver values (at last count) were around 700 and 2000 respectively. While she was still out of the normal range (around 100), the vet seemed optimistic her values would continue to lower with time and medication.

Today's visit with the vet went relatively smooth. We were in and out within an hour and the vet said she looks good. The blood work was sent out this time instead of being processed in-house (not sure why) and the vet said it usually takes a few days to get the results back so we should know something definitive soon.

The good news is that the vet believes after a full month of medications, there is a possibility Heather's values will stabilize and we won't need another checkup for another three to six months. The bad news is we still don't know the cause or how to prevent another occurrence. So, keep your fingers crossed, everyone - we should know more in a day or two!

The Dark Scottie Rises

The Dark Scottie Rises

Fierce, loyal and true to the core, this little superhero guards his home from all the evils of the world...especially those wicked vacuum cleaners. Whenever one approaches, he is quick to show that its evil ways will not be tolerated and peace and quiet will be restored in the household no matter what.

Careful not to use any lethal weapons on his opponent (namely, teeth), the dark Scottie warns the evil vacuum to back off with a growl or two...or else! Occasionally, our little superhero takes to a dark corner for a minute and launches a surprise attack on the evil vacuum in an attempt to put it in its place.

In due time, the evil vacuum cleaner dies down and retreats to a secret hiding place where it will rest awhile and come back with renewed strength and a vengence to challenge the dark Scottie in yet another epic battle of the century. Whether the dark Scottie will rise to the occasion and defeat the evil vacuum once more, only time will tell...

A Walk in the Park


We live in the city, so it isn't every day that we venture far from our condo but today, we took a short walk down to a little dog park we recently discovered less than five or ten minutes away. Complete with lots of grass (for Heather to roll around in) and not one, but TWO fountains (for Mr. K to admire), this little nook might just become our stomping grounds on our night walks.

Heather and Mr. K get four walks a day. Two short ones in the morning before I leave for work plus a bathroom break during my lunch hour or the minute I get home from work for the day. The fourth walk is usually the longest and occurs as late as possible in hopes that I don't get any wee-hour-of-the-morning wake up calls from a Scottie in need of a potty break.

Mr. K could walk for hours, if you'd let him and we used to walk in circles around my old apartment complex in Columbia, S.C. over and over again. I'm looking forward to finding a home in a more traditional neighborhood in the coming months so we can take up that habit again - walking does wonders for Scottie Mom fitness. (And it doesn't hurt to keep the little ones active, either!)

The Mystery Illness Returns


A few weeks ago, I noticed Heather was acting lethargic. Ordinarily, she isn't exactly the most energetic dog like Mr. K is but she is always in good spirits. I figured her lethargy had to do with the heat wave we were experiencing in Atlanta and so, left her plenty of extra water. That seemed to do the trick and so, I made a mental note to make sure she was staying hydrated in this heat.

Two days later, Heather began having accidents in the house. Like clock work, Heather peed every two hours and it wasn't a small mess to clean, by any means. She still had a great appetite, was drinking plenty of water and had regained most of her energy and good spirit so I figured she probably just had a bladder infection and made an appointment for her to visit her vet that day.

When the vet came back with the initial test results, I was more confused than ever. She had ruled out a bladder infection and told me about a substance that was found in her urine which only appears when the liver is not functioning properly. This could mean one of two things: 1) Heather had liver disease; or 2) Heather had injested something so toxic, it was affecting her organs. The vet couldn't say which was the cause. She recommended an overnight stay at the hospital.

A litany of tests and $2,000 later, the vet had no answer or any suggestions to prevent my baby girl from getting sick again. The Xrays and ultrasounds didn't show any tumors (but it is a possibility one is too small to be seen). What they did show was that her organs were enlarged and there was minimal internal bleeding. Heather came home after three days and two nights at an animal hospital with medications that had been part of the mix Mr. K had taken in March.

Which brings me to this - Heather's symptoms didn't present like Mr. K's but as time evolved and the vet consulted with Georgia Veterinary Specialists (the hospital I credit for saving Mr. K's life) to compare cases, the vet saw more similarities but couldn't say for sure if she was seeing the same thing since Mr. K was never actually given a diagnosis. Her discharge paperwork reads: "At this time, I do not have the exact reason for her liver disease and coagulation issues."

