Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Winifred 1991 - 2008

Yesterday we lost a much loved member of the family. Our miniature schnauzer Winifred or Winnie as we more often called her, passed on due to old age and failing kidneys. She was 16 1/2 years old.

We got Winnie as a puppy in 1991 from a pet store. We're pretty sure she came from a puppy mill in Kansas. I had resisted getting a family dog since the days the kids were old enough to start asking for one. The big reason being that I'm very allergic to animals or at least their fur/dander. Animals just trigger my asthma. However, when the twins were 9, Daughter#2 wrote an essay on how she really wanted a dog. Her fourth grade teacher, who is also a friend, passed along her wish. Ann and Daughter#1 meanwhile were doing their homework. They found that certain breeds don't shed as they don't have fur, but have hair instead. One such breed was a schnauzer. The stars aligned when Ann and Daughter#1 visited the local pet store, now gone, that had this adorable salt and pepper colored miniature schnauzer. That puppy joined the family that Christmas. As a puppy she chewed the furniture a wee bit and she also nipped at the kids. We took her to a dog trainer and manged to tame that behavior. She was an only dog for all her puppy days and well into adult life. She never had much of a chance to socialize with other dogs. If she saw another dog, she would bark at it like crazy, as schnauzers will do. They are terriers after all. However, when the time came to introduce other dogs into the family, she was very accepting and we never had a problem. A few sniffs and she was cool with it. Another dog? No problem. She was such a good dog that she paved the way for us to consider adding others to the family. We eventually introduced two other dogs into the family, both coming from a schnauzer rescue organization. Napoleon was our first and was with us for two years before passing over the Rainbow Bridge when he developed bone cancer. Rosie was our second rescue dog and is with us still. Winnie was a good traveler until well into her senior years. She traveled with us to Atlanta to visit my sister and Orlando to visit my Dad and more recently to Harrisonburg to visit Daughter#2. She loved sitting on The Son's bed and looking out his window. It was her window to the world. She knew when the school buses would come for the high school and middle school kids and when the elementary school kids would walk by. She barked at them all. Most of her life she slept with Ann and I. She was on the big size for a mini schnauzer at 26 pounds, but she didn't take up much room. When we had Napoleon, he had his own bed in our bedroom. When Napoleon passed on, Winnie gave up sleeping with us and started sleeping in Napoleon's bed. It was quite strange. She slept in that bed for the past two years. The bed is as empty as the void she has left in our lives with her passing. She went very peacefully as we were with her as the Vet put her to sleep. It was all very sad and we miss her dearly.

Daughter#1 has provided her thoughts about Winnie:

I remember going to the pet store with Mom after she picked me up from school. She had been in earlier and wanted to show me a miniature schnauzer puppy she thought was really cute. When we got to the store, we walked over the to puppy section and there she was-SO CUTE. She was so little and had perfect coloring. Mom asked if she thought we should buy her, and of course the response was "YES!" We weren't allowed to have pets up until this point because my Dad was allergic. Mini schnauzers do not shed. Mom didn't think Dad would be thrilled, but the twins really wanted a dog as well. I don't really remember Dad putting up much of a fight, or maybe Mom didn't even ask him about getting the dog, but we got her!!
Although she ruined all the carpets in our house, Winnie was the sweetest dog ever. She was tolerant when we eventually brought other dogs into our home. She was definitely part of our family for a very long time, and I will miss her a lot.

And The Son had this to say:

I just wanted to say how sad it was that she spent her whole life up on my bed, looking out that window. From Sunrise to Sunset you always knew where to find her; at her guard post defending the castle.


Mimi said...

Oh Frank, I'm so sorry to hear about Winnie's passing. What a wonderful, long life she had. 16 1/2 years is great! I know you and your family must miss her terribly. Hugs all around.

Kimberly said...

That post was really good, Frankie's too. I will miss her :(

Frank said...

Thanks Mimi and Kim for your kind thoughts.

laura said...

You know that I understand this loss. I am so sorry for you and your family, Frank. Thank you for giving Winnie a wonderful life. I have come to believe that what matters is not how long thelife but how much love is in it. Winnie knew she was loved right up to the end.

Frank said...

Laura, thanks so much for your thoughts and words. We miss her dearly and she has left a void in our home and hearts.