Winston: Jennie’s Idea

Many of you kindly left very nice comments on the recent blog post, Winston’s Last Walk. His owner Michele contacted me by email to let me know how much she liked the post, and how she was touched by the comments from bloggers all over the world who never even knew Winston.

American blogger Jennie Fitzkee had an idea, and suggested it to me in a comment on the post.

‘You know what might be a wonderful thing? A card shower for Michele. I am already excited! Just tell us bloggers who remembered Winston to send Michele a card, via you. Can you imagine her joy when you deliver a handful of cards? I will send one this weekend, if that is okay.’

If anyone would like to do the same thing as Jennie, and send a card of some kind to Michele care of my address, please feel free to do so.
I have no doubt that she will be incredibly moved by that.

Michele Smith
C/O Pete Johnson
29, Beech Road
Norfolk NR20 4EZ

My thanks again to everyone for their kindness.
Here is a reminder of that post.

Winston’s Last Walk

Last April, I posted about a birthday party for one of the most-loved local dogs. Winston was 15 years old, and doing well, despite having a few medical problems.

I recently visited the house of his owner, Michele. She told me that he was having trouble walking, and was close to his time. I went in to see him, and he was bright-eyed and delighted to see me. But it was obvious that he was struggling to stand and walk properly, so we all knew it wouldn’t be long for the grand old dog. Recent medical tests also confirmed kidney failure, so a hard decision was made.

Today, I received a lovely card from Michele, hand-delivered. She told me the sad news that Winston was put to sleep by the Vet yesterday. He was at home, surrounded by the other family pets, and those who loved him the most.

Earlier this week, he had been well enough for his final walk on Beetley Meadows. He got to see many of his canine friends, and no doubt they also said farewell to him, in their own way.

Losing a pet like Winston is no different to the loss of a family member, or loved one. Despite all our sadness, it is nice to imagine him chasing a ball somewhere, full of the vigour of youth once again. He will be remembering what a wonderful life he had lived here in Beetley, and how much he was loved not just by Michlele and her family, but by everyone who ever encountered him.

Rest in peace, Winston old friend.

Winston’s Birthday Party

Resplendent in his yellow bandana, local canine celebrity, Winston, arrives to celebrate his 15th birthday.

The dog-walking community of Beetley came together on a dull and foggy afternoon yesterday. We were all keen to attend the party organised by the lovely Michelle, to mark the great age of her popular dog, Winston. Despite being deaf, and having numerous health problems, old Winston had his usual bright eyes, cheerful expression, and lively demeanour. It wasn’t long before more guests began to arrive, including Ollie, who felt the need to leave his mark on the litter bin.

Michelle and her partner had made a huge effort for both dog and human guests, including party favours to take home for all attendees, and enough home-made dog biscuits to feed a pack. There were also two birthday cakes, one of them dog-suitable.

It wasn’t long before some of the party-goers were enjoying themselves in the river.

Rocky the Newfoundland doesn’t get around too well these days, so was happy to lie down on a groundsheet and enjoy his present, consumed in under a minute.

As Winston was helped by Michelle to ‘pant out’ his birthday cake candle, Buddy the French Bulldog was too excited to appreciate the moment, and rushed past to find someone to play with.

The table containing the dog treats was irresistible though, and Mabel the terrier was unable to stop herself jumping up to investigate.

A good time was had by all, and with almost every dog in Beetley attending, along with their owners, it was a great success. By the time I had to leave there were well over twenty canine guests in attendance, and there had been no fights, no bites, and no tantrums. The dogs were well-behaved too! Thanks are due to Michelle and her friends for their effort in organising a great local event. To Steve for sending me the photos taken on his phone, and to the following party guests for their participation.

Arlo and Buddy, the French Bulldogs. Remy the English Bull Terrier, two more Buddys, one a black terrier, the other a retriever. Toby the Jack Russell, Rocky the Newfoundland, Poppy the Lakeland terrier, Lola the Shih-Tzu, Paddy the Collie, Mabel the Terrier, all the Spaniels, including Ellie, who came out of her usual reserved shell for the party. Ollie of course, who dutifully sniffed everyone, and played well with Remy, and all the others I have missed out.

This was the kind of event that reinforces community, in a small village in the English countryside.