We’ve all heard the phrase “a dog is a man’s best friend” once or twice throughout our lives. Most of us have even experienced how true that phrase can be first hand with our own pets, but none of us have experienced it in the same capacity as Lauren Gordon. Gordon is a junior here at Dripping Springs High School, and she raised and trained her service dog, Winifred, who now comes to school with her every day.
“Winifred comes everywhere with me because I am a type one diabetic and I used to have seizures, but mostly for the diabetes,” Gordon said. “When my blood sugar goes high or low, she’ll alert me, and even if I’m in range and I’m either dropping or rising really fast, she’ll let me know.”
Not everyone knows about Gordon’s diabetes, so when people see her in the hallways with Winifred everyday some of them are very confused and others are hesitant to believe Gordon actually needs to have the service dog with her.
“I do like having her with me everyday, but there are also a lot of people who get really skeptical and they think that she’s not a real service dog and that she’s just here because I want a pet here,” explained Gordon. “It’s really hard to explain that to people when she has an official certified vest. Overall, I really do love having her with me all the time, it’s like having your best friend come with you everywhere.”
Gordon got Winifred from England, which is where her name comes from. It took 19 hours of flying to get her here, and she has now had her for 7 years.
“I like to think of what Winifred’s voice would be,” Gordon said, “and she’s really spoiled but also just super sweet. Like she hates growling and she doesn’t ever bark or anything. She’ll always cuddle with everyone. She’s just really hyper and spoiled. Winifred doesn’t have a tail, so whenever she gets excited she wags her whole butt and it’s super cute.”
Gordon learned a lot of patience and responsibility in the process of training Winifred to be a service dog. Even though it was a lot of hard work and it wasn’t always fun, Gordon would do it all over again to have such an astounding pet.
“I think the funniest memory I have with her is the first time we went swimming,” Gordon said. “Both her and I went to Lady Bird Lake and we went canoeing this summer, and because of how big her hair is she’s never really touched the water and we don’t have a pool so we’ve never really introduced it to her besides like a bath. So I brought her on the canoe with me and I was a little scared that she wasn’t gonna know what was up, but I definitely didn’t think she would jump out. We were in the middle of the lake and there was this turtle that was just swimming around our canoe and Winifred got really curious and ended up trying to touch it, and when she tried she fell out of the canoe. She went berserk, I mean she could swim and everything, but she was like figuring out how. Oh my God, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. That’s my favorite memory with her.”
Gordon is thankful to be able to have a dog as incredible as Winifred as “a man’s best friend” and is looking forward to all the adventures still to be had.