On the 22nd April 2002 the tale of The Wilbies began with the birth of Winnie the miniature dachshund. She was a small black and tan sausage with a domed head and wrinkly feet. When she was 12 weeks old she was given to me for my 18th birthday present from my parents and my life was changed forever.
Winnie and I went everywhere together, we were never separated. I took her to university, I took her to the cinema, I sneaked her into concerts and she was even allowed into restaurants. Everywhere we went people were drawn to her, she had a wisdom about her that gave you a sense she’d been here before. Winnie was also very funny, she would howl and sing to certain songs, she would break into cupboards and steal sweets and hide them around the house, I was often finding chocolate eclairs in the most unusual of places! She even came to therapy with me and used to sit in group discussions about eating disorders, everyone just seemed to accept that we came as a pair. She had a certain human quality about her, its like she knew everything that was happening and she just quietly took it all in.
My husband and I had a theory that she was the smartest dog in the world and even though she seemed very sweet, innocent and totally laid back, secretly she was out saving the world in her biplane when no one was watching. When we went to New York we saw a little bubble car in a museum and it looked like just the sort of thing Peg (our nickname for Winnie – from lake Winnipeg in Canada…don’t ask!) would have driven. We figured she’d come to New York to spy on us while we were on holiday as she was miffed she hadn’t been invited!! I guess I knew Winnie wouldn’t live forever but the thought of loosing her was something I was never able to really consider.
A Far Eastern Cloning Adventure
When my husband Alex and I had been together for just over a year he suggested to me that we ought to get another sausage dog as Winnie was getting old and she would one day have to leave us. I was against this idea as I just didn’t want to consider my life with any other dog than Winnie. One day Alex joked that we should get Winnie cloned so that I would never be without her! A few months later Alex read an article in the Daily Telegraph about a South Korean Biotech company coming to the UK and running a competition to clone one lucky dog owners beloved pet. Obviously I entered this competition and I won!! You can watch my video here that I sent in…funnily enough I had already made this video long before I heard about the competition as I was often making little video compilations of Winnie, she was definitely one of the most photographed and filmed dogs to ever have lived! Here is the video of Winnie that won me the competition to have her cloned!
For more videos and press articles of me and Winnie and the cloning experience please see my media page.
After the Korean scientists took a skin cell from Winnie’s tummy her DNA was then flown to South Korea where it is still stored in numerous phials today next to the DNA of the woolly mammoth!! Using some of Winnie’s DNA the scientists were able to create a egg that was an exact replica of the egg that Winnie once was before she was born and it was placed in the tummy of a surrogate dog, nine weeks later resulting in the birth of Minnie Winnie!!
Minnie Winnie spent five months in quarantine in South Korea before she was allowed to make the 5605 mile trip back to the UK to be reunited with her clone.
Minnie Winnie Arrives!
The Winnies immediately hit it off and were soon to become the best of friends. It was so lovely for Winnie to have a friend to play with and to keep her company when we went out as she hated to be left alone.
In November 2015 I had my very first human baby and little Wilbur was born. When I bought him home from the hospital the Winnie’s were so intrigued to see what was in the little white basket and they soon welcomed him to the pack. As Wilbur grew his relationship with The Winnie’s grew stronger and stronger, he would roll around on the floor giggling while the Winnie’s licked him all over. Food time was an especially happy time for all as Wilbur would shriek with delight as the Winnie’s jumped up to swipe food from his sticky little hands and often scarper away with a biscuit before he’d even had the chance to smell it!
As the friendship between Wilbur and his little sausage friends got ever more magical the idea for The Wilbies was born. How could I not write about such a happy trio and the adventures they get up to.
The Saddest Day
Then one day on the 31st May 2017 my world came crashing down. Winnie, my life long companion, my dearest most wonderful friend was hit by a car. I saw it happen and I can honestly say I have never felt more utterly devastated in all my life. I pulled her out from under the car and her body was lifeless, I couldn’t look at her all I could do was scream….Alex and I rushed her to the vets but there was nothing they could do to save her. I couldn’t breath; I was heartbroken. When the vet came to tell me she’d gone I collapsed with the shock. The next week was a blur, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I just couldn’t believe my beautiful Winnie was gone forever and I would never get to hold her, cuddle her, smell her or talk to her ever again.
I was heartbroken and I still am. Six months after her death I decided to get my book published in memory of her. I have her paw print cast in silver which was made before she died which I have managed to copy into stamps so that both Winnie and Minnie Winnie can sign my books so there will be little bit of her wonderfulness for all my readers to enjoy.
I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This story is for Winnie, may she rest in peace in doggy heaven until I see her again one day.
Love you Winnie x