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Frequently Asked Questions

Why would anyone give up such a cute dog?
Aren't "Westies" and "Scotties" the same dogs?
What other colors do Westies come in?
Do Westies get along with children?
Do Westies get along with cats?
What is Westie Rescue?
What is Westie Rescue USA?
How can I help Westie Rescue?
How can I apply to adopt a homeless Westie?
How long does it take to get a rescue dog?
Is there an adoption fee?
How much should I budget to take care of a Westie?

Q. Why would anyone give up such a cute dog?
Those of us in Westie Rescue often hear this question. People give up Westies because of:

  • An owner's death or illness,
  • Children leaving school to go home for the summer
  • Families moving somewhere that does not allow dogs
  • Household members allergies to dogs (possibly not the first pet they acquired to test this situation)
  • Job transfers to foreign countries with long quarantine periods.

However the most common reason is that the owner either does not or never did have time for the dog. Therefore, the dog developed behavior problems from the lack of attention or training. As a result, the Westie becomes homeless and is, if it is lucky, given up to a breed rescue or shelter.

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Q. Aren't "Westies" and "Scotties" the same dogs?
The formal name of the Westie breed is the West Highland White Terrier. Westies or Highland Terriers were developed in Scotland to hunt and eliminate vermin that could destroy livestock or produce raised by the landowner. They are not Scottish Terriers or "Scotties".
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Q. What other colors do Westies come in?
Scotties are not bred in a white variety. Scotties can be seen in a medium cream color but never in true white. If the terrier is white, it is a Westie. And Westies, as their name indicates, are only allowed to be white.
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Q. Do Westies get along with children?
Regardless of the breed, whether a dog gets along with children rests primarily rests upon the parents of the children / owners of the dog. Any obedience-trained dog will reside successfully in a home with children prepared for the experience. Prepared children are guided by their parents on how to humanely treat an animal and are supervised at all times by an adult during their interaction with the dog.

Westies, in general, make good family pets. That said, it is good to note that small dogs tend to be nervous around toddlers who run toward them, pat them roughly on the head, or pull their fur, ears, or tail. Any dog may lose patience with a child who will not let it alone when eating or sleeping. Dogs, just as people, need to know that they have a place they can go to rest or get away from the action where no one, including children, will bother them.

Dogs also need to be trained that a small person is not its peer to be bossed around. Terriers, in particular, will be in charge of the relationship, if you are not. So the dog must be trained in a positive manner what the rules of the home are. If a household provides such guidance for the children and training for the dog, the dog will get along just fine with every member of the family.

Our program does not place Westies in families with children under 6 years old. It has been our experience in placing dogs that once most children are of school age they are able to fully comprehend the reasons and cautions for humanely caring for an animal. The squealing and giggling of a young child can remind the Westie of its prey and lead him to make a mistake like biting the child.
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Q. Do Westies get along with cats?

We have received less than a handful of Westies in a year that are good with cats. The small number of our initial placements that have not worked, all have had conflicts with current cat residents.

Most of the Westies we receive are older and already have an established history or reaction to cats. Rescue Westies who have not previously lived successfully with a cat generally do not get along with a cat, particularly because of their breeding as hunting dogs.

In some instances, we have also found that a dog who previously lived with a cat offers no guarantee of a successful placement, since the Westie may react positively only with its cat companion alone. Although we are aware that many dogs and cats live happily together, because of the problems we have experienced, our rescued Westies are not usually placed in homes with cats in order to protect the safety and well being of the cat.
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Q. What is Westie Rescue?
Westie Rescue is a complex business because there are many steps in transferring a dog from a bad situation to loving care that will last a lifetime. Westie Rescue helps homeless Westies through:

  • Pickup and Transportation
  • Medical Care and Rehabilitation
  • Temporary Fostering
  • Placement and Adoption
  • Public Awareness
  • Participation in national rescue efforts

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Q. What is Westie Rescue USA?

Westie Rescue USA is a web-based resource that is sponsored by Westie Rescue of the MidAtlantic States, Inc., and is shared by Westie rescuers throughout the US. Visit the website at www.WestieRescue.com to find out how to contact your local volunteer information and to browse a wealth of information about the care and maintenance of West Highland White Terriers.
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Q. How can I help Westie Rescue?

Westie Rescue is an all-volunteer group that exists totally on donations of people who love the breed and care about Westies in need. All of this work is done by volunteers and funded by donations. Click on the link or send your donations to:
  Westie Rescue USA
  PO Box 342
  Dunn Loring, VA 22027
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Q. How can I apply to adopt a homeless Westie?
Go to our "Westie Rescue Adoption Form" and fill out the entire application. If you are in the MidAtlantic Territory-which includes New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and The District of Columbia-you application will be processed directly by the sponsors of this site. If you reside outside those States, your application will be automatically transferred to your local Westie Rescue Organization
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Q. How long does it take to get a rescue dog?
After completing the application process, your application will be put into a cue of waiting applicants. The more general your requirements are, the sooner a match will turn up. If you require a one-to-three year old female, a match will probably not occur for at least one year. If you a requesting a Westie of either sex who is between 5 and 10 years old, you may be contacted in as little as one month.
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Q. Is there an adoption fee?
Westie Rescue MidAtlantic does not ask for an adoption fee. It is customary for adoptive parents to make a donation of between $200.00 and $400.00 to defray the costs of medical, transportation and fostering for the next dog that comes through our system. Each region in the USA network has its own rules and procedures. Check with your local representative to learn procedures in your area.
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Q. How much should I budget to take care of a Westie?
Westies often have allergies to wheat and soy as well as to airborne allergens. To keep them in optimal health, they require food that is sold in pet supply stores but not in the grocery stores. They also frequently need antihistamines to combat symptoms of hayfever and other allergic reactions.

To keep your Westie comfortable, you should count on having him or her professionally groomed four to six times a year and on visiting a vet twice a year to keep up immunizations. Count on a budget of $400.00-$700 per year to keep your Westie healthy and happy.
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