The Consulting Writer

aka The Frazzled Mom

Bernard, yes, but Saint He Ain’t

Duke, the St Bernard

IMG_20140219_124219_931Duke came home late in the evening from the animal shelter. He had been there for nearly a month and, judging by his size and age, I doubt if he would have been adopted. More than likely, his time would have run out.

The first thing I had to do was give him a bath. He stunk! Living at the shelter did him no good. Have you ever tried or even seen a full grown Saint Bernard receiving a bath? It isn’t a pretty sight. I crawled into the tub with Duke and proceeded to clean him. I ended up using the remaining dog shampoo I had to cover his entire body, and it still wasn’t entirely clean! By the way, giving him a bath meant I took one as well. I was soaked, covered in dog hair and shampoo.

After he was cleaned up, we helped him settle into his new home with a large bed and some treats. So what was the first thing he did after all of that? Poop. Yep. All over my living room carpet. *sigh* Still…

Duke is a really sweet dog.

At meal time, I think he inhaled his food. When it was time for bed, I thought he should be given the chance to sleep indoors. He had been sleeping outside in the cold. I wanted him to feel at home and pampered. I “explained” to Duke where he would be sleeping during the night. He ignored my instructions, followed me down the hall and, as I crawled into bed, he jumped into the middle, snuggling in for the night. Um…no. He’s cute, but I cannot sleep with a 94 pound dog in my bed (and that was underweight for a St. Bernard).

Again, I instructed him on where to sleep and then returned to my bed, making sure to close the door this time. So he slept in the living room. I know, I should have learned my lesson with the previous infraction. Still, I thought that getting up in the middle of the night to let him out would be good. I got up three times and a friend let him out at least another two. What treasure did I find in the morning? A few piles, this time in another room. *sigh* And that was only the first night.

But Duke is a really sweet dog.

The next day, I allowed him to come in for a visit. In the kitchen he stood, tail wagging happily, drool running from both sides of his mouth. I’m not talking little drips, I mean long lines like running faucets on either side. The saliva dangerously close to dropping on the floor, I reached for a paper towel, but it was too late. Like a page from the script of Beethoven, Duke shook his head and splatters of drool hit the kitchen cabinet and floors like blood splatter in a crime scene. Think the movie was exaggerating? It wasn’t. Check out the Beethoven trailer. Though Duke isn’t nearly as troublesome, he’s still just as messy.

We’ ve had him since February 2014. During that time, we received a scare. His vet informed us he had bone cancer in the foreleg with a life expectancy of six months. After an expensive trip to a cancer specialist and additional imaging (along with lots and lots of praying!), the radiologist stated that Duke did not have bone cancer and the images looked normal.

This May, Duke will be nine years old. Though we know we only have a few years left with him, we plan to make those the happiest for him. He’s a great addition to our family. And I believe he is grateful (as much as a dog can be) to be part of our family as well. He is now 120 pounds and a very happy boy.


4 comments on “Bernard, yes, but Saint He Ain’t

  1. rfeiertag
    April 14, 2014


    What a relief! And watch out — these old dogs can have a much longer life-span than anyone expects : ).



    • Elizabeth
      April 14, 2014

      I wouldn’t mind if we had him for longer. I’ve always wanted a BIG dog and now I finally have one!


  2. Kathleen
    April 14, 2014

    LOVE this post! He is a BEAUTIFUL dog and despite his “presents” on the floor, it sounds like you have grown to love him. As he does your family I’m sure. There is nothing like a recue pet to enrich your lives!!


    • Elizabeth
      April 14, 2014

      So true! Rescue pets can be a blessing. I’m reminded of a quote I see floating about the Internet from time to time:

      It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.


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This entry was posted on April 14, 2014 by in Daily Ramblings and tagged , , , , , , , .
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