From Mourning To Joy Once More, Animal Adoptions and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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You always hear that things have a way of changing overnight, but few experience it.  It didn’t quite happen like that here but it was close.  In my instance, things changed exactly one week to the day that I felt my heart shatter.  On June 4, 2013, my companion of 18 years, Winston died.  Exactly one week to the day, on June 11, another Winston came into my life, through circumstances so unusual, so connected, that I knew it was meant to be.   I have written that story, The Tale of Two Winstons – A Terrier Comes Home, to chart the beginning of our journey together.  Before that I had written of my first, indomitable Winston, my love of 18 years in My Winston.  But there was one fact I had left out.  You see, exactly one week before I found Winston, I had another dog, Snowflake, a rescue American Eskimo.

Snowflake was with me for two years, gorgeous and unfortunately so emotionally scarred by her previous family that only I could handle her.  I never got the entire  story but from her hatred of children and families in general, apparently she had been used as a target and punching bag by the people who owned her before me (and was rescued from).   One day we were out in the pasture, running and checking around for a loose horseshoe, when bikers sped by and Snowflake gave chase down the fence line.  Normally, that would have been fine as she couldn’t get through the wire and post fence, but sometime during the night a car had sideswiped the fence and taken down just enough to leave a Snowflake sized hole.  I am sure you all can imagine what happened next as Snowflake darted out onto that winding country  road.  Even as we raced to the vet, I knew my Snowflake was gone.

One week to the day, on that same spot, a shivering, heavily matted, rail thin Winston was found and went home with me carrying him in my arms, the same way Snowflake left that same spot.  Now 18 years later, exactly one week apart, my beloved Winston was gone and another Winston had arrived.  And each time, I knew it was meant to be.  How could it not?  I am not sure I believe in Fate but all these connections?  All these events strung together in order for one magical moment to happen?  How do I not believe in that?  Many people have said that Winston sent the other Winston to me, and I think I can agree there.  During that week of almost overwhelming grief and loss, I swear I could hear the thunk Winston made as he jumped down off the bed to investigate something in the house during the night.  Several times that occurred during that week, but since Winston arrived, not a sound.  This Winston likes to bury his food bowl (on tile no less) just like my old Winston did.  Perhaps one has taught the other his tricks without me knowing.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

My family now includes two rescued dogs, Winston and Kirby whose face adorns the banner of this blog.  They aren’t my first rescues and most certainly won’t be my last.  There are so many dogs (and cats) that need homes in shelters around the country.  And there are so many shelters in need of support, both monetary and in donations of supplies.  I know it is Father’s Day today but perhaps if your Dad is someone who has everything possible and you don’t know what to give him, maybe make a donation to your local animal rescue organization or humane society in his name as a gift.  I know it would be welcome.  I found my Winston by donating food to the shelter.  Who knows if a four pawed love awaits you there as well?  The larger groups, ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States, rescue animals from devastating events such as hurricanes and earthquakes and more.  They need your help too.

So here are some links to get you thinking about rescues and the organizations who need your help to continue their mission to save animals in need:

ASPCA

Humane Society of the United States

Montgomery County Humane Society

Days End Farm Horse Rescue – located locally in MD but travel all over the US to rescue large animals. Truly an amazing organization.

I am sure there are so many local rescue organizations around you that need your assistance.  They are only a tapped computer key away. Check them out as well.  Here are a few pictures of Winston and Kirby playing, they have turned into the best of friends.  Look below the pictures for the week ahead in reviews.  Happy Father’s Day!

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The week ahead in Reviews:

Monday, June 17:               Flawless by Cat Grant

Tuesday, June 18:              Fennel and Forgiveness by Ari McKay

Wed., June 19:                    In Search of a Story by Andrew Grey

Thursday, June 20:           Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Friday, June 21:                 The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels

Saturday, June 22:             Stonewall by Martin Duberman

A Tale of Two Winstons – a Terrier Comes Home

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WinstonII homeSomethings are just meant to be, no explanation, no rational reason, they just are.  Somewhere a song is sung, a ripple forms in the water, a door closes, a window opens, and a dog finds its way back to its forever home.

