If you’ve been reading the story of Winnie to this point, then you know those first weeks with her were difficult (to say the least). However, once that miraculous change took place, and she realized it was ok for us to leave her alone, we knew we had the PERFECT dog. Every day we are thankful, and we realize that under slightly different circumstances, we might not have been so fortunate. Winnie’s story truly shows how amazing an animal might be, if given the chance.
So let me tell you a little about Winnie NOW.
- Winnie loves her people. Every morning, she has to greet each of us with her big slobbery kisses. And she wags! That tail of hers wags so hard that I think we’ve all got a few bruises from it (I keep checking her tail to make sure she hasn’t broken anything, not to mention checking the walls and cupboards for holes and dents). No matter where we’ve gone, or how long we’ve been away, she is always SO happy to see us.
- Winnie loves to watch the kids. If they are outside playing, she keeps an eye on whatever they are doing. And she has to make sure they are in bed every night.
- Winnie watches TV. She is the only dog I’ve ever had that actually pays attention to what is on the screen. Not just the sound, but the images. Especially if there are animals on the screen, she will watch intently. She even walks right up to the screen, tracking every move they make. She’ll sometimes look behind the screen, almost like she is trying to figure out where the animals she sees are going. Winnie’s favorite show is America’s Funniest Home Videos – especially the animal segments.
- Winnie learned how to scare away bears. She had her first encounter a couple months after we got her. She was barking like crazy one night. It was starting to get dark, and it took us a bit to notice, but it was a bear (although quite far away). I’ll mention that we get bears quite regularly (they walk along the mountain behind us, but always outside of the fenced yard – so far). So, it was a concern we had about how Winnie would handle the bears. The next time we saw a bear however, it was a lot closer. Winnie ran to the fence, barking and almost crying she was so excited. The bear ran off quickly, up the mountain behind us. I called Winnie back, and she came right away! We were so proud that she listened, even in the heat of the moment. Now, all we have to do is say the word “bear” and she is on alert. When we open the door to let her out, she instinctively runs to the fence, smelling and looking for where the bear might be. She never tries to break through the fence or jump over it. And her bark does the trick – the bears always run off when she is there! She will even sit up on our bed in the morning, looking out the window (which looks out over the mountain), checking for bears. And, we’ve just recently had a coyote lurking around the chicken coop, and Winnie is just as good at scaring those off too. Amazing!
- Winnie co-exists with cats. I know, a lot of dogs do this, but for Winnie, this was a big accomplishment. Her foster mom had warned that she might have a high “prey instinct”, and that cats might not work with her. When we brought three house cats into the family, we weren’t too sure what to expect. We gave them a couple of weeks on separate sides of the mud room door, and then one day after we had the cats running around the house (and Winnie on her leash), I just let them all out. Winnie wasn’t too sure about them at first, but the cats didn’t care about being around Winnie. Now, Winnie will help me chase them off when they start to scratch the carpet (or something else they shouldn’t be scratching), but otherwise she leaves them alone. Winnie even tolerates them jumping on the bed at night!
- Winnie sleeps in my office when I’m at work (I have a great little home office where I run my business from – have a look at what I do at Green Mountain Creative). She curls up in a little ball on her pillow and goes to sleep. She might get up when I leave to fill up my coffee, but otherwise, she has her work “routine”.
- Winnie has two really strange positions that she lays in – and we can’t help but laugh at them every time. ONE: she crawls along the floor until she is fully stretched out. She must be over six feet long when she does this! Jeff likes to call that “full frog” (kind of sounds like a yoga position, right?). TWO: she’ll lie on her back, paws in the air and wag her tail back and forth really quickly, thumping the ground with it. Then, she will twist around from side to side, growling at herself. It is the strangest ritual, but we always stop whatever we are doing and have to watch “Upside-down Winnie”.
- Winnie has a shoe fetish. Ok, I know that doesn’t sound like a “good thing”, but Winnie just loves to carry our shoes around with her. She doesn’t chew them or do anything bad – she just carries them around, usually putting them on one of her dog beds with her. The funny thing is, she doesn’t do this all the time. But we have come home to find several shoes in the dining room, living room, my office, or even on our bed. It’s become a fun “family” thing to see which shoes she has taken!
- Winnie is amazing with her food manners. Right from the day we got her, Winnie will wait for us to tell her she can eat before diving in. If she is given a “treat” out of your hand, she ever-so-gently takes it, never once biting at it (no matter how excited she is).
- And finally, Winnie just plain makes us happy. She loves to just be with us, she makes us laugh when we need it the most, and we all love her so much. She really is the PERFECT dog!