See an article about the scholarship in the Potomac Almanac.
Who is Winston Bren?
Winston Bren was a 13 year old Chocolate Lab who discovered swimming and floating late in life here at Gunny’s Rainbow. But more than that, he was one of those great, generous and warm-hearted souls who left a lasting impression on all who met him. He was, perhaps more than anything, pure kindness.
He had never been a Lab who liked to swim, but his Mom wanted him to give it a try in hopes it would relieve his aching joints and strengthen his muscles to help him walk better. Although it took a few sessions for him to get the hang of swimming, no dog has ever been more proud than Winston of how he could move in water! He looked like the cat who swallowed the canary after each lap and was always looking around to be sure that we were all watching his great feats in the water. As his physical condition became more painful, he came to enjoy floating as much or more than swimming. Winston was able to quiet his body and his mind for 30 minutes or more just floating in Laurie’s arms in the warm water and letting the water carry him and soothe him.
Unfortunately, his Mom was diagnosed with a serious and lengthy illness in the fall of 2010, making it difficult for her to get Winston to swim lessons. One of Winston’s friends brought him to swim every week when his Mom was in the hospital, and the other warm-hearted dog owners who bring their dogs to swim at Gunny’s Rainbow all pitched in to help offset the cost of Winston swimming while his Mom was undergoing treatment and unable to work.
Sadly, Winston passed away rather unexpectedly in early December 2010 and when he did, there were swims in the “swim bank” waiting for him. So, all the clients who had contributed agreed that we should start the Winston Bren Swim Scholarship so that Winston’s remaining swims, and new swims that will be donated, can be used to help other dogs who really need to swim but are not able to afford to come. Among Winston’s lasting legacies will be that he instilled a sense of community in all the people who come to swim at Gunny’s Rainbow and inspired them to give generously and selflessly in hopes that it would inspire him to swim, swim, swim and float, float, float!
What is the swim scholarship?
The scholarship provides free or reduced cost swim sessions to selected dogs in need. It is funded by dog lovers who donate money to the scholarship "swim bank."
Laurie donates her time and the money in the swim bank is used to offset the costs of the swim session, such as electricity, water heating, pool sanitation, laundry, etc.
Dogs who would truly benefit from swimming but who could not otherwise afford to swim regularly are considered for the swim scholarship.
How do I donate?
You can donate using PayPal or you can send a check to Gunny’s Rainbow, LLC noting that it is for the Winston Bren Swim Scholarship. At this time your contributions are NOT tax deductible because the swim scholarship is not a non-profit corporation. We guarantee that all proceeds are held to assist dogs in need and are not used for any other purpose. Honest.
How does my dog apply for a swim scholarship?
Please contact Laurie if you want to be considered for the scholarship. The scholarship is intended for those dogs who have a documented physical need to swim weekly and whose parent(s) otherwise would not be able to afford for them to swim on a regular basis. You must be committed to bringing your dog weekly in order to be considered. The scholarship is awarded solely at the discretion of Gunny’s Rainbow, LLC in consultation with Winston’s Mom.