First Day Of Winter

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Tracey and I have been sniggering and giggling and behaving like school girls for the last few days because we’ve had a secret. A secret which let us say dumb things, like ‘Winter is coming’, and it all going over the kids’ heads.

“Eeeeeee!” Tracey squealed last night as we snuggled up to go to sleep. “We’re having another baby.”

The recent passing of Jazz, our beautiful Samoyed who was only 7 years old, has left such a big hole we decided to do something we’ve never done before – we went looking for a fur baby to adopt. Usually they find us.

And while it was bound to happen we’d have another dog at some point down the track, I think we’re both a little shell-shocked we’ve done this so soon.But the thing about having a near death experience – thank you Tracey – is you realise you aren’t necessarily guaranteed a ‘down the track’, so you know you need to jump in with some things rather than some mystery sweet spot in the foggy future.

Still, we didn’t envision this.

We gave the kids a couple of clues, but they were deliberately obscure.

“Winter,” I told them, because that was the name Tracey and I picked out for her. “Your clue is winter.”

And then we asked them to each grab a towel and meet us at the car.

The guesses were everything from buying new clothes at Kmart (Miss6 was the only one excited by that) to ice skating on a river.

So when they walked around the back of a house to find a couple of puppies eager for a play, they were all super excited.


Miss9 wasn’t at all thrilled at first.

“No, we can’t get a new dog. We can’t,” she whispered to me while the others played. We knew she’d take a little time to come around to the idea. Change isn’t something she enjoys. But in this case it wasn’t just change which was the issue for her. It was something more heart wrenching.  “If we get another dog it will die, like Jazzy.”

Of course, she’s on board now. You can’t be around a Samoyed pup for long without falling, quicker than a drunkard on skates, helplessly in love and talking like a simpleton.

“You are beaudiful, yes you are. Yes you aaaaaare. Yeeeees youuuu aaaaaaaare.”

We explained to Miss9 Jazz was unlucky. She suffered things she shouldn’t have, and she should have been with us a lot longer.

Again, there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow. Even for much loved pets.

But we’re hoping Winter Devereaux will have better luck. At least we can do our best to make her time with us as playful and fun as possible.

She’s only been with us for a few hours but it feels like Winter has been with us forever. She’s an energetic reminder of our Jazz and already she’s filling that saddest of holes and making this family more whole.

As we explained to Miss9, “We’re not replacing Jazz. No dog could ever do that. But because Jazz was such a wonderful part of this family she’s paved the way for us to want to share our home and ourselves with another doggy.”

There’s really nothing like a new baby to lift your spirits and remind you what it’s all about: Love. It’s that simple. We all want something to love unconditionally because it makes us feel happy to be giving. Dogs seem to intuitively get that.

“Congratulations,” I said to Tracey while the kids raced around getting to know their new best friend. “It’s a girl.”

We shared a hug while we soaked it all in, tucking all the memories away to enjoy later.

After all, you only get to bring each new family member home once.

Winter's mother looked so much like our Jazz I welled up
Winter’s mother looked so much like our Jazz I welled up

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The kids took turns hugging Winter on the trip home. Pleased to be able to announce Winter held on so we didn’t need to deploy the towels.
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Miss9 soon came around to the notion that some change is good

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Miss4 introduces Winter to her favourite backyard game

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By the end of the afternoon, Winter was looking less like a snow white Samoyed and a lot more like our Jazz. Maybe it’s us?

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Raising a family on little more than laughs.


  • We lost our beloved Rigley to insulin dependant diabetes. We had 2 other dogs at the time. We still felt a hole in our house. Crazy, I know. We are now back to three dogs. Although being shih tzus, their three body weights together only equal 30 lbs lol. Congrats!! Jazzy would be happy.

  • Congratulations on your new fur-baby! She’s gorgeous, and will help to fill the empty space in your hearts after Jazzy. Can’t wait to hear more good things happening for your family – you certainly deserve only good things from now on!

  • Master Six has been asking for a dog for about a year now. Instead we are having a little brother for him to play with. At least this way we don’t have to spend a fortune in fencing!

  • Winter is Beautiful! I grew up with one too. He was called Sammie. He loved fishing & camping. Most of all he loved boat rides & chasing rabbits into the blackberries late at night. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing to do. He knew when it was his time though. Miss 9 will forever hold onto her wonderful memories just as I have for over 20years.

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