In January, we rescued this little furball.
Ok, he wasn’t a little furball, he was a giant furball. At 12 months old, Wally was a gorgeous 85 pound Bernese Mountain dog. He was sweet and immediately integrated himself into our family. He played well with our other dog, Tyke, and if we had to fault Wally for anything, it was that he was just too eager to love. His favorite thing in the entire world is to be in contact with his people.
He has a signature move- his berner lean. He loves to sit at or on your feet and look at you upside down.
He also loves to put his head in your lap- if you let him he’ll totally climb into your lap as he did with our dog-loving friend, below.
He loves to give hugs. He’ll sit on his hind legs and put his front paws on your thighs. If that’s ok, he’ll put his front paws around your waist. And if that’s ok, he’ll jump up, put his paws around your neck and start giving kisses. He is so people oriented and remarkably gentle given his size. One of my favorite pictures of him is him gently sniffing the face of our one-year-old nephew. It seems as though Wally’s head is bigger than our nephew, but Wally was so gentle, our little guy just giggled.
He’s not without his faults however. First, he is the dopiest, goofiest, most awkward dog I have ever met.
He can’t catch. He really can’t catch anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ball or a treat, some part of his bitty dog brain can’t catch.
He famously ate his own papers. He clearly has some mountain man in him, taking himself off the grid like that.
We even have a new transitive verb in our house: Wallied. To be Wallied could mean being slobbered on, having him hug you with muddy paws while you are wearing white, or him clearing a coffee table with his tail (all happen regularly and could easily co-occur). When we first got him, we were used to our older, mellower, perfectly trained lab/retriever mix, so we were stupidly taken by surprise when in 48 hours Wally ate a bathmat, three pairs of socks, a pair of climbing shoes, and a pair of ballet flats. In case you were curious, it was an entire bathmat, not just part of one.
The worst Wally has been is a bit skittish and clingy, but the best he has been is nothing short of amazing. He is great with kids, and he is protective of his pack but never aggressive. He is an awesome mountain dog and he is so good at rolling with the punches when adventuring. We just got back from our local farmers market which is tight quarters with food, distracted people, little kids, big dogs, and is effectively an obstacle course. I’ll take this moment to remind you that as of May Wally still couldn’t walk on a leash. Today he walked at my heel, was a fabulous big dog ambassador for the little kiddos by allowing pets and giving kisses, he greeted other dogs but didn’t bark or jump, and he didn’t eat a single scrap of food- not off the table, out of someone’s hand, or from the ground. I am so tremendously proud of how far our big man has come. I am so thankful that we have the tremendous opportunity to try to bring him as much joy as he brings others.
No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.