The Tale of a Wonder Dog!

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You can’t argue with the saying that canines are “a man’s best friend” (and equally a woman’s). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the bond shared between people and their dogs is special. I can knowingly say this based on the unconditional love we’ve experienced with our four legged buddy – Winston the Wonder Dog!

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Winston is our nine year old Chihuahua x Pomeranian, who oozes personality, spunk and charisma. But Winston is more than just a pretty face. For a canine he exudes impeccable taste in quality TV programming. In fact, one of his favourite pastimes is cuddling up beside me on the couch to watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Keeping up With The Kardashians or The Bold & The Beautiful together. It’s fair to say that we’ve bonded over our love of talk shows, reality TV series and daytime soaps. Despite what my better half thinks, Winston would rather watch grass grow than sit through a season of football or cricket on TV!

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Winston’s other passion is to keep people company. He has the ability to put a smile on my face when I’m feeling a little ho hum. He’ll roll on his back with his paws up in the air for a tummy rub, or curl up at my feet and keep my tootsies toasty warm. If I’m struggling for inspiration, he’ll often nestle up against me while I’m working on the laptop and just his presence will perk me up. Eventually the cheekiness kicks in. He’ll interrupt my train of thought by nudging his head under my hand as a reminder to scratch under his chin. Alternatively, he’ll walk all over the keyboard just for a smidge of attention.

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Winston loves attention. I may be bias but I reckon he’s a star in the making. Deep down, I think my better half enjoys walking him for the simple reason that Winston is such a chick magnet. Let’s face it, Winston’s a people dog! People are naturally drawn to him and he always laps up the affection he receives from random strangers. He’d never make a great guard dog.  Guests at our humble abode are generally licked to death and if you dangle food in front of him, Win would be putty in your hands!

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In addition to his playfulness, Winston also has a protective nature, similar to the way a mother watches over her brood. He exhibits what I refer to as ‘grandmother tendencies’, where he waits for us by the front window until we come home from work, a night out, or even a short trip to the supermarket. Whenever I hear the pitter patter of his paws on the wooden floorboards, I know he’s following me like my shadow around the house. On one occasion, I organised for my parents to babysit him during a weekend escape. According to my folks, Winston waited in the hallway in vain, hoping that my partner and I would come home, demonstrating how loyal he is towards us. Winston won’t sleep until the two of us are in bed, at which time he finally clocks off for the evening.

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He greets me each morning by standing on his short hind legs and tapping his front paws onto my side of the bed until I pat him in response. If I choose to ignore him, he’ll start moaning with worry. In fact, Winston has an instinct for sensing when I’m in pain. A few months ago, I stubbed my toe on the coffee table and groaned in agony. Just recently, I had a serious coughing fit where I was in tears.  In both instances Winston rushed towards me with such an alarmed, concerned look on his face as if to say ‘Are you OK mum?’

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In retrospect, I was never a big animal lover. When I was young, like all kids I enjoyed the idea of owning a pet, while not fully understanding the responsibility involved in looking after them. However, since meeting the better half, I knew I had to broaden my mind. Basically, for the relationship to work, the choice was – him and me, or, – him, me and a dog. And the dog will always win hands down when it comes to my partner. So, I sucked it up….and I’m glad I did!

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Ultimately, the best moment is when Winston stretches his neck, looks upwards and stares longingly at us with his adoring eyes while his tail wags with enthusiasm.  Even when he smells of some strange pungent odour, you just want to cuddle him. Winston’s at his happiest snuggled between my better half and me.

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In the past two years I’ve learned how much joy a dog can bring into your life. It’s their unconditional love, unwavering loyalty and the strong bond that they share with us that melts my heart. In a nutshell it’s the simple pleasures that make adopting a dog (or any pet) oh so precious.

The Shenanigans of a Wonder Dog!

Winston the Wonder Dog was adopted from the RSPCA over two years ago. From the moment we spotted him, Winston charmed his way into our lives and we were putty in his paws! However, it didn’t take long to discover that Winston wasn’t the sharpest dog in the kennel; he’s more cute than smart, and we say that with love!

Winston wasn’t toilet trained when we brought him into our humble abode, much to my chagrin! Let’s just say there were puddles left behind and ‘bombing raids’ dumped throughout the house during the day and night, which made my obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies rock into overdrive. I’m even more mortified with his habit of leaving a trail of No. 2s whenever we’re inside the vet’s clinic. You’d think he was laying cables! My partner and I would joke that Winston could churn out turd like a Mr. Whippy Ice Cream Van!

Well, after two years, and many treats later, Winston’s only just managed to learn to sit; even staying on the spot is a challenge. Forget dropping, rolling over or fetching. He may not know the basics of dog etiquette 101, but Winston certainly knows how to fly! Secretly, he must have a pair of magical wings stashed somewhere in the garden. My better half and I spent many weekends and hundreds of dollars fixing up the back picket fence that stops Winston from wandering into the garage and front yard. He’s surprised us on the odd occasion with his Houdini act, as we’ve found him waiting in the garage and poking his face from under the roller doors as we head up the driveway. He must pole vault his way over the fence because Win wouldn’t have the brains to dig under the barrier.

