Monday, April 11, 2011

Sarah and the Giant Dogs

I don't love dogs.  (Please don't let this change your positive opinion of me, if, in fact, it is a positive opinion.  I'm a good-natured girl, I promise!)

I wouldn't say I hate them, but it's definitely been awhile since I've enjoyed the company of a dog.  As a little girl, I adored them; doted on them; begged for puppies; rolled around in the grass with our own dog.  Now, though, I can't stand the thought of a wayward, sloppy tongue greeting me each morning or the dingy-excited jump and maul upon each return home.  I can't stand the thought of one more thing to clean up after. 

I do try to smile genially at whatever dogs we may encounter; it's not their fault I don't like them.  My parents' dog, for instance, is a nice sort of fella.  Laid-back, humanish in mannerism, their Yellow Labrador is a good boy. I pet his (clean) ears on occasion.  I rub his upturned belly with my foot.  I appreciate his quiet gaze. 

But still, he sheds.  He licks.  He rolls in oddly-smelling substances. 

The girls, however, are dog aficionados.  Indiscriminately, they love dogs.  They're cautious at first, as they should be, making sure the dog wants to be played with or (as often the case may be) ridden around the yard.  I don't discourage this doggy-adoration.  It's fun and cute, and as long as the dogs aren't irritating me, I don't mind them one bit. 

Until the dogs in question are large, stray, and...large.  Gigantic, actually.  Loud.  Enormous.

Last week, a couple of stray dogs wandered out of the woods and settled themselves in our back yard.  For the day.  There they camped, under the shadow of our roof, while I hid inside, wondering what to do about them.  (Though I'm not a dog-lover, I didn't want to call the pound; don't they...get rid of dogs with no forthcoming owners?)  The girls were at school for the morning, so while they weren't there to see (and be afraid), I attempted to rid our yard of the beastly dogs.

One was a large, muscular Boxer.  The other was (I think) a French Mastiff.  GIANT DOGS.  In my yard, they barked on occasion, but mostly just rested in the grass.  Like an idiot, I stepped into the yard to see if they'd run away.  You know: strangers are scary, right?  You run away from them?

Yeah, not if you're a two-hundred pound mastiff and his perky (HUGE) boxer friend. 

As I stepped slowly into their view, hands calmly at my sides, the boxer raised up from the ground and rumbled a quick, muffled bark in my direction.  At that, I stepped one foot backwards, and tried not to wet myself. 

As soon as the boxer barked, the mastiff lumbered himself off the ground into a great mound of standing beast.  His boulder-shaped head swung in my direction at the same time the boxer leapt three short leaps forward, each jump punctuated by three deep barks. 

I almost fell over my feet, coordination not being my strongest suit as an athlete.  (Me not being an athlete at all, anyway.)  Behind me was the gate, and I scrambled towards it in the least stunningly graceful way imaginable.  Despite wanting the dogs to go away, I locked the gate on my mad dash to safety, and pondered how to lure them from my yard with...what?  Raw meat?  A well-aimed garden hose?

Instead, I left to get the girls from school, silently propping the gate back open again, but otherwise avoiding the issue entirely.  On the way home, I told them that they wouldn't be allowed to play outside until the strange dogs left, but that they could peek out the window at them.  (Tres exciting, eh?)

As soon as they were able, the girls dashed to the open window and stared at the monstrous dogs in our grass. 

Whispering and gesturing, I told them how to watch quietly.  How to examine the giant creatures without gaining the dogs' attention. 

Lauren and Mia were impervious to my worry. 

"Hi puppy!" Lauren welcomed them.

"Here, puppy, puppy!  Here puppy!"  Mia squealed. 

But before I could stop their joyful talk, the dogs noticed us.  Out the window, the boxer tilted his head towards the girls' sweet voices...

and his clipped tail began wagging so hard that his entire backside wobbled gracelessly.  I swear, he smiled.  His tongue lolled out one side of his happy mouth, and he ambled joyfully towards the house, drawn by the tiny, high voices of my children.

The mastiff followed suit, heaving himself up and around the side of our house.  They both began to explore my porch, and settled in to be admired by the girls.

And, of course, to be properly documented by me: the frightened cat-lover.  (By the way, my cat was nowhere to be seen during this whole ordeal.  He knows when to skedaddle.)

After awhile, the dogs ambled off to the neighbor's driveway, and then out of the neighborhood entirely. 

When they were gone, I had the startling (and uncharacteristic) urge to pet the mastiff.  To see if he was as solid as he looked.  To measure the width of his impossibly broad chest.

And really, just to say that I'd been brave enough to get within arm's reach of the GIANT DOG.


  1. Awww...look at that drooly face. I love it! I'm also glad he's not sitting on MY porch.
    I have been and always will be a dog kind of girl at heart. BIG dogs taht knock you over and drool. Love them. Now that I have a kid and am juggling work and family? I think my dog is better off without me. She is so neglected and I have lost my patience for her dribbling water all over my floor.


  2. I wonder if they were strays or if they were just lost. It looks like they were wearing collars or something--not that I EVER would've gotten close enough to find out. I can't believe you went outside with them! Those dogs were enormous!!

  3. I love dogs, but not unknown big ENORMOUS ones near my kids.

  4. Ha! Did I ever tell you about the time my husband told our friends we'd babysit their puppy Mastiff? When Noah was just a wee babe? And we were hosting our other friends for Thanksgiving?

    Yeah, the pooch peed all over my darn house while I was trying to make mashed potatoes and find a decent outfit to squeeze my postpartum body into. It wasn't pretty. The copious amounts of urine, as well as the sight of me squeezed into whatever I resignedly found at the back of my closet.

    Annnnnyhoo- dogs. I loved them growing up too but share your feelings now. They're cute, they can be such great buddies... But please, no more mess-creating creatures in this house, thank you. But if you can find one that vacuums and folds laundry -- I'll take a few ;)

  5. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say - I hate having an indoor dog. It was fine and even fun pre-baby, but now? Ugh! She gets hair all over the baby, wants to sit on me while I'm nursing, and licks everything! The worst was when it was cold out and I'd have to walk her while juggling a bundled-up newborn.

    But the dog won't be going anywhere. Because I'm outnumbered - not only does my husband love her, but Miriam already does, too! My daughter has the audacity to smile whenever she sees the dog!

  6. Marcos Mais TerraApril 12, 2011 11:40 AM

    Those dogs were PERFECT! OUTSIDE where all sweet animals should be. Unless you have an open-air house. Then animals come in anyway, but your house doesn't smell like a kennal, or a barn, or a....yeah, whatever.

  7. Oh, Sarah, you crack me up! And I'm super impressed that you were brave enough to be outside with them! They're huge! I hope they eventually found their home.

    I am forced to be a dog-lover, or at least I pretend really hard. I loved my dogs growing up, but was just fine being a mother of 3 without a dog. Chad was not as fine with it and now, as I type, I have a "much-bigger-than-we-were-told-he-was-going-to-be" cockapoo lying on my feet. It's really a love-hate (probably 30/70) relationship as he's overly hyper most of the time. But at least he doesn't shed!

  8. Oh mylanta...that dog is GINOURMOUS!

    I personally love dogs...actually probably really should tone that down a little...I LIKE dogs and would not be opposed to getting them but only on the condition that it be outside only. I am just not a fan of them in the perhaps one day when we live in the country and have some space for one to roam!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?