It’s been a week to the day that Winston died, and this household has been a very changed, quiet place.  The dogs have been upset and grieving as have I.  Then this morning we woke to the smell of gas.  Flinging open the windows, we called the gas hotline and quickly the emergency crew arrived to locate the source and shut down the gas line.  It was a small issue, one quickly resolved but it meant that we were all home for the day, an unlikely occurence. We had food we intended to donate to the local animal shelter and now had the time to do it. I checked the computer for address and hours of operation for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

There on the website was a picture that riveted me.  Up for adoption, dog 151 who looked remarkably like Winston.  I tucked that picture into my head, gathered up the food and we left for the shelter.  I checked in and we waited for our name to be called to state our business.  Upon hearing my name, I approached the desk and they gave me a slip, asked what dog I wanted to see and directed me to the back towards the kennels.  I didn’t correct them.

Through the door, past kennels full of dogs needing homes.  I averted my eyes, my heart sore.  We approached a cage, I looked down and nearly fainted.  There he stood, tail waving, face open and smiling, his entire body shaking in happiness – Dog 151.  He looked just like Winston, almost identical.  The attendant hooked him up to a leash and we took him outside, all the while telling us he just came in yesterday.  He was neutered, 4 years old, and had been rehomed twice.  We looked at him, he looked at us, and I heard myself saying “we want him, we want to adopt him”.  There was never a moments hesitation.

She handed us a slip of paper.  How can something so flimsy carry such weight?  It meant that he was taken.  How I hated leaving him there in the kennels while the routine paperwork had to be filed.

There were pages to fill out, and pages of information about him to be received.  Instead of having to wait for an interview, somehow someone was available to interview us immediately instead of the usual waiting period.  As we sat and waited for our name to be called, Lori had been looking over the paperwork.  I was focused on the staff, then I heard Lori call my name in an odd tone of voice.

“Melanie, his name is Winston.”

“What?”

“His name is Winston!!!!!”

Disbelieving, I looked at the paper she was holding up.  There, plain as day, next to the name for the dog being given up was the word Winston.  Dog 151 was Winston.   The tears that had been threatening from the moment I saw him spilled over.  The staff asked about the tears and the story of Winston poured out.  Even they thought the series of events unlikely.  The wonderful person who was our adoption counselor. Addie Soares who interviewed us had Winston brought in and he was as much a part of the interview process as we were. Sitting at our feet, body wagging a mile a minute, it was clear to all we were a family.  We talked some more and then she asked if we wanted to take him home today.  The answer was a resounding “yes”.

We had been warned he would likely bolt because of past issues so they gave us all new tags, harness and collar.  We keep a leash in the car just in case a dog needs to be rescued.  Out to the jeep we went.  Winston took one look at the car and leaped for the seat.  The ride home was a breeze as he sat safe and interested in my lap.  Then we were home.  Questions formed in my mind.  What would Willow and Kirby think?

I shouldn’t have worried. Willow kissed him, and Winston kissed her back.  Kirby came running up, happy to greet him.  Turns out Winston was just as overjoyed to see Kirby.  We employed the usual tactics to introduce new dogs to each other but really we needn’t have bothered.  Much sniffing ensued, much licking ensured, much peeing ensued, and they were fine.  So were we, again.

Now we are all ensconced on the bed, watching The Voice, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully next to us on the bed as well.  This is why king sized beds were invented.  Winston’s feet are moving in his sleep, his brows moving in tandem.  His slumber is full of dreams. Willow is curled up on her pillow and Kirby is doing his normal imitation of a teenage boy, unmoving and splayed out.  We are at peace, and we are whole once more.

There are certainly differences between them as it should be.  One is not the other.  One is not the replacement for the other, and their differences are to be celebrated.  This Winston has a long undocked tail, and a wide open personality.  This Winston lacks the arduous back history of my other Winston.  That Winston was wary of new circumstances, never taking treats or unfamiliar food.  This Winston took two treats immediately and then looked for more.  But there are also similarities.  The huge personality that says I will not give in, that persistent nature, hearty spirit and indomitable soul.

He is sleeping on his back now, at ease in posture and attitude.  Winston knows he is home.

They had asked us if we intended to keep the name Winston.  I looked at him, and thought of all the things that came together for us to become a family, and replied “yes, that is his name.”  He is Winston, a different Winston but Winston none the less.  Different but equal.

A song is sung, a wing beats on the wind, a direction is chosen, ripples form and a dog comes home just as another leaves.  Who is to say how these patterns are formed, and the paths chosen?   Somehow I know this was meant to be and Winston is smiling down upon us.  I will always love my Winston and miss him.  I will celebrate and welcome this Winston’s homecoming.

One is mourned and one is found.  A home is made whole as is a heart.  I swear I hear a song and a bark in the air…..

Here is Winston finally in his forever home.WinstonII asleep