As a dog sitter, I have experienced the love, and wrath, of every size dog you can imagine. My dog, Riggins, is everything to me. I just can’t imagine that my big dog would have given me the same amount of comfort over the years if he were small.
It’s not that I don’t like small dogs. I do. It’s no secret that if I had a little dog, I’d take him everywhere with me, tucked away in a giant purse. Poor thing. Just imagine how tortured he would be! Even so, when it comes to hugs, comfort, and overall goofy happiness, I pick big dogs.
First, let’s define “big dogs.” Those who own giant pups who easily tower over their owners when standing on their back legs will mock me for saying my pup is big. I’ll give them that. They are at a whole other level of big dog love! For this article, let’s define “big dogs” as those pups who are too big to be lap dogs, but usually try to be anyway!
Here is why I think big dogs are the best:
Don’t hug a dog. That is one of the top rules of dog-human interaction. Understandably, the dog can see this move as aggressive and react accordingly.
I ignore this rule daily. I hug my dog, your dog, any dog big enough to take on my snuggle is fair game! Little dogs just don’t have the heft to take on a Wendy tackle-hug. I dog sit a gentle giant named Clover. She is half Golden Retriever and half Direwolf. OK, maybe not Direwolf, but something huge, that’s for sure. Clover spends a lot of her time lying in my hall, and I usually have to step over her when I go from room to room. Sometimes I just can’t control myself and lie down next to her for a snuggle. She is the perfect body pillow!
I live in a not-so-great area of Los Angeles, and yet I never feel unsafe. Why? Because my neighborhood is scared to death of my big black dog. If you come near the house, he will unleash a chesty, deep, earth-moving bark that will make you shake in your boots. We have a delivery man who won’t even come close if the front door is open — I’ve seen him toss a package and run. Would-be intruders don’t need to know that once they make it inside, Riggins will happily let them hang out and even show them to the treat cabinet, just in case that is what they were looking for.
I have been out walking my black dog, a Pit mix, and a German Shepherd and have received the comment, “No one is going to mess with you.” Little did the person know that the dog who would most likely cause them harm was the Chihuahua tucked into the dog carrier over my shoulder.
I don’t care how big a dog is, he still thinks he is a lapdog. My pup will sit on the sofa and lay his body across my lap. I have no need for a lap blanket. I have a living, breathing portable heater!
Look at the breeds that we label as “heroes” because of their actions and training. Of the eight finalists in the American Humane Association 2014 Hero Dog Awards, seven are “big dogs.”
The National Association for Search and Rescue says that large dogs in the working and sporting groups are often the best suited for the task of picking up a scent and tracking it over possible harsh terrain. I’ve hiked with enough small dogs to tell you that most poop out long before their bigger counterparts. Often, when out on a trail, I have to help a small pup up a big rock because it just is too high for little legs to jump over. You don’t want your search and rescue dog to be stopped by a boulder! To be fair to small dogs, though, super big dogs aren’t great choices for the work, either. Would you like to hoist a 200-pound Mastiff into a helicopter?
Nothing says big dog like having your sandwich disappear off the counter when you turn around to put the mayonnaise back into the refrigerator. I once had two large Subway sandwiches on my counter that I was in the process of wrapping up and placing in a picnic basket, when one disappeared after Riggins strolled into the kitchen. I had to call my folks, who were relying on me for our sandwiches, and tell them we would be splitting a tuna fish salad sandwich three ways, as the turkey sandwich no longer existed. The same can be said about a container of shredded chicken, numerous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apple slices, and some yogurt covered raisins that earned my pup a very expensive trip to the vet, just to name a few.
You may be wondering how this is a good thing. If he eats that stuff, then you can’t. It’s the perfect diet! Once your dog is big enough to table surf, you can consider your diet started!
The bigger the dog, the bigger their smile!
As Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson eloquently said, “Any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless.” Don’t get angry with me! He said it.
What about you? Do you love big dogs? Tell us why in the comments!
Read more about Riggins and dog sitting by Wendy Newell:
About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop, sacrificing her bed, and with other furry filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.