BONZ: A Great Pyrenees who ate Christmas dinner

Hi, Pet Buddies! This week I met a Great Pyrenees, Opal Schlesinger, who looks like a beautiful, giant snowball. She lives in Sea Oaks with her humans, Lil and Peter, and she’s one of those pooches who come from a long line of showdogs. She has PAPERS and everything. But, even though her Official Name is – get this – Gardenia Ivory Jewel, for Lassie’s sake, she’s not snooty at all. Actually she was a little shy at first.

When I arrived, she was on her leash with her Mom, waiting for me in the front yard. After a cautious wag-and-sniff, her Mom said, “let’s go for a walk.” So off we went. It was really pretty on Opal’s street, lots of handy trees and stuff. And we ran into several of her dog buddies and their humans.

I’d never gone for a walk with my interviewee before and I guess I looked a little puzzled, because Opal said, by way of explanation, “Mom says this is a good way for us to get to know each other. I’m still kinda shy and when we take a lovely walk together it makes things easier, you know?”

“I never thought about it before,” I told her, “but this is nice. I think it’s a cool idea.”

“I walk 3 ½ to 4 miles every day, morning and evening,” Opal told me. “And I also like to run around inside and jump over stuff. I’m great at that!”

Back in the house, I asked Opal how she found her forever family. Turns out, they’d had a Great Pyrenees before, for a long time, named Oze. When he went to the Big Dog Park in the Sky, they wanted another pooch like him.

“Actually, Oze and I are related. Our dads had the same dad,” Opal said. Then, in an excited voice, “I’ve gotta tell you this story – my humans love to tell it to their buddies. But their version is a little different than mine,” she said.

“Can’t wait to hear it!” I was intrigued.

“Well, it was last Christmas Eve morning. Mom had to take Dad to the doctor, but I didn’t get to go. I used to have this terrible separation anxiety. Anyway, Mom knows I don’t like it when they leave so she left me a special treat. There it was, in a lovely big pot right on the stove. With a lid and everything – just for me. So I very carefully got up on my back tippypaws and gently, with my nose, nudged and nudged and nudged. Finally the pot slipped over the edge and landed, as I had planned, upright. The lid had bounced off nicely.”

I’m pretty sure my eyes were as big as water bowls, as I listened to Opal’s story.

“So, THEN, I just stuck my nose in and started nibbling. Man, it was fabulous. Lots of delicious meat, and a lot of nice juice. Earlier, I’d watched Mom pour a whole bottle of purple water into it and that was REALLY good, too. Made me feel all warm inside and kinda sleepy, I don’t know why. So I kept pulling off little pieces and putting them on the floor and nosing them around and nibbling. Well, Mr. Bonzo, I kept doing that a bunch more times till I finally realized it was all gone. I mean, totally.”

“Ooooh boy,” I managed.

“Anyway, I was taking a little nap when, all of a sudden, I heard Mom say, in her loud voice, ‘WHAT did you DO, Opal???’ Turns out, Mr. Bonzo, I‘d eaten the entire Christmas dinner. Mom called it Beef Burgundy. I mean, how was I to know? Mom told me it was a pound and a half of beef, with bacon and a whole bottle of wine. I thought she was just being nice because she knew I didn’t like to be alone. And it worked, too, because I was so busy eating all that delicious food I didn’t even miss Mom and Dad. I didn’t even THINK about Mom and Dad. See what I mean, Mr. Bonzo? I bet no other dog ever had such a great Christmas dinner.”

“I think that’s a safe bet,” I said.

“I had to stay in the den with my Dad for 3 ½ hours, while Mom cleaned the kitchen. I guess it was a pretty big mess. Then, two days later, Mom and Dad told me I wasn’t a little girl anymore and I had to graduate to my own bed. But that’s okay, as long as I can have my favorite toys with me. So now, when Mom and Dad are gone, I don’t freak out or anything like that. I just push a chair up to the dining room table, jump on it, then to the table, where I sit and wait for them. I jump off when I hear them coming. So far, there hasn’t been anything to eat up there, but maybe, someday …”

“Where do you play with your dog buddies?” I asked.

“We have this really cool dog park called Dogs For Life. Members only. We have 4 acres to run around in. My Besties are Sammi, Charlie, another Charlie, Polly, Lady, Benj, Clem, Winnie, Tigger, Dugan, Inka, Gus and Boo (Boo was born on Halloween).”

“Wow, you got some great posse there,” I said.

“I know! But Lady’s my total BFF. We can yap about anything.”

“But I have my job, too, Mr. Bonzo. My ancestors were Spanish guard dogs. They worked with the sheep-herding dogs, standing guard so no other animals could grab any sheep. So I carry on the tradition. I guard my family. I may look like a snowball, but nothing – human or animal – gets by me unless I say so. I have a very big bark and I know how to stand my ground!”

I knew she was right, but I couldn’t help but think it would be kinda hard to be scared of anything that looked like Frostie the Snowman. I wisely decided not to share that with her.

As I was getting ready to leave, Opal Said, “Mr. Bonzo, you should come back for our big annual Dog Walk. It’s so fun. We all get washed and brushed. And we get special bandanas and parade all over the neighborhoods, about 100 of us with our humans. There’s a drawing for a comfy quilt and we take pictures. Mom says it helps the Humane Society, and lots of dogs and cats who aren’t as lucky as us.”

“Sounds great. I’ll make a note,” I told her.

Helping others, I thought to myself, that’s one of the coolest things humans do.

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