Saying goodbye to the beloved Winston, a true Oxford dog

Winston, our 15-year-old yellow lab mix with one blue eye and one brown eye, died a few days ago. This column is devoted to local food, so that’s my focus as I say goodbye to Winston.

Winston was rescued on Nine Mile Road at age 6-months. He needed a lot of training, which Mel Bussey and Jeff Silverman at Training Tracks skillfully provided. As a result, Winston — like many Labs — was very treat-oriented.

He was well-known in many businesses in Oxford, especially those with dog biscuits. Banks, Oxford Visitors Bureau, and Pate and Mike Rudolph at New York Life will miss dispensing treats to Winston.

He especially loved finding human food, something he never got at home. Saturday mornings before the Farmers Market, Winston walked up High Street chowing down on pizza and bagels dropped by the students Friday night.

Winston also loved walking around the university. He knew all of the dining halls, but he had his favorite.

One day he was grazing outside his favorite dining hall, when a staff person emerged. I explained that the amount of dropped food outside made it Winston’s favorite. She laughed that she had worked at every dining hall on campus and Winston was right, his favorite was the messiest.

Winston was a regular at the winter Farmers Market, when only a few intrepid growers appeared, and customers were scarce. The summer Farmers Market is dog-friendly, but I don’t have enough hands to select, bag, and pay for produce, let alone manage a 75-pound dog.

Three months ago, Winston’s nose took him down the 12 steps to the patio outside the Lutheran Church, which houses Oxford’s awesome Community Adult Day Services. He was smelling the remnants of the previous day’s barbecue.

Winston was invited to meet the folks at the Adult Day Services. It was love at first sight. For the last three months of his life, Winston stopped in to say hi to the folks at the Adult Day Services. I know he will be sorely missed there.

Winston was never in MOON Co-op, health department laws being what they are. But he always liked to make the automatic door open and let staff know he was outside.

It’s hard for me to recall that Winston was hiking with us in Hocking Hills just this past Labor Day weekend. The restaurant by our cabin promised dog-friendly outdoor dining, but the weather was foul that weekend, so the restaurant let Winston eat with us in the enclosed porch.

Oxford is a small town, but a very special place. Oxford Veterinary Hospital is one of the town’s very special assets. Doctors Andrea Mears, Chantel Raghu, Chris Reagh, and the rest of the staff are saints.

I know that many of you have had to say goodbye to pets, so you know that it’s never easy, even when you know their time has come. Dogs teach us that every day is important.

MOON Co-op is Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. Visit online at

About the Author