Last November, three weeks before my daughter was born, our beloved Malamute, Wylie, died. He was 13, yet his death was a still a surprise and sudden. Wylie was my husband’s dog first, and I came along three years later. Losing Wylie was a difficult and painful loss, compounded by the death of our St. Bernard, Matti, a year prior. We’d had dogs for the entirety of our relationship and we’re still grieving.
Cole and I told ourselves that we’d give it at least six months before we even thought of getting a new dog, especially with a new baby. We talked about dogs all the time, and we were frequently struck by moments of deep sadness when we thought about Wylie and Matti or saw photos of them when they were puppies.
Our beloved Wylie and Matti hold such firm, happy places in our hearts, but as of a few weeks ago, we created space for a new four-legged friend, Winston. Winston, also fondly called Winnie, is a Bernedoodle and his black body has patches of white in his paws and chest. He is constant motion, until he collapses for a nap. Just like the rest of the residents of our house, minus the frequent naps. We’re hoping our kids take note. Winston was a bit of an impulse decision, even though we’d had conversations about finding a dog this fall. Over breakfast we saw an ad in the paper for the pups, and by lunchtime, Winston had picked us to be his family.
Our house is even more chaotic with the addition of a puppy and a baby who’s now crawling. Both dog and baby are frequently chased after, and often into something they shouldn’t be. Yet, we’re all madly in love with Winston, and my son is learning the valuable and unforgettable lesson of raising a pet.
We named Winston after the great leader Winston Churchill, feeling like we needed a bit of inspiration during this uncertain time in our history, and after Winnie, the black bear that inspired A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. While Winnie is learning how to be house trained and not to nip or jump or steal shoes, we’re learning how to welcome a new dog into our family. It’s a wonderful lesson for us all.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.