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January 28, 2012

Love and Loss – Winnie and Claire Part

by Val Reynolds
Winnie

Winnie

Winnie’s Woes  Written from Winnie’s point of view

I really enjoyed the walk we went on yesterday, it was so lovely going out in the snow, the hill looked really pretty and everything smelled so different!

Oh, we’re going out again – yay. Hope it’s a nice walk.

Oh, my bed and bowls are coming, that must mean we’re going away somewhere for the night – how exciting! Off we go.

We must be here already. I wonder where we are, it seems familiar somehow … I can smell dogs – lots of other dogs!

Hello hello, nice lady. Let me in, I can smell lots of dogs here. Where am I? Ah, she’s making a nice fuss of me. And Claire seems to know her well. I do kind of remember this place but I don’t know why.  They’re letting me into the back room – my goodness so many dog beds. Who do these belong to? They all smell so nice, and they look comfy. Where does this go? An outside door, I can hear dogs the other side! Wait, where has Claire gone? The lady is back, great she’s letting me out into the garden. Hello dogs! Yes, I am very friendly and so are all of you!  And you all look like me!  If Claire were here it would be perfect. I must be here on holiday or something. It’s so much fun being with the other dogs.

Claire takes over the story:
This day was one of the hardest of my life. Giving my dog up after five happy years together was a heart wrenching decision to come to and even harder to carry out. After I dropped her at Pat’s, I cried for about three days. My beautiful little daughter Anna, kept me going but even now, years later I still miss Winnie.

I’d bought Winnie as a puppy from Pat, she had the most beautiful temperament right from the off. A gregarious, fun loving dog who always thought everyone was her friend and should love her as much as she loved them!

I loved the outdoors and going out for long walks together with Anna in the back carrier. You couldn’t wear Winnie out, she would happily keep walking as long as you could keep going. Over time, things started to get harder with Winnie. She needed a lot of exercise and thrived being in company. I was living alone with my then 2 year old daughter and  was having to work almost full time to ensure I had enough money coming in to support us.

I started off by taking Winnie to work, but that was difficult to manage. Then I organised for a walker to come in and spend time with her each day, but the costs mounted up and I also had to put her into kennels whenever we went over to France to visit my parents. I felt increasingly bad about poor Winnie, such a sweet natured dog who just wanted to be outdoors and spend time with people, I was worried she was becoming stressed.

I decided that I had to put her first after a long and upsetting conversation with my sister in law. She’d had to give up her two little dogs after moving to London so knew what it was like, but you can’t selfishly keep a dog when you can’t be with them all day, especially one like Winnie who was so clearly at her happiest in company.

Winnie also reacted badly to a tantrum Anna had, shaking and putting her tail between her legs. Although she’d always loved Anna, now Anna was finding her voice, Winnie wasn’t so happy about the racket! So I contacted Pat to ask her advice about Winnie. Together we decided that it would be best for Winnie to go, and Pat said she would love to have her back.

Within days I was at Pat’s house, dropping Winnie off. At the time it all seemed alarmingly quick, but there didn’t seem any point in delaying and actually it was better to get it over with. I knew I’d made the right decision when I arrived and saw Winnie go into Pat’s house as if she was coming home!

Pat and I have kept in touch over the last few years and I’ve taken Winnie out for walks and been to Pat to meet Winnie’s puppies. It’s been lovely to see her so happy and content and she’s made a brilliant mum, bringing into the world more wonderful dogs to make more people happy. It really couldn’t have worked out better, although I still miss her so much and I often wish I could have her back! Pat has always kindly kept it open so if I was in a position to, Winnie could come home. Unfortunately for me, it hasn’t worked out that way, but for Winnie it’s all worked out perfectly.

This month, Winnie goes into retirement. She raised her last litter of puppies and is now moving on to live with a lady who’s other dog (another one of Pat’s!)is getting old. Winnie will make another person very happy, and that is something to be thankful for.

BREEDER’S ADVICE:

Winnie, a wonderful mother

Winnie, a wonderful mother

As a responsible breeder I always take back any puppies/adults who can no longer stay with their original owners.  Some reasons (as in Winnie’s case) are genuine – others, quite frankly, are frivolous.  One puppy was returned because she kept eating their daughter’s underwear!  Another because she pooed too much!  A third because she wouldn’t retrieve a tennis ball.  Can you believe it?

However, when Winnie arrived it soon became obvious that she would just have to stay.  She is so lovely to look at and her temperament second to none.  Winnie loved the other dogs and they happily accepted her.

Claire and I discussed breeding from Winnie and Claire felt she would make a lovely mother – she was right.  However, before breeding could be considered Winnie needed to have her eyes checked, her hips X-Rayed and her elbows as well.  All those tests came back with excellent results and we were good to go. Winnie has now had three litters and her breeding days are over.  She made THE best mother, not only to her own puppies, but to all puppies born here – as the photo shows.  These are not Winnie’s puppies, but their own mother was fed up with them.

Winnie now has one more good deed to do.  My good friend Christine is a very fit 70 year old and her present Golden Retriever is 14 years old.  As the inevitable is just around the corner, Winnie is going to live with Christine to help her through something that she is already dreading.  I’m sure Winnie’s endless supply of love and fun will help a lonely lady when the sad time comes.  Winnie will live out her days with Christine, who will return her devotion ten fold.

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