HeatherAs a Scottie Mom, this news is neither helpful nor comforting, given that I've recently experienced a similar horrifying medical emergency with Mr. K. I've reached out to the condo's management team to see if there were any possible chemical treatments used on the mulch-laiden dog walk area and to see what kind of cleaning products are used in the elevators. Literally, these are the only areas Heather and Mr. K go on a regular basis. It has been over a week and still no answer.

Here's what I do know: Both Heather and Mr. K had some kind of bruising of the tissue (Mr. K on his gums, Heather on her tummy), indicative that their platelet counts were off and that there were clotting issues. They also had internal bleeding in the abdomen - Mr. K much more so than Heather - and ridiculously high liver values (Heather's count was around 3,000 and the norm is approximately 100). They both had similar treatments including a plasma transfusion and three take home medications including DenamarinMetronidazole and Vitamin K supplements.

What doesn't match up is Mr. K's heart arrythmia, critically low blood pressure and fluid in the lungs. What is most frustrating as a mom is that Mr. and Heather had just had their annual checkups not more than three weeks beforehand, leaving me more suspicious of the unknown toxin. However, then you have to factor in the fact that Heather is nearly eight years old and it could be a very real possibility that she is experiencing the beginning stages of liver disease.

Heather's follow up appointment is on Monday and I'll be sure keep all her new Scottie friends updated. In the meantime, if any fellow Scottie Moms (or Dads!) have any insight to share, it would be most welcome. This Scottie Mom is looking for some answers!

Upgrading the Monopoly Scottie

[caption id="attachment_333" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Upgrading the Monopoly Scottie The Monopoly Scottie: from pewter to Erinite crystal.[/caption]

Monopoly has always been a favorite in our home and fortunately, we have one of the older verisons of the game so we never missed out when Hasbro decided to replace the Scottie piece with another dog. That's probably why, when Heather and Mr. K's Scottie Dad surprised me with a Swarovski Scottie last Christmas, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with it right away.

Then, it occurred to me: I could orchestrate an even flashier comeback of the Scottie dog piece by replacing the existing one with my new Swarovski Scottie! Of course, I kept the original Scottie that came with the board so more than one person could play with the coveted Scottie piece at a time. And what a reaction this new game piece got - can you imagine if all the pieces looked like that? Or, what's more, if there was a Monopoly board made by Swarovski?

Even better, now the Scottie piece comes to life in a game called Monopoly Streets that we've bought for the PlayStation3. In addition to being able to see the buildings being constructed as you go, each of the Monopoly pieces is assigned a character and, in the case of the Scottie, it's character is a fashionable, young woman who walks the dog around the board in a dress, ridiculous high heels and bug-eye sunglasses. Somehow, this pairing sounds all too familiar!

[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="300"]Scottie in Monopoly Streets Scottie waits outside of jail in Monopoly Streets.[/caption]

But beware! Don't get sent to jail - it will break your Scottie-loving heart when you see him reaching through the bars to reach for his companion. (Trust me, I've witnessed it too many times.) Hands down, the best part of the electronic game (besides not having to bank manually!) is when the Scottie and his companion win - suddenly, the game piece turns from a Mr. K to a golden Heather. Love that both my pups are represented!

And the culprit is...

[caption id="attachment_327" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Heather Heather is guilty as charged![/caption]

It didn't take us long to figure this one out. After coming home and finding the waste basket in the bathroom overturned and messes much larger than this, we decided to set the Scotties up and come back by surprise. Just minutes later when we reopened the door, guess who's little nose we found in the midst of tipping the waste basket over?

Of course when she saw us, she ran toward us, wagging her tail and acting nonchalant but (much to her dismay) the waste basket had overturned in her hurry to get away and she knew for certain that she had been found out. Now, we keep the doors shut and the trash troubles have stopped...except, of course, when we visit close friends, then Heather is so quick to help take the trash out!

A Scottie Who Dunnit

Scottie Who DunnitThe Scenario: Its 5 p.m. and we've just gotten home. All day my little puppies have been left all alone.

When I open the door, what do I find? Two naughty little Scotties with quite a mess they have left behind!

We've got a situation on our hands, don't you see? A classic who dunnit, not one time but three!

There is tissue everywhere and not a one left to spare. The trash can tipped over and the house in disorder.

One Scottie at the end of the hall stares me down while the other turns away with a frown.

And so, I ask you: who could it be? That has trashed our home not one time but three!

The Suspects:

Mr. K - A mischievious one and playful at that! Known to steal a sock or two but only in jest. Has this little one's love for fun led him to act anything less than his very best?

