Winslet (Winnie) never got to "dress up" for a holiday until she came to America. She got to around Halloween, and did a meet and greet at a dog bakery. (Whenever any of the dog cookies got knocked onto the floor, she was eager to help with the clean up.)
Winslet (Winnie) never had a toy, even though she was three years old. When she came to America, she got two toys--an alligator-y thing and a dragon.
She was so proud of her two "babies." She would prance over to us and put one of them into our lap. Our job: squeeze the baby, make it squeak, and then she'd take it back. Never did she even think of tearing either one of them up.
Winslet (Winnie to us) never had the luxury of sleeping in a dog bed. She also didn't know what it was like to sleep in a safe place. Winnie went back and forth between Radar's bed whenever she wanted (he's an easygoing guy) and a folded-up quilt. Winnie went wherever she wanted... and that was fine with us.
Winslet (always Winnie to us) would go out fifteen times a day to pee (if we let her) because it meant a treat for her when she came in. She'd never gotten a steady supply of treats before she came to St. Louis, never could depend on food and clean water, so when it was breakfast/lunch/dinner (she got fed three times a day) she danced. Literally, she'd dance. When we pulled the lid off the tub of dog chow, she'd stick her head into the tub and get a headstart. When we poured fresh water into the bowl, she'd stick her head under the stream of water to get some right away. You see, Winslet came from Turkey. She was a stray. Strays never know when their next meal or their next bowl of water is coming...
Winslet (never again Winnie) had diarrhea the entire 6 weeks she was with us as a foster dog. She had a super-high white blood cell count. Going into a doggy hospital didn't help. She got released, and went to the vet this past Friday for a re-check with her blood. In the examining room, she began deteriorating before our very eyes. She couldn't use her right front leg. Then her back right leg started failing. She wouldn't blink when they poked their hands toward her eyes. She walked around like she was drunk--using the wall to help support herself and bumping into chairs.
She went to a different doggy hospital Friday evening.* These doctors cared. They researched all weekend (during their time off), looking for the "zebra" that was killing Winnie. (They'd already eliminated all the usual suspects. They were looking for something rare... something that was hardly ever seen.)
They think they found it. Protothecosis. It's untreatable... and on Monday evening it took Winnie.
Before Winnie was euthanized, she had a McDonald's hamburger--another first for her. She was petted and kissed over and over... and hopefully wherever she is now, there is a food and water bowl that's always full, there are lots of stuffed "babies" ** for her to carry around in her mouth, there's people who lover her and there's no more pain.
Winnie died from a rare disease. But a dog that can make a couple of people fall in love with her in just a few days... and then can break their heart in just weeks? That's even rarer.
* Heritage Veterinary Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri and AVS--in Bridgeton, Missouri--did a wonderful job trying to find a diagnosis. An autopsy will be done and samples will be sent to the veterinary college in Columbia. Perhaps vets will learn because of what Winnie went through.
** Winnie was cremated with her dragon baby. If someone doesn't come into a life with a toy, at least they can leave with one...