Welcome home, Winston!

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Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!
Welcome home, Winston!

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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.


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Lauren Avatar

He is adorable and looks like he’s going to be a lot of fun for you to have around. It is always hard for me to have a quiet house so after my baby girl passed I ended up getting another pup within a few months. It was too lonely without her and dogs just add something special to our lives, and you’re right lots of laughter!

Mariella Avatar

What a cutie he is. We didn’t get another dog after Daisy, largely because of our ages (she really epitomized that stage of our life that was filled with children and pets) and also because we were looking forward to being able to travel (ha…when will we ever be able to do THAT again?) and kenneling a dog at a place we trusted for a weekend or 4 days is a whole lot different than a month or more. I’ve been hoping one of my kids would get a Golden Retriever but so far, nada (daughter and her husband have a Norwegian Forest cat and I don’t think they’ll get a dog until Austin passes away) so that I’d be able to take the dog when THEY travel. That sort of “dog ownership/dog-sitting” appeals to me very much now.

Enjoy Winston. Wishing you all the best for him with his health, temperament, etc.

Christine Avatar

I can understand that! Originally, my husband envisioned more time between dogs for traveling, but it didn’t look like travel was going to be a thing for us for at least another year, if not two or three anyway… plus, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law live here now with my parents coming later this month. So… we have lots of babysitters to choose from!

Alicia Avatar

Just wanted to say that I’m so happy for your family to have the new addition! I hope that Winston brings you as much joy as Mellan did.

Lily Kelley Avatar

Congrats Christine, i am so so happy for you! Winston is lucky for have such a warm and loving forever home with you and your hubby. Looking forward to see Winston growing pictures.

Logan Avatar

Congratulations! Your post brought happy tears to my eyes. Winston is just precious and what a lucky boy to be in a home filled with so much love. Congratulations again, Christine, best wishes on your new journey with your new family member!

Jenn Avatar

What a precious little face! Looking forward to seeing him grow up and I’m glad he’s brought some light back into your life

Lucie Avatar

What a sweet photogenic boy!

My theory is…you just know. I’ve had pets pass where 6 months later I’m like “No, it’s still too soon” and I’ve had them where I’ve adopted the next week. And I think it’s less about the pet and more about just where you are in your life and your own ability to process grief in that moment in time. I generally do rescues and of an animal with a much shorter life span than dogs, but even in that shorter time I’ve bonded with quite a few. I generally know I’m ready again when I find myself surreptitiously checking the humane society website “just in case” and there’s no rhyme or reason as to when that time comes. It’s just a feeling and a need calling out to me.

Christine Avatar

Well-said, Lucie! A friend of mine lost hers, and while she would do it again, she’s partially not yet emotionally ready but also doesn’t feel like she is in the right place to offer the right amount of time for a new dog either.

My mom thought “never again” after the last dog passed, but she, like you, found herself looking for adoptable dogs a few weeks later. She said it was just too quiet!

Lianne Avatar

Awww, what a little beauty! He looks so buttery, and his sleepy eyes are so charming. Love the story of his journey to you, it sounds like you used both head and heart to come to this decision – the right balance. Congrats on your new family member!

Michelle Avatar

Great name.. works with such an adorable pup.
I had a yellow lab mix many years ago (while I was still married), but I’ve not had a dog since. I work outside the home in a Chemistry lab, so I can’t bring one to work. Plus I’m single. I can’t bear to leave a dog all alone during the day. But I will be retired in about 5 years, so maybe I’ll adopt a senior dog then.

Ceilidh Avatar

Precious name for a precious pup. Here’s a blessing and prayer for many happy, healthy, long years together!

