Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Very Merry Unbirthday

In keeping with the theme of forgetting everyone's birthday, I will not be wishing Kelly a Happy Birthday in this blog today.

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


  1. In case you think you miss having a puppy... in the last three days, Bear has done the following: stolen food right off plates off the table; eaten raccoon poop and then puked it up; ripped a tile off the bathroom floor; eaten a small hand towel; drinks and splashes the water out of Anna's kiddie pool until she screams with rage; climbed in the car and refused to leave; ; chewed his collar in thirds; eaten cat poop and all thier food several times. So, go hug your slow, lovely lazy dog, ha ha.

  2. I used to have an old dog like that. He was a Border Collie, and would eat anything, and some plants will make them violently ill, but that never deterred him from giving things a go!
    Anyway, a couple of years ago, I had to have him put to sleep because of a tumour on his spine which made it hard for him to walk or even eat properly, but he was 22 years old, so he had had a good innings!
    Miss him like hell though.....and his lead is still hanging on the coat hook. (Big sigh!)
    I still mean to get another house dog, although we have out-door dogs.
    Dogs are "people" too!

  3. T - I would be happy skipping the puppy stage for the next one, and just adopting, but morgan has different ideas.

    Alice - 22 YEARS OLD??? I didn't even think that was possible. But those Border Collies are amazing creatures. My dog growing up was a regular Collie and I still miss her very very much.

  4. I love reading your blog. Every few days, when I'm feeling a little blue or a little bored (or some combination of the two), I'll usually have the pleasant realization that "Hey, I haven't checked Anna's blog in a few days--Maybe she has a new post!" And most of the time, I've let enough days go by since the last time I checked that there is something new for me to read: often funny, sometimes touching, and always well-written. It's the literary equivalent of finding a folded five-dollar bill in my jeans pocket or remembering that there's a piece of really good chocolate hidden away in my nightstand drawer. Anyway, this post about Potter is one of your best ever, and I don't mind saying that it made my eyes water a little. Great picture, too!

  5. I remember when I brought little Harley Quinn over and she spent the evening running underneath Potter. It was so much fun for her. Any he is still Loki's best friend. : )

  6. Katie - that's just the nicest compliment ever.

    D - I wish he had more friends like Loki. I think he is lonely.