BOSTON—Terminally ill 5-year-old Timmy McWinn, formerly of Medford, MA, had one wish before his tragic death last week: to be visited one last time by Bruiser, the McWinn family’s loyal and devoted English Sheepdog. Bruiser was McWinn’s companion and best friend during the better part of his short life.
Unfortunately, the lumbering, lovable canine did not arrive in time to cheer up Timmy, and instead of making his last moments on Earth more bearable, he merely added to the uncontrollable agony and horror the boy felt during his final death throes.
“Bruiser was Timmy’s best pal and play friend,” Timmy’s father, James McWinn said. “He provided him with his only real moments of joy. So when we accidentally left the dog behind after a family trip to Canada, Timmy was understandably heartbroken.”
McWinn’s condition worsened after returning from Canada, victimized by a degenerative brain disease which slowly ate away at his mind. Doctors could find no cure, leaving Jimmy with one dream and one dream only: that one day, before he left this earth, he would once again hold Bruiser in his tiny arms.
Despite flyers, mailings, inquiries with Canadian mounted police and a posted reward, the McWinns’ efforts to locate Bruiser roundly failed. No word of the sheepdog’s whereabouts came to the anxious family.
“We’d given up hope,” McWinn said. “Until one day, well, I guess what you’d have to call a miracle occurred.”
According to McWinn, sketchy reports began to trickle in that a dog matching Bruiser’s description had been spotted making its way across the country to where the dying Timmy lay. Bruiser, driven only by his love, was making his way across a continent, just to be with his pal Timmy again.
The McWinns, as well as the hospital staff and a crowd of well-wishing onlookers, were overjoyed when a weathered, weary Bruiser arrived in the parking lot of Children’s Hospital. Eagerly, the group rushed Bruiser to be at Timmy’s side, but it was too late.
“Timmy was still alive, but his higher brain functions had deteriorated to the point where he could not recognize the dog,” said Dr. Dan Pangloss, McWinn’s physician. “When he saw the large dog’s slavering jaws, he felt only one thing—stark, heart-stopping terror.”
Timmy began screaming what onlookers originally mistook for cries of joy. Only after several minutes could they make out the child’s actual words.
“He was yelling, ‘Get it off me! Get it off me! Make giant monster go away!’” nurse Ellen Bram said. “I tried to push the dog closer to Timmy’s failing eyes so he could make out the dog’s face, but he only screamed louder, calling on mommy to save him from the hungry, hairy demon. I’ll never forget how his little voice trilled into a macabre falsetto of sheer, unbridled agony.”
Timmy’s eyes rolled up into his head, and his diminutive body was racked by a series of painful convulsions. Within moments, and well before the dog could be removed, he was dead.
“It’s safe to say his death could not have been more horrific,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
Bruiser was immediately shot, and the dog’s corpse beheaded for laboratory testing.