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There’s something about new life on the farm that brings with it a sense of energy, purpose and challenge. At least that’s been our experience with our newest addition, Boxer puppy Winnie.

We’ve known since our 12 year old dog Stella passed away last summer that we wanted another dog. Then, when our two-year-old pup Marshall died last month, we knew it was time. In no way is Winnie a replacement for either dog. Simply put, she is a little rescue puppy that needed a home. And we needed her.

I’ve lost count of the number of paw shaped bumper stickers I’ve seen that say “Who rescued who?” After the past few weeks, I can say that Winnie (AKA Winifred) has rescued us. With our sadness over our other pets, as well as a myriad of unrelated adjustments and challenges, she has brought healing to our aching hearts.

She’s also brought a lot of joy. When we were considering what to call her, I researched names that mean joy. That’s just one of the attributes associated with the Welsh name Winifred.

Winnie’s energy is off the charts - until it isn’t. In fact, she has only two speeds: full throttle and dead-to-the-world. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know what I mean.

The first time she got close to Samson, our Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD), he bared his teeth and growled under his breath. Since then, though, he’s developed a tolerance of her reminiscent of other older brothers. Dewey, our other “indoor dog” (let’s get real - most of the day, all of these pups are outdoors) is almost always up for a wrestling match. Roe, Mac and Yessika’s pup, has also become one of her boys.

Winnie is living a life few dogs ever dream of. She “helps” Houston feed the animals, rides with him on the tractor, welcomes guests, and in general helps run the farm. Then, when it’s time to come in, she’s ready for a snuggle and a nap.

We’ve had a lot of pets over the years and have learned - sometimes the hard way - the importance of considering our own need and the dog’s purpose. Whether adopting from a rescue organization or buying from a breeder - we’ve done both - there are questions to ask: Will they be a working dog or a family pet? Will they go with us on a morning walk or run or will they stay curled up on the sofa most of the day? Are there other pets or small children already in the home? What’s the living space like? Do we have time to train a dog or work with a pup that has had a rough past?

There are so many great dogs out there. If you’re looking for one, I hope you find one as great as the little lady we adopted a few weeks ago.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the February 25, 2023 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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