In the movie Beethoven, George Newton, trying to come to terms with the presence of a large, slobbering dog in his ultra clean home, looked at Beethoven and yelled, "My family likes you better than me! Why? All you do is drool and shed and eat!" I loved watching that movie with Moose either at my feet or snuggled up to me on the sofa, using him as a giant pillow. And my response to George Newton is "Exactly!"
We had to make the decision to do right by Moose and end his suffering and pain. He was over ten years old, and lived a long and happy life. But there comes the time in every dog's life where quality is no longer there. Moose's bad days were too frequent and his good days too little in between. We scheduled the appointment, gave him a huge McDonald's lunch, ice cream, took him outside in the cool Florida breeze, hung out by the pool for a bit. He started getting tired out, and when I told him we were going for a Jeep ride he struggled getting to his feet, and we had to help him get into the Jeep. Instead of standing in the back looking out the windows, he immediately laid down. Amongst a whole lot of tears, we said our final goodbyes, and came home to the house still full of him. Having a Saint Bernard takes a lot of commitment and work, more so than other breeds. The grooming alone is a never ending battle, and when he blew his undercoat twice a year, I could fill garbage bags with fur. There was always balls of fur blowing around the house no matter how often we would sweep and vacuum. Slobber on the walls, furniture and even the ceiling. We always had a drool rag handy, trying to wipe his mouth before he shook his head sending slobber flying in all directions.
Moose was a counter surfer. He knew better when I was in the room, but as soon as I turned my back he would help himself to whatever he found. One day I came home to him lying on the sofa with a bag of kaiser rolls, watching TV and picking one at a time out of the bag like he was eating popcorn. Another time, my son left him unattended around a birthday cake I was making for my niece. I had to run out to Walmart to get food coloring, and came home to no cake. The night before my son's graduation party, Moose somehow got 4 dozen hot dog rolls from a 5 foot cabinet and helped himself to all of them, plus two of the plastic bags they came in. In the middle of the party he started pooping out plastic bags, after he carefully picked himself a couple of the cupcakes from the table, leaving the slobbered up wrappers neatly next to all of the food. When Moose was younger, he had to have a gluten free diet. My mom, suffering from celiac disease, made an instant bond with him and they would sit together sharing her gluten free pretzels and other gems. My mom was outweighed by Moose by 40 pounds, and he stood almost as tall as her, but she loved him to pieces.
I'm pretty sure Moose ended up on a lot of Instagram accounts all over the country. People were drawn to him, and everyone had their cameras out, even stopped at a traffic light, his giant head tossed back enjoying the breeze with the Jeep top down. People thought I was crazy moving him to Florida at 8 years old, already old for his breed, but he adjusted just fine. He loved romping around the backyard, especially in the early mornings and evenings, and would spend hours lying out by the pool with us, though he did not like going in the water. He lived in 4 houses in
two states, plus a whole slew of AirBNBs. He had a lot of hotel stays, too, his last one when we evacuated for Hurricane Ian. He was always fussed over at every doggy camp he went to, though most of the time they put him in with the little dogs because he was so attached to Marsha, he refused to leave the fence separating the littles from the giants. I've been sent more than a few photos of Moose lying down, covered in tiny breeds. And when we introduced tiny Maisel to him she only weighed 5 pounds. He was so gentle with her, and put up with her constantly "washing" his ears, eyes, and even mouth. She would stick her entire head inside his mouth, licking away whatever food might be stuck in his jowls. Moose now lives on in Moose and Marsha, LLC, and Ms. Maisel will be stepping up to the honorary CEO position. His absence will always be felt. I loved him with everything I have. Go find Marsha, buddy, and play like the day we brought you home!