I've always been a dog man and thought it would be great to have a dog to play with and to keep me company when I first got my own place. On the other hand, I wondered, wouldn't it be unfair for the dog to stay home all day by himself? And what about when I was out of town? He'd have to go to a lonely old kennel, so I didn't get a dog and chose to wait until I got married and had kids. And that was that-until I met Winston.
One day, I was in a local store, and there sitting in a corner was an English bulldog. Now, I had never really wanted a bulldog, all that snorting and slobbering, kind of short and slow. And this dog was really slow, he didn't move at all. I always figured I'd get a yellow or black lab, more of a sporting dog. Even so, this bulldog was really beautiful, in an ugly sort of way. And if I were to be out all day or away on a trip, I sensed he wouldn't mind. So after that bit of deliberation, I opted to buy him right then and there.
I decided to name my dog after Winston Churchill whose nickname was, of course, "The Bull Dog." The name "Winston" seemed to suit my dog well. He was strong and looked wise and tough too. He was always near the front door with his collar on and his dog bowl in front of him.
Did I mention that Winston was made of plaster of paris? As a matter of fact, he was. But he was life-sized and painted brindle and white, and, whenever anyone would come in, they did a quick double-take when they saw him. He looked completely real and was quite popular with my friends. In no time, they all greeted him by name. I think he liked that.
He didn't mind if I was out all day or even for a week. I don't think he missed me at all, and he never went to the bathroom in the house. In fact, he never went anywhere. He'd simply sit there looking at the front door. That dog won any staring contest paws down, and he even knew a few tricks. He could sit, stay or play dead and was very well-mannered.
The best part about having Winston was when my friends brought their dogs over. The same thing happened every time. The visiting dog happily trotted into the house ready to sniff everything in sight, but the moment it saw Winston it froze and stared. And Winston stared back. This really upset the visiting dog, and its hackles went up. Then, slowly, the visitor would realize that Winston wasn't real. And at that moment, the real dog would blush and get a look on its face as if to say, "I knew all along that dog wasn't real."
Sure you did. But if you were watching very closely just then, and it may have been my imagination, as it was fairly subtle, Winston would smile.