This St. Bernard backwoods hero
Issue #35 • September/October, 1995
When we think of a backwoods dog we generally think of a Pyrenees, German Shepherd, or other breed of working dog. In our case, our family chose the Saint Bernard. Brandy is about 160 pounds of great big slobbering mass that will literally knock a grown man over playing. We nicknamed him Cujo because of his looks, not his behavior.
Chicken patrol has been Brandy’s food-earning job around our place for four years now. He will herd them back to the chicken yard, and if they are cowardly and hide somewhere, he will stand and bark til we go gather the wayward fowl. Huey, Duey, Lewey, and Junior the ducks know better than to cross the imaginary fence line out back or “Brandy on patrol” will herd them back to their rightful place.
Benjamin with Toby and Brandy, our hero
Our driveway is about 550 feet long, winding back through the trees. When I go on an errand, Brandy always goes down to Grandma Wright’s (she lives out by the road) to wait on me. When the truck comes back into sight, he bounds off her front porch, runs around the house, and cuts across the backyard to race me up the driveway. He always wins because he cheats. He gets in front of the truck and bounces along, looking back to make sure I’m having fun, so I have to slow down.
Coming home from town one particular day, I didn’t pay too much attention when he wasn’t on the porch. What caught my eye was that, as I turned into my drive, he ran from the back of Grandma’s house straight for my truck. He wasn’t racing; he wanted to stop me. He got in front of my vehicle and backed up as I slowly moved forward.
We stopped in the drive to let my son Benjamin out to get in Grandma’s wood, and I was shocked to see her lying in the backyard. It was very cold, and she had obviously broken her hip. After all the proper first aid measures were taken, as Brandy hovered over her, she told me he never left her side the one and a half hours she lay there. Her temperature only dropped a few degrees, and she was in remarkably good condition for an 88-year old. Brandy with his winter coat and bulky body made a great blanket for her. We feel sure she would not have survived if our “Cujo” had not been there.