"Well Gail, he seems very nice. A pity that his legs are so short".
To be fair to Doris, she was not the only person to raise an eyebrow or two at my choice of dog.
The general thinking is that dogs and their humans should resemble each other. Hamish, like all Westies, was self-evidently cute, fluffy and cuddly. Three adjectives never, to my knowledge, applied to his owner.
Several friends suggested that, given my love of the outdoors, hill-walking, cycling etc, a collie, a springer spaniel or a retriever might have been a more obvious choice.
Well Hamish, my first ever dog, was of course just perfect, even if I did later come to realise that his legs were a tad shorter than even the average for a Westie. In character, we were in so many ways compatible, both being stubborn, independent minded and reluctant to obey orders to no apparent purpose!
Now I am thinking about a new dog, and leg length will again not be the main criterion, although in Scotland, if you like walking in the hills, an ability to bound through the heather is admittedly an advantage. I tell myself I am open-minded about the breed, but still find myself drawn to the terrier family. Something about that wilful personality. I don't think I will have another Westie, it would be hard to avoid making comparisons to Hamish all the time.
So tomorrow I am off to look at some wire haired fox terrier puppies......