First Beethoven Encounter

There are a few rules that you need to remember when having kids of a certain age or if you consider buying a pet in general, especially a dog

  • Do not go window shopping!
  • Do not visit a kennel!
  • Do not visit a breeder!
  • Do not touch a puppy!
  • Do NOT bring your kids along to look at puppies

Breaking any of these perceived simple rules and you’ll end up with a cute little fluffy puppy – whether you want it or not.  And, that’s exactly what happened to us a few years ago.

We had always been big fans of St Bernard dog, but we already had two rather large dogs; a Labrador and a Bernese Mt dog. So, it wasn’t a priority or intention to get another (third) dog.

One day we broke the cardinal rules “do not visit a breeder”, “do not touch a puppy” and “do not bring your kids”.

I saw an ad in the local tabloid buy ‘n sell paper, where a family was looking to sell St Bernard puppies.  Surely we could just go check out these fluffy beasts?  We had willpower … or so we thought.

Now, most breeders of more exotic breeds like St Bernards are often eccentric or perhaps just a little strange.  They are mad into the breed of dogs and will do everything possible to convert you or suss you out to ensure that you will be a good dog owner.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s always something strange about fanatics.

The family that we visited were no exception to the rule and certainly fitted the strange bill.  The soundtrack from “The Lost Boys” should’ve been playing in the house we visited.

Furthermore, the place we were going to was about an hour drive from our house, so this was going to be a road-trip, which normally means a heavy reliance on the GPS lady.  The only challenge here is that American or Asian produced GPS ladies don’t know shit about the back roads of Ireland.

In the end, we found the place and knocked on the door.  Out came a hobbit sized man with a beer-belly the size of a basketball.  His hands were kids sized, so I gently squeezed it, afraid to break his bones.

Behind him was more hobbits – 6 to be exact – each of them slightly chubby and over-happy to have visitors.

We were invited in for cake ‘n coffee and even got a tour of the house.  They showed off family albums and shared some of their adventures.  The freaky bit was when they dragged in their 2nd youngest, to show off her little abnormal hands.  Well, if they were the size of her dad’s hands, then it’s a family thing, but this was a little more.  She had six (6) fingers on each hand.

Our actual puppy the day we brought her home!

I was trying not to show my utter amazement for this Ripley’s exhibit, but I guess my jaw dropping on the coffee table was too obvious.  After that, they shared the next phase in the six-finger adventure and that they were going to have them surgically removed.

Then we met the mummy and daddy dogs and all the fabulous little fluffy puppies.  There were a lot “aahhh“, “iihhhh” and “oohhh” – and then the dreaded “can we keep one?”.

Two kids and my lovely wife were staring at me with begging eyes, and so was the hobbit family.  How could I be the mean man and deny my family this fluffy thingy?  So, we agreed and the six-fingered family broke out the cognac and cheered.

6 weeks later we were back in the hobbit hole to collect the fluff ball.  We named her Chiquita like the banana, not too sure what the resemblance was, but the name stuck.

We were greeted back with cookies, coffee and big family hug by the entire chubby clan.  They were overly happy to have us back, and even suggested that we buy the neighbouring house as it was for sale – they were VERY keen on having us as neighbours.

… and now!

Right, time to leave this place behind.  I had seen enough “Twilight Zone” to know when to call it a a day.  I was genuinely getting worried and was wondering if the dad would tie a chain to the car preventing us from leaving … which he thankfully hadn’t done.

Instead we left with a little bundle of fluffy joy.  I knew it wouldn’t last as these creatures grow fast and big.  But, that’s another post.

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