Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A protector

I used to have a schnauzer.  Rilie.  The sweetest little grey dog ever.  I picked her out of the litter when she was just a few weeks old.  I picked her because she came right up to me, curled up in my lap and laid there in a coma-like trance while I pet her.  She couldn’t get enough.  All the other pups were scrapping around and yipping and begging to play or be pet.  But this one in my lap took my heart and held it still.

I thought there wasn’t another one like her.  I thought I had used up my penchant for picking the right dog.

Then, I got to witness the birth of these guys. 

There were nine in the litter, this is only a handful.
My first introduction to the breed that is Berner was through my first friend in Colorado.  She had a female that was the biggest dog I had seen in real life up close.  Then that dog was “introduced” to an even bigger Berner (and this one really is the biggest dog I’ve ever seen in real life.  I think he’s upwards to 130 pounds!) and got herself a brood of fuzzy warm nuzzlers. (see above)

Over the next few weeks I got to know these dogs pretty well.  We were offered one by my friend.  The one we finally settled on was the one that would come right up to me when I stepped in the whelping box and crawl in my lap.  She would lay there, belly up, while I rubbed and cooed to her.  Her name is Winnie.  You’ve met her.

So it would seem my charm, if you will, had stuck. 

One reason we thought a big dog would be nice was because of the larger-dog-equals-a-bit-more-intimidation factor.  We’re not one of those families that need a guard dog, nor did we want one.  It’s just nice to know that when someone comes to the door, there’s a bit of reserve.  When a large, black dog who's nose comes up to your waist greets you at the door, no matter what your feelings are towards canines in general, you pause.  You think just a little bit twice about moving forward.

Add a nice booming bark that echoes off the walls and right through the door and you’ve got everything that’s needed.  Just enough to create that hesitancy that might make a person reconsider if they had any bad ideas.  And, of course it also makes friends give pause, too, which is an unfortunate side effect, but they are typically well-versed in Winnie’s contrarily affectionate behavior.

Today we had scheduled to have our car’s windshield replaced.  (Who knew you could have it done at home?)   The knock came, loud and clear.  Winnie was on her feet with three loud barks.  I opened the door and didn’t even try to block her way out, like I sometimes will if I know the person.  The poor guy was standing five steps down, 10 feet from the door, in the middle of our sidewalk, looking ready to run.  I immediately assured him she was very friendly which she proved by giving him one cursory sniff before moving on to more interesting smells in the yard.

I can’t say I mind it.  Once she literally growled at the cable guy, and I felt safe and comforted that if there happened to be a problem, I would at least have a head’s up, and maybe even a protector.

All animals give their people something in the way of joy.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t bother to feed and keep them around.  I love our pets, their not our “kids”, they have their place in the family and, for the most part, know what it is.  What joy does your pet bring you? 

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