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 even bigger jowls and a shaggier neck. It might have also been a boy, whereas ours is a girl. It was hard to tell. So the muffin was 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, picky about what they eat.
As a witness, you could see the murder was 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 Saint raised himself 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 one gulp.
The woman wrestled her dog off the table through considerable strain and you could tell she wanted to scream or something but couldn’t because this would’ve 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 a few things about them. They are, first of all, disobedient. They are the worst dog in the world to own. If there is ever a chance to betray you a bread crumb or some small remnant of sour cream on the edge of a spoon, they will do it. They’ll adjourn 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 go next. 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, then walked out onto the Amtrak line. It was Sunday, fortunately, and no trains were running. So it was then a dead sprint—me chasing her. I had never run so hard or so fast in my life, and once I caught up with her, 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 behavior, and body smells. My rebuttal is, “Yeah, but Lola is sweet.” And they ARE sweet, Saint Bernards. They are the original gentle giant. And also fairly good with kids, assuming they’re aware of them. 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.