Heather -  Sweet, innocent girl who loves to explore. She has a smile that one can't help but adore! But has her innocence been feigned and left us all fooled? She has been known to get into trouble a time or two...

Let me know what you think - who could it be? The culprit will be revealed tomorrow at three!

So Happy Together...


A tribute to my favorite "together" moments since adopting Heather in April 2011. Got photos of your Scottie and his/her best friend? Tweet us at @TheScottieMom or share on our facebook page. We'll post the best ones here on our blog!

So Fresh, So Clean


Today, Heather and Mr. K went on another field trip for their first grooming appointment at Woof Gang Bakery in Buckhead. As I mentioned before, we've been in the market for a new groomer for a while. Usually, grooming day is pretty stressful for me as I never really know what to expect when I go back to pick them up. Sometimes, their hair is shaved down way too short, other times they trim the hair on Heather's ears and tail but leave Kenzie's as is, and still others I leave the establishment thinking, "What have they done to you?"

About once every other month or so, I bring them in for a formal grooming at one place or another, bite my nails for the four plus hours they are there and hold my breath as I wait to see them come around the corner and hope the groomer got it right. Today, that wasn't at all the experience. We walked in, I got them settled, saw their sad eyes watch me go and was off to work. A mere two and a half hours later, I get a call saying they will be finished in 20 minutes. That's the fastest grooming appointment I've ever had! Immediately, I panic - what does this mean? How are they done so fast? I pick up my keys and head for the car.

When I arrived, my babies started going crazy in the groomer's kennel and I was instantly relieved. They looked normal! Yes, their hair was quite short but given the fact that the animal hospitals had haphazardly shaved parts of their skirt and paws for medical purposes, it was important to even everything out so their coats grow in anew. And hey, it is summer time after all - who needs all that hair anyway?

If I had one thing to say to sum up this grooming experience, I would say it was efficient - in terms of time, location and, to a degree, even pricing. While I did spend approximately $30-40 more than I typically do ($160 before tip), I will say that I was comforted a bit by the fact there were only four dogs there, including my two. It was private and seemingly quiet, and though I'm sure they weren't thrilled to be there, I was comforted knowing that they likely had more individual attention in this atmosphere than some of the larger, chain grooming facilities out there.

The Alpha (fe)Male

Heather made it clear where Mr. K's place is in the pecking order.

The power of a woman can never really be overestimated. Her ability to rule the roost, persuade the masses and even mold the next generation are reasons enough to quantify this statement. A woman's impact on the world is often found in her ability to lead and from the moment I brought Heather into our home, I realized I had one powerful little lady on my hands!

After we got home from our journey to Tennessee, I invited Heather to hang out in some of Mr. K's favorite spaces so he would understand the apartment was no longer his, but theirs to share. As can be expected, he didn't like this at first but I was firm and didn't let him back on the bed or the couch until he proved he could rest peacefully with his new companion by his side.

Within a few hours and only two grumbles under his breath later, Mr. K got the message Heather was just as entitled to free access around the apartment as he was and so, everyone settled in to the new arrangement. They never fought but it became clear over the next few months that the top dog, very much to my surprise, was not going to be Mr. K after all.

The day I knew for sure Mr. K had lost the running for alpha dog was when I saw this: instead of pushing Mr. K aside, Heather had chosen to sit on TOP of Mr. K, who was sitting contentedly in the passenger seat of the car. Leave it to Heather to dispel the rumor that women will walk all over their men - she shows us here that men are adequate means of support, allowing us to experience a new lease on life with a fabulous view...in this case, out the passenger window!

Introducing Heather

After moving to Atlanta, it became apparent that Mr. K could use a companion, especially with the long hours I was pulling at work. Finding him the right brother or sister wasn't going to be easy. Mr. K is VERY particular about the dogs he likes. One day at Piedmont Park's dog park, Mr. K and I encountered several Scotties and I realized - much to my surprise - he really liked other Scotties!

And so, I sought out possible Scottie rescues that could serve as Mr. K's companion, found Tennessee Scottish Terrier Rescue Network and filled out an application. The next day, I was searching PetFinder and came across Heather, who happened to be part of the Tennessee Scottish Terrier Network and was being fostered by an incredible family who told me she had been found in a raccoon cage. Mr. K and I met Heather and her foster family in Tennessee one Saturday afternoon and within the hour, she was in the back seat of my car on her way to Atlanta.

