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Bruce Bialosky

Wonderful Winnie

Experienced readers know the Bialoskys are devoted dog lovers who long ago made the transition to adopting rescues rather than getting puppies. I have long said dogs only want a bowl of food, a bowl of water and a lap to sit on and I still maintain that is true. We have had wonderful success with rescues, but we won the lottery with Winnie.

Winnie entered our lives after the premature death of Kelly, a Lhasa Apso. She was the most adorably cute puppy and just a wonderful dog. Lhasos tend to take command of the house and Kelly was no different. She was diagnosed with cancer while The Beautiful Wife (BW) was home alone as the kids were at college and I was off working on the 2012 presidential campaign. She was the only doggie we had who did not live a full life, dying at 8 years old.

I started looking for a Carin Terrier (think Toto). It was impossible to deal with the Carin Terrier people. At least in California, pick a breed of dogs and there is a group of people who are formed to connect with the dogs they love. The regional head for the Carin Terrier group was very helpful, but she kept leading me to these people very much over the top for my taste. One person told me he might have a dog for me but was waiting to determine the length of the pup’s back legs to decide if he would sell the dog to me for $1,800.

I called the head lady back again and told her I just wanted a ‘dog.’ Nothing like people who show their dogs (invoking the movie Best in Show in my mind). The lady told me she knew one in her group who had just taken in a Carin from the pound. I spoke to her, a professor of art at Long Beach State. We made an appointment to drive down to see her and the dog.

I headed out with the Dog Whisperer (aka Darling Daughter) in tow. We arrived at the professor’s beautifully appointed home. We saw her two perfect Carin Terriers and then there was the third dog who did not look the same. It was obvious she was a mixed breed, but again we were just looking for a dog. We decided she was nice enough after the very favorable pitch from the professor. We paid the $300 donation to the Carin Terrier group and bundled up the dog on Darling Daughter’s lap for the ride home.
We arrived home and sat on the couch in the family room. Sonny Boy and BW anxiously enter the room, took one look at the dog, and said, “What is that?” It did not look like what they expected. The Dog Whisperer launched into telling them how wonderful the dog was, and we were at loggerheads. Sonny Boy left, and we had to contend with the BW.

We got through the night. I put the dog (whom we had now named Winnie) on Darling Daughter’s bed at about midnight. At 6 AM I arrived back in her room. Winnie had not moved. I let her outside and she did her business. By the time the BW woke up she came into the kitchen anxiously. I looked at her and said, “I think we have a perfect dog here.”

And the legend of Winnie began. After a couple more visits Sonny Boy was totally addicted to her. He would come over and take her on runs in a well-known spot called Runyon Canyon. She was a chick magnet. As soon as the women stopped to try and pet her, on her own, Winnie would roll over on her back for a tummy rub. After that anytime Sonny Boy came to the house, he said hello to us and the other doggies and went off for five minutes of alone time with his beloved Winnie.

It soon happened that we would have to warn people who came to the house. Spend a half-hour with Winnie and you will want to take her home. It never failed. And, of course, her alternative name became – The Poo.
Most everyone loves their dogs and thinks they are special. We have had many dogs – three at a time in our home for fifteen years. Winnie was just an extraordinary delight. She was a magical, perfect dog.

One recent Sunday morning I went into the kitchen. The dogs sleep on our bed with us, but Winnie would sometimes sneak off in the middle of the night and get in a doggie bed or on top of one of the couch pillows. She was sometimes a loner. When I walked in, I saw a pile of poop on the floor. My immediate reaction was “Oh, no something is seriously wrong with Winnie.” She was walking around aimlessly. At one point she got in a barking match with the subwoofer (speaker) near floor level.

When BW came in, I gave her a full report. We bundled up Winnie and BW took her to emergency care. She came back with fairly grim news. I went to take a nap and BW came to get me. The kids were coming over and we were going to say goodbye.

For those of you who don’t have a pet, you may not understand. For those who do have pets, some cannot get over this part, Winnie was thirteen and a half. One day she was perfectly normal; the next she had physically totally fallen apart. There we were, the four of us with the Vet, standing over our beloved Winnie making the decision to let her go. It was quite a sob fest. I don’t know how the Vets manage this part of their job.

Remember this is a being who lived in our home for 10.5 years. She slept on our bed. More than that, she gave us joy every moment of every day.
Winnie is now back home and will soon take her place with our other departed and beloved doggies.

Learning of her passing, a friend donated in her honor and sent a note. He stated, “She sure hit the jackpot when you entered her life.” Yes, living at our home is heaven on earth for doggies. But Winnie was a gift from God to us and we hope to meet up with her someday in heaven because there could not possibly be a heaven without dogs. We certainly know The Poo is there.