Matt Dumba, the defenseman for the Minnesota Wilds, has dreamed of adopting a dog for the past 3 years. He never had a dog growing up, and with his busy hockey schedule, it just never seemed like the right time. He wanted to be able to train his new dog and spend plenty of time with them after first bringing them home, but he couldn’t find the time. Year after year he convinced himself that it was time to adopt a dog. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic helped him make that final decision. With the NHL season currently on pause, he decided that it was the perfect time to raise a rescue dog.
The Wilds have worked with Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue a lot in the past, including a calendar photoshoot with rescue dogs. Since then, Dumba has kept a close eye on the adoptable dogs. He constantly checked their website to see what dogs were available. With the NHL season paused, he knew now was the best time to find a furry family member.
Dumba spent about two hours with each individual dog at the rescue. He wanted to find the perfect dog for him, and he knew the best way to do that was to spend one-on-one time with each dog. Sure enough, he quickly fell in love with 5-month-old Winona. Despite being so young, she had been overlooked for the past few months because she was a bit shy. However, Dumba saw much more than just her timid nature.
“I don’t know how big Winona will be, she is the runt of her litter. She’s pretty petite right now, but she’s got some really big paws and long legs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets a little bigger,” said Dumba.
The rescue isn’t exactly sure what breed Winona is. She’s likely a mix of a lot of different dogs, possibly including a Shepherd, Husky, and Border Collie. To Dumba, the breed isn’t important at all though. He loves Winona for her personality, not the type of dog she’s labeled as. No matter what breed she is, she’s adorable!
Life with Winona
Winona already had her name when Dumba adopted her, but now, he usually just calls her Nona. So far, she has adjusted to her new life quickly. She clearly knows that Dumba is her dad, so she’s become quite attached to him. In an interview, he explained that she’s like his little shadow.
With the extra free time, Dumba has had plenty of time to get to know Winona just like he’d hoped. She likes to be by his side as much as possible. Also, he currently still has a lot of snow where he’s staying, and Winona loves playing in it.
“We’ve had a lot of snow and she loves it. I don’t know what she’s going to do when she doesn’t have it. I hope she loves the water just as much. The two of them don’t go hand-in-hand, but right now any snowbank or anything, she’s jumping right in,” said Dumba.
As Dumba gets to know Winona better, he will continue to work hard on her training. He wants to start creating a little more separation for her so that she will be able to adjust when the pandemic is over. She’s clearly the perfect dog for him, and he can’t wait for all the amazing years ahead of them.