Anonymous Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy less than 6 weeks old
I was born in a puppy mill. I lived in a box with my mother and litter-mates for a few weeks, then I was taken away from them and shipped across the country to a puppy store in the Phoenix area. I lived in a box at the puppy store that had a glass wall so people could look at me. It frightened me when people would knock on the glass wall. The people who worked at the store would get me out once a day for a brief play period, but I really missed playing with my brothers and sisters. A nice family with 4 kids bought me and another Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT), they named me Chopper and her Charlie. Charlie was a feisty fun puppy we had a great time romping in the back yard when the weather was nice. When I was 15 months old my family realized they didn’t have the time needed to train 2 puppies and care for 4 kids, so they contacted S’Wheat Rescues & Adoptions, Inc. and placed Charlie and I into their care. We went to live with a foster family who had to have us shaved down because our coats were very matted.
Chopper foster photo
Charlies foster photo with a short haircut
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier adults
In case you have not met a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, let me tell you a little about my breed. We originated as farm dogs in Ireland. We protected people and property, worked cattle, kept down vermin, hunted badgers and foxes, and were even used as gun dogs, I couldn’t be a gun dog cause I’m scared of loud noises. According to The Dogs of Ireland by Anna Redlich, sporting or hunting dogs were reserved for the gentry, while the terrier like me remained the poor man’s dog. SCWT are medium size dogs (30 – 40 lbs), as adults we have soft wheat colored coats that need a lot of brushing and clipping. My Mom says we have Velcro coats, cause when I get the chance to romp in the woods I come out with leafs and twigs, burs and seeds sticking to my coat.
Muddy dogs after a walk
My mom can’t imagine dogs with Velcro coats like mine as farm dogs, but maybe the farmers didn’t care if their dogs were covered in seed pods and twigs.
Back to my story, Charlie and I spent a couple of weeks with Aunt Pam. She was real nice. She had family members that came to visit just to play with Charlie and me. In May she had a vacation planned, so Charlie and me needed to move to a different foster home.
Cadi keeping an eye on the foster kids
Lynn and Julia had contacted the rescue to offer their services as a foster family. They had a SCWT for years in Wisconsin and really liked her, so they thought fostering would be a fun way to spend time with Wheatens again. They had an old dog named Cadi, they thought having some young dogs in the house would get her up and exercising more. I was very respectful of old Cadi, but Charlie wasn’t so nice. Charlie thought everybody in the whole world should love her and play with her. She did not understand why Cadi didn’t like it when Charlie jumped on her and knocked her down; that’s just how puppies play. Lynn fell in love with Charlie, he called her spit-fire and wild child. Julia liked me best, we would go for walks. Lynn and Julia even took Charlie and me to school. We learned to walk nice on a leash, and sit, and down. We tried to learn stay, but that was a hard lesson. We wanted to be by our people all the time; we didn’t want to stay behind while they walked away.
After a few weeks at Lynn and Julia’s the rescue decided they were not going to be able to find a home that would take both Charlie and me. Lynn and Julia tried to adopt us both, but the rescue did not want to place Charlie with another female dog. Wheaten females can get territorial and fight with other females. Cadi and Charlie already had to be kept separated if there wasn’t someone actively supervising them. Placing Charlie in the home would not have been fair to Cadi, so my adoption application was approved, but we kept looking for a special home for Charlie. After a couple of weeks a great family was found for Charlie, they had 3 kids who were so excited to meet her. We kept in touch with them for the next two years and I got to spend time at their house when my parents went on vacation and Charlie got to come to our place when her family had to go out-of-town. It’s so nice to have friend you can stay with.
Anyway, that’s how I came to live with Lynn and Julia. I’m still a nervous boy, but I know I’m safe with them and my new sister Dusty.
Chopper (in his ThunderShirt) and Dusty, fall 2011