By Nyneishia Gupta
During COVID, my family decided it was time to get a dog. When we were trying to decide on what breed my parents had one criteria – that the dog was big. We were going down the Golden Retriever or German Shepard route when my sister found the breed Saint Bernard. Saint Bernards grow to be around 200 pounds, which was bigger than we had expected, but the puppies the breeder had were just too cute. And so began our journey of raising the most adorable but biggest puppy ever.
When we brought him home, he was only 6 weeks old, yet already so big that only me and my dad were able to pick him up. We decided to call him Zeus, because he had a little lightning bolt of white fur on his back. We quickly discovered that raising a giant dog was a lot more than we had bargained for. First off, he shed. A ton. We had obviously expected shedding but the sheer amount of fur he lost was enough to make another Statue of Liberty. Secondly, was how much he drooled. Saint Bernards have droopy cheeks, and so we quickly learned to keep spare towels all over the house to wipe his mouth off. Third, was how much of a scaredy cat he is. He is scared of just about everything. His shadow, his tail, his reflection, bicycles, skateboards, just about anything on wheels that isn’t a car. There is something quite hilarious about watching a 150 pound dog see his reflection and jump up to the ceiling in shock. The last shocking thing about him is how much he lets other dogs walk all over him. When he was about one, we took him to a friend’s house, who had a Samoyed. They started playing together, and it quickly became rough. Zeus simply lied down, put his paws over his face, and he let the other dog start to quite literally try and eat his ear. We immediately got the dog off of him, and Zeus just sat there panting calm as ever. He is huge, and doesn’t realize that he should be defending himself. A month ago, my dad took him to his training lessons, and they were working on having Zeus listen even while playing with other dogs. They brought in a Labrador and the two started to play. Again, Zeus allowed this dog to basically walk all over him, but nothing bad had happened yet. The labrador decided that he needed to relieve himself, and proceeded to start to do so on Zeus’s head. Zeus had been bent over with his head on the ground, when the labrador picked up his leg and proceeded. Again, immediately the trainer dragged the lab off of Zeus, and again, Zeus just lied down. After getting him all cleaned up the trainer told my dad that Zeus is the most docile and calmest dog he has ever seen. My mom got really worried about Zeus because he is too sweet for his own good.
His size does cause some problems though. With how big he is, people are often scared of him, which really hurts his feelings. His favorite thing is pets from new people and he gets sad when people squeal and turn away. He was also a lot harder to train. He was very good and he did listen, but on those occasions when he saw a squirrel and really wanted to get at it, there was nothing we could do about it. If a 150 pound dog starts running, you get out of the way. Now that he is older, he is a lot better about not chasing squirrels.
Saint Bernards are very docile and loving dogs. They are often called gentle giants. He is in love with all the little kids who live across the street. If they are scared of him, he lies down in excitement trying to woo them into coming to pet him. The biggest giveaway is how his tail wags so hard we all think it’s going to fall off. He is so friendly my family often jokes he would lead a burglar right to our bedrooms. He loves hugs and kisses, but he’s super clumsy so he doesn’t know how to fit himself onto our laps. It’s a good thing, however, because he would crush us under his weight.
As his birthday approaches he is almost two years old. Raising him has been quite an experience, but I wouldn’t change one thing about him. Except maybe make him snore a bit less.
When he was about 4 months old
He is now almost 2 years old and doesn’t quite understand how to use couches.