When I was child on vacation...
...with my parents in New England, we came upon a St. Bernard at
a hotel. I was intrigued by these huge domestic animals. It
became a goal of mine to own a St. Bernard once I made my own way
in the world.
You really - REALLY, have to be a dedicated dog
person to love St. Bernards. They drool, shed and have uncountable
medical problems because of their size. Owning a St. Bernard keeps
you from having any illusion of control over your life.
All our Saints were house dogs. Shortly after buying our first house, Mary Lou and I
bought our first St. Bernard, Ralph (first
picture above at 8 weeks). We bred
Ralph (yes Ralph was a "she") and kept one of her 12 puppies,
Bogart (second from left with wrinkled
forehead in second picture above). After Bogart died at 12
years old, we bought Rufus (third picture
above at 8 weeks) whose 160 pounds
of hair, drool and adventure was a part of our family's life for
over 11 years. Rufus left us for the St. Bernard pass in the sky in
In July, 2009 we once again joined the dog world,
Giants" - an 11 month old Great Pyrenees named Charlie
(first picture below) and a 14 month old Borzoi named Leo (second
picture below). The third picture below shows Craig, Leo, ML,
Charlie, Ashley (Ben's girlfriend at the time) and Ben at the rescue center
Charlie and Leo quickly adjusted to each other and to our family.
The pictures below were taken three months after they arrived.
Charlie passed away far too soon at the age of 5 in
2014. Leo held down the fort all on his own until March of 2016, when we
inherited two collies, Norm and Thunder. Thunder, who was 14 when we
got him, lived only 6 months. We hope we gave him a good end of life
experience. Leo was the happiest and healthiest dog we ever owned,
but in March, 2018 he fell ill one day and died the next from a
growth on his spleen that burst. Leo was just under 10 years old.
Norm lived to 12 and passed on in 2021. We've done our bit for "dogdom"
and are not planning on any more pets.
Pet care is a constant responsibility as well as a
labor of love for any pet owner. Animal medical science continues to
advance and at the same time provides some tough choices.
Alternative medicines for pets show great promise. Follow
this link for "Randy's Story", contributed by Shelley
Kraft, which is her personal account of using acupuncture to greatly improve the last
years of her cat's life.
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