The day I met Winston, I had just gone to look. I had my heart set on a puppy and knew I loved both bulldogs and boxers. Knowing each of those adorable bully breeds was fraught with medical issues, I thought getting what was in essence a mutt (combination bulldog/boxer) was a smart way to go. If only I had known……….
The first time I saw him he was a tiny, energetic fawn colored furball no higher than the grass he was leaping through. He was in the process of running across the yard at full speed as we pulled up in the car. When I exited the car, he ran right past me and took my heart with him. It didn’t matter that he was the runt of the litter, the last one left, or had a tell tale sign of ring worm on one hock.
I am embarrassed to say I quickly and quietly handed over the money to the “breeder” (I honestly don’t remember how much), scooped him up in my arms and held him all the way home in the back seat to the utter astonishment of my boyfriend at the time. No one in the veterinary profession could possibly be happy with my “choice” of dog. He wasn’t purebred and I paid money for him as opposed to getting him from a shelter. My only defense was that I was in love; completely and totally, head over heels, love at first sight and forever. My next dog, Clemmie (named after Winston Churchill’s wife) was a rescue dog from New Leash on Life.
Right from the beginning he was a canine anomaly; so much for my amazing plan to get a mixture of the breeds I wanted in order to avoid the typical bulldog and boxer medical issues. He came with conditions common to bulldogs and boxers; most notably mast cell tumors and brachychephalic syndrome. Thank God he didn’t have the nasty skin infections to which bulldogs are so often prone; my Boo, he smelled good – just like home. He did; however, bring his own unique mix of other medical issues to the table. With a corkscrew tail like a bulldog that grew long like a boxer (boxer’s short tails are short because they are cropped ya’ll), his tail actually curled around on him and grew back into his anus, piercing the rectal wall, creating a painful hole that had to be surgically repaired. Yes, seriously! He also needed a tail amputation to make sure the condition wouldn’t reoccur…..goodbye adorable bulldog bottom. He was actually the subject of a published care report for one of the veterinarian’s in the practice certifying in canine medicine and surgery….lol. I chased that poor dog around the house with a special syringe to flush his tush for weeks, but we bonded and for the rest of his life. I was the only one who could ever safely get that close to his rump to treat his ongoing anal gland issues. Poor Boo and his life long butt problems.
Winston provided me with so much love and laughter over the years I couldn’t help myself, but to compile a list of some of my favorite moments. I hope you enjoy reading them. Writing these stories down, looking at old photographs, and remembering my sweet Boo is part of my grieving process. I said goodbye to my sweet Boo June 12, 2015, but his memory and love are with me forever.
Here are 7 of my favorite memories of my sweet Winston:
Boo, the coffee table mover
As a puppy, Winston would always lay underneath the coffee table I had in our living room. One day Winston got up to walk away and the coffee table went with him. In typical Boo fashion, he never forgave that coffee table and never went near it again. I threw it out and replaced it with a new, taller version when we moved to a new house. I was, after all, nothing if not an understanding mother of my special, but sweet dog.
