Winnie was my dog for fifteen years. She was about eighty pounds of personality in a seven pound body. She had quite a life; I only wish the last few years of it hadn’t tapered off like they did.
Winnie had a lot of presence. She always drew attention when I had her out in public. It was like being with a celebrity, or so I imagine. Even in Paris, where tiny dogs aren’t very unusual at all, everyone would notice her and remark how cute she was. She always got free pastries from our favorite baker there. I always thought that she was secretly a telepath. Like when we’re out walking in the New York summer heat, and a woman who stops to admire Winnie bends down and lets her lick her ice cream cone. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger even stopped me to compliment her when they saw her outside our neighborhood market.
I remember sneaking her in there, and a lot of places in New York. She was good about hiding in her little “go-sack,” as we called it. This was a shoulder bag dog carrier, but not like the ventilated purses you see nowadays, more like a lightweight but real dog bed with a zipper along the top and some straps for carrying. Supremely comfortable, she loved that thing. Once it was zipped shut, only her head poked out the end, and if I kept moving, it usually took people a while to notice her. Even the people who saw her weren’t usually inclined to complain about her being there.
I took her to the office with me quite a bit there in New York, I had to sneak her in through the lobby past the building management, but my company liked having her there. She made lots of friends. This continued after I moved to Maryland too, except I didn’t have to sneak her in there at all. They even gave her a corporate ID badge (but not a building keycard, hehe). When they let me move to North Carolina and start telecommuting, my boss joked that Winnie would have to stay behind there.
Winnie liked my telecommuting, at least since it meant she never had to be left alone. But I could tell she missed the hustle bustle, she was kind of bored by suburban life. Then she was occasionally frazzled by the kitten Roxie (at least until she proved herself uninteresting enough). Then the kids came, and made her world noisier. She tolerated them well when necessary, but avoided them as a matter of policy. Through all this she got older and gradually weaker.
She had a heart murmur for years. Her heart got too big poetically fitting, since she loved everyone she met. But she declined a lot in the past year, and I couldn’t bear letting the end of her life get even worse. We put her down to keep her from suffering. It was a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to write about it right away. And I wanted to scan some more pictures of her, but apparently all our photos are in storage so it’ll take me a while to do that (I’ll add them to her gallery when I do).
Her body’s final resting place is out on my stepfather-in-law’s farm, but part of her will always be with me.