Patrol Ponderings

Emma

Emma

by Emma the Great Pyrenees
While the Editor was busy with Red, White & Blue Festival coverage, I was tickled when asked to write a guest column for a newspaper. What a treat!
Oh, did I say “tickled?” I meant to say, “I itch. Badly. Usually in the area around my tail. Would you please scratch it?”
And as for a treat, well, I’ve always got room in my belly for a good fried egg…
But I guess I’d better forget about all that for a bit while I tell you about the topic on which I happen to be an expert: security. You see, I’m the guard dog for a secluded wilderness retreat infested with all sorts of threats like deer, turkey, raccoons, and don’t even get me started on those seed stealers that visit what my humans call “bird feeders.”
Like all Great Pyrenees, I work the night shift. My humans call it being “nocturnal.” At least that’s what I hear them mumble as one climbs out of bed at night to turn on the fan. I’ve been meaning to ask them how they expect to hear my warning barks if they turn the fan on high and fall back asleep? Oh well, it’s my job to keep them safe, and you’ve probably figured out I take that seriously as I run up and down the ridge, circling the house all through those dangerous, dark hours, barking.
My humans insist that there’s no danger: silly, sweet, well-intentioned people. I just shake my head and smile at them. They don’t hear the other dog about five miles up the road that’s barking. That’s a danger that could escalate in a hurry if I didn’t tell him I’m on guard and he’d better stay off my land. Then there are those noisy diesel engines going up and down the road a few ridges away. Trouble is always one missed warning bark away. My motto, and the motto of my kind, is “constant vigilance.” (My humans get that wrong too; they call it, “constant barking.”)
Sometimes, just before I fall asleep during the day, my people tell me the story of the Great Pyrenees. They say my kind were bred in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain by farmers who needed big, strong, smart dogs to guard their livestock from bears and wolves. Since we often spent many days by ourselves, we got used to making decisions on our own. I think I’m lucky because I’ve heard tell some dogs can’t do this and must follow things called “commands” from their humans that are learned during some awful ritual called “obedience training.” That’s enough to make a girl shudder.
Another perk to being a Great Pyrenees is that our kind has what my people call a good dash of “flash and dazzle.” I think this has something to do with the way I look as well the way our thick, often white hair doesn’t cling to the dirt we collect as we work, no matter how cooling that mud compress might be that I worked so hard to apply while down at the creek.
They also say Great Pyrenees are known for being stubborn.
But I don’t think they’re right on that one, either. Humans – gotta love them, huh?