I need to take back every bad thing I ever said about Winnie. If she were here right now, I would take her tiny paw in my hand, look into her little brown eyes, and ask for forgiveness. But alas, I can’t. And here’s why.
A few weeks ago, Wyatt was carrying around a chicken nugget. Since he is approximately two feet tall (he isn’t even on the charts for his height), that means that his greasy little chicken nugget was dangling right about at Winnie’s eye level. Wyatt offers to share just about everything he eats but his way of sharing is to hold it out to you, you pretend to eat some, and then he eats it for real. Only tell that plan to a hungry shih-tzu.
So Wyatt is walking around with his nugget and Winnie tries to take it from him. Wyatt let out his, “I’m being eaten by a grizzly bear!” scream and in the end, there was a little bruise on his finger. A dog-tooth-shaped bruise.
It made me worry a little for the first time. I know that if my kids get a nip from the dog, it is probably because of something they should not have been doing. Kind of like, don’t pull on the dog’s tail and the dog won’t growl at you. But it’s hard to get other parents to agree with that policy. And I don’t want to explain a dog-tooth-shaped bruise to anyone else’s mom.
I thought about what the possible solutions were and I knew that my dad was the best option. So I sent him an email and he said he would gladly take Winnie. We arranged to meet over the weekend in Albuquerque and make the transfer.
This is really a hard thing for me because Winnie is six years old. That means I got her when I was like, um, cough, cough twenty three. I’ve had her since she was a tiny puppy. We’ve been together through my first teaching job, marrying Bryan, having two kids, and I thought we would grow old together. Or at least that I would bury her in a box in my backyard someday. She’s my little bud.
So the first week without her was really hard for me. I looked for her every time I went to lay on the couch – she always wanted to lay on my feet. I saved her chicken when I made dinner before I remembered that she wasn’t there to eat it. And during the day, don’t even get me started – that dog was like a Hoover vacuum, picking up all the crumbs and pieces of food that fall to the floor. I really missed her at mealtime.
I called my dad and asked how she was doing. I was hoping he would say, “She mopes all the time and lays by the door.” And maybe that he keeps finding her spelling out “I miss my mommy” with her milkbones. But, no. Instead he tells me that she is wagging her tail all the time. They go for a walk three times a day, the neighbors all have treats ready for her when they go by in the morning, he took her for a haircut and she looks so nice…
I wanted to say, “Look, old man! I know your house is like Disneyland for dogs, and that you are retired so you have nothing else to do all day but rub her belly and shop online for little dog sweaters and take her for walks, but I NEED that dog back! She picks up my crumbs and keeps my feet warm!” But I didn’t say that. Because I know that Winnie is probably pretty happy being the queen of the castle, even if that castle does smell like Old Spice deodorant and Ensure milkshakes.
Winnie, I miss you!