Finley is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He’s our grandpuppy. He is small for his type, more like the European ones and very, very, very cute. Yep, he is worth 3 verys. When he was a baby his muzzle was black. Now it isn’t and it shows all the dirt really, really well when we go to the beach or the park.
He is the most enthusiastic friend you could imagine. Even if it is 5 minutes since he last saw us he greets us as if we’d been away for years on an Antarctic expedition. He runs around in circles and then runs some more and if he isn’t acknowledged he barks. He is, of course, hoping for walks or treats but I think he’s genuinely excited to see his “family”. He has a rather delicate constitution (enough said) and is therefore not a fan of kennels. So he occasionally stays with us. When he is not hovering at the door waiting for his real family, he sticks really close and makes me feel really loved. Perhaps that’s what dogs are truly for. And he sleeps very near by at night, just in case someone tries to get me. Do you begin to understand why I am a dog person?
The other part of Finley’s greeting behaviour is that he bounces like Tigger. I am not sure why Wheatens can do that – maybe in their origins as Irish farm dogs they had to pounce on prey that was bigger than they were. But I swear he can bounce 3 feet in the air. He does it on demand too. “Jump, Finley” and up he goes. Luckily he has been taught “Down!” as well. So he is flat on the floor in an instant. (There might be treats.)
Finley’s other endearing characteristic is an inherent need to herd his people. If we’re walking he doesn’t like us to get too spread out. So it is quite stressful for him if there are five or six of us going for a walk. And don’t get between him and his small child. Generally he stays away from the small child, avoiding toddler harassment but when walking out in the world he likes to look out for his safety. He does not approve of small boys going on tall slides. He must think it is dangerous so he grumbles and tries to herd him down.
Taking Finley for walks means counting on an extra 10 or 15 minutes because people either need to stop and exclaim about his extreme cuteness or they are Wheaten people and they need to talk dogs. An exchange of Irish sounding names, a discussion of terrier behaviour, questions about relative bounciness.