When my girl of 13 years passed, I swore I’d never get another dog. I had her since I was 9 and thought no dog could ever replace her. Well, I found out three days later that my grandma’s friend had a surprise litter that was ready for homing. The next day I went, just to look, and came home with my current pup. He’s in his older years now and I’ve loved every one of them that I’ve gotten to share with him. It was a very short amount of time between losing the dog that helped me navigate my teen years, learning to drive, first job and entering college to getting the dog that took me through graduating college, buying my own home and marriage, but it was the right amount of time for me. I wasn’t done grieving my girl and my boy wasn’t a replacement for her. For me, having a dog is a symbiotic relationship and I don’t think I could live without one in my life. Dogs have brought such a richness to my life that I don’t think I want to go without that when it’s my wee lad’s time to go.

Christine Avatar

I’ve often heard that getting a younger dog for your senior dog helps bring out their youth. We didn’t feel comfortable doing that with Mellan since he had more health issues and needed more attention, but I have heard that before and that it can sometimes help the new dog learn manners and boundaries faster!

I’m so glad it worked out and that the new pup helped you grieve and has been there through your journey into adulthood!

Christen Lee Avatar

Awww, welcome Winston! He is adorable. I love the fluffy puppy phase.Good luck with the puppy stage – we did that with Gus, our wirehaired pointing griffon, and it was an ordeal. The eat, play, sleep routine is how puppies go for sure. I look forward to seeing all the pictures and stories – hope he doesn’t destroy any makeup. Gus has decided he likes to chew on mascara tubes….

Christine Avatar

If he destroys makeup, I would not be surprised. He is super mouthy, which I know is mostly normal, but wow! I do not recall having to pull Mellan off as many things 24/7 as this boy. He is keeping us busy! We have the makeup room blocked off entirely for now, lol!

Z Avatar

Yay, good for you!

I have a hard time bringing another pet in to the house after losing one, it feels almost insulting to the previous one, you know? Buuut there are so many animals out there that need love and homes and it’s almost selfish of me to deny an animal a good life because I was carrying a torch for one who is gone. It’s become a duty to provide a good life to an animal in need because I’ve got the stability and income to do so – and I like to see others doing the same. At the same time I often need to reel myself in from taking on too many that it becomes stressful in their lives to deal with unwanted “siblings” – so I feel your mom!

Christine Avatar

I totally understand that! The night before Winston came home, I felt sad and cried over Mellan – I felt like it was having to say goodbye again, in a way. We share memories of him every day, and he’s always in my heart, but in the present, Winston needs and deserves my focus. I also know that Mellan would have approved!

Lune Avatar

Awww, sweetie puppy. I had an irreplaceable childhood cat and felt like I could never really love a kitty again. My new kitty isn’t the same but just as easy to love in his own way. Each relationship is so individualized that it isn’t a matter of “replacing” your best friend when you get new friends, I think. And Winston looks like he has no problem opening anyone’s heart!

Sheena Avatar

Welcome Winston Wiggleston! Looking forward to future photos/videos of you here and there!! ps. one off my ex’s name is Winston. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Stefanie Avatar

Congratulations! Iโ€™m so happy for you. Iโ€™m a dog trainer and would like to share a really good website with you:
Dogbreedinfo.com then click on โ€œLearn to Speak Dogโ€. These are the best advice articles on dog behavior and YOUR behavior and how yours absolutely affects the dog, and how to change your behavior to better communicate what you want from your dog.

Celeste Avatar

I am so incredibly happy for you! I am sad to say we had to say goodbye to our 13 year old sweet boy Chance on Monday. Itโ€™s terribly hard. I was reflecting on the grief and pain, swearing I wouldnโ€™t have another pet. But then I realized, as you said, the sheer joy they give us outweighs the pain and grief of losing them. Iโ€™m really not sure we will have another pet as we are in out 60โ€™s and would like to travel more (once itโ€™s safer), but Iโ€™m not totally ruling it out. Yโ€™all enjoy little Mr. Winston to the hilt!

Heather Dishman Avatar

Welp, grab the tissues, because the waterworks are flowing. I lost the love of my life back in August and I know I will do it again I just can’t bring myself to do it now. They say the best thing you can do is open your heart again to another beloved family member but I’m just not ready. I’m so happy to see you have added Winston (and I love the name!) even if you haven’t finished grieving for Mellan. They say you never get over it, you just learn how to cope as time goes by.

