Tuesday, October 2, 2007
In earlier posts, I shared the stories of our two cats, Winston and Princess. Now it's time for the dogs, in order of seniority (can you tell this is a Union household?).
So I start with Big. He's very special to me for two reasons. First, because he's my very first dog and second, because of the magical, mystical way he came to us.
It was February 2001. The house down the road had been broken into a couple of times. Ron was getting ready for a business trip to Chicago. He would be gone for a week and didn't like the idea of leaving me home alone. "It sure would be nice to have a big guard dog," he said. The very next day (it's true!) we saw a big dog running though our back courtyard, playing with our next door neighbors' dogs. "Where did that big dog come from?" we asked each other. Then we asked the next door neighbors, but they didn't know either. When I saw him chase their cat, I chased him off, even squirting him with water, but he kept coming back. He knew he belonged here, even if we didn't know it yet. He seemed to be saying, "I'm here about the guard dog position. I understand you have an opening."
We made one final effort and put an ad in the "Found" section of the newspaper. We got one response from someone who said the dog wasn't his, but if no one claimed him, he'd be interested in taking the do off our hands. Nope, by that time, we had decided to keep him.
First we named him Big Dog, but that was quickly shortened to Big. He's 120 pounds of solid muscle. He has a deep, ferocious bark that would scare off any burglar. He's been the perfect guard dog; no one has ever broken in, or even come close. As we added more dogs, Big trained them to be guard dogs, too.
Of course it hasn't been all sunshine and roses. He was only about a year old when he came to us. He was still in that "destructive puppy" stage, chewing anything and everything he could get his paws on, especially electric extension cords (still plugged in!) and a car seat belt. He finally outgrew that and now he's no trouble at all.
He is getting on in years (large dogs don't have as long a lifespan as smaller dogs do) and has degenerative joint disease in his rear legs. He's hanging in there with the help of a medicine called Rimadyl. We're just emjoying the time we have left with him and letting him enjoy the time he has left with us.