Heather has a number of unique characteristics, including her love for burrowing her head in people's laps, her silly "haroof-ing" noises as we call them and her silent but stern demand for your complete attention - quite literally bulldozing her way through any obstacle to steal a pet from you. She's missing a number of teeth on the upper right side, indicative of some sort of trauma, but that doesn't stop her from smiling every day. She's had quite the life, from what we understand but her lifestyle has significantly improved over the last year, don't you think?

Tough Toys for a Tenacious Tyke

When it comes to play time, Mr. K has very few requirements. He loves to fetch, play tug and most of all, figure out how to destroy any toy given to him. Unfortunately, this means we can go through a LOT of toys very quickly. It wasn't long after I adopted Mr. K that I began my search for the toughest toys in hopes to find one truly indestructible. Here are the top nominees for the ones I've found thus far. Feel free to suggest ones of your own!

6. Air KONG Squeaker Toys. By far, Mr. K's favorite! During his brief, 17-day stay at the shelter I discovered him, the volunteers were quick to realize that the only thing needed to brighten up Mr. K's spirit was a good, old-fashioned squeaking tennis ball. Unfortunately, Mr. K has gotten the destruction of all Air KONG Squeaker toys down to an art - I give him no more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted play time before any of these toys are split open. We've tried the lot of them and now only let him have the larger-than-life tennis balls that are probably meant for dogs twice his size to discourage early demolition of his toys.

Price: $4-12
Oh-so-tough? Nope.
Mr. K's FUN-o-meter: 2 paws up!

5. Martha Stewart Pets™ Fleece Tug Ball Dog Toy. A close second favorite squeaker toy of Mr. K's, the Fleece Tug Ball toys looked to be the solution to my problem, at first. Originally, these were labeled for tough tykes like Mr. K who play ruffff. However, there was an extreme difference in the product between the first and second time I bought it at PetSmart  - as if they toned down the durability of the toy, for whatever reason. However, it is still one of the better options in terms of balancing Mr. K's enjoyment and my quarterly budget for his toys.

Price: $7-10
Oh-so-tough? Sometimes.
Mr. K's FUN-o-meter: 2 paws up!

4. DuraChew® Bone. Originally bought for our Scotswoman Heather, this Nylabone has proven it can withstand a lot of Scottie love, errr...chewing. Both dogs actually enjoyed carting this little bone around the place from time to time although I can't say it had enough spunk to keep our little ball of energy occupied for long.

3. Martha Stewart Pets™ Squeaker Ball Dog Toy. We tried this one out simply because of the size. Similar to the larger Air KONG Squeaker tennis ball, just bigger due to the stuffed animal head on top. I got the impression the size was a little too much for Mr. K as he always chose the smaller toys when rushing to the living room and back to greet me each afternoon but this Squeaker Ball toy did get a fair amount of play time before it inevitably lost the battle with the destructive Mr. K. He never did break the actual ball part of the toy - just ripped off the cushioned head...

Price: $7-10
Oh-so-Tough? Mostly.
Mr. K's FUN-o-meter: 1 paw up!

2. Skinneez Beaver Dog Toy. This one was given as a gift to Mr. K and it is perfect for him, combining his love of tug AND squeak toys all in one. At the sound of the squeak, Mr. K is at attention and his energy abound, ready to take on the beaver - that is, only if he's got a human playmate. While he eventually silences the squeakers in this toy, we haven't seen this one rip just yet. Although, we did buy him a second one since he gets bored with toys that don't squeak. Alas, we're only on our second Skinneez toy in approximately 1.5 years. I'd say that's a success!

Price: $10
Oh-so-Tough? Yep!
Mr. K's FUN-o-meter: 2 paws up!

1. Martha Stewart Pets™ Fleece Ball Tug Toy. Ahh, there's nothing like a challenge to get Mr. K going. Again, we chose this one because of the sheer size of it. Just as big as the largest Air KONG Squeaker tennis ball, but wrapped in fabric making it look like a piece of candy! Amazingly, Mr. K doesn't seem to mind that this toy doesn't squeak. Usually, he's too preoccupied chasing it around our home and shaking it side to side, as if telling the toy it is only a matter of time before he conquers it. Most people are astonished by just how ruffff Mr. K plays with this one, and with little assistance or encouragement needed. This tug toy was first given to Mr. K during the Christmas season of 2010 and was only recently retired as Mr. K punctured a large enough hole in the fabric to expose the tennis ball inside. Once he had access the to ball itself, it was only a matter of minutes before the toy was history.

