Living My Dream

With Willa and Sam: A Double Dose of Cuddly Cuteness

by Barbara Murray

Sam sharing puppy kisses with BarbaraA friend of mine that's known me for 30 plus years told me a couple weeks ago that she realized where I was and what I was doing that particular morning and she cracked up laughing, saying aloud, "Now, that's a dream come true." When she shared this with me, she said that she "found it amazing that someone would pay Barbara Murray to play with puppies." Yes, that's what I was doing, playing with pups and yes, I was getting paid and I find it quite amazing too. It certainly is a dream come true, to do something I've absolutely loved my entire life and get paid for it to boot.

Shhh! Don't tell my clients, but I've always done this for free in my spare time without a thought for payment until I retired from state employment and opened this business.

My friend was referring to a situation that particular morning that resulted in me being blessed to be part of the lives of two very special pups. As you can see from the pictures on this page, both are adorable beyond description. Sam is the white pup and Willa is the brown/black/white/gray furball.


Sam is the first baby Westie I have ever seen in person. He would fit in one hand and wanted to be held close. He had puppy breath and little bitty sharp teeth, and he was not afraid to use them. In the photo at above left, he's about 10 weeks old.  His ears stand at attention most of the time now, as shown in the photo at above right. He is growing daily and no longer feels the need for you to feel his teeth.

Sam is a West Highland Terrier, full of life, spunk and devotion. Legend has it that the Westie was bred for his snowy white fur so he could be spotted while hunting fox and other brown and red coated animals. I doubt Sam will ever be a hunter, although he tells me all the time, "Aunt Barbie, I are a Great White Wolf." I let him believe it, but I know better, he is just a little pup that has his humans and I wrapped around his little paw.

Sam has a housemate, Jax, pictured in a photo with me and him you can see in our photo gallery. He gets along well with Jax, looking up to him in some ways for instructions.

Recently, I spent almost every Monday through Friday loving this little guy, and now we are moving into the training phase. This should prove to be both rewarding and challenging. He has a mind of his own, and tends to march to the beat of his own little drummer.


The photos of Willa, shown above in the pink sweater sitting on the blue braided rug were taken with my phone. I texted the one shown above left to my office manager and asked, How cute is this? My office manager asked me to put something beside Willa for scale so she could tell Willa's size at the time. So, I put my shoe in the photo. I promise I don't have big feet. Willa was that tiny.

Willa is a Schichon, a Bichon Frise mixed with a shih tzu, referred to as a designer dog, who as an adult, weighs between 12-14 pounds.When I met her, she was a cute little ball of fur that would fit in one hand with a personality as big as the moon!

At first glance, the picture shown below of her sitting in the car seat, taken by one of her humans after she was professionally groomed, looks as though she has long black eyelashes. Zoom in close and you'll see the dark hair on her face that curls just in the right place to look like eyelashes from a longer distance. Look at the picture in our photo gallery of her after her first hair cut and you can see the quick change.

Willa is one of the smartest little pups I've ever met, learning tricks and commands fast as lightning. At this writing, at just 20 weeks old, she knows sit, stay, down, roll over, how to walk on a leash and other things that most little baby dogs couldn't grasp.

Willa posing after being professionally groomedWhen I first met Sam and Willa it worked out where the humans that requested my services tended to do so on alternating days. So, in the beginning, one day I would spend time with Willa and the next day Sam. Sometimes, I saw both on the same day. Throughout this, if you know me, you know I've been in puppy heaven. On several days without commitments to be elsewhere, I've been blessed to spend lots of extra time with both pups, sometimes a large chunk of the day, playing, cuddling, and yes, occasionally we've required a nap together.

Another bonus to his experience is that the humans of both of these pups are my friends now, not just clients. We text just to say hi and see what each other is doing, have meals together and sometimes just sit around and talk. It's not all dog talk, but, well, a major portion is. Hopefully, I'll get to watch these two pups mature into full-grown dogs and live long, long happy lives. We sure are living the dream in puppyhood.

Photographs on this page were taken by me, Angie Stewart, and the pups' humans, who will remain anonymous to protect privacy. Thanks to all. Be sure and visit our photo gallery for more pictures of these priceless pups.

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