Lessons from Wingo

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A tiny dog shares a deep bond and valuable life lessons with his adopter.

Our pets are companions, family members and beloved best friends. Sometimes they are also the greatest teachers in our life. When Wingo was adopted, he was full of lessons for his adopter, Steve. Four months later, OHS received this touching update.

What My Rescue Pooch Taught Me

We just hit four months together, my little boy and me. I adopted Wingo from OHS, and am so grateful for him. The little guy needed a stable, loving home so that his spirit could flourish. Wingo’s first two years in central California are a mystery. But what bubbles out every day is a pooch with a loving spirit. At first, Wingo was drawn just to women and small kids. Now, he bravely jumps up and onto the lap of men, too, tail wagging in pure joy.

Being with Wingo feels like raising a dog for the first time. The level of knowledge available about behavior, food and health issues is astronomically huge compared to when I raised my first dog over ten years. And the support available is phenomenal, too. In our four months together, this wondrous little pooch taught me some incredible lessons.

How to be a Companion

Wingo doesn’t deviate from who he is: a loving, unconditionally loyal companion. As our time together has grown, his devotion and love expand, both in intensity and broadly to other humans and pooches. Wingo is a toy fox terrier, a blend of fox terrier and chihuahua. One of his traits is to lift a paw to communicate: which direction he is headed, that he wants to play fetch, that is he hungry, and that he needs to go potty. I learn better each day what Wingo is telling me, when he jumps on the couch and “points.” Usually, I guess right. Sometimes not. When we are in sync, it is a magical feeling.

At a street corner on walks, Wingo halts when I say “stay,” and lifts a paw to tell me which way he wants to go. Then at the command “go,” we both cross the street. Wingo knows from my tone and words what is to come, when I utter “walkies” or “breakfast.” He constantly scans me to discern my state of mind and emotions. In that way, we get attuned closer each day. I tap the cushion of the couch and hear the tinkle of his collar as he zooms over, jumps up and lays his head on my lap. Not a word. Pure-loving devotion.

How to be Patient

Wingo is a fount of overflowing patience. Our walks are for him, to explore, leave his “p-note” calling card, and socialize with humans and poochies. I learned to immerse myself in the moment of our walks. I spot buds emerging on plants and trees. I can spot within seconds whether an approaching human is dog-friendly or not. We’ve had some magical connections: couples, families who crave attention from my tail-wagging, excited companion.  Portlanders are incredibly dog friendly and polite, asking to meet Wingo beforehand.

How to Handle Fear

Being together focused my insight into what disturbs my pooch pal. I apply my new-found patience to coax and praise Wingo for going outside in the rain to do his business. Wingo’s fear of driveways is accepted and patiently encouraged to confront. His fear of cars is lightened at each intersection, where I praise him for staying still before crossing.

I learned that vulnerability is best embraced, not fought. That it is natural, and best confronted with patient teaching. I also know not to over-analyze, but accept and deal. What a teacher this little 16 pound pooch is.

What Community Means

In our time together, we’ve met awesome pooches and their humans. We humans share behavior tips and treat favs. OHS is an important resource that reliably provides advice from the match-maker who arranged Wingo’s adoption to the behaviorist. We also found a wonderful source of joy at a local doggy daycare.

Wingo napping, head rested on my lap, a sigh of content. We are both in bliss -unconditional love, devotion and loyalty. I realize the deepest lesson learned from Wingo: humans should be more like dogs.

Four months together. What an incredible journey this rescue pooch has been.

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One Response to “Lessons from Wingo”

  1. Lisa Lakes

    Thank you for your beautiful story. Congratulations on your new life together.

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