Camila Avatar

We get over it, Heather. We just do not forget!
They are our hearts!
But read my story and I hope it will inspire you. Take your time (or let Saint Francis take it).
Soon, happiness will flow again (so will the fur!)

Kristin Avatar

I think you’ve described my feelings exactly from when we lost Micky to when/how soon we got Sunny. Very well put.
Regardless, congrats: he’s beautiful, and I love his blond eyelashes!!

Nell Avatar

Awe! Welcome Winston Wiggleston!
He is so cute and beyond adorable!
Warning: We had a Winston who quickly became Winnie to us!
Love the name, and look forward to seeing
his exuberance and the joy he brings!๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ ๐Ÿ•

K Avatar

Congratulations, he is beautiful! Puppy days are the best! I have a field lab too and asked you many years ago if our pups (your Mellan) possibly came from the same breeder in Northern CA, as they looked sort of alike. Pretty sure Mellan from the Rainbow Bridge had a hand in sending you Mr. Winston. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jen Avatar

There was always a dog in my family growing up but Elliott is my first puppy as an adult in my own house. The first few weeks were rough… in fact I thought I may have made a huge miscalculation in getting him. He was so needy and very small at first (2.5 lbs.) I carried him around a lot and my mom even made a sling for me so I could wear him, lol. Then one day, probably at week three, I realized I was absolutely in love! It does get better.
I think the thing that helped me the most was understanding that his mouth is really the only way he can grab things. So he wasn’t biting in many cases (there was no pressure) he was just holding my hand or initiating contact.
I took him for his first bike ride Saturday and this weekend I am going to introduce to sand at the beach. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jess Avatar

Oh, congratulations! He is a charmer for sure. We (son and I) have been wanting to add a new member to our family after losing our beloved dog last year, but my husband is indifferent. We shall see if a post-pandemic world changes things. Enjoy Winston and give him a hug from all of us!

Stephanie Avatar

I am so happy for you and your husband. We waited about a month before we put a deposit on Wilson after our previous lab passed. We knew we wanted another lab but needed research time. We found a great breeder and he is so fabulous he has a six month old sister, Lily. Enjoy Winston. They are only puppies for a very short while. (thank goodness!)

Kirsten Avatar

Congrats on your new baby. He must’ve been quite sleepy in all your pics because he looks a little grumpy! ๐Ÿ˜น๐Ÿ˜น๐Ÿ˜น

Ginny Avatar

Oh my gosh what a PRECIOUS. Congrats!

Itโ€™s so exciting to get a new pet. Theyโ€™re just so fun and joyful, even if a bit mischievous. Of course itโ€™s so heartbreaking to lose them too but continually giving animals a great home is very rewarding (IMO!).

Jen R Avatar

Oh, I’m so happy for you, and he is such a precious baby! I loooove the blond eyelashes! Thank you so much for continuing to share your journey with us, and I can’t wait to watch Winston grow (too quickly, I’m sure)!

Chelsea Avatar

I lost my first adult dog, Schatze the Greyhound, almost a year ago. I knew I wanted another dog right away, but every time a rescue group of hounds rolled in, I felt so grief stricken like how that dog might not stack up to my beloved girl, I kept backing out. I too finally researched a good breeder for a whole new flavor of dog, somebody smaller and more scoopable (sometimes after a pandemic a girl just wants a dog that you can scoop up and hug when you need one!). I’m currently on the waiting list, but getting close to the day I’ll be able to pick my puppy. I’m so sorry for your loss and so happy to see your new pup and good times ahead!

Christine Avatar

How exciting that you’re almost there to get a new baby, Chelsea! I can totally see that perspective. I couldn’t imagine how some people would get the same dog over and over again, e.g. yellow lab, and here I am. For me, it’s not sad, it’s just… the face that brings me great comfort and joy? but I could also see it being hard to separate from your last pup.

Erica Avatar

Welcome home Winston! I have been sending good vibes your way with the loss of your beautiful Mellan and have been enjoying the pictures you have been posting of him!

