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In Loving Memory

We kept him until he died ... and sat with him during the long last minutes when a horse comes closest to seeming human.
- C.J.J. Mullen

Sadly gone, but not forgotten . . .

Winston Freebie  
  Pup  
    Minnie
     

"Winston"
Born: June 1, 2000 Died: February 5, 2005
This is by far the most upsetting thing I will have to write. 

Winston was not a planned purchase.  I never thought I could love a pet so much. 

Winston was born on June 1, 2000 to Pugsley and Wednesday.  Pugsley and Wednesday were owned by friends of mine (the same people I bought Peanut my miniature horse from - also an unplanned purchase). 

Of course I went to see the puppies!  They were so cute.  Another friend of mine was purchasing a female puppy.  I kept thinking it over in my mind . . . . do I want a dog?  I love dogs . . . but I have an active lifestyle.  I was quite involved with my horses and not home alot.  Would I be able to give a dog the attention the need?  Cats are different.

Then one day I called up my friend and told her to pick me out a puppy.  I wanted a quiet male.  She picked Winston because he was laid back. 

Next decision . . . what to name this puppy.  Keeping in line with Pugsley and Wednesday, I thought of Gomez.  But he did not look like a Gomez.  Then my friend's sister said, "He looks like Winston Churchill".  So Winston was his name!

Of course he quickly fit into my life.  I crate trained him - called it his kennel.  My neighbor's granddaughter was home during the day in the summer and she assisted by letting Winston out while I was at work. 

I was able to take him with me just about everywhere I went.  He went to the barns and quickly learned about horses, other BIG dogs, cats, bunnies and pigs!  He was very social. 

He went to 'Grandma's', "Aunty Lori's" and "Uncle Danny's".  He went to "the big guy's house" (my neighbor Jim) alot.  Jim keeps Beggin Strips in his cupboard and Winston quickly learned this!

Winston even went to work with me at the Flower Shop and the RLB Saddlery store.  He went to the Finleyville Post Office and the National City bank quite often.  He quickly fit in anywhere he went.  I often commented that I could take him shopping to the mall - he was that well behaved.  He loved going to the pet store or for a car ride anywhere.  He was content to wait in the car if he had to.  He loved walks anywhere.  I was so glad that I was able to leave him off his leash and he listened, well, most of the time. 

People all over Finleyville loved this dog.  Everyone knew his name.  They don't know my name, but they knew Winston. 

Many strangers visited him and immediately loved him. 

He was hard to house break.  But eventually learned.  I was able to give him the run of the house when I was at work.  He would watch me out the window when I left and greet me at the window when I came home.  Only a few times did he get into the garbage and make a mess.  I feel he did this to show his anger at being left home alone.  Sometimes I just could not take him with me. 

He slept on the bed with me an SNORED alot.  Took me over a month to get used to sleeping with him.  He often took naps during the day and did not make a peep.  Then at night he was so loud! 

Sometimes he would get a burst of energy and run around like a wild man.  I would sit back an watch thinking 'I got the laid back dog'?  But, I enjoyed every moment with him. 

I did not have to yell at him too often.  He did became known as 'Winston Anthony' when I was mad.  You know people only give middle names to their kids so they can use it when they are mad.

On December 21, 2004 my sister had an aneurism burst in her head.  About the same time Winston was vomiting and had diarrhea.  I took him to the vet and they kept him - thinking he was dehydrated.  They planned on settling him down and refeeding him.  His vomiting continued and long story short we were referred to a Veterinary Specialist.  They quickly diagnosed him with Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). 

I received this diagnosis on December 27, 2004.  I was quite upset and shocked.  My little puggy was very sick and I did not have a job and could not afford his treatment.  My mom spoke up and volunteered her Visa card to help out. 

While lymphoma is not curable, I did decide to give Winston oral chemotherapy in hopes of getting him into remission.  So much was happening at the same time and I was overwhelmed.  I was not ready to lose my dog plus my sister was very critical at the same time. 

Over the next 5 weeks Winston was in and out of the hospital.  Seems the chemo and prednisone would help him for a week to ten days and then he would crash. 

