(2004) The other day I wrote about my volunteering at the local Animal Shelter. That story still isn't completely done, but I just read about the movie "Because of Winn-Dixie," about an unwanted dog who made everyone's life better, and wanted to tell my own Winn-Dixie story.
In the fall of 2000, I went to vote at the polls at the grange in rural Washington State where I was then living. I had lived in the same precinct for nearly 20 years and knew the poll workers who this time greeted me with "Do you want a dog?" There was a small, nondescript dog running around the room greeting people and the poll workers explained that he had been dumped in the neighborhood a couple days before.
I already had two dogs and I thought that I didn't need a third one, but I agreed to take the little guy back with me.
From Day One, Gino showed his gratitude for being rescued by never doing anything wrong. He got along with the other dogs, didn't chase the chickens, didn't bark too much, was nice to visiting children, and behaved well in the house. He was a good boy and I was glad I hadn't left him to be sent to the animal shelter (which did not do as well getting things adopted as we do here). But I still thought I didn't really need that extra mouth to feed.
A year went by and one day I was sort of skipping down my steps and I lost my balance, caught myself with one foot just wrong and shattered my ankle. To make a long story short, on September 11, 2001, I found myself one day out of the hospital after major surgery, on crutches and pain medication, glued to the television set and crying my eyes out. How could I even begin to feel sorry for myself watching New York grieve?
But you know who could feel sorry for me? Gino. Whereas the other dogs weren't the type to let me hug them and cry into them for hours on end, Gino never left my side. He was my greatest comfort.
So I'm just telling you, there are four dogs down at the shelter right now who you probably think you don't need. But you never know...Strawberry or Toothpaste or Nikki or Otis might be YOUR Winn-Dixie; Gino was certainly mine.
Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Thalassius and Limnaeus, Saint Baradates, and Saint Margaret of Cortona.
Famous birthdays include Drew Barrymore (1975, Los Angeles), Ted Kennedy (1932, Boston), and Kyle MacLachlan (1959, Yakima, Washington).