Winston's Story

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love and leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion"
 Author:  Unknown

After having to euthanize Winston on 05 January 2016 I decided to write about his life that was a little less than 12 years. He cried out in pain when he woke up in the morning after taking just a few steps, on 19 December 2015. Whatever the injury was, Winston lost the use of his rear legs.

This page is not only for me to look back on, but also a "special friend" of his, along with other blog readers.


Due to my being the first to put down a deposit, I had pick of the litter in 2004. I wasn't looking for show quality, just a hound. Winston came from a small litter and was only "pet" quality because his tail naturally turned to the right when you looked at him. The breeder sent me a photo when he was a couple of days old.

He may have been Mahogany and White like his "grandfather" but he would turn his head at times and look just like his father. It was the same look he gave me his last night at home when I caught him walking in the hallway toward the bedroom ... I asked "where do you think you are going?" ... he stopped, turned and gave me the exact same look as his father in the next picture.

I told her to start calling him Winston.

He was born May 18, 2004. I could pick him up at 8 weeks. So I fired up my 1963 VW Panel and took off on the 5 hour trip to NW Ohio. It had a bench seat with a couple of Mexican blankets for him to ride back on. That 5 hour drive back to the "tropics" of Southern Indiana, proved to me he loved riding.

At the time I had a large bloodhound named Bertha who had lost her basset buddy, Maggie just a few summers before. From the very first hour that Winston was home ... Bertha never left his side until she died in 2008. They played constantly .... they were inseparable.

It was a few weeks after arriving that Bertha wanted a photo with "her" new puppy.

Not only outside but Winston loved having his bones and animals to chew on inside. He thought he love those things until he found my brand new Sony Ericsson flip cell phone. He didn't damage it totally, it worked but you could no longer read the screen. It still sold on eBay, damaged and all. That was the only thing of mine that I could remember him ever chewing.

He loved running in the field behind his house. Him and Bertha would spend hours exploring every inch of it. Years later he taught Sadie, Stella, Max the ability to enjoy the field like he did.

With all of that running and playing he and Bertha would recoup with a lot of sleep. The furniture was fairly new but I didn't care ... my couch was his couch.

When Stella came to live with us in August 2015, Winston let her know the couch was okay to sleep on and he even let Stella use some of his space.

For some reason, when he slept he always had his butt touching another hound, a chair, my arm or leg.

This is Winston's new bloodhound puppy Sadie around 2009, when Sadie was about a year old.

Getting back to where I said he loved to ride - even from that first 5 hour drive when I went up to NW Ohio to bring him home at 8 weeks. Over the years when he wanted to go for a ride, he wouldn't come and get me - he would go outside and sit in front of the VW and later the Chevy pickup truck and just sit there staring back at the house.

He knew eventually I'd stop what I was doing, grab the keys, lift him into the front seat and we cruise the local area. He would sit there for however long it took for me to give him a ride.

Unlike my other basset hounds or the breed itself - he never wandered away from his yard and the field directly behind the house. He had plenty of chances because he would be outside for an hour as I kept an eye on him - just exploring all the smells.

He never cared what season it was - whether the August heat or the freezing snow in January - he just liked going outside.

He loved the daily walk through the field. It didn't matter if I had a leash on him or let him walk free - he ALWAYS went at his own pace. That pace included a lot of stopping on the way to check out everything of interest his nose was picking up. We would always have to stop and wait for him to catch up. I guess you could say there was never a smell that he didn't like.

This past summer he decided he liked looking over the embankment. He'd look at the house to check to see if I was watching him, then trying to decide if he should escape the yard for his first time ever.

He never minded being lifted into the bath tub for a nice bath. He would usually try to lay down with the water coming up to his nose. It didn't matter how many towels were used to dry him off, he knew the best way to dry off was in the back yard, rolling around the grass. Of course a few times Sadie thought it was best if she gave him instructions on how to dry off.

On the really hot days, he enjoyed either laying in the grass, the warm concrete floor in the carport or on those red stone panels by the corner of the house.

I know it might be hard to believe, but at the time of "rush hour" traffic going by the house, he use to go outside and lay on the corner of the carport watching the traffic go by heading north. Most of those cars were coming from where I use to work. A few times I'd have someone stop me at work in my "working days" and tell me they saw Winston watching traffic the other night. It was another place that he would sit for hours or until I went outside telling him he had to come in. That was also his favorite spot to sit and watch me mow the front yard.

He knew the "house rules" that he was not allowed in the front yard. Reason being, I didn't want to give him the chance to see another rabbit or squirrel, maybe even a bird that would make him run onto the highway. Yet, when he was looking for Heidi last summer he noticed she was sunbathing in the front yard. He thought he'd take a chance on breaking the "house rules"

He decided he might like to try a little camping. Like camping in a tent ... somewhere far away from his backyard. So this past summer in 2015 we bought a tent. He checked it out, liked it and it wasn't long before we headed out to Utah and Colorado for a couple of nights of tent camping.

We spent our first night in Rifle SP, in Rifle Colorado. That hot afternoon he felt it was better to sleep in the dirt rather than on the blanket.

The next night we were out in Utah somewhere, waiting for the storms. Since he had experience using a sleeping bag inside the house, using one in a tent was no problem.

Enjoying a nice warm October day.

Over the 11 years and 7 months we spent a lot of nights sitting on the couch watching football, basketball or baseball games on tv.  As you can tell he was a huge sports fan.

He was such in good shape his 10th birthday that with his great health and a history of no health issues, I thought he might be my first basset hound to live to be a 15 year old basset hound. That would have made him 105 in people years.

Little did we know that on December 18 when I took the photo below photo, his quality of life would change drastically the next morning just as he woke up.

He was pretty sure he could get his back into shape. He tried his best to sleep it off, getting as much rest as possible to help heal his back. The 3 other hounds were concerned after they saw him walking with a t-shirt sling lifting his rear legs off the ground, and stayed near him to help in his recovery.

As he started feeling better I had to devise a temporary confined area to keep him from walking around the house while his back legs dragged on the floor behind him. So a baby gate, a box and a small heater was about all I could come with. It didn't take him long to figure out that if he nosed and shouldered his way between the box and heater ... he was on the highway to freedom. A couple of 20# dumbbells for support stopped his escapes.

Finally Sadie, Stella and Heidi decided he needed their help.

He had time to enjoy the great weather on Christmas Day 2015, bad back and all. He sat outside looking for snowflakes. Doesn't it usually snow on Christmas??

It didn't matter how much sleep he got, the laser treatments he got nor the 45 anti-inflammatory pills he took -- he couldn't overcome the damage to his back that left his rear legs useless. Finally early one morning he told me it was time to go.

The End

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