Cancer is very MEAN

After his last hospitalization and very aggressive chemo treatment he was doing very well.  He got a good vet report.  His blood work was 'normal'.  His lymph node swelling was gone!  I was hopeful for long term remission.  It lasted less than 24 hours. 

He got a good vet report on a Wednesday and the swelling was gone.  On Thursday I noticed the swelling starting again.  Then Friday it was worse.  Saturday morning it was HUGE.  His neck was so big . . . like tennis balls!  I knew it was time to make the big, hard decision.  I just could not put him through any more hospitalization.  He was not happy with it and the bill was approaching $5000. 

It was not really about the money - but the fact that there was nothing more his cancer doctor could do for him. 

I made the awful decision to put him to sleep. 

I don't think I will ever forget that awful day.  I called the local vet at 9am and made the appointment for 11am that same day.  Then I took Winston to his grandmother's so she and his Aunt Lori and Uncle Danny could say goodbye.  I then took him for a short walk. 

I think he understood what I was about to do.

I chose to go to the vet alone.  I knew I would be hysterical but I did not want anyone else with me.  I can still remember seeing him on the table.  I was crying and apologizing to him.  I was so sorry to be putting him to sleep.  I was so sorry he was sick. I told him he did not deserve to be sick.  I told him repeatedly how much I loved him, how much he was loved and how much I would miss him!!  

He died peacefully in my arms at 11:20 am on February 5, 2005.   He was only 4 1/2 years old.  Much too young.

No more suffering.  No more hospitals.  No more Winnie. 

I see his face everywhere.  I miss him terribly.  It is now almost a month later.  I still cry at unplanned moments over him.  I think of him often.  I talk to him. 

When I found my cat Freebie dead the next week, I looked up to heaven and said "Winnie, you better not be chasing Freebie"!

He did not deserve to be sick.  Why Winston?  Where did he get this?   Was it my fault?  Had I taken him somewhere bad?  What happened and why?  WHY?

Winston made such a great impression on so many people.  He was only 4 1/2 years old!  Too young to die!   Why??

No more watching me leave from the window.  No more greeting me when I came home.  No more snoring.  No more running about like a mad man.  No more shoveling the snow from the back yard for him.  No more "dinner for the Winner".  No more puggy in my life.

He had many pet names:  Winston, Winnie, Win, Winner, Puggy, Puggleston, Puggy Puggleston, Bear, Pooh Pear, Poohey, Winnie the Pooh, Winston Anthony, Baby Bear and many more. 

He had awesome facial expressions. 

He reacted to many words and phrases:  who wants to eat?, treat?, the big guy's house, go to the barn?, go for a ride?, are you cute?, who wants to eat?, who did this?, and many more. 

I can still see his little face all over my house.  He would lay next to my desk at home when I was working.  He would lay by the bathroom door.  He loved the recliner.  He treated the back yard as his kingdom.  He watched TV with me and jumped at the TV when an animal was on the screen.  It was impossible to watch Animal Planet or a dog show!

He even had a favorite TV commercial - the one where the squirrel causes a car to crash and then the two squirrels high-five each other.  It is for an insurance company.  Somehow Winston knew the commercial was coming on before it was on the screen.  Perhaps he could hear something.  He jumped at the screen barking at it. 

Yes, it is hard losing a pet.  I miss him more than some relatives.  At the time you say NO MORE pets.  It hurts too much to lose them.  BUT they bring so much to your life. 

Unfortunately death is part of life.

Winston was cremated and now sits in my curio cabinet.  I will have him buried with me when I die.

Coincidently Winston's mother was bred the same day I put him to sleep.  I am making plans to get one of the puppies.  I told my friend to pick out a 'quiet' male just like Winston.  I asked her sister to assist in naming the new pup.  I would not have it any other way just minus the cancer.

Oh, puggy, I miss you!!  

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"Freebie"
Born: ~1997 or 1998 Died: Feb 12, 2005
My first cat! 

I moved into a townhouse in Woodlawn, Maryland on October 31, 1999.  As I was moving in this black cat was hanging around.  Of course the front door was open also.  He would come into the entry hall and run back out.  Over time he would run into the living room and then back out.

