Memories of Brandy

No, this blog article isn’t about my liquor preferences. It’s about dogs, my dogs. I’ve had a dog most of my life. Our first was ‘Skippy’, a mixed-breed black and tan mid-sized male dog that we got from the dog pound when I was just six years old. Sandy was our last one – a Belgian Malinois, also known as a Belgian Shepherd Dog. She was so smart that if she had the physical attributes to permit speech, I swear she would have spoken fluently. Her loss left me and my family empty, a void created only by the loss of an important someone. I still feel that way even though she died several years ago, so I haven’t added another dog to my life since.

As a tribute to another particularly special dog, I’d like to tell you about the dog that I had before Sandy. He was named Brandy, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. If you’re wondering what Brandy looked like, just take a moment and google ‘Queen’s Welsh Corgis’. Brandy was a great example of the Pembroke strain of the breed – his parents were both highly decorated show dogs.

A very sad goodbye…

I had to relocate to obtain better services for a disabled son of mine, so I resigned from my job and we sold our home and cottage. My wife and family (three kids) were all packed up to leave. Many people had dropped by to wish us a fond farewell. Our home had been an insane beehive of activity on our last day there. It was at the height of all of this commotion that I noticed Brandy was nowhere to be seen. He had vanished! In a panic, I looked everywhere but he was nowhere to be found. In his seven years with us, he had never been missing off of our property.

As soon as we were settled into our new home thirteen hundred miles away, I started running radio ads for Brandy on stations in our previous city. A distinguishing feature of Brandy was a perfect white diamond shape in the fur at exact center at the back of his tan head. I offered a substantial reward for him and finally after about a month, I received a call that he had been found! The call came from a woman that lived on a farm about thirty miles north of my previous home and she described the white diamond on my dog. She had found Brandy on her land and he was without his collar and tag. He always wore his collar when in our care – always. I paid the reward and shipping by air transport so that I could be re-united with our little family friend once again.

Life as usual with one small exception…

The hard reality is that millions of animals are abused and neglected each year as we all know.The main message of this blog article is that if there is any way that you can help even one animal from suffering, please do what you can!

Two years later, some neighborhood children decided that it would be fun to play with Brandy in their back yard by the pool while I was at work one hot summer day. Unfortunately none of my kids were present.  I heard the story from the person that called me to request that I come and pick up my dog. Brandy had been pushed into the pool as a joke by one of the children playing there and he had drowned. My little friend had died trying desperately to get out of the pool, but couldn’t due to his short little legs being inadequate to save himself. No one would help him out of that pool! Needless to say, I was devastated and to this day my heart still aches.

So why did I write about this?

038Fast-forward to the present and my first novel Imperfect (currently unpublished). The reason my protagonist, Mack Sampson, has a chocolate Labrador in the story is that it has been a dream of mine to have one of my own. In the story, Mack’s dog is named ‘Woof’ and he is the only Lab on the planet, as far as Mack knows, that actually nameditself. He had been badly abused before Mack found him. To understand how this could possibly happen and the circumstances leading to Mack obtaining his fine dog – here comes the sneaky book promo – you’ll just have to read my new book! What would I name my chocolate Lab if I ever get one? Probably ‘Barkly’ but I don’t really know right now…

The hard reality is that millions of animals are abused and neglected each year as we all know. The main message of this blog article is that if there is any way that you can help even one animal from suffering, please do what you can! If I can be a positive force for the better treatment of even a few animals as a result of this piece and my first novel, my efforts will have been well worthwhile.

Stephen Winn

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