Welcome to the web space postumously created for Brandy. Oh, forgive me, that's Brandy Alexandra of Pine Hill. No she wasn't a champion, and no she wasn't in the movies, but to an 8-year-old, living with a Saint is much cooler than any of those things anyway.
Brandy was part of my life from 1973 to 1982. She was acquired at a pet store (big mistake - more on that later), and soon became the sibling I never had. She was a pure-bread AKC registered Long-haired Saint Bernard.
The minute my mother saw her too-big body in the too-small cage at the pet store, there was pretty much no hope that my Dad would ever talk her (us) out of saving her from the pet store.
This picture was taken by me, lying on the floor in front of her. She was pretty much bored by the whole ordeal as I recall.
My Dad was a semi-professional photographer, so we ended up with what my Mom always referred to as "More pictures of the damn dog then of your own family". I guess dogs complain less than human subjects.
Anyway I really like this picture. She was rather young as I recall.
This picture was taken on the day Brandy was put to sleep. Brandy suffered from hip dysplasia, a malady common to giant breeds. Most breeders will try and breed the disease out of their line, but often breeders that sell to pet stores breed only for the money. We had no idea going into this, that puppy stores could be a bad thing. Now we do.
Think carefully before buying a dog from a pet store. What is the pedigree of the dog? Do you even need a pet store animal? Why not go to the pound and rescue a loving pet from lethal injection? Think about it.
If you decide you would like a pure breed puppy (and there is nothing wrong with that), then go talk to breeders, not pet stores. A good breeder will tell you the risks of having a particular breed. They will show you a pedigree of your puppy's lineage. A breeder will care about your puppy even after you get it home. And good breeders don't do it for the money. In fact many often lose money on health certifications on their dogs.
OK, back to Brandy. Brandy weighed in at about 140 pounds when fully grown, and she was a smaller Saint! She had one of the sweetest dispositions of any animal I've ever met, and was so smart sometimes it scared us.
Of course there were also times when we marveled at just how uh... un-smart she could be.
All that aside, she was great around kids, in fact my mother has an arsenal of stories about Brandy protecting the kids (She baby-sat) from her.
And yes the dorky kid with the killer plaid pants is me.
We used to get cow femurs from the butcher for Brandy to have. She was such a good dog that you could take the bone away from her while she was eating it. We figured a dog this size must be trained that well if there were to be kids around. She never harmed anyone or anything.
She scared the heck out of the gas man a couple times, but she just wanted to play. They never understood that... In fact the UPS guy would just sit in his truck and honk the horn for us to come to him!
Well, I'm tired of typing, and Brandy's got some snow to go play in. Earthly matters bore her ever so quickly these days. She would like me to pass on some wisdom before you leave.
Please, if you decide you want a Saint or any other giant breed dog, do some research. Don't get one because your kid likes Beethoven (The dog, not the composer), or because he/she liked the one on Peter Pan. Dogs are living creatures. Saint Bernards are BIG living creatures. Saints can make a mess of your house, and they often drool. A lot.
If you would really like to get a Saint Bernard, ask yourself some simple questions; Do you like drool? Do you like big wet muddy dogs? Do you like to brush big hairy muddy dogs? Do you like to feed big hungry hairy muddy wet dogs? Do you have enough yard space for such a big dog? Is your house big enough for such a big dog? Are you emotionally responsible enough to support such a creature?
If your answer is yes to all of these questions (and more), and you decide to get a Saint, your lives will be enriched forever. They are great animals and they give you double the love you put into them.
If you are considering a Saint Bernard, drop me a line. I will more than happy to help you out with your decision and point you to some people that know more than I about the breed. I can be E-Mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
What about Newfoundlands? Keep looking, they're here.
Brandy - Everyone that knew you on your short stay on Earth still misses you dearly. Hardly a day goes by, even after over 25 years, where you are not mentioned by one of us. I look forward to seeing you again someday, and I hope you don't mind me directing some souls in need your way, as I know you'll take as good care of them as you did me.
Be Well, Be Strong.
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