Sunday, May 17, 2009


My brother used to have a St. Bernard puppy. Her name was Janey.
She was the ill-conceived idea of his good-for-nothing roommate. As a $400 purebred, licensed pup, she spent her first weeks in his home being alternately loved and ignored. She wasn't fed the right foods, she wasn't trained, and she wasn't shown the sort of attention and discipline that a puppy needs.
So he did the roommate a favor, paid his overdue cable bill, and in return took the puppy. He changed her name from Mary Jane to Janey, and from there, her life started looking up.
I was in Mexico when he got her, so I only saw her pudgy puppy days through Skype. But as soon as I came home I jumped on the bandwagon and fell in love. Our parents asked Brent to come for weekends, and bring the dog, too. Our crotchety grandmother would ask about her every time we had dinner. His neighbors took her on walks, his friends taught her tricks, his ex-girlfriend would request puppy-visiting times, the ex-girlfriend's roommates bought her rawhide bones and other toys, and everyone wanted to babysit.

Everyone who knew Brent knew his Janey, and for the whole 5 months that he had her, she controlled every aspect of his life.
That's where things take a downturn. She was a puppy, after all, and getting bigger and more destructive every week. Then he lost his job. The bills kept coming and the dog kept growing. Janey's days were numbered.
Luckily, everyone who knew Janey talked about her (if every you ran out of things to say to a person, you could at least talk about the puppy!) My mom's hairstylist's daughter and son-in-law loved St. Bernards. Theirs had been run over by a car a few years ago, and they had another dog, but they still missed the old one. Within a week the couple were begging to meet Janey.
So now Miss Calamity Jane is living in a household of two little girls, an overweight labrador, and two smitten adults. She runs and plays and never had any lack of entertainment or affection. The dog has had a world of luck. Every time life seems to be setting her up for abandonment, she ends up in a better place than ever before.
It's everyone else, the ones who had to say good-bye and watch her go, that ended up heartbroken.

* I realize all these photos make her look sad and somber. 1) She's a St. Bernard. That's what they do. 2) When she was moving around, it's not like she held still enough for my crummy cell phone to get a clear shot.

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