about 16 years ago, we welcomed a new member into our family fold. soft and adorable, we instantly fell madly in love with her.
we created a cozy little area in our dining room, where she could hang out during the day with her toys or catch a nap in her crate. early one Sunday morning, i noticed she wasn’t in her designated space. me: hey, is Winnie with you? Tootie: no, you mean she isn’t with… i ran around the corner into the living room to find her chomping on my Stickley coffee table with her tiny, razor-sharp teeth. yeah, the ones that left puncture wounds like a rattlesnake’s. and so, our adventures with Winnie, the English bull terrier, began.
we carted Winnie off to obedience training, where the trainer threw up her arms and said, she’s completely untrainable. and sent us to the back of the classroom to work independently. she oozed charm (when she felt like it). looking up with her little, almond-shaped eyes, she could implore nearly anyone to open the pantry to get her a little treat. oh yeah, Winnie was a consummate manipulator who was training us to do her bidding. and, admittedly, we let her wrap us around her little paw.
feisty and fearless, she could tunnel through a few feet of snow, bound across a mountain meadow (with me flying behind on the other end of her lead) and leap into the air, performing a dare-devilish spin. when professional life dictated relocation, Winnie was confidently at-the-ready:
- do you have my bed? √
- food? √
- toys? √
- can i sleep on the bed at the hotel? √ √
sure, she enjoyed her downtime. like when she’d grab a little snooze under a big shade tree or on the chaise lounge on the back deck.
most often, you could find her flopped upside down—all four feet dangling in the air—in one of her many comfy beds. a dedicated volunteer, she often offered to wedge herself between me and the kitchen counter in case she could lend a hand when i dropped a tidbit during dinner prep. sometimes she’d even let me give her a big hug (if i asked nicely and promised a Wet Noses biscuit in return).
it’s been a year since Winnie’s passing. i still walk over to where her dish once sat to give her a much-anticipated meal (she knew to the seeming second when breakfast, lunch and dinner should be served). i look longingly at the spot where she’d take the long, dream-filled naps of older dogs. she was our lovable, high-spirited diva. that perfect balance of angel dog and devil dog. playful. stubborn. sweet. outrageously funny. compliant, with a ‘tude.
Tom Springfield said and The Seekers sung it best:
i could search the whole world over
until my life is through
but i know i’ll never find another you.
wait for me in front of that heavenly pantry, pumpkin. miss you, love you always.