I hope you’ll join me in giving a warm welcome to the newest member of the Temptalia family: Winston Wiggleston! He arrived to his fur-ever home last Tuesday, and we’ve been enjoying the warmth and life he brings to our home while also adjusting to having a puppy in our lives again. It’s been 13 years since we did puppy-raising, and Winston is definitely keeping us on our toes!
He’s an exuberant puppy that pretty much has three modes: eat, sleep, and play. He is most DEFINITELY food-motivated as one might expect a lab to be! He tends to play for an hour or so, then takes a nap for an hour… rinse and repeat. He is also a lover of all fabric things… like curtains, clothes, towels, blankets, and floormats. We can tell he’s a happy-go-lucky, goofy pup that is curious and loves to explore. We picked him from his flight nanny on Tuesday afternoon, and he was joyful, not at all scared, timid, or (seemingly) stressed from his journey to meet us. He was like new! new! new! must stay awake! for all the new!
He enjoys a good sit. That’s his default position, and sometimes, he’ll randomly sit down after he’s scrambled somewhere and tilt his head at us. My favorite thing he does is when he is tired, he takes himself to bed and curls up to go to sleep. If he loves beds, he has come to the right home! He is a sweet boy, albeit incredibly mouthy (mouth first for all the things), that fills our home with love and laughter in a way that only a dog does.
I did not know how I would feel about getting another dog after Mellan passed; he was my first adult dog, and he was really the first dog that I ever felt bonded to (and felt bonded to me). My paternal grandmother was so heartbroken after losing my dad’s childhood lab that she never, ever got another dog. My parents lasted a month before they went from zero to three (my mom was like, “don’t get three like me!”). I had some friends and extended family members who also ended up getting another dog within a few months of losing their furry family members in the past.
Immediately after Mellan passed, I felt like I would, without question, do it again. The sadness of losing him was nothing compared to the sheer amount of joy and love he gave me for the 13 years he lived. Though I am not particularly impulsive, I can be impatient when I’ve made a decision about something. I’ve done research on and off about responsible breeding and breeders for several years, what to look for and the like, and with impressive pedigrees, pups are often reserved well in advance of being born. I decided that it would be perfect to put down a deposit sooner rather than later, knowing that if I really wasn’t ready, I could always back out, which we obviously did not! This would ensured we had ample time to research and choose the right pup–no pressure, no stress, no emotional choices.
Ultimately, it really helped me work through my grief and focus on moving forward knowing that Winston was in the wings. It gave me the sense that we will have that feeling back in the home someday. I will say good morning and boop a nose again. Mellan’s legend has grown every day since he has passed, and we miss him in ways that are difficult to express, but he was always the dog that would play and try to make you laugh when you were sad. I know he would have wanted us to find a way to laugh and smile again!
We bought Mellan from, what we know now as, a backyard breeder, so I knew I wanted to do my research and know more about the parents, their health, and the health of grandparents and great grandparents on any future puppy. Labradors have two builds; there’s the blockier, show-style (often referred to as “English”) and the leaner, field-style (often referred to as “American”). Field labs are working labs who are often more responsive to training, focus on their handler, and can be higher energy. We were lucky to find a litter that was due to go home about three months after Mellan’s passing, which seemed like a–potentially–reasonable length of time to work through some of our grief for Mellan.
It was an extraordinary experience to watch Winston and his siblings from birth to eight weeks (when labrador puppies typically go home). There were only three boys, and we were third male pick, so we tried hard not fall in love (we joked that we were getting the “leftover” puppy, in the best way, and frankly, we picked Mellan because he had a block spot on his ear, so we could track him… and he turned out to be an amazing boy). That being said, I was so drawn to Winston from the day he was born; he was Mr. Blue, and try as I might, every time I saw him in photos or videos, he pulled at my heart strings. The three boys were all lovely pups, and no doubt, we would have fallen in love with any of them, but we ended up with our “first” pick! 🙂
Mellan was a puppy before we all had great cameras on our phones, so I’ll be taking even MORE photos and videos of this boy as he grows up than I did of Mellan for sure. You can find him on Instagram, @winstonwiggleston, which is 50% for my mom so she can easily find all his photos and videos. 😂
Thank you to everyone who has given me advice, reached out, and offered words of comfort after we said goodbye to Mellan. Being able to share so many memories of Mellan over the last few months has helped me so much in my grief, and I am so fortunate to have such understanding readers who have given me that space to do so.