Camila Avatar

Dear Christine,

I wish all the happiness in the world for the three of you! I myself lost my baby daughter Lua for an also terrible cancer and after 30 years, for the first time, the house was dog-less (she was my fifth). It was awful and I knew I had to pick another dog but I decided to wait until I got my job transfer and moved from cities. My dogs stayed with my mother and I lived 280 miles away from them, only visiting every 15 days. Due to this, Lua died away from me. This time, I wanted to be closer. I had no idea how long that would take but Saint Francis of Assisi played a joke at me! Three months later, I rescued a stray dog from a highway and although not intended to keep her, my mother didn’t let her go! Ariel is quite scared still today but is a very bright and play tricks at us all the time! She has the most beautiful and expressive eyes a dog ever had! Not satisfied, three months later, Saint Francis decided Ariel was not enough! I found Maya at 4:30 a.m., arriving home from travelling and she came out of nowhere towards me. I wasn’t going to keep it but, again, my mother said she wanted her. She had canine giant kidney worm but surgery went very well and she didn’t lose her kidney. She made the 280 miles travel and is now with Ariel at my mother’s house (I live closer now). But she is an ordeal!!!!! OMG!!!
I never thought I’d go through this rescue experience. Although I wanted to pick an abandoned dog, I never thought I’d go “all the way”. But they’re both worth it! And happiness, as well as life, can start all over again!
Best of luck to you all.

Veronica Avatar

Oh Christine, I’m so happy for you!!!! I saw the post on instagram this morning about him moving his bed, and I was in love! Dogs do that to us, they make our hearts grow bigger, with more capacity for love.

The love you have for Mellan is still there, Winston is just enlarging your heart so he can fit in as well!!!

P.D. I lost my beloved Jack four years ago, and truly, I have never “recovered”. I remember him every day, we still talk about him, and he is still very much in our hearts. I have Sally, who is going to be 15 years old in July, and I love her to pieces, but I am realizing that my time with her is limited and becoming more precious as days go by. And I will definetly open my heart and my home to a new puppy when she leaves.

Pami Avatar

Welcome Winston Wiggleston!!! What a sweet and precious baby! I just want to cuddle him! Look at that tiny tail. What a cutie! I think maybe Mellan picked him out for you. I’m so happy for your family and your bundle of joy. He’ll be so loved and cherished.

Christine Avatar

My husband couldn’t believe it! The breeder even made sure to tell me “have three favorites!” I was trying to be SO SO good and love them all but was so drawn to Mr. Blue. They were honestly all cuties, and they seemed playful, curious, and generally similar in temperament (at least, based on observations thru 8 weeks!).

Sheryl Thomas Avatar

AWWWW so adorable! Congrats to you and your family! I’m sure Mellan will be an angel on Winston’s shoulder, helping him be a good boy! :))

janine Avatar

Welcome Winston!! Xo what a nice fit. I had a new puppy in 4 days after Scout died. I will forever have a gsd they are an easy keeper. It doesnโ€™t diminish my lost love.

My puppy Loki is a 9 month handful. He was neglected and itโ€™s taking a lot of training and was a rescue.

Winston is a cutie I look forward to more puppy pix.

Genevieve Avatar

How absolutely gorgeous Winston is and I hope that he brings you a great deal of joy and love. Like people, every dog has their own personality and Mellan will remain special in your heart and this little treasure has his life ahead of him.
We have a little baby Harry in our household too and he is 7 months old and a bundle of joy and love too.
I wish you all well.

Brenda Avatar

Congrats on your new fur baby! He is so precious. We were heartbroken when we lost our sweet Harley girl (Yorkie) November 2019. We weren’t sure we wanted or would be able emotionally to do this again. After 3 months I started doing research for a new puppy. Looking for our new puppy really helped me work through losing Harley. Like you, I realized we got Harley from a backyard breeder. This time I did a ton of research to find a responsible breeder. We settled on a Shih Tzu and settled on a breeder. Missed out on 2 litters but hit the jackpot on the 3rd litter and was first pick. We fell in love with Lucy as soon as we saw her. She came home with us. All three of us are very happy. I am so happy for y’all!

