Saturday, August 28, 2010


We were both working full time jobs. We were dealing with Scott's mom's cancer and I had just had my second miscarriage. I thought that a new puppy might fill a void I was feeling. Call me crazy. We went to the breeder. We saw the perfect puppy. He was messy and seemed shy. On the way home he threw up in the car. Carsickness plagued him for a few years after that.

He was so sweet, so fuzzy. We loved him and Chester mothered him. He was a bit delayed in the training chapter of his life. He would come bounding out of an empty room with a little tell-tale trot. We knew what surprise was left for us behind door number one. So we walked and we walked. And we walked some more. Finally, one day the message seemed to make a connect for him. He had the funniest habit of leaning up against a tree when he did his duty. I figured it out. This wasn't for support, it was for privacy. Even a small tree would provide him with what he deemed enough shelter to hide behind and do his job.

When he was four he had a terrible health scare. A wonderful vet had the time and patience, and yes, our money to figure it out. A few months after this we anxiously awaited the arrival of Gracie. Winston was curled up on my lap one day. What was left of it. He snuggled up close to my big belly and all of the sudden Gracie let out a huge kick. I felt it. He felt it. Winston jumped off of my lap with a look on his face that said, "did you feel that and what the heck was it?" As new parents we wanted to facilitate the best way to have Chester and Winston meet Gracie. Scott brought home the little hat she wore for them to smell and process. The day we brought her home, Chester checked her out and moved on. Winston on the other hand made this statement, "this baby is mine!"

He would let us know if she was awake in her crib before she would cry. He would curl up around her on the floor. He was so loving towards her. Then Gracie turned one and became mobile. That was enough for him and this is where Chester took over and has ever since. Winston tolerated her, but not as deeply as he had in her first year.

Last year things began to change. Mood swings, not eating and more trips outside. Our poor boy. We knew something was very wrong. Our vet said we could do lots of tests, but the answer would probably be the same no matter how much money we spent. We made him comfortable. Those sweet eyes became very sad eyes. We had to take stock of the situation. For all of the times that Winston made us feel loved and wagged that tail in happiness to greet us. For all of his loyalty. For all of his shyness and quirky little habits. It was time for us to give him the gift that he needed most from us. We made the appointment. We touched him and held him as he died. We thanked him over and over for all that he had been for us. I have never cried so hard in my life. I'm crying right now.

Winston died just a couple of weeks before his 15th birthday. Chester misses him and so do we. We appreciate the simple gifts he gave us. The feeling of being happy to see someone and the ability to love unconditionally. It's been a year since he died. We're glad he's no longer suffering. He was the best shy, happy to see you, loyal, baby loving dog a family could have asked for.

©2010 Ann M. De Broux

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