Hamish in his younger days

Hamish is pretty much the best dog ever. My parents got him when they lived in Scotland and his owner had died so he was probably about six or seven years old at the time. They were a little tentative about adopting an older dog – even though they’d had two Cairn Terriers before him. When they brought him home he jumped up on my Father’s lap, see put both his paws on his shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. My Dad said, esophagitis “Casey – this dog is aggressive!” at which point Hamish promptly turned around and laid down on his lap. He’s pretty much been there ever since.

Hamish and Katie, me on the phone

I didn’t meet Hamish until my parents were transferred back to Canada. Maybe it is because my Dad and I are so alike but Hamish pretty much decided I was his from the moment I walked in the door. He used to cry and talk when I would come over and then follow me until I made my way to the couch and then sit on my lap. A kind of therapy no money can buy. His still cries a bit when I come over but it doesn’t last long and I suspect he does it for my benefit.

Old Scottish Man

We often wonder what his life was like before my parents got him. He lived with an old lady in what was probably a small, cold Scottish apartment. She must have trained him well because none of our other Cairns would ever sit on our laps. Also, he is afraid of water and would get really anxious if you walked him near a river. These days he spends his summers at the cottage in Nova Scotia and now winters in Florida (it’s rough, I know). He leaves for Florida tomorrow and there is a good chance he won’t be coming back. He’s completely blind now and lately we have noticed he is having trouble hearing too which is impeding his ability to navigate his way around. He can still make it up and down the stairs though, and still wants to play occasionally which means he probably isn’t in pain. Most blind dogs won’t do stairs but like I said, Hamish is pretty amazing. We’ve thought we were going to lose him once before when he developed diabetes but it is a form that is controlled with eye drops and so we feel our time with him has been miraculously extended. However, a Hamish in pain isn’t what anyone wants and so my parents know they will have to let him go before that happens.

We try not to think about it too much.

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