Over the next few days, he would greet me when I came home from work.  I would open the front door and in he would come.  I was not sure where he lived and the weather was getting colder.  So, long story short, I started letting him stay overnight and put him outside in the morning. 

As the days passed, this cat was still  hanging around and staying overnight.  So I got him food, water and a liter pan.  After about a couple of weeks, I decided he needed a name.

 As corny as it sounds, I called him Freebie.

One day, about a month later, my next door neighbor stopped and talked to me.  She asked if I saw her cat?  I asked if it was a black cat.  Yes, it was.  I said I think he is living at my house.  She explained that she was a college student and also worked alot and was not home much.  She was going to be moving and was going to take the cat to the pound.  I explained that her cat had been living at my house and I had given him a name.  I would be happy to keep the cat.  She was happy. 

Seems Freebie was born in New York then the college student brought him to Maryland.  She also told me he was about 1 year old at the time.  She was also impressed when I called his name and he came running from the woods over to greet us. 

So that is how Freebie came to live with me!

I was really not a 'cat' person, but as I soon found out this was no ordinary cat.  He quickly learned his name.  Loved being outside and came in when I called him. 

He was very smart.  He made friends with another cat across the street named Benson.  One day Benson came visiting.  When I noticed Benson sitting on the window ledge, I called Freebie and said "Benson is here".  No lie, Freebie jumped off the bed upstairs, came down the steps, went to the door and meowed.  I opened the door and Freebie and Benson went over to the woods together. 

I later found out that on the nights when I was unable to get Freebie to come in, he was actually having a sleep-over and Benson's house!  

Freebie never ruined anything in the house.  He had his favorite tree stump outside where he sharpened his claws. 

Since I was often away for the weekend, I decided Freebie needed a friend.  Another long story short . . . I got another stray cat and named her Princess.  It took over a month for them to get used to each other but I felt better knowing Freebie had company. 

I had Princess declawed because she quickly ruined my sofa, therefore making her an indoor cat.  Sometimes she would escape and go outside.  She was very hard to catch.  Many times I called Freebie and asked him 'Where is Princess'?  No lie . . . he would go to the car she was hiding under.  I would leave the front door open and Freebie would help me shoo Princess into the house! 

About 4 years later I was moving back to Pittsburgh.  I was taking both cats with me.  The vet gave me some 'kitty' valium for the 5 hour car ride.  Princess got real relaxed and slurred meows for 5.5 hours.  Freebie reacted as if I gave him a hit of speed!   He went wild in his carrier.  Tried to claw his way out for the entire trip. 

When I got to the new house, the vet told me to let them in one room for a few days to get acclimated.  I decided both of them would be in the bedroom with me.  Well, Freebie came out of the carrier and attacked me.  He roared like a lion.  He sacred me and I opened the bedroom door giving him the run of the house.  I decided if he was no better in the morning I was going to have to put him to sleep.  Well, in the morning he was his usual sweet self and I was relieved. 

Freebie continued being a smart cat.  He loved going outside.  He patrolled the neighborhood as if he owned it.  Most of my neighbors enjoyed Freebie.  Freebie kept the neighborhood free from mice and other pests. 

He continued to be an active cat until the day he died. 

About two months prior to his death I noticed he was getting skinny.  He was always a fit cat which I attributed to him being and indoor/outdoor active cat.  He was eating and acting normal otherwise.

On February 5, 2005 I had to put my dog to sleep.  A week later I picked Freebie up and put him on the bed to sleep with me.  He quickly jumped down and laid in the hall - something unusual for him.  About an hour later he cried out 3 times.  I looked at him and ask what was wrong?  He got up and went downstairs.  Then I noticed he left a 'present' on the hallway rug.  Freebie never messed in the house.  I cleaned it up and thought perhaps that was why he was crying. 

The next morning he was not in his 'bed' near the window.  I called for him and he did not come.  I went downstairs and found him dead. 

What a shock!  To lose 2 cherished pets with a week! 

I was happy Freebie died in the house and not outside somewhere.  Had he died outside, I might never know where he was.  I do wish I had checked on him when he went downstairs.  I would have liked to tell him how much I loved him and what a great cat he was. 

