The Adventures of Wingnut the Great
Wingnut the Great
1 April 2000 ~ 3 January 2017
It is my sad duty to announce that
Wingnut passed away while running free and joyously on the evening of 3 Jan 2017.
While the details of the night are laden with sorrow for we who remain, the truth is that at fifteen years old, Wingnut was facing dementia; and blindness and deafness had been creeping into his life, causing anxiety that was heart breaking.
He died without suffering, and though grief makes it hard to accept, the truth, spoken with courage by his Two-Leg brother Darby, is that Wingnut escaped on wings what was otherwise going to be a cruel death. I take some solace in that knowledge, and hope that you who love him do as well…
We always had each other’s back; and never more so than after I became disabled. He knew Life had knocked me to my knees, and he helped me rise again, to Adapt.
He learned how to lift my Spirits, how to remind me of the importance of the joy in Play. Many mornings he was the reason I even got out of bed. The feeling of being needed by a sentient being as loving as he was a gentle goad to keep me going…keep me growing.
After fifteen years together, he learned the work of a Service Dog with extraordinary swiftness, and became my companion every where I went.
That last chapter in his life is one I will cherish for the rest of my days; for it meant a new Freedom for both of us. And he made countless new friends as a consequence, something he always dearly loved…
In a very real way, Wingnut died in the line of duty.
I honor him with love and gratitude every day:
I vow to be the man you always knew was I was capable of becoming, Wingnut.
Rest easy now, brother.
Set down your burdens, and run…
chasing rabbits through a green field
in the sunshine of Summerland.
In the Spring of 2k3 I returned to Alaska following a few years of rattling around in the Twin Cities. That I managed to catastrophically destroy a perfectly great relationship in the process will come as no surprise to anyone. At the time I truly believed that I was incapable of having what most refer to as a successful love relationship.
Little did I know that the love of my life was but a single orbit of the sun from running smack into me. And that I would soon enough lose her too. You will notice that I have resisted the temptation to name names, or assign blames, except for my own; mostly to protect the innocent, but also because it would come to no good.
Yet between Love disastrous and Love sublime there came a friend into my life. A friend who loved me unconditionally from the day we met; who, with flashing eyes, and prancing personality, melted a part of my core which I had always kept on ice, for fear of loss and pain.
At the time, I was living in a Quonset hut up in Bear Valley, sort of at odds with myself, typically kicking my own ass for screwing up, yet again. One day my friend Beth came to visit. She looked me up and down and solemnly pronounced that I needed a dog.
To be honest, taking responsibility for a dog was the last thing I wanted. Yet, Beth was not to be denied. So, mostly to mollify her, we headed for Dog Detention. Beth has an uncanny intuition regarding Nature, and our interaction with the system we refer to as Earth…never has a friend been so right about what was missing inside me. My life was to permanently change that day…and for the better.
For any lover of animals, or anyone with compassion really, the Anchorage municipal animal shelter is a place of dismay, disbelief, and despair. So many unwanted dogs, who only craved what we all crave…a home, a family, someone to love and to be loved.
We arrived to the din within concrete chain-link kennels, which was at full roar while everyone vied for the attention of the few humans walking the aisles. I walked a young Collie, who could’ve cared less about me, but was simply thrilled to be allowed into the gravel strewn run which was set up for the visitors to interact with the inmates. How I first missed the bright-eyed, one year old boy trapped inside a white dog suit is still a mystery to me. But upon returning the Collie to her cage, I looked over and hazel eyes met green eyes and that, as they say, was that. The trip out to the run was pure formality, but once there he tore ass down to the end of the chain-link corridor and stopped, looking curiously at me.
“Well?” I asked, somewhat bemused, “Do ya want to blow this Popsicle stand?” At those words he promptly tore ass right back to me, skidded to a dusty, fur-blown stop and…well, he smiled. Love at first sight.
After the hoops of paperwork and shelling out of the bucks, we three were leaving and a woman came up to me, with very real tears in her eyes. It was then she told me how happy they were that I had chosen to come today.
For, if not adopted, my new friend had only two days left to live.
Years later we were living in the Lower 48 again and Wingnut has saved my life even as I once saved his. In 2004 my own life changed forever. I was diagnosed with a brain malformation called Arnold-Chiari. Among a laundry list of symptoms, I also lost my equilibrium, which meant learning to live in a wheelchair. Following brain surgery in ’06 we moved home to Alaska, but I did not fully recover.
Since then, I’ve learned lessons about pain, patience, and adaptation that I never thought I would experience. Throughout it all Wingnut has never left my side. Without him, I’m not sure I could have made it through the years with any shred of my sanity left at all. He is the wise fool, the ever-pup, the fox-eared trickster who capers through each day as if it were the only day. He has taught me more about living than many Two-Legs, and I will never forget the gift he has given me.
Loyal, empathic, and always ready to play; he loves me as I love him…without condition, without reserve, from now until the sun burns out and we run together in Elysium fields of Alpine flowers, with all the rabbits we can chase…
Portrait of Wingnut
~by David Jensen
photo courtesy, David Jensen Photography
18 June 2016
Too Legit to Quit!
Dear friends, I am so proud to announce that in his fifteenth year, Wingnut is now a Service Dog!
He has learned to watch and protect me during a seizure, and goes everywhere I go…
We’ve never had more freedom, or fun, since this whole disability mess began.
Please welcome, Super Nut!
Lately, Wingnut & I have been rolling far & wide as we train for my Sanctuary Ride. Here are a few photos from the infamous neighborhood we live in: Fairview, Rage City, AK:
“C’mon, pops! Let’s Roll!”
Sunshine saturated K9…
“Oi! I’m workin’ here!”
Please Stay Tuned. Our adventures continue! And if you’re into that kind of thing, Wingnut has his own Facebook page…I shit you not. He actually has fans!
(Truth is that I’m quite proud of the him. He’s a true gent, with a heart as big as all Alaska.)
Wingnut at Bird Point with DRB & Kiska
Hooligans! Dad! Fishies for me!
Much like any proud papa, I just can’t seem to resist putting up pics of my favorite furry fiasco, whom frenetically flounces about, usually with all four paws airborne…here are some more or less mellow moments captured forever on Kodachrome.
Yeah, that’s my hedgehog. So what?
Practicing his world renowned hypnotic powers of seduction
Dreaming of fat, slow rabbits, and fishies flashing out of the water
Portrait of “Wingus Nutus”, by DRB~
Uncle Darby and Wingnut
17 September 2k10
Here I would like to publicly thank Wingnut’s Uncle Darby and Aunt Megan.
Uncle Darby is Wingnut’s other favorite human. He recognizes the bond of Brotherhood between Darby and I. Hence, he holds Darby in a special place, as another Alpha human.
Darby does for Wingnut what I can no longer do: he takes him out to wild places beyond the reach of my wheelchair; for long rides in the car, and on camping trips; (among his favorite things in life) and for weekend adventures in Girdwood, where he can run with the Pack, all of which is like summer camp to Wingnut.
Darby and Megan love Wingnut as I do, unconditionally, and for that you both have my eternal gratitude.
Wingnut and Kiska at Bird Point
photo by Darby Andrews
Wingnut the hypnotist
DRB with Wingnut in Kenai
Wingnut with Uncle Tim
Meet Tim Klein, among my best friends,
and a loving Uncle to Wingnut
A superb photographer, Tim is the eye behind many of the best pics of Wingnut.
For which I am very thankful, as I’m all thumbs with a camera. Thanks Tim!
At the cabin with Uncle Darby
Summertime and the Wingnut is livin’ easy…