Christine Avatar

Kudos to you for doing your research and waiting for the right litter so that you could get the perfect new addition to your home! I also found that moving forward was the best thing for me to manage and work through my grief; I did not mind being present in my grief, but focusing on things that moved me forward into a life without Mellan made it easier to grieve while appreciating all the memories he gave us.

Mary Avatar

OMGoddess cuteness overload ! That little belly .!
3 months is about the time we waited when we decided to bring in a kitten into lives after losing our cat Wanda ( what a diva) ๐Ÿ˜ป we realized how much we missed that energy in our house and we ended up getting 2 tiny highly energetic crazy cute brothers .
Winston is adorable …that is the cutest puppy pile ever …and he is the ONE!
Congratulations !
Welcome little Winston!

Patricia Avatar

Congratulations! My heart broke for you when I read about Mellan’s passing. When we lost our first dog, my husband said that he couldn’t bear to lose another one, so we were not getting another dog. So, you can imagine my surprise when he announced 2 weeks later that we would be getting another dog of the same breed! (His son had done the research and found us a long-time, respected breeder who had an upcoming litter.) The new puppy (Ozzie) grew up to be even sweeter and more loving than our first dog! I hope that your future with Winston is as wonderful as our experience was with our Ozzie. I’m looking forward to watching Winston grow up, so keep sharing those pics!

SueG Avatar

Winston has to be one of the most adorable, photogenic pups I’ve ever seen! Congrats, Christine, on your new addition! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“ธ

Mary Avatar

Winston cannot replace Mellan, but he will give you joy, love, goofy time and hope. When my golden retriever Boo died I didn’t know if I could give my heart again. Boo was my life saver when my mom died.

One and a half years later I got another golden who is a darker color. His name is Graeme. I now can’t imagine life without him. Has saved our sanity during covid. He is eating an old shoe right Now! Still he gives us love and endless goofy times. Enjoy Winston. He is adorable ๐Ÿ˜

Daniela Avatar

SOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU, CHRISTINE!!! (not yelling, just excited!). You are going to give Winston the best life, and he in turn will fill your home with happiness! I am super excited to follow him on IG, watch him grow, and add to your family! His bedroom eyes are the sweetest and I already want to suck on his face! xoxoxoxox

Helene Avatar

Congratulations to Winston, dear pup, you came to a dream home. Your new family will turn out to be so wonderful to you. You will have so much fun, get the best of everything from beds to food to toys and treats. Your family will play with you and teach you so much.
I’m sure you will have a marvellous long life, but for now, remember the chores of a pup, sniff on everything, bite when you want to examine a bit more, but don’t really eat strange stuff that’s not from a bowl or from the hands of your family and friends. You are also responsible for keeping the family active, so get them to play your favourite games with you, and to chase you from time to time.
What more? I’ve always loved being a watch dog, that means bark at everything moving, every time, lots of fun, I also love to chase every and anything, butterflies are a favourite. I’m not much for snuggling, but my kid brother is and he said to tell you that you should really try that.
I think that’s all for now.
Best of everything, little one!
/Stubbs, the standard schnauzer

Gwen Avatar

Christine I’m so happy for you! We got our first baby (@ms_mellybelly on IG) right before Thanksgiving and it was a very similar experience. Finding the right breeder you believe in, trying to fall in love with only the puppy you’ll bring home and having the job (and frustration!) of all the puppy love.
May he bring you at least another 13 years of joy and happy memories!

Selena Juarez Avatar

Omg congratulations on your new fur baby. He is just the cutest. I so wish I could have a pup but my mother in law isnโ€™t a fan of animals. So for the time I am taking care of 6 stray cats. Iโ€™ve been raising 4 of them since they were kittens. And so far I taken the girl to get her shots and neutered… back on track I canโ€™t wait to see all the photos of him cause he sure is camera ready ๐Ÿ• ๐Ÿถ

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