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A fun Westie trait? They love to dig. Above, in 2007, she checks out the, ahem, newspaper while I got Christmas boxes ready to ship.

Penny vs. the wall

Being mama to a terrier is interesting.

My West Highland White Terrier book (a Christmas present from Penny) taught me that Westies are varmint-chasers – they used to root out rats on pirate ships. They scratch, paw, sniff, dig and wait until they get what they're after.

Penny was true to her roots last week. Her latest victim? My dining room wall.

For THREE DAYS, she was anchored to it. She'd whine at it, bite at the baseboard, scratch it (did I mention we rent?), even patiently took naps in front of it. Chris and I would pick her up and carry her to the family room, only to see her stubborn, furry butt head back to the dining room within seconds.

Chris and I were so flustered, we might have, um, flipped the dining room table on its side to keep her out. We'd never seen her so crazed.

Two days into this, we finally realized that, if Penny is smart enough to bark once so Darcy runs off barking to investigate (while Penny stays behind for the treats being offered), there must be something in the wall that's keeping her attention.

The next day, a mouse trap went down in the garage. Within hours, it was ... occupied.

Penny's since snapped out of her zombie state. And I think the wall's gonna make it.