I remember being scared. Oh, so very scared. I also remember being hungry.

WinstonI could never compete with the bigger dogs for any scraps of food and I was too small for the trash cans. I ate whatever I could find, and a lot of bugs. I do not know how long I was living on the streets, it must have been months.

I had seen the big van before, and watched other dogs get taken away in it. But I was always quick and knew all the best hiding places. I spent much of my time hiding.

But this time they caught me. I was weak. I had not had a full belly for so long. I just wanted to sleep.

I remember being put into a box in the back of the van. There were several other dogs there. We were all scared.

Then we arrived at the facility. Some human in a uniform took my photograph and then he put me in a cage. There was dried dog food and fresh water, and it was clean. It wasn’t that bad actually. But I had no idea why I was there - or what was going to happen. I was still scared.

I wanted to eat the food, I truly did. But I did not see the point. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I was there for a day or two when it happened.

Winston 'before' his transformationEach day I watched as humans walked around the cages of other dogs. There sure was a lot of us. The humans would ooh and ah, and occasionally they would laugh and smile, and they would take a dog away. But I was a mess. No one would want me. I was soaked in poop and my hair was completely overgrown. And besides, I was still so tired.

I spent my day hiding in the back of my cage.

Then I saw them. Three humans looking in at me; there was a little one and a male and female one.

I just stayed in my corner. Others had peered in at me, but only ever for a second or two, and then they would go to the next cage.

But these people stayed.

He was talking to me and smiling.

What was going on?

After a few minutes he put a finger through the cage. I was nervous, but something in me told me it was okay to go over and lick the finger.  I mustered all my courage. I was nervous.

I slowly made my way over to him and licked his finger.

He laughed.

He stayed a few more minutes and I thought I had a chance. Then they left. That night I was sad, and I still could not eat anything.

It was the next morning my life was about to change for ever.

WinstonThis human in a white coat picked me up and looked at me all over. Then another human had this machine that made a buzzing sound. I was scared, but too weak to fight or anything. I let them do what they wanted. It turns out they were cutting off all my fur! They left me naked, but I felt so much better.

Then the human in the white coat came back, and he took me into a room.

He put a needle in me and I fell asleep, when I woke up again I felt different somehow. I was in a different cage this time, and indoors.

Then I heard voices and a human picked me up and carried me outside again.

Then I saw him. The human whose finger I had licked the day before.

Sir WinstonI knew at once what had happened…I knew for the first time in my life I had a family.

I remember dragging him out of there.

I have never felt so happy in all my life!

Winston (with help from Paul Gifford)



Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)