We’re Still Here!

Sorry for not updating Winston’s blog in the past several months.  Winston has been, well, Winston!  Nothing crazy to report.  Wake up, eat, go outside, sniff, sniff, sniff, eat some dirt, eat some grass, go to the bathroom, grab the paper, go inside, take a nap, go back outside to pee, go inside, watch the squirrels & birds, take a nap, go outside & play fetch, eat dinner, be lazy & go to bed.  Rinse, repeat.

Add in chewing some rawhides, going for car rides, running on the beach and that’s pretty much it!  He had a hotspot on his neck, but that healed, but for the most part, it’s been an uneventful few months.

The lack of snow this past winter was depressing, but he was able to play in the snow for a couple of days.  Nothing like last year unfortunately.  Hopefully next winter is better or else I’ll have to inquire about buying him a snowmaker. (Seriously!)

I will try to make sure I share more stories and pictures here.  His birthday will be here soon, so that should inspire me.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture from our lone snowstorm this past winter.

Sad News – RIP Jack

Well, I was hoping to have a post about Winston’s love of snow, but that has been superseded by some terrible news.

The subject of my last post, Jack, sadly passed away this weekend.

He was only two years old, well short of the prime of his life.

This blog was inspired by the death of a dog, but at least Marley was able to live a full, happy life.

This is just a reminder to cherish every moment that our wonderful pets have with us.  They are only around for a short time & we are 100% responsible for their happiness and well-being.  Make sure you do everything you can to ensure happy times for all.

Rest in peace Jack…

Meet Jack

In addition to telling stories about Winston, occasionally I’ll share stories of other dogs, with a focus on black labs.

Jack

Jack, decked out in pink for BHA month

This is Jack, who is a few months older than Winston.  He works in security at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT.  One of these days, I’m hoping to meet him.

In the meantime, please enjoy this story on Jack from The Day from last December.

We’re Back!

I'm back baby!!

Many apologies for the delay in updating Winston’s blog.

Since the last update, he’s visited Fishers Island, experienced his first tropical storm & has had his usual adventures, all of which we’ll cover here soon.

First though, I need to keep a promise to my angel/daughter Payton, who requested a post talking about Winston’s canine friends.

Payton & Winston

Winston has met, played and sniffed many dogs in his young life.  He’s played with many at obedience classes, at the beach & other random encounters.  However, the dogs he interacts with the most are Payton’s other dogs, Ruby & Baxter.

Ruby is a three year-old Golden Retriever.  She’s fairly docile and plays well (lots of running) with Winston.

Ruby

Baxter is just over a year old and joined Payton last December.  He is a Golden/Corgi mix, or Gorgi.  He is a handful and likes to stir the pot with Ruby and also with Winston.

Baby Baxter

On Winston’s recent visit to Fishers Island, he met his cousin Gus, an older Black Lab and they hit it off immediately.  They had a fun day filled with chasing each other, playing fetch and swimming.

Which one is Winston??

Next week, Winston will make another new friend when we travel to Martha’s Vineyard for our annual vacation.  Our wonderful friends who rent us their home have a new lab, Tiger, who apparently is anxious to run on the beach with Winston.  I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures!

Fun At The Vet

I know, I recently had a post about the vet.  However, Winston has had his fair share of non-routine visits that I wanted to cover before moving on.

There was that first visit on his second day with us.

A few months later, there was an incident.  After leaving his crate, he chased one of his feline brothers (or sisters, he has two of each) into Payton’s bedroom.  After cornering one of the cats, there was a brief scuffle, a yelp & that was it.  He rubbed his snout with his paws & seemed no worse for wear.  A couple days later, we noticed that one of his eyes looked a little cloudy.  So we brought him to the vet.  It turns out he had a corneal abrasion thanks to messing with a cat.

Not only did he have a corneal abrasion, we found out he had a second corneal abrasion in the other eye.  After a few weeks of eye drops & follow-up visits, his eyes were fine.  (You would think that he would have learned his lesson and stopped chasing the cats after that incident, but he didn’t.)

The next major injury came after an obedience training session with The Problem Pooch. During a leash-walking exercise, it was apparent that Winston was limping.  It was tough to tell which leg/shoulder was the problem and it wasn’t too severe.  It would come & go, but when we realized that it was persistent, we brought him to the vet again.  Dr. Minor couldn’t figure out which leg it was either, so Winston was scheduled for x-rays.

This is not a simple procedure for our Winston.  Because he is so rambunctious and excited about visiting all of his friends at the vet, he needed to be anesthetized before having an x-ray.  He would never sit still long enough.

He had his x-rays (the poor guy was so out of it afterwards) and the results showed a gap in one of his front shoulders that wasn’t growing at the proper rate as the other.  The options were an aggressive steroid prescription with limited exercise and if that didn’t work, an operation.

After a couple of months of the steroids, Winston went back for another x-ray to see how his leg was growing.  Thankfully this time he didn’t have to be fully knocked out.  The results were extremely positive and he has been fine ever since.

Aside from routine check-ups, booster shots and his “alteration”, Winston has been a regular visitor at the Groton Ledyard Veterinary Hospital on several occasions for diarrhea, lack of appetite and itchy paws.  None of these trips has resulted in anything more than some antibiotics and brief change in diet.  Sometimes I wonder if we’re being overly cautious with his health, but I would never forgive myself if I ignored something seemingly minor that evolved into a major problem.