Price: $6-8
Oh-so-Tough? You bet!!
Mr. K's FUN-o-meter: Off the charts!

An Unsolved Mystery: Mr. K's brush with Death

A summary of Mr. K's clinical issues, as found by Georgia Veterinary Specialists. To this day, we have been unable to figure out the cause behind Mr. K's health scare.

March 6, 2012 - A date forever engrained in my memory. It was my first day on the new job and my first in weeks being away from my pups. When I got home, Mr. K was unusually morose. He wasn't excited about his nightly walk and didn't want to touch his food. Given his history of being prone to 'Scottitude,' I figured this was his revenge of sorts for leaving him home alone all day.

Less than an hour later, things really got strange. Mr. K, who normally is full of energy and often gets a case of the 'Zoomies' after a bath, didn't seem to have the energy to even shake off the excess water after his bi-weekly bath.  Within minutes of being carried out of the tub, Mr. K experienced an onslaught of serious symptoms, including losing his ability to stand up all together.

I called his (now former) vet and was told they were closing and I had to bring him to Georgia Veterinary Specialists - best decision ever. I arrived, carrying my wet little Scottie in hand, and asked he be evaluated immediately. The receptionists were exceptional and made sure Mr. K was taken back right away. Within 30 minutes, we had an update...albeit one I didn't want to hear.


The bottom line of the vet's update: we had a VERY sick dog; he had almost no pulse, internal bleeding, a small amount of fluid in his lungs and his liver values and platelet counts were way out of norm. What's more, nothing we recounted helped the vet understand why Mr. K got so sick, and so suddenly. Hours passed as we waited for test results and Mr. K to respond to a number of treatments.

The likely culprits, according to the vet, were rat poison, blunt trauma or a tumor...all of which were eventually ruled out, leaving us with virtually no explanation for what had happened or ways to prevent another occurrence. The vet's next best guess would be that he somehow picked up human heart medication or an anti-depressant (neither of which can be found in our home).


Mr. K spent about a week with Georgia Veterinary Specialists undergoing a number of treatments and slowly working to regain his good health. When he came home, he was on a vigorous medication schedule including five different medications to be taken sporadically throughout the day.

His week-after and month-after checkups showed marked improvement and today, he is a seemingly healthy pup. This leads us to believe that whatever our precious Scotsman had, he likely picked it up in his 'natural' environment, i.e. in our highrise apartment, in the hallways, elevator or perhaps, outside in the mulch-laiden 'dog walk' area.

Despite this hunch, we still really don't have a clue what made Mr. K so sick that night. The apartment was checked for potential toxins and came up clean. One thing's for sure: only 5.5 years of age, Mr. K must have had the determination of a champion to stay alive because our vets are still stunned this little guy came out on top.

And so it begins...

Jock, Lady and the Tramp
Jock, the Scottie from Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
When people ask why I chose a Scottish Terrier as my first dog, they often assume it was because I had one growing up. Truth is: I wasn’t around dogs very much as a child but I always remembered Jock. He is the first thing that comes to mind when the question arises and I can’t help but think Jock is behind my becoming a Scottie Mom not once, but FOUR times (so far).

My intention was never to adopt a purebred (gotta love those mutts!) but then again, my intention was never to adopt a dog in the first place. Growing up, we had cats in the house but around the time I was living on my own and ready to adopt, a dog best suited my lifestyle which included frequent road trips. And so, I accompanied a friend to PETS, Inc. one night to pick out her new pup. Guess which one of us chose a forever friend that night? Hint: it wasn't her!

Mr. K and me in 2010.

There he was. Sad as could be. He wouldn't even lift his head to look at me at first. He was raggedy and you barely could see his eyes through all that hair! Accompanying him was a blanket, some food and a tennis ball, all seemingly untouched. His family had given him up, having tied him up outside for days before finally surrendering him to PETS, Inc. Seventeen days later, there I was.

And so, enter Kenzie (aka Mr. K) into my life. The volunteers at the shelter warned me a Scottie might be “a bit of a challenge” for this first-time dog owner but that didn't stop me. Mr. K didn't really care for other dogs at first and still isn't a fan of cats, but this little guy has a fiercely loyal heart and has served as my constant companion since the day we met.

Tell us about your first Scottish Terrier companion. When did you know that little guy or gal stole your heart and, as a result, embraced your destiny as a Scottie Mom (or Dad!) for life?