And now we’re seeing the true Winston 🤔

Yes, he’s only a year old. That has become very clear. The cats are no longer hiding from him, so he’s chasing them. This will settle down eventually, but he is definitely obsessed.

His energy level is now typical of a 1-year-old. This is moving into the second week of being here, which stays true to the adage of why we foster for at least  two weeks before becoming available for adoption. The first week is adjustment, the second week is for their true personality to come out.

We had a storm yesterday morning and it continued to rain for several hours. Pour actually. Winston seemed to like watching the rain.

This morning, I’m drinking my coffee and watching Netflix and we’re spending a lot of time looking out the window and barking at stuff.  I was told when I picked him up that they encouraged the barking because she lived alone and they wanted people outside to know there was a large dog inside.

A side note about Brett. He is now almost 12 yet still acts like he’s two. That said, it came to me this morning how he really is sleeping a lot more and when he does sleep he looks old. Definitely not like he could spring into action anymore. It’s been since Jazz that I’ve had an old dog in the house.


Continued improvement

Winston continues to improve. I’m moving the pee pad closer to the door. Tomorrow it will be in the entryway next to the garage door. As long as he keeps using it, I’ll keep it there for a bit, then move it into the garage.

He is peeing outside, but not waiting for me to take him out. He’s a smart boy. We’ll get this worked out. He’s weird, though. I’ve not seen him using the pads, just the result. When we’re outside, he will turn his head and watch himself pee. A co-worker thinks he might be looking for the pad.

We went for a short solo walk yesterday morning. We moved into the grass when we saw a woman with two dogs. Kept walking while the other dogs went a little crazy. Winston wanted to stop and bark, and as we were dealing with that, two bikes came up and he redirected all his energy to that. I got after him and kept walking in the opposite direction. I feel like it’s not as bad as the other day.

Today he barely saw a bike go by out the deck door, ran to it, then ran to the couch to bark out the front window. I have a squirt bottle at the ready now, so he gets a dose of water which quiets him down pretty good. He’s starting to recognize that, too.

Otherwise our walks are with Brett, just out around the pine trees in the park and back. He’s still nervous as he walks through the door. Will get off the step and turn around and try to pull away from me. Seems to be afraid of the parked car.

Baby steps.


I have to keep reminding myself

Winston is not Rodgers, the same as Rodgers wasn’t Woodson, who wasn’t Thor, who wasn’t Jazz, who wasn’t Travis, who wasn’t Kelly. To have patience. It’s weird, because when I had my own collie in the house I didn’t make these comparisons with the fosters, but now, w/o Rodgers, I find myself making the comparisons.

It’s been two days and Winston is improving, by leaps and bounds actually. He started using the pee pads. I have them in the upstairs hallway. After a day yesterday of taking him outside only to do nothing, even after walking him out around the pavilion, he came back inside and peed on the pad. Before bed last night I let Brett come out with us, loose, in the yard. Brett peed and then Winston peed on top of that. This morning I walked  both of them out into the park. We again had the double pee thing, so hopefully he will catch on. The pee pads stay until he stops using them. I was thinking last night, though, that there is probably not a spot in my house that some dog has not peed.

Every dog has its issues, and it takes at least three years to get them where you want them, from puppies to adults. Brett, at 12, is still working on that 😜. Woodson was as close to perfect as a dog can get. None of them compare to my first collie, Kelly. Spending 24/7 with her because I was in high school, was why she was so well-behaved. Thor and Woodson were a year old when I got them, they started out being calm dogs. All others were puppies. Winston is following Lily (cat), everywhere. She’s come out of hiding and is strutting in front of him daring him to chase her so she can turn and give him her sassy what’s what. Moose is still hiding. He comes out for some attention, then goes back to hiding.

Winston is 1.5, so lots of room for improvement. It’s starting over. It’s important to remember that. I can’t say enough how much he hates bikes. He explodes when he sees one. I’m wondering if I should get a clicker or a whistle. With a clicker I need hands and if I have both dogs, I don’t have hands. If I use a whistle, that can already be hanging around my neck and a sharp blow when he sees a bike might do the trick. I will research it. It might piss the neighbors off, though.

Winston is in the house

I picked him up yesterday, spending time with his elderly mom and her grown grandson, who has spent a lot of time with Winston. They gave me a lot of information. I could tell Grandma was in no shape to take care of a dog. As she said, we all never think we’re going to get old and then it happens. So true. She is now living with her daughter and Winston does not get along with her cat.  Winston, at 1.5 is paper trained, going on pee pads, because she could’t take him outside. There are going out the door issues because of this, but once we’re clear of the door he’s okay.

He is somewhat fearful of many things outside, including the buzzing of the cicadas in the trees. Not as bad as Lassie (if you do a search for Lassie you can read about her), but he is in need of some outdoor training. Today was better, so I’m not expecting this to take long.

Brett was very friendly, which he usually is and they were playing a lot, but Brett gets really rough. He’s still playing, but there isn’t enough floor space in my townhouse for crazy play.

I was told Winston didn’t like bikes and this morning I found out just how bad that is. It’s bad. We will work on that.

He is also somewhat snarly. He snarled at me last night when I took hold of his collar to get him off my bed. And again today when I corrected begging behavior. No biting, but I’m fully aware he could. Thinking he should not live with small children.

And as I typed here, we just had our first squabble. Winston tried to pick up a toy Brett was chewing on. Winston is used to being an only dog. He’s friendly, he met the neighbor’s two small doggies this afternoon and was completely fine. I believe in his previous house, Winston was probably top dog, even as far as the humans went. Used to getting his own way. Even at 12, Brett is the boss as far as dogs go in this house.

After 24 hours, these are what we will work on first.

This said, Winston is a very sweet dog. Super friendly and wants to lay next to me on the couch. He’s become my shadow. I got him a martingale collar today, so no longer feel like he could slip out. I’m going to walk him later, right before dark, hoping all the kids on their bikes will be inside. He is  petite collie, probably around 50 pounds.

Rainbow Bridge – Rodgers

Begging for a face rub

Rodgers was my second foster failure, the summer of 2014. About a month after Woodson died, we got four puppies from a farm in northern Minnesota. Named after artists, there was Renoir, DaVinci, Picasso and Monet. Three of them went off to foster homes, while I kept Renoir for fostering and ended up adopting him.

Named after Aaron Rodgers, he was a very sensitive dog, easy to train with just a look. He mostly just wanted to lean in for face rubs.

Last Monday night he was acting strangely, and when I started trimming his nails, I looked at his gums and they were completely white. Took him outside to pee and his front legs were shaking. I got him in the car and headed for the emergency vet where they found him critical, bleeding into his abdomen. At this point he was laying flat out on a gurney. I made the difficult decision to let him go. Because he hadn’t been injured or ingested poison, they said the mostly likely cause was a tumor on his spleen.

It’s been a difficult week, especially, watching Brett look beyond us each time we come into the house, as if he’s looking for Rodgers to come back. Even though Brett has been through this twice before with Thor and Woodson, I don’t remember him acting like this, I wonder if it’s just because he’s older, or if it’s because Rodgers was so submissive to Brett, Brett is a little lost without someone to boss around.

With foster pup Tennyson

Rodgers was so good with all the puppies I fostered in the last couple years. He would let them snuggle up and was so patient. He also went to events, where he would tell me he really didn’t like the noise, but enjoyed the people.

Tuesday, I was thinking, I’m not sure I can do this anymore, mostly because this makes three collies in a row who have died too young. I know we can’t predict how long a dog will live and I will adopt another one. KJ wants to wait, but I need a collie in my life. They are intelligent and sensitive dogs, and completely click with me.