Life Winks®

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

"Assured family connections"

From right to left, Denis Durham, Evan Durham, and Ellie Durham in the middle.

It was a cool Monday morning at Fairview Park in Decatur, Illinois. Although Ellie or Evan probably could've told this story much better than I, most people would have to agree that this is a rare find. We call them "Life Winks."

Puppy dogs, as you might imagine, get separate from their parents all the time. Whether it's a little husky dog separated from its mom, or a little wiener dog separated from its dad, disconnections happen. But in the legal world, some people are calling them "death winks" because they are usually "unretractable," or permanent (Lebow and Slesinger, 2016).

A squirrel hiding a nut.

When one parent wants to keep a puppy away from the other parent, then these are done deals because they'll usually end up having all the help in the world keeping the puppy away and detracted. People recklessly come out of the woodwork like squirrels desperately hiding a nut and bury the pup away. So, what makes this one case unique and different from all the others? What makes it a "life wink?"

We asked one of the parents in this case about how they got through the very difficult time in his life without seeing his pups. We asked him, "What got you through it? He said simply, "Just my faith and hoping for the future. And sometimes, when I did see them, hoping for that."

We can only imagine what it's like missing your pups in this way. I think what he meant was that by seeing the puppies on occasion in various places was what he looked forward to.


In the mean time, kids will be kids....

Ellie and Evan playing hide and go seek.

Maybe you've had a similar experience? Maybe you've experienced an end-game "death wink" or discovered a new "life wink" yourself? Please share in the comments below. Or, keep hiding those nuts.


Jacob's Ladder


A community resource and private practice of enlightening kids.


"Life Winks"

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Lebow, J., & Slesinger, N. (2016). Family therapy with families in intractable conflicts about child custody and visitation. In Handbook of child custody (pp. 291-301). Springer, Cham.

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