Winston, the Smiling Dog

Meet Winston, a Border collie mix who has enriched Sonja and her family’s life. Winston, who loves to go for walks, play ball, and fetch Frisbees, brings energy to their home. He’s sensitive, intelligent, and keeps the family laughing. “He can smile,” Sonja reports, with a hint of pride. “Winston loves attention, and he’ll lie on top of my son’s computer or knock the phone out of my daughter’s hand if they’re on them too long.”

Winston’s family enjoys his antics, especially how he pulls his toys out of his kennel, plays with them, and then puts them back. They admit the habit might be tied to his desire to possess them, but it still brings smiles to their faces. Sonja states Winston has become an important part of her family and she thanks the Carl W. Nelson Animal Shelter in Mauston for allowing it to happen.

A person can adopt a dog, puppy, cat, or kitten at the Carl W. Nelson Animal Shelter for under $175. The animal would be spayed or neutered and have its shots. Check out their website and look at Gizmo, a special needs cat. Other animals, such as a four-year-old yellow lab mix, are featured on their Facebook page.

When I asked director Rosemary what people could do to help, she mentioned the desperate need for financial contributions. Donations support their many programs, including one that assists low-income individuals who can’t afford food or veterinarian care for their pets. People can also volunteer their time. They need people to exercise animals, run the desk, keep the website current, fill holes dug by dogs, and foster animals.

The Sauk County Humane Society (SCHS) also mentions fostering animals on their website They state, “The need for committed foster families is especially urgent from spring to fall, known in the animal shelter world as “kitten season.” Cats (and many animals in general) tend to breed in warm weather, which means local animal shelters get flooded with litters, sometimes accompanied by their moms, but very often orphaned.” Rather than be stuck in a cage, young animals need to be socialized in order to develop good habits, manners, and a pleasant attitude. Fostering can make all the difference. 

If you’d rather adopt, check out the available rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, and dogs, including an adorable one-year-old brindled mixed breed named Calypso aka Dots. While I was there picking up the four large fantail goldfish I adopted (they’ll live in my water garden) a family signed papers for a five-year-old beagle, a companion to their beagle who had just lost his older beagle buddy. It was heartwarming to see the new friends greet one another.

If you can’t foster or adopt, you might want to help out. SCHS adjusted their protocol because of the pandemic, and they now hold their volunteer orientation virtually. They need volunteers to assist in their many programs. Since SCHS is an open admission shelter, which means they accept all animals, people occasionally bring in injured wildlife or birds. Would you be willing to transport them to rehabilitation centers? They also have a program, Companions in Crisis, that assists owners in distress. If an illness, house fire, or other crisis prevents an owner from caring for their pet, volunteers temporarily take over. Children as young as eight years old can participate by walking dogs and socializing animals. They’re looking for people to share their other talents as well. 

  • Could you organize fund raisers?
  • Are you willing to man the desk and answer phone calls? 
  • Do you have the talent to help keep a website updated?

Area humane societies provide a great service. Check out their websites, give them a call, grab a youngster or two, and pay them a visit. Sharing your talents or your home is sure to bring joy. Winston, the smiling dog, would approve.

8 Replies to “Winston, the Smiling Dog”

Look at that cute adorable happy pupper!

Happy indeed! Thanks for reading, Jenny.

I can’t foster myself but I try to donate whenever I can! Adopt, don’t shop!

Dear Ellis,
Yes, adopt, don’t shop. Wise words indeed.
Thanks for reading,

Gayle A Rosengren

Terrific article, Amy! Fun to read and important information conveyed. 🐶🐰😼💗

Thank you, Gayle. Fionna thanks you, too, for adopting and providing her with so much love.

I believe that Winston can smile! I hope one of your readers adopts a dog because of your post. Thanks!

It would be wonderful if this column connects an animal and a family. I know Louie has surely enriched your life.

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