My hubby grew up as one of three boys living on bush acreage and was adamant that for his 30th birthday he wanted a Winchester air rifle to re-live the ‘good old days’. At the time, we were living 10 mins from Brisbane’s CBD and I pretty sure there was nothing he needed to shoot. So I talked him into the idea that what he actually needed was a barbecue. But what I actually knew was that he was getting a puppy. Our first ‘together’ dog. A couple’s milestone of epic proportions. On the big day, I told him to close his eyes while I wheeled the BBQ over to him placed a box on his lap. With eyes now open, and confusion setting in, he lifted the lid to discover an 8-week-old beagle who had just found its forever dad.
Winnie the Wonderbeagle (who was named after the Winchester air rifle that, still to this day, never did eventuate) taught us responsibility and patience. She made the three of us family. She was a brilliant parenting training ground for us given the two small children who would follow in quick succession. And she proved over the coming years to be the most loyal and patient pooch while she was tackled, sat on, chased, squeezed and over-loved by her baby and then toddler sisters. She’d clean up all the food that was thrown over the edge of their high chairs before they got in trouble with their mum, and she steadied them as they learned to walk (using her back as a furry hang-on point). She snuggled with them as they lay asleep in their first big-girl beds and she’d walk them to school for years. She’d share dozens of beach holiday adventures with us, and she’d also watch on as our house was burglarized (no doubt excited to have company that night while we were out).
This month, Winnie will celebrate her 13th birthday. An excitable doggie teenager and a 91-year-old lady, all wrapped up in one historic hound. She’s asleep under my desk as I type. Snoring. She does that a lot these days. While I can’t even bring myself to think of life without Winnie, I am already grateful for all the years of learning, laughs and mateship she has brought us. It’s the dog farts I could’ve lived without.