Credit to Amber Winkler
The Dustin family is a full house that includes two adults, three children, goldfish and koi fish that total 30 — and a small Havanese dog. This small black fluffy Havanese with a white patch on his chin is Stewart Winstone Dustin. He is three and a half years old and still does so much.
“When we first got our dog my mom and dad, instead of doing a business trip, they secretly planned a secretive dog,” Stewart’s 14-year old owner, Madeline Dustin said. “We went to a gas station and my dad was talking to this creepy man. When we came over, he had puppies in his car so he was like, ‘You want some puppies kids?’ and my dad was like ‘we’re getting a puppy!’”
Their decision was not very hard, Madeline’s sister Moira Dustin described. They knew out of all the puppies the “creepy man” offered, little Havanese Stewart was the one. They brought him home that day and almost everyone instantly bonded. Even though it was love at first sight, love always comes with a cost. When they got Stewart he had fleas, worms and an eating disorder. Every time Stewart would eat he would throw up. This factor, and many external problems, made it a steeper hill to climb for Stewart.
“He’s had to learn how to deal with all of us, you know,” Madeline’s father, Josh Dustin said. “Joseph, he’s got autism. He doesn’t put up with Stewart’s garbage and Stewart doesn’t put up with Joseph’s either and they’ve learned to adapt to each other.”
At first, Joseph Dustin, who is Madeline’s youngest brother, did not know what to do with the new addition to the pack. He would get very irritated with Stewart if he stole the house’s attention. They soon realized separation is key sometimes for a healthy relationship. They adapted and put their differences aside.
Around Christmas time, Moira took it upon herself to train Stewart with a book she got for Christmas. She put in two years of very hard work and trained him to do numerous basic and unique tricks.
“I thought he wouldn’t learn as many tricks because he was older, because I thought you could only teach a dog tricks when they’re like a puppy,” Moira said.
Moira trained Stewart to do almost everything he knows. He was taught the basics: how to sit, roll over and play dead. He was also taught how to shake hands, dance, and do the “dork sit” where he sits like a human. Madeline also trained Stewart to run five kilometers with her when she trains for track. One problem is he loves squirrels and will run away from most situations to chase one.
All of the effort and love given Stewart from this household has made him one special dog. The love received is just as special as given.