Finding Winnie

Black and tan rescue dog with her favorite toy

Winnie and her favorite toy.

When you adopt and bring a pet into your home it can be life changing. Not only are they a pet, they become a family member. When Ivy Wingate adopted Winnie over a year ago she became a happier and healthier person. The story of  Ivy adopting her new found best friend, Winnie is very touching and heartfelt.

As Ivy was on the hunt for a new pet she instantly knew she wanted to adopt over buying. Ivy has always believed in #adoptdontshop and she doesn’t care about pet bloodlines or papers. When searching to adopt a pet, Ivy was looking to adopt a cat initially. She joined a few Facebook pages and she came across Winnie, who was named “Darcy” by the Henry County Animal Control. When Ivy came across Winnie’s picture she had to go see her because of her sweet face.

Adopting Winnie

Winnie having leash free fun!

A few days later Ivy arrived at the animal control center, looked at the cats and dogs, and then asked to see “Darcy,”­- known now as Winnie who was sitting in her kennel with the saddest look in her eyes. The attendant carried her out into the visitation room and sat her in front of Ivy. Winnie sniffed around, then laid her head on Ivy’s lap. After this sweet moment Ivy felt there was no way she could leave the animal control center without Winnie.  She said, “The look in Winnie’s eyes and the way she gravitated towards me, there was no way I could leave without Winnie”. As Ivy signed paperwork and waited for Winnie to get microchipped, the anticipation to take Winnie home was at an all time high. Ivy informed me that if a dog is not spayed or neutered, it is required that you have to get them spayed/neutered within a month.  Before Winnie was adopted she had a case of worms, which made her sick. The shelter gave Winnie the time to heal and extended her time to get the required surgery.

We’re Going Home

After what seemed like a long adoption process, Ivy knew the first thing on their to do list after leaving the animal control center was give Winnie a bath. Then she realized she didn’t have anything for Winnie, they went shopping for food, treats and bedding. Ivy was more than sure Winnie felt at home with all the new things she received after the shopping spree. Ivy wanted “Darcy” to have a fresh start and gave her a new name, Winnie! The shelter gives all the animals random names, but Winnie was never trained to answer the name Darcy, so it was easy to get her to respond to her new name, which is a play on Ivy’s last name Wingate.

How To Train A Dog

As Ivy shares stories about welcoming Winnie into her new home, she also talked about the training process, and how long it took Winnie to come out of her shell. Ivy explained it took about 6 months for Winnie to blossom because she was

Winnie and Ivy

very anxious upon her arrival, which turned into her tearing up blinds and door jambs. Ivy remained patient and did a lot of research to figure out how to get Winnie well adjusted. She found out crating Winnie while she is at work could make her separation anxiety worse, so she decided to ditch the crate. Now Winnie is able to roam free and Ivy is welcomed home each day by Winnie’s sweet face, instead of her whining in her crate.

When it came to physically training Winnie it was pretty easy, and she already knew how to sit.  Ivy also taught her “wait” when they were getting ready to go out for a walk because the last thing she wanted Winnie to do is run out the door.  She’s pretty good at sitting in front of a wide open door, although Ivy would never trust her if a squirrel came running by. Winnie knows “down” and “bed” as well as “Go sit” which

means go sit on the couch. She’s starting to get the hang of “watch me” and they are working on “leave it” and “roll over”. Ivy does not pressure her with a bunch of rules so she is free to roam around, sit on the couch and sleep in the bed, which is why Ivy calls her the best cuddle buddy!

Winnie Changes Ivy’s Life

Winnie in one of her favorite costumes!

Best buds is an understatement, Winnie is stuck to Ivy like glue since the first time they met. A lot has changed in the last year. Winnie is more calm and the two learned how to cope with the separation anxiety. Winnie is now used to her daily routine and knows when Ivy returns home that it is time for a walk or some leash-free fun.

Ivy has learned that a pet can change your outlook on life. Not only are you changing your own life, you are saving and changing a life of an animal. Animals need love and attention just like people, so it was very encouraging and heart felt to hear Ivy’s story of how she saved and changed the life of Winnie.

Ivy and Winnie attended the 2018 Rescue Dog Olympics where Winnie won the costume contest! They plan to attend the March 10, 2019 festival in Piedmont Park—a dog lovin’ festival and dog party, so Winnie can reclaim her best costume title!

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