PORTLAND, Ore. -- He looks like a lion and even roams his Northeast Portland yard as if it were an African Savanna.
But a closer look reveals that Winston Michael is just a 180-pound English Mastiff with a very convincing lion mane wig!
“We’re working on courage and bravery for him,” said Winston’s owner, Blair Steinfeld, who’s been dressing Winston as a lion for Halloween, for years. This week, she found another reason.
Steinfeld is preparing to do excavating work in her backyard. The City of Portland ordered her to put a cyclone fence around her front yard to protect the root system of an old willow tree from excavating equipment. Steinfeld said it was the perfect opportunity to turn a boring, “tree root protection zone” as the city sign says, into something more fun. Thus, the idea of a "lion" enclosure was hatched.
“We're protecting the tree and the pride as well,” joked Steinfeld.
Winston's majesty is real, even if his mane isn't. That much is clear to people who passed him in amusement, like Joanna Clarke.
“Across the street it really looked like there was a lion and I'm like, ‘What is going on?!’” Clarke explained.
Besides impersonating a lion, it turns out Winston is also a Beaver – the Oregon State University variety. Steinfeld taught him to bark using the command “Go Beavs!”
“That's what we've been working on,” said Steinfeld, after praising a boisterous bark.
She's confident that Winston may find courage and bravery, yet.
“He did pace the lawn a few times yesterday,” she said. “That was really good.”