Owning a Great Pyrenees Dog as a pet, I am often reminded of her innate need to GUARD what she believes is “hers.” Frank, like all Great Pyrs, is quite an enigma. She can be friendly with a visitor to our home in one instance, then go into obstinate “guardian mode” with the same visitor in a different circumstance. It is a deeply ingrained trait that I have learned to respect and accept.
Frank is a 3.5 year old female Pyr with a large family to take care of and a home and yard to patrol. She is a family pet, but she seems to believe she is a true guardian dog. She takes an interest in everyone who walks past our house, and personally greets anyone who comes up our walkway to our door with her booming bark and steady stare. Even though I have a sign at the front door saying “Guardian Dog on Duty” and a picture of Frank in her regal stance; some brave people still put their hands on the door handle before proper introductions are made.
One such teenage boy who came by to pick up one of our daughters last Friday night, claimed to be “great with dogs” and “not afraid” of any dog because he had a Rottweiler.
This young lad’s confidence was admirable to say the least, but Frank wasn’t convinced. She glared at him from her vantage point in the hallway and grunted her displeasure when our daughter went out the door with him. She stood at the door and barked as the car left the driveway... voicing her displeasure.
Now, at our house there is a 12:30am curfew. Our daughter reluctantly came home at 12:28am and the boy’s car hovered in front of the house too long for both my liking and for Frank’s. Our daughter Anna stood at the door looking over her shoulder and then started begging me for permission to go out to McDonald's for a midnight snack.
She was starving! "And don’t worry Mom; my friend is going to pay", etc., etc. I almost said yes; when I heard my husband’s voice bellow over top of Frank’s booming bark “NO WAY! Tell Romeo goodnight.”
Anna was not happy and showed it by stomping up to her room with her cell phone stuck to her ear, complaining bitterly about how her life sucks, and soundly slamming her bedroom door.
Romeo drove off and I started to settle down for the night. I called up to Anna to suggest she make a snack since she was so hungry, and got a sulky response, so I started shutting down the house; kitchen first, then routinely locked all the doors.
Just before 1am my husband went to bed, and all the others were sound asleep. I finished up my chores, patted Frank on the head as I passed by her lying in the foyer, and went down to the lower level to get ready for bed.
At about 1:25am I heard the sound of light footsteps above, and recognized Anna’s footfalls heading for the kitchen. I figured she decided to get a snack after all. Then, a moment later I heard something else... the click of the back sliding door being unlocked. This was closely followed by the frenzy of Frank’s toenails on the ceramic floor in the front hallway and then steadily picking up speed heading towards the kitchen accompanied by her trademark alarm barking.
I heard Anna let out a yelp of surprise; and I started to run back up the stairs to the main level. Frank’s barking became more intense, and then faded as she went out the back sliding door and into the darkness of the back yard.
A male voice was yelling “HEY! HEY! NO! NO!” then Anna screamed “Frank! NO! Frankie! Come back here! Come!” When I appeared in the kitchen, Anna; who still had her cell phone to her ear said “ Oh snap, now my Mom’s up!” I thought, “Yeah, the whole neighbourhood is up now.”
Frank was still bellowing in the darkness somewhere near the front of the house. I went out onto the deck and leaned over to look down the side. The fence was wide open.
I heard the sound of a car door slamming shut and the engine start up out on the street and a car pull away quickly. In the background I could hear Anna on her cell phone talking furiously in a hushed tone; and I knew she was talking to the guy driving the car.
Suddenly, Frank’s barking stopped, and for a moment an awful thought crossed my mind. Could it be that she stopped barking because the car had run her over?
I whistled into the night; beckoning Frank to come back to the yard. I heard nothing... then I saw her. She was prancing down the side of the house straight towards me, her tail held high and holding something in her mouth. She trotted up onto the deck, wagged her magnificent tail at me and sashayed into the house.
Dumbfounded, I followed her in through the sliding door. In her mouth was a brown paper McDonald’s bag. I glanced up accusingly at Anna who was still whispering into her cell phone; and then bent down to retrieve the slobber soaked bag from Frank’s salivating jaws. Frank’s big moist eyes met mine and hung on.
I gave in. I took the bag, and placed the contents on the counter. I extricated the two all beef patties from the special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and the sesame seed bun, and gave them to Frank.
Ten minutes later, after insisting Anna get off the bloody cell phone, I was able to speak to her and piece it all together.
After she was not allowed to go out to McDonald's at 12:30am, Anna complained bitterly to Romeo over the phone. The two came up with a plan. Romeo would go and get McDonald’s and then he would sneak into our yard and they would meet on the back deck.
When Anna mentioned that her dog Frank was a guard dog, and might pose a problem, brave Romeo boasted that he wasn’t afraid of ANY dog, and that he would be fine. He could handle Frank. Anna made sure that I was downstairs and in bed, and told Romeo to park up the street. She then snuck down stairs to open the back sliding door for him.
Of course Frank heard the door, sensed an intruder and took the appropriate action, much to the surprise of Anna and to the shock of Romeo. Frank was much more convincing out on the deck and when Romeo turned and ran, Frank took off in hot pursuit.
When Romeo got to his car, he thought he could buy time by tossing the McDonald’s bag across the road to divert the dog. No such luck. Frank stayed the course barking until Romeo was in his car, and peeling down the street. Frank then picked up her brown bag trophy and proudly brought it home.
I thoroughly enjoyed telling the story to Nana, Papa and my husband Saturday morning over breakfast. My husband repeated an embellished version of the story for all five kids to hear during Sunday night dinner as an anecdotal warning and all the kids were howling with laughter... all except poor Anna, of course.
And Romeo? Apparently Romeo won’t be coming over to visit any more.
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