What he lacks in tricks he makes up for in appetite, for a dog so small he has a bottomless pit for a stomach! When I’m preparing dinner, he’ll hover around the kitchen like a vulture, and with his eagle eye, he’ll zone in on any crumbs that end up on the floor. He ploughs through food like a vacuum. I once found Winston inside our pantry scoffing down whatever he could reach given his short stumpy legs; even the threat of me shutting the cupboard door didn’t faze him at all.

Strangers used to mistake him for a corgi due to his podginess. I was shocked when our local pizza guy called my dog the ‘F’ word…..FAT!!!…F – A – T ….FAT!! I desperately tried to convince myself Winston was just big boned, full figured, a healthy plus size…it took a good six months of exercise and a controlled diet to shed some of his weight.

On a more embarrassing note, like all dogs, Winston gets a kick out of humping peoples’ legs and sniffing their butts, in no specific order. He’s not discriminatory in his choices either. Everyone’s fair game, from tradespeople, guests or even my own mother! What’s worse is the challenge of prying him off the person’s calf. Another one of Winston’s more comedic gestures is to grab a shoe (usually mine!) if my partner or I are on the phone. He’ll pick up the shoe with his mouth and carry it into the living room, even though all the shoes are almost as big as him! It’s Win’s way of saying, ‘Hey, get off the phone, look at me and show me some love!’

Yes, on the odd occasion, Win does show a little too much attitude. He once made a German shepherd cowl into the corner of the reception area at the vet’s clinic with his barking. Let’s face it, it’s the Chihuahua in him that brings out his feistiness and spunk. But deep down, Winston suffers from small dog’s syndrome. He thinks he’s tough, but he’s a pansy at heart. Winston wouldn’t want the other dogs in the neighbourhood to know, but he’s actually quite dainty…he hates to get his paws dirty and loathes getting his fur wet in the rain.

Despite his shenanigans, we wouldn’t want Winston any other way. He makes us laugh. These classic moments are what make him special. We love him, just the way he is.

Are You Looking for Love – Adopt A Pet!

Are You Looking for Love - Adopt A Pet!

Winston the Wonder Dog was adopted from the RSPCA over two years ago and he’s touched and enriched our lives immensely, as a loyal and loving furry four-legged member of the family. Giving Winston a new life in a new home was one of the best gifts we could have provided to a wonderful dog, who was reluctantly given up for adoption by his original, but elderly owner.

I will never forget cautioning my partner and reassuring him not to become too emotional that day. However, as soon as we entered the RSPCA and witnessed the row of kennels that sheltered numerous homeless dogs, I was the one who was flooded with tears, almost overwhelmed by seeing the number of dogs requiring re-housing and the difficult process in deciding which dog to take with us.

We both initially had our eyes set on a one year old Beagle named Buddy. But after some discussions with the helpful RSPCA staff members, we were rightfully informed that Buddy wouldn’t fit within our busy schedules. We stood in the office a little disheartened before deciding to continue our search.

Some of the dogs were too large and our home couldn’t accommodate their size and energy, others required significant attention and training (but given our careers, we weren’t able to provide such constant care) and other dogs were too temperamental. We were close to coming home empty handed that day. Luckily, we persevered to the very last kennel in the block. To our delight, we saw a handsome eight year old Chihuahua x Pomeranian proudly prance towards us. As soon as we saw him, we were putty in his paws.

My partner was adamant on adopting a pet through an animal shelter, for various reasons. First and foremost, he wanted to give an animal a much deserved second chance at life. Secondly, we were after advice and assistance in determining which pet would suit our personal needs and lifestyle requirements, and this was achieved through the pet-to-owner matching program that is offered by most animal shelters including the RSPCA.

A staff member at the RSPCA looked into our lifestyle, the hours we worked, whether we had existing pets or kids at home, how large our yard was, how much time and training we could offer and when – these factors were taken into consideration in recommending a dog suitable for us. When we found Winston, we were then given the opportunity to bond with him, spending time walking him around the RSPCA compound.

A third benefit of adopting a pet through an animal shelter is the educational information regarding responsible pet ownership which is available to help you along the pre and post animal adoption journey. Furthermore, all shelter animals have undergone vigorous health and temperament checks to ensure their suitability as pets, often de-sexed, vaccinated, microchipped and wormed. Lastly, animals up for adoption are very reasonably priced. The fee barely covers the cost of de-sexing, vaccinating, worming and micro-chipping the animals prior to adoption.

For further information, visit:

www.adoptapet.com.au to view animals available for adoption at RSPCA shelters across Australia.

www.dogshome.com to view animals available for adoption at Lost Dogs Home shelters

www.lortsmith.com to view animals available for adoption at Lort Smith Animal Hospital

If you’re after a loyal, loving companion – adopt a pet! There are many adorable animals available for adoption at an animal shelter near you.  If you don’t have an RSPCA facility near you, there are other great organisations that exist to re-house abandoned animals including the Lost Dogs Home or The Lort Smith Shelter. Ultimately, these animals deserve a second chance. They deserve it!

This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. If you’ve been similarly touched by the adoption of a pet, please help spread the message via one of the social media links below.