There are two dogs currently in our lives; Annie, the mischievous brat who provides most of the comic relief, and Guinness, the mostly well-behaved man-dog of the house. Annie is a Landseer Newfoundland as evidenced by her black and white coat. Guinness is an all black Newfoundland with only a patch of white on his chest. Since Annie’s adventures are well documented, I thought I would take the time to share with you a tale of the mostly brave Guinness.
Guinness is a big boy that epitomizes the term barrel chested dog. He is the reigning king of dogs in our house, though he properly defers to humans of any age as he should. If there is one goal to which Guinness aspires, it is to be a good dog.
Guinness is four years of age as of this writing, and we are his third home. We are also his last home, since we love him and wouldn’t give him up for any reason short of aggression towards our children. For the record he has never shown any aggression towards anyone other than Annie, and Lord knows I can’t blame him for that. Annie needs someone to keep her in line, and Guinness is just the dog for the job. Sure we give her boundaries and try to keep her in line, but those rules are for human interactions. The job for which Guinness has been chosen is to teach Annie how to be a dog.
Guinness taught Annie how to bark. Actually I might have been OK with Annie missing that lesson, since we are now serenaded with rampant barking every night at around ten o’clock. Apparently the hoard of zombies that lives just outside our fence wakes up every night at ten o’clock, and only Annie can hear them. She sounds the alarm, Guinness runs down to support her, and they proceed to bark continuously until I call them in. Should the zombies somehow breach the perimeter and get into the house, at least I know that I’ll have enough warning to load the shotgun. That is assuming the shambling undead don’t trip over the dogs when they come in. Actually it’s the scary running zombies you have to worry about, but forgive me – I digress.
Guinness is the very image of masculine authority. He exudes an air of confidence and bravery that makes him look noble and proud. The image of stout nobility is an illusion however, as our brave Guinness is seemingly afraid of damn near everything except the as-yet unseen zombies in the woods. And Annie – he’s not afraid of Annie, though she did scare him once.
When we had Annie spayed, she came home feeling confused and sick from the anesthesia. We brought her into the bedroom so she could lay on the nice dog bed in there. Guinness came in to check on her, and very gently walked up to sniff her. It looked like he just wanted to make sure that she was alright. It was really very sweet. Annie though, was in no mood for any of his man-dog crap. She turned her head towards Guinness, raised her right lip to expose her teeth, and let out a menacing low growl.
Guinness did what any man would do when faced with a growling woman. He tucked his tail between his legs, backed out of the room, then turned and ran like Hell. We found him hiding behind the children, shaking like a teenage girl in a horror movie. If he had vocal chords I bet he would have screamed like one too. I guess he figured that two young girls could protect him from the snarling she-beast in the bedroom. Maybe he just wanted a human shield. It’s hard to read him when he’s shaking.
Guinness is also afraid of thunder, fireworks, the broom when it falls over, and anything else that makes a similar noise. We can’t fault him for fearing thunderous noises. He is just what hunters call gun shy. We all have our neuroses after all. In the grand scheme of things being afraid of loud noises is pretty insignificant compared to say, constantly stealing butter. Since his duties here preclude him from becoming a bird dog, I doubt that he’ll ever hear a gunshot. Unless of course the zombies somehow get into the house. At least I’ll know he will be safe when I’m busy fighting them off. He will be the one hiding behind the children.