BC (before children), Scott and I longed for a dog, so upon entering home ownership, we immediately set out to do just that. We knew we wanted a bigger breed, and preferably one that was not too active, since we both worked full time, so St. Bernard seemed like the obvious choice.
An ad placed by a Mennonite family had the right price on it, so we took a drive into pseudo-Amish country to take a look. With a mother and father that topped out at over 200 pounds, we picked our little bundle of joy from the two males that were left, based on the fact that he was just slightly bigger than the other one.
I was at the height of my Harry Potter obsession, so he was christened Brittany's Sir Potter with the AKC and just plain Potter to his friends. He was a rather large ball of fluff and since Mennonites (at least these ones) don't use vets, he still had his nonfunctional dew claws sticking out. But we loved him anyway.
I had been assigned to a client that made me drive all over the greater Cleveland area auditing apartment complexes, so I got to do the majority of my work from home. Perfect time to get a puppy.
Two weeks later I was re-assigned to what turned into an eight month commute to Augusta, GA every week. So there went obedience school.
We first tried keeping Potter to the kitchen. This was our starter home, and we had big plans for a kitchen remodel so we weren't too concerned with what he did to it. Overall, the pee did loosen up the linoleum tiles and made them easier to pull off!
I don't exactly remember when he took the time to beaver his way through each leg of the dining room furniture, but when I tried to donate it to the furniture bank, they said they couldn't take it.
Eventually, he was banished to the basement on our departure, but it wasn't a bad deal. It was bigger than the kitchen and he had his own bar.
Midway through his first year, I came home to find a plant knocked over (must have been before his basement days). Later he proceeded to puke up bright green bile...every hour...all night long. He couldn't eat or drink without puking.
He had his stomach scoped...twice. The only thing they could find was chew toy stuffing, and we all know that is edible. The puking went on for SEVEN days, as did the hunger strike. Never did find out what was wrong with him, but on day eight he started eating again. If you've followed the blog at all, I don't need to re-hash his Irritable Bowel Syndrome "incidents". He topped out at 130 pounds and I blame that plant.
To most people, 130 pounds is quite substantial, but every time I see another St. Bernard, I realize how puny ours is. Adding to the puniness is the fact that the damn dog never sat still! He was in your face, on your lap, hogging the bed covers. He was a menace on a leash, chasing after every squirrel, chipmunk, and rabbit that crossed his path. Most often without any warning.
These days he finally lays low and spends more time chasing rabbits in his dreams than in real life. He turned 8 last week. In people years that's technically 56, but you gotta add on some more time for the larger breed and he's probably more like 80.
Last night Zoe laid across him giggling because he was panting so hard from the heat that it was like a ride for her.
I have a feeling his eye sight and maybe even sense of smell are fading. (Crumbs that I leave on the floor have to eventually be swept up.) He can barely navigate stairways (I have to actually stand behind him and prod on the ones that come in from the garage) and there is a permanent hitch in his step (which always becomes more pronounced when we leave him in someone else's care while we are on vacation).
So to my first born for his birthday...I will try to not yell at you so much when you take Oreos out of Zoe's hand while she's still eating them, I will turn on the air conditioning, and I'll let you have a Beggin' Strip, even if it means I have to wake up at 3 am to let you out of the house.
Taken August 18, 2008