I wanted a ferret. “You do not want a ferret, ” Grandpa exclaimed. He gave me reasons, but I had tuned him out. I wanted one.
I had just turned twenty-two and still knew everything. Andrew had just turned three and we had recently lost our wolf hybrid that he identified with and loved. Andrew loved animals and so did I allowing a menagerie of creatures coming in and out of the house. Four cats were joined by an American Eskimo puppy named Snow White. We needed to keep our minds off of our lost dog. Shyanne was only six months old and was busy crawling all over the house. I had just found out I was pregnant with Emily. Life was full and busy. I liked it that way. A ferret would add character to our already crazy household.
At the pet store, I chose the littlest, cutest white ferret and took him home. I didn’t think to get a cage. He was to be litter box trained and allowed to roam the house like any other pet. Upon getting him home, I realized that perhaps Grandpa was right. The baby ferret was either attached to my foot or Shyanne’s diapered backside at all times by his teeth. This was not going to work.
Shortly afterwards, in the pet store, Andrew was being chased by a giant lizard around the shop (shop lizard, I guess?), I was done with the ferret, I just wanted my money back and to get out of there. They would only offer me an exchange. Now, I am a big dog person. Wolf hybrids, St. Bernards, big fluffy dogs are my style. I was credited a hundred dollars but there was nothing in the shop for less than that.
Except for a new bunch of sickly little shih tzu/poodle mixes that had just arrived. Mangy little things. I chose the one with one blue eye. He was the closest to a husky. We named him Windsor.
I was afraid he would be a fear biter because he was so nervous at home. He had been cooped up for his first six months and knew nothing about playing, jumping on furniture, or receiving kisses. He learned quickly.
He was pretty naughty. He jumped the fence to get into the front yard all the time. His partner in crime, Snow White, who was the same age, could not jump over and play with him. One day, Windsor jumped over the fence and was playing in the front yard. Snow White started convulsing and died. Someone had been dropping poisoned hamburger into the yards all around my neighborhood. Windsor saved himself by jumping the fence. Snow White was eight months old.
Each dog that I brought home….another wolf hybrid, a lhasa apso were among the lost…he would get out of the yard with and come back alone. We joked that he was getting rid of the dogs. So, he was an only dog for a long time.
He has been great with the kids. Three children under the age of four playing with him, dressing him up, dragging him everywhere, he never once nipped. He has been tie dyed, had hair cuts, mohawks, and was walked sixteen miles when Emily decided to walk to Grandma’s house when she was younger. He has loved every minute of it.
He wags his tail around Maryjane. He loves children. He loves cats. We think he may have thought he was a cat. At some point we thought he was lonely and adopted another dog, Bumble the greyhound. Bumble was only two and a half at the time, Windsor was twelve. Windsor was too old to lose Bumble, less than thrilled to have a roommate, but he has dealt with the bumbling new dog tripping over him (who is now nine). He has lived in the inner city, a townhome, an old neighborhood, off to the suburbs, to the country with no fenced yard, and now on a huge plot that doesn’t do him any good because he spends the majority of his day on a pillow. He is deaf and blind. In no pain, just tired. He wags his tail when he hears the kids walking across the floor.
He turns eighteen on Sunday. I never expected to have this little dog for nearly my entire adult life. He has been a very, very good farm dog (city dog, suburb dog, family dog). Happy Birthday Windsor! Sometimes the most unexpected of happenings become a major part of one’s life, an unexpected blessing.