I grew up with farm dogs which stayed outside.  They had a good life, but not a luxurious life like so many dogs today enjoy.

Next to taking photos of my old barn, my second most favored photo subject is my dog, Archie.  I find it amazing that no matter how asleep he appears to be, that once the camera is out, one eye opens and his expression turns to one of disgust.

He is getting to be an old dog, but he has learned a new trick.  He figured out how to get on our bed without any human assistance.  Usually on a Saturday, when my husband and I want to sleep in, we are now awakened to Archie by our side.  Sometimes he might wake us with a face lick or possibly a shake of his body which makes his tags rattle.  Last weekend, I woke naturally to find two pointed white ears peeking over my pillow.  Archie had joined us, but instead of waking us, he had stuck his nose under my pillow.

Not long ago I would have said that I was not a dog person.  But two West Highland Terriers later, I have experienced all the love and loyalty that dogs are known for offering.  During the COVID lockdown, Archie was my daily companion who listened intently to everything I told him. Westies are the cute dogs that offer expressions and head turns of acknowledgement in response to being addressed.

We find Archie to be hilarious.  He has a rigid schedule that dictates that he awakes at 6 a.m., smells the yard to make sure no other animal has invaded his territory, and then follow that with a huge meal (though we only provide a modest size one).  He spends his days guarding his humans and domain.  To break up the monotony of that, he sleeps.  At precisely 8 p.m. each evening, Archie declares it is bedtime for the entire family.  Since his dictate is generally ignored, he begins to whine, put a paw on one of us to make sure we see him, and jump up next to us to underscore the urgency of the hour.

He is smart, headstrong, and kind.  He only does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.  He is cute and clever.  His favorite hobby is eating…anything and everything.

I cannot imagine what life would be like without Archie.  I am still not 100% sure that I am a dog person, but I am learning.  Archie has trained me well!

In a world where humans can be cruel to one another, isn’t it great that we can have such loyal companions that don’t judge and provide comfort and support during the darkest of days?