My husband’s favorite memory of my dog was of course related to poop. Men! At the time I didn’t find the story all that humorous, I was upset, because Winston was scared and upset. Looking back, I just feel lucky my husband and/or neighbors didn’t notice in time to videotape the escapade. Winston was probably 2 years old and I had very long hair. The ends were longer than waist length and were always getting stuck in the car window or toilet seat. That hair length didn’t last long. Like many bully breeds he would routinely eat things off the floor and occasionally would ingest some of my hair that lay around the house. One of those pieces of hair partially passed during one of his bowel movements, but didn’t exit completely and resulted in a strand of my hair with a piece of his poop attached hanging from his rear. When he finished his business and went to walk away, the poop followed him. He felt the poop on his rear and panicked, racing across the yard bucking and prancing, while the poop continued to whack him in the butt. Seeing my poor little man scared out of his mind, spurred me into action. My husband remembers me saying, “Oh, no my poor Boo and running for the door with a paper towel.” I saved Winston from his own poop that day and we sat cuddled on the grass for a long time recovering from the entire horrific ordeal. Like I said, lifelong butt problems……sigh. My husband would have come to help too, I’m sure, but he was too busy rolling on the kitchen floor laughing. He has routinely stated that it’s the first time he ever saw a dog need to be saved from his own poop……
The Cutest Dog Ever
When Winston was a few months old and learning how to walk on a leash, I would occasionally take him on walks along the main road outside the small animal veterinary clinic where I worked to get him accustomed to traffic, people, and other loud noises and commotion. One day a van literally did a U-turn in the middle of the road to drive back and ask what breed of dog Winston was. After I got over the initial fear of the terrifyingly bad driver, I was flattered and Winston as always was very glad to make a new friend that new how to pet a dog and accept a lick.
Canine Good Citizen Fail
Winston was an adorable and sweet puppy, but his energy level was incredibly high. As a puppy it was forgivable, as an adolescent he became somewhat of a nuisance in public situations, and as an adult he was deemed crazy by even my best of friends. In an attempt to curb some of his often unwanted enthusiasm (jumping on people, leaping at faces with kisses, etc.), I enrolled him in a canine good citizen class at the veterinary school I was attending. When we arrived, the other 8 dogs in the class were arranged in a circle inside a ring meant for horseback training. The dogs were walking on a leash in a circle. Winston was so excited to see other canines and people that his feet were literally off the ground most of the time. He was panting and red faced with his tongue hanging out of his moth. We were asked very politely to remove ourselves from the ring, as we were distracting other people and dogs. I’ll have you know he passed that class, but needless to say it was not with flying colors. He never met an animal professional in his life who would have guessed he had ever passed a Canine Good Citizen Test.
Winston and the Missing Milkshake
Winston was rarely offered any human food. The resulting gas alone would quickly convince you of the error of your ways should you have offered him something from the table. He rarely begged, but had the most soulful eyes on the planet. His first taste of human food came when he managed to get a hold of a vanilla shake from the fast food restaurant Cook Out. He finished the whole thing, but mercifully and impressively left the entire Styrofoam cup and plastic lid intact. He never had another shake until it was time to say good bye and I couldn’t help but remember how much he had enjoyed his first one!
Boo’s Very Best Day
Winston’s best day ever was a day he spent at the lake with my now husband, me, and our other dogs; Clemmie and Dante. We took them in my husband’s open air jeep to run off leash at a lake that was under drought conditions. The coast line had receded just enough to give them access to soft ground, fresh water, and unlimited discoveries. They ran and played for hours. He slept for two days straight afterward and I suspect dreamed of that day for years. I’m forever grateful to my husband for giving him what I’m certain was his most amazing and special day.
Winston the Fashion Plate
When I think of my sweet Boo I imagine him as that excitable fun little bundle of fur leaping over grass and/or snow. I imagine him dressed in one of the crazy outfits I purchased for him; he was definitely the only 50+ pound dog in the clinic sporting a fancy wardrobe. He got cold easily, so had several jackets and a raincoat. He adored putting on shirts and costumes, because he knew there would be attention and interest from people. My favorites were his NC State jersey, his frog costume, and his Santa hat. How I love my sweet Boo.
I know he couldn’t live forever and that it’s best to not wish for such an occurrence, but I will miss his sweet face, his crazy hyperactivity, and contagious happiness for the simple joys in life. There will never be, could never be another Boo. I will always remember him, love him, and be grateful for the time we had together.
“Boo” was Ladybug’s first word. He’s entrenched in my memories and engraved on my heart. I hope he’s enveloped in after life happiness, basking in the sun, slurping up milkshakes, and playing in giant piles of leaves. He was my special canine someone and I miss him so very much. Thank you for letting me share my memories of my sweet Boo with you.