Celebrating Two Years With Winifred

Red House West || Winifred

It’s been two years since I first brought Winifred home, and she has turned into the sweetest, most cuddly, difficult, unbiddable dog I’ve ever loved.

Before Winnie I always had herding mutts–dogs who lived to please and stuck to me like glue.  I don’t know what caused me to stray from my type and bring Winnie home, except the warmth I saw in her gaze, and my childhood dream of having my very own Sandy like Little Orphan Annie.

Red House West || Winifred

We don’t know Winnie’s breed, but she was labelled a “Delta Mix” (meaning the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in Western Alaska) by the rescue organization.  My best guess is that she’s a combination of Alaska Husky and Wheaton Terrier.  It’s been a steep learning curve trying to figure out what makes her tick.  Terriers were bred to work alone without a human present at all, which pretty much means they don’t give a sh*t what you want them to do.  Unlike every dog I’ve had in the past, scolding Winnie only makes her act worse (we went through a period of about a month where every time I would leave the kitchen and come back I would find her with all four paws up on the counters or table).  I’ll still correct her in the moment, but I also heap praise on her for anything and everything she does that isn’t objectionable (you came inside from the backyard, what an amazing dog you are! Wolsey head butted you and you didn’t try to hump him in return, you’re fantastic!), and it seems to be working.

Red House West || Winifred

The other thing that has really helped is our new dog walker.  When my pregnancy turned difficult and I couldn’t walk the girls anymore, we hired Juli Morgan of Barks n’ Rec.  She’s been amazing–she is patient and sweet with Winnie, and just seems to really get her.  Both girls come home exhausted from afternoons with Juli, and Winnie also seems mentally exhausted, but in a good way.  Juli also takes great photos (all the outdoor photos in this post are hers)!

Red House West || Winifred

Our other dog Cora is basically Winnie’s life coach.  For her own part Cora isn’t that excited by other dogs, and that includes Winnie, but Winnie loooves Cora.  She’s always trying to get her to wrestle and play, and when we’re out on a hike Winnie sticks close to Cora and watches her for cues about what she’s supposed to be doing.

Red House West || Winifred IMG_3993

Winnie doesn’t always have the best reactions–she can be growly if she’s startled or nervous–and I always watch her with Opal.  But I have to give her credit and say that she is really devoted to Opal and has always been gentle and sweet with her.  She isn’t one to dole out kisses, but if Opal’s face is nearby, it’s another story.

Red House West || Winifred IMG_2235 IMG_3692

Winnie has a special spot in my heart.  She’s a complicated soul with a checkered past, and I’m really proud of how far she’s come.  She’s much more trusting and relaxed than she was two years ago, and I completely adore her.

By the way, she still sleeps on the dog bed I made for her to celebrate her official adoption, but I don’t recommend making a dog bed out of undyed muslin.  I’ve washed the bed lots of times and the printing has held up well, but the fabric is no match for Winnie’s perpetually damp and dirty lady beard.  Next time I’ll use a darker fabric!

15 responses on “Celebrating Two Years With Winifred

  1. Pippin Schupbach

    My dog Jake loves a good rescue dog story as he himself was is a rescued pup. He was displaced in a horrible tornado, and we suspect he lived in the wild for some time before he got picked up by a sweet woman. He was with her for a bit then she lost her home and was not able to keep him. She then paid $500 a month to have him boarded for a year after which point she surrender him to a border collie rescue group. We LOVE our Jake and he is the best pup ever despite hating thunderstorms. My husband takes him to work every day where he is a professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. Jake is very popular with the students and my husband loves having a smart dog that he can talk philosophy with. Jake is jealous of the bed you made winifred.

  2. joy

    The first RHW post I ever came across was the dog bed. I loved the post, and your love for the dog. And fell for the blog.

    Winnie is worth it and I am so glad you gave her a “shot” in your home. She deserves it.

  3. Katy Gilmore

    It’s perfect to have a Red House West post celebrating Winifred. Along with style and interest, quirk and design, the non-human animals define your Red House West. There is always an adopted and loved critter underfoot, in bed, or on lap – always. Opal’s relationship with them is the best – how utterly for granted she takes their presence. Houses for her will always be full of furry, eager creatures – ready for walks and playing – dressing up and loving.
    (And Juli Morgan is an Anchorage treasure!)

    1. Juli M

      I have never been called a, “treasure.” You made me blush! Ha!

      So happy that the beauty queens of Anchorage have joined the Barks n’ Rec Family! I have a feeling we’ll be long time friends!

    2. Mera Post author

      Opal really does treat the animals like they’re an ordinary part of every household. And I concur fully w/r/t Juli! Thanks Katy!

    1. Mera Post author

      One of my favorite things about the dress up picture is that the stuffed animal dog (proper name “Mush”) is also sporting a snazzy outfit. Thanks Nina!

  4. Carol Bryner

    What a wonderful celebration of your adopted dogs and the people who love them. That dress-up picture is so priceless. I hope you enjoy many, many more years with Winifred and Cora and Wolsey and Cromwell.

  5. Meri

    yAAAY Winnie! I loved reading about your family´s story with Winnie. It´s great to read stories about families that love and respect all of their members, no matter the species. We need more of that. Lots of times people act like our furry friends/family members are “not as important”. Makes me sad every day how intolerant people can be, how cruel to animals (both human and non-human) they can be. That´s why every single positive story is a ray of light. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  6. Lynn Hallquist

    You made my day with this. Thank you for the introduction to Winifred, for your words, and for Opal’s delight.


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