We’re also very lucky to have found a fantastic vet with the aforementioned GLVH.  Dr. Minor and his staff are all wonderful people who care about  our pets as much as we do and understand how much they mean to us.  The fact that they still let Winston be a patient after all of his visits and how REALLY excited he is one he shows up is a testament to their patience and understanding.

(Since I don’t have any pictures of a recuperating Winston, this random shot of him as a puppy will have to do.)

Up Next: Winston’s Friends (a special request from Winston’s favorite girl, Payton)

The Routine

Time for a break from recapping Winston’s early days.  I thought I’d share the typical day in the life of The Winston Dog.

7:00 AM – Wake up reluctantly & stumble out of his crate & head downstairs.

7:05 AM – Eat breakfast, which consists of a mix of Blue Buffalo dry food & Blue Buffalo wet food.  Since he’s a strange lab & becomes picky about his food, a little shredded Cabot cheddar cheese is sprinkled on top.

7:35 AM – After lounging around for awhile, it’s time to head outside and take care of bathroom chores.  Since this is rarely a cut & dry process, we spend a great deal of time sniffing all the new smells from overnight, finding grass to chew, stealing sticks & playing fetch before taking care of business.

7:50 AM – Once the potty issues have been completed, the leash is fastened and off we go to grab the newspaper from the box.  The leash goes on because we occasionally like to visit the neighbors across the street.  Sometimes it’s a ball left by one of the kids in the front yard, other times it’s their little dog (affectionately known as Nemesis) or their cat.

8:00 AM – Back to the crate for a nap as Mommy & Daddy head off to work.

10:00 AM – Somewhere around this time every weekday, Winston’s savior, his Bompie, comes over to dog sit for the day.  If it wasn’t for his Bompie, he would be spending all day locked in his crate or be sent off to doggy day care.  Instead, he gets to stay in his home, doing what he likes to do.

Now, I’m not sure exactly what goes on all day (perhaps Bompie can leave a comment), but I guess it involves chewing on socks & rawhides, playing fetch with his numerous toys laying around, a bathroom break, looking out the window & a nap or two.

5:00 PM – Bompie leaves for the day, so back in the crate he goes.

6:00 PM – Daddy comes home & outside to play we go (weather permitting).  Some more of his much-needed exercise and hopefully, the last bathroom trip of the day.

6:45 PM – Dinner, which is exactly the same as breakfast.  Boring, I know, but we mix up his flavors of wet food.

8:00 PM – Depending on how tired he is, this is usually his bedtime, so back to the crate he goes.  We would keep him up longer, but the poor guy tries to take a nap with us downstairs, but because he is so attention hungry, he can’t ignore any sound or movement made by anyone or anything (cats).

11:30 PM – I wake him up to take him out for one last pee for the night.  This is quite the process, as he lays down on the floor outside of his crate for some lovin’.  Once he makes it out of the bedroom, the scene is repeated at the top of the stairs. After some more sugar, we finally make it outside and then back up to bed.  Due to the amount of local wildlife (coyotes, for one), all nighttime outside visits are done with a leash.

Rinse, repeat, with some minor variations every weekday.  Weekends are spent with a later wake-up call (like his Dad, he likes to sleep in) and less naps.  There’s nothing better than a tired Winston.

Up Next: Fun at the Vet

A Visit To The Vet

July 4, 2009.  Winston’s (he still didn’t have a name yet) first time waking up in our house. He slept as well as a 7 week-old puppy with diarrhea could.  It certainly wasn’t peaceful.

As the morning wore on, it became more evident that our little man wasn’t feeling so hot. He was pretty lethargic & the diarrhea was bad.  Our regular vet couldn’t take him, so we decided to bring him to the 24 emergency vet.

When we arrived and checked in at the reception desk, we were faced with a monumental decision; his name.  We decided on Winston, as he’s an English Lab, so we wanted something with a UK flair.

After waiting for about an hour (& taking him outside for more potty runs), we were finally able to have him checked out.  We were scolded for having such a young puppy (not our fault!) and after some tests, we were on our way back home.

He was pretty sick, but nothing that some medicine and a bland diet couldn’t fix.  We had him on the road to recovery that night.

Little did we know that this would not be our last foray with Winston and non-routine vet visits.

Up Next: The Routine

The Homecoming

Friday, July 3rd, 2009.  That’s the day we picked up Winston from the breeder.

He was still quite young, apparently a little too young to be taken away from his biological mother. (A little over 7 weeks)

He still didn’t have a name yet.  We hadn’t settled on one, even after much debate over the past month.

I was thrilled, obviously and so was Payton.  Her birthday was just three days earlier, so this was kind of a birthday present for her too.

On the way home, he was a whimpering fool.  He missed his brothers and sisters, but he also had a touch of diarrhea.  We had to stop at the old Stott’s Restaurant in Griswold, where he found a nice spot next to the dumpster for his first official #2 as a member of our family.

The rest of the day was spent running around the yard, exploring the house & introducing himself to the resident felines.  Two years later and they still haven’t accepted him. 🙂

It was a wonderful day. (And yes, I still have his stuffed butterfly, his first toy.)

Up next: A Visit to the Vet