Goliath is my sweetie. He's a Saint Bernard - Golden Retriever mix, and he's the sweetest dog I've ever met. I found him at the Humane Society, and fell under his spell almost immediately. As soon as we went outside, anyway.
I walked into the shelter, thinking, "Don't look to closely at any of them. Make a complete loop, and be sure to see them all." I knew the right one would leap out at me. He was in, like, the third stall. All of the other dogs were jumping and barking and running around. He just sat still and stared at me. And watched me walk past. I made the complete loop, looked at them all, and came back to that one. The one whose look said "I knew you'd come."
"But he's so huge," my brain said. "But I have a huge house," my heart retorted. I started to walk away, and a woman walked into the back of his cage, speaking to a man who was following her. "Are you taking him outside?" I asked, shyly. She said that she was. "May I come with you?"
So there we were, outside. He certainly wasn't lethargic, but he wasn't anything like the other dogs. He was curious, but not excited. He didn't bark, didn't jump. He opened the gate with his nose. The man left. The woman asked if I wanted to go in. I did. He sniffed. Didn't jump. I squatted down. He licked. Didn't jump. I hugged him. He snuggled. I took him home.
It wasn't that easy, of course. Nothing important ever is. I travel on business, and mom had already happily volunteered to watch my new dog while I'm away. "Don't get a huge one," she said. Um. This is the biggest dog I've ever seen. But look at this face. So it was a tough decision, but not really. And then the paperwork. One of the questions on the adoption form is "Will you be willing to keep the dog even if he grows larger than you expected?" I answered, "He's already enormous, and he's great!"
I'm sure she thought I was nuts when she first saw him, but she's a sucker, like me. He's her granddog, now. He's a darling. He's been abandoned four times, so he has issues, but he's worth it. The issues are minor, anyway. He stresses. He doesn't tear things up or pee on the floor. He just worries. He stays close to me, which is fine with me, and we're working on his agorophobia.
For the first six months, when we'd go to the park, he'd sit right next to me, and just... watch. Left right left right behind who's that too close let's go. Poor baby. He's getting used to it, tho. The first time I came back from being out of town, he tried to bite me when I made him leave my room. I keep telling him, I'm not leaving you. I think he finally gets it. Now when we go to the park, he stays close, but plays with the other dogs too. He still whines a little if there are too many people, but if they scratch his ears and make a fuss over him ("he's so beautiful!" works pretty well), he settles down pretty quick.
He's getting there. There's a funny story. When I adopted him, one of the guys at the HS said he'd be able to get me a really close birth date, because Goliath had been there so many times. He was there as a really young puppy. But I forgot to have him look it up. So a few weeks ago, I called, and asked. The girl I spoke to said, "We don't have an exact date, but he was brought in on July 8, 1996, and he was eight to ten weeks old." I thanked her profusely, and busted out the calendar. I decided that I'd subtract nine (a medium between eight and ten) weeks, and that'd be his official birthday. So I did, and came up with May 6th. I went to write it in my palm pilot, and there was already a notation for that day. It was the day I adopted him. Isn't that cool? I adopted him on his birthday (it's also the day my grandfather died, coincidentally). There are some people who would argue that I'm not the greatest birthday present, but I must be better than a little running cage at the Humane Society. I know he thinks so, because he loves me. He totally trusts me, even tho he's been abandoned so many times. He's a darling.
Traveling with him is a riot. I sometimes get sent on longer assignments, and bring him with me. The abandonment thing kicks in at rest stops, in a big way. He must have been dumped in a big parking lot one time, because he will *not* get out of the car. Period. Gas stations, no problem. He hops right out. He's not crazy about hotels, but he's good. Quiet, but he stays close to me, just in case. This is simply the most patient, loving dog I've ever met.
He puts up with anything from me. When it's really raining hard, I put a puppy raincoat and booties on him. He's got a lot of fur, and when he gets wet, he gets *really* wet. But he lets me do it. He's not crazy about the waterproof shoes, but I swear he actually likes the raincoat. It's one of those bright yellow slicker jobs. He let me put bells on him at Christmas, devil horns for Halloween. Such a honey.
And he loves his Gentle Leader, even tho it itches. All I say is "Gimme the nose" and he sits right down and sticks his nose out for it. Perfect gentleman. And I never, ever yell at him. I figure, if he can hear my car come around the corner, he can hear me. So I can whisper a command, and he goes right to it.
I can't imagine how anyone could have ever given him up, but it was lucky for me. He's the best puppy ever. My fuzzy kid. I can't recommend the Humane Society enough. Seriously, check them out, when you're ready to get a dog. They need your love so badly, and they never forget your kindness.
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