A Visit With Dobby

Dobby Winnick

Melanie’s Post:

In April this year, I had the privilege of visiting a very famous capybara, Dobby Winnick. Of course, Dobby and I are not strangers. We have met two other times, once when he was an infant, and once in August of 2014. Every time, Dobby was the cutest capybara around, and not just because he was the only capybara around.

Dobby and Stacy

Stacey was Dobby’s owner and very best friend. I say “was” because Dobby died earlier this month. I am going to write one of my “In Memoriam” posts, but first I want to relate this wonderful visit.

Dobby doing a circle

You might think that Dobby is totally dissing Stacy in this photo. Or that he is giving her one of his “statements.” That’s not it though. Stacy taught Dobby to do a circle, what she calls a turn-around. That’s what he is doing in this shot. You can see Stacy holding her target stick close to his butt. She’s also got a cob of corn behind her back. I’m betting Dobby knew that corn was there.

The big payoff

A good trick gets corn as a reward.

Dobby in the kitchen

Dobby was basically an outdoor capybara. This was by his own choosing. Firstly, he liked being outside and made a fuss about coming in. Secondly, he destroyed the house when he was inside. Stacy made a little area in her kitchen that included access to the backdoor so Dobby could come in and out on his own initiative. He had to share his area with about a million animals from Stacy’s rescue charity. It sometimes gets cold in Seattle so Dobby had a warm, dry place to sleep. Even so, he usually slept in his bed outside.

Dobby with a cat

Dobby shared his yard with even more animals, including two cats, a flock of chickens, ducks, geese, a turtle, and various others. The two cats are named Kitty Hawk and Grover. I can’t tell them apart.

In the backyard with Stacy

The backyard is where Dobby spent most of his time. You can see his little wading pool in the back. On cold days, Stacy fills it with warm water so he could take a dip.He really had her trained.

Checking his weight

Dobby was part of the ROUS Foundation’s Why Weight? program. Stacy weighed him periodically and put the data into our spreadsheet. The weight data helps us determine if a capybara is healthy or whether there is cause for concern.

Dobby apparently did not like the scale. Not only is he walking around it, but it seems he has left one of his “statements” on top.

It’s always raining in Seattle

The weather in Seattle is not great, but Dobby had a way to deal with it! On rainy days, he wore blue raincoat with yellow ducks on it. Too bad he didn’t have galoshes.

Dobby in his slicker

The slicker is just tucked into his harness. Dobby always wore a harness when he went into the front yard. Safety first.

Bonding time

Every day, rain (always) or shine (never), Stacy spent hours with Dobby out in the front yard. Dobby, as with many capybaras, liked company when grazing. And he loved being with Stacy.

In a few days, I will post my eulogy. For now, I’d like to remember this wonderful trip and the handsome, loving capybara I got to know.



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