What It’s Like to Own a Saint Bernard
This morning at the coffee shop, I watched a St. Bernard steal a woman’s muffin in cold blood. The Saint looked similar to the one we have but with much bigger jowls and a shaggier neck. It might have also been a boy, whereas ours is a girl. It was hard to tell. But the funny thing about what happened was the muffin was standing at the center of the table and there were at least three or four other pieces of food between it and the St. Bernard. This is a sign that Saints are, among other things, finicky creatures, and, despite their size, picky about what they eat.
As a witness, you could see that the muffin-slaughter was perfectly premeditated. The Saint waited until the lady and her three friends were engaged fully in their gossip, and paying least attention to their food. That’s when the behemoth raised itself and launched his gigantic head forward, latching onto the muffin top, his two enormous paws planted firmly on the table. The woman shrieked, much like you’d hear in a horror movie. She then grabbed the Saint around the neck, but at this point the muffin was already gone—swallowed in two gulps. Not like you would have wanted to eat a muffin after a Saint Bernard had its mouth attached to it, anyway. They tend to leave a mess.
The woman afterward wrestled her dog off the table with considerable difficulty and you could tell she wanted to scream or something but couldn’t because that would have caused her to not appear in control of herself, which is not a good look to have in Suburbia America these days. Instead she dragged the Saint over to the corner and told him to lay down. He obviously didn’t.
I have owned a Saint Bernard going on six years now and can tell you something about them, so take it from me. They are, first of all, foul, disloyal, disobedient, and dishonest. They are the worst dog in the world to own. If there is ever a chance to betray your trust over a crust of bread or some small remnant of sour cream on the edge of a spoon, they will do it. They’ll interrupt the snuggle, hop off the couch, and investigate the kitchen at the sound of a crumb dropping. If you leave the door open, they will run away, with no plans of where to take residence. I once chased Lola (my Saint) down railroad tracks after she escaped our old apartment, somehow. She got across Lincoln avenue, walked into a Turkey Hill Gas Station, made a few selections for herself, walked out, then got onto the Amtrak line. It was Sunday, fortunately, and no trains were running. So it was then a dead sprint—me versus her. I had never run so hard or so fast in my life, and once I caught up with her, I was not as cool as the other lady. I may have said some things I didn’t mean.
All that aside, I would never wish to own any other kind of dog. My wife tells me that Lola and I are very similar–in appearance, behavior, and body smells. Also, brain capacity, if you can believe a person’s wife would ever say such a thing. My rebuttal is, “Yeah, but Lola is sweet.” And they ARE sweet, Saint Bernards. Truly they are the original gentle giant. They are also fairly good with kids, assuming they don’t sit on them, which has been known to happen, from time to time. I suppose I think of Saint Bernards like I think of American Democracy: I am not sure this is the best the world has to offer, but it sure as anything is amusing.