He was a very special cat.  Very smart and although independent - he did have a sweet side.  I had him cremated and he now sits in my curio cabinet next to Winston's ashes. 

Many of my friends commented that Freebie 'missed' Winston.  I doubt it!  Winston chased Freebie something terrible!!  Funny, all Freebie would have had to do was hiss at Winston once and Winston would have let him alone. 

I miss Freebie.  My other cats miss him.  Shadow, my 8 year old, misses him the most.  She and Freebie often slept next to each other by the window.  Shadow, who is quite independent, is now acknowledging me more.  She even sleeps on the bed with me at night. 

Shadow is declawed and mostly stays inside.  At times I would let her outside for some fresh air.  I told Freebie it was his job to protect Shadow.  I was amazed to often see him wherever she was - most likely doing his job as a big brother.

As I said above, I am not really a 'cat' person, but Freebie changed my mind.  He was the closest animal to being human that I have ever met.  He is missed by all. 

He had 17-18 wonderful years of life.  He was either outside exploring or mad being inside when I deemed it too cold for him to go outside.  He was an excellent pet.  One I don't think I could ever replace. 

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Puperoni - "Pup"
Born: 1987 Died: 2/2/2000
I received Pup two days before my 12th birthday on June 20 1996. He was a 9 year old Appy that stood around 14.2 hands high. Let me tell you, big things come in small packages! From the start it was a real experience!

Pup had a wonderful personality and always willing to do anything. He walked right on the trailer with no problem, clipped easily and calm on the ground but when you got on his back he sometimes was a whole different horse.

I rode him English and Western. We used to go to Coxís to do the games. We never would win anything because I was to afraid to let him all out. Thatís because he would not stop until the last minute. Kinda scary! I fell off many times like that. We also did a lot of trail riding. He was fine by himself but when other horses were around he wanted to be the leader. He would bunny hop most of the time if he wasnít in the front. He made all my trail rides exciting but frustrating. One time I galloped him up the hill thinking he would stop at the top, naturally he didnít and we were still going down the other side at almost a full gallop. He had a lot of power under his short legs. Unfortunately I never had the chance to ride him at a full gallop.

On some occasions I got so frustrated I wanted to sell him but I never had the heart to part with him. One day in the fall of 99' on a trail ride with 6 people Pup was really acting up. We were riding along side a road when he decided to do a side pass across the road. Thatís when I finally said it was time for him to go! I put up a paper at a local barn but everyone knew him there from the games they had at their barn. I also put up a sign at a auction but only got two calls. One was someone that wanted him for his beginner rider. Obviously they didnít read the ad! The next asked if he was registered and he wasnít so that was the end of that.

One cold snowy day I toke a ride on him. He was being really good. The next day on February 2nd when I came home from school the owner of the barn called and told me Pup had colic. I spent my whole evening up at the barn trying to keep him on his feet. The vet came out and said he probably had a twisted gut and would need surgery. Even with the surgery, the vet said his chances werenít good. We opted to give him an IV and sedate him to make him comfortable. We tried our best but it was time to put him down in the middle of the night. It took me a while to go back up to the barn again.

My momís cousin has Arabian horses and when she heard about Pup, she wanted me to have her 2 yr old Arabian mare named Starrif that I had been working with. Starrif is a joy to have along with my pony named Sparky (he pulls a cart). I am quite busy working with both my horses. Although no horse can ever replace the best friend I lost that cold night in February, hopefully my new friends will begin to fill in Pupís horseshoes.

Kaley Jones

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"Minnie Pearl"
Born: ? Died: July 5, 2004
Minnie was a sweet and patient horse owned by Wendy, a friend of mine.  Minnie was my mare's first pasture buddy when my horse, Missy, was 14 months old.  I remember Missy wanting to play but Minnie just wanted to eat.  Minnie was tolerant of the 'baby' and taught her well.  I also remember Missy watching Minnie rolling in the pasture.

Minnie and Wendy took Missy and I on our first trail ride. Apparently Minnie was walking too slow because Missy passed her walking up the hill.  I was so nervous, but Minnie and Wendy led us through the experience.

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  Last Update - June 11, 2014