Three Kids and a Dog

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Perhaps It's Time to Get a Dog of Their Own?

I'm part of this Berner List Serv where a few times a day, I receive a collection of emails that include questions, advice and silly stories about Bernese Mountain Dogs. Today, one of my fellow Berner owners attached a link to a newspaper in Massachusetts (where I was born and still have extended family - Hi Auntie Do Do - as she's probably the only one of them who reads this blog and comments. And she just turned 73! Kudos to her for figuring out how to access my blog and even post comments!).

Anyway, I digress. There was this great story about a lost Berner and the family who found him and the fun they had if only for a few short hours. The author is Esther Baird and the paper is the "Beverly Citizen." Here's what she wrote:

Beverly, Mass. - Both my husband and I come from dog families. As growing children we experienced all those great doggy benefits: Exercise, times outdoors, and the tried-and-true responsibility of caring for a living creature. But now we have two young children, and we’re good on those fronts. Really.

That said, last Sunday we had a dog for about three hours. Not just any dog, but a huge, handsome Bernese mountain dog.

I was carrying our baby out of church — she had reached her nursery limit. My plan was to sit in the car and listen to NPR while she dozed. But nothing alters a plan quite like a gigantic dog staring at you from the sidewalk.

It happened that one of my husband’s favorite boyhood pets had been a Bernese. So on behalf of his childhood, and because the dog’s eyes said that it was lonely and perhaps a bit hungry, I reached down and gave it a scratch. That sealed the deal. It followed me to my car.

I buckled my baby into her car seat so that I could take a look at the dog’s tags. The Bernese seemed amiable to me holding its collar, but indicated it would be even more upbeat about things if I’d share the teething biscuits and cheese stick it had spotted in my diaper bag.

While it snacked, I read the tags. They included a registration I.D., but no address or phone number. I looked at the dog. I’d fed it everything in my diaper bag and there were still a good 30 minutes ’til the end of church. There was only one clear option. I opened the front passenger-side door: “Hop in!”

It was obviously well trained, but even a good Bernese could be startling to a 10-month-old baby if said dog suddenly bounded into the back seat. To keep that from happening, I followed it into the passenger seat so that I could continually hold its collar. This meant that I then had to climb over the Bernese to reach the driver’s seat. If you’ve not tried this yourself, let me be the first to tell you that a grown adult and a Bernese mountain dog do not easily co-occupy the front of a Honda Accord. Dog hair abounded.

Finally we were all in our own seats. I turned on NPR and rested my hand on the Bernese. I felt calm and relaxed. It is hard to worry when a big dog is smiling at you.

I did, however, wonder how on earth I was going to explain this situation to my husband and daughter when they came out of church. While our 3-year-old is not really scared of dogs, she also isn’t used to them, especially giant ones that appear in her car after Sunday school.

When church ended, my husband and daughter approached the car from the back. The dog had fallen asleep and was lying down so that from the outside of the car it was not visible. Our baby had also fallen asleep leaving me to announce the presence of the massive dog as quietly as possible.

I lowered my window a few inches and began to make wild motions with my hand attempting to point my husband to the dog. He waved back. I began hissing, “There’s a dog in the car.”

“I see that she’s asleep!!” My husband hissed back, assuming that I was gesturing about our baby. “No!” I threw myself into my whisper. “There. Is. A. Doooog. In. The. Caaaaar.”

“We’re being quiet!” he replied, beginning to sound a bit exasperated.

I gave up the whisper. “DO YOU SEE THE GIGANTIC DOG IN . . .” Everything happened at once. My husband opened the driver’s side rear door and my daughter absentmindedly began to climb in. The dog woke up and stuck its huge furry head into the back seat. Our 3-year-old jumped and screamed, our baby woke up, and my husband stood there staring.

“There’s a dog in the car?!?”

Once all the hair had settled, we drove home – just another happy family with two kids and a dog. Later that morning my husband was able to reach animal control and they, in turn, were able to identify the dog’s tag number. And so our dog ownership morning came to an end. But not before we first had some good family exercise romping with it in the living room, got some great fresh air standing around with it on our porch, and felt responsible, and therefore a little sad, when we had to say goodbye.


  • It's nice that they gave the dog back. We once lost a dog and the people who found her were going to keep her. That didn't last long however. They went out one saturday night and left the dog in the basement. The dog hating being locked up so much that she caused significant damage to their door.

    So, after having our dog for 2 weeks they finally gave her back. And when my dad didn't offer to pay for the damage, they seemed to get offended.


    By Blogger Perry, at 2:56 PM  

  • That's a great story Perry! Serves those people right for trying to keep someone else's dog! Thanks for sharing. That would have made a great blog post in and of itself!

    By Blogger Adler's Mom, at 9:02 PM  

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