Meet our October Pet of the Month, Guinness.
Although handsome Guinness is obviously livin' the dream with his hoomans in Maryland, he got a rough start in life. Below is his story as told by his loving mom, Sheila.
We think Guinness is about five years old. He was found abandoned on the streets of Baltimore in February 2014, which was a particularly cold winter. He was emaciated and full of burrs. The person who found him took him to a local shelter, but they were a high kill shelter and said he’d be put down within a week as nobody adopts big dogs. They contacted a ST. Bernard Rescue in Pennsylvania who, through a series of a five fosters, placed him in a home with five school age kids. This was not a success story.
While not aggressive, Guinness kept knocking the kids over with his size. They sent him back to be re-homed.
Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, our family was at an impasse. My husband and four adult children were campaigning for a new dog. I was so heartbroken at losing our 14-year-old lab that I was constantly repeating my mantra of NO DOG! We were a year away from our youngest graduating college and I couldn’t bear to lose another dog. I was starting to cave but insisted that they get off the Saint Bernard rescue site. “I will never adopt a St. Bernard!” was my rallying cry. You know the punchline.
“It truly was love at first sight. I cried when I met him.”
We received a call and email with photos of “Jake” who needed an immediate home. I caved (best decision ever) and we picked him up in a torrential thunderstorm in Philly the next day. It truly was love at first sight. I cried when I met him. As we drove home to Maryland, Ray drove, I was in the middle seat petting this sweet dog who was in the back of the SUV. Text messages to the four kids who were scattered around the country. The only one local met us at home.
As we are playing with our new friend, we realized that he was not responding to the name Jake, which was assigned along the foster trail. A family vote was unanimous for changing his name to Guinness. (We’re Irish and have adult children – ‘nuf said) At his initial welcome, I had to go out to the car to get something. He followed me and sat by the door, waiting for my return. The bond happened that quickly! Our daughter immediately protested, “two hours! He’s been in the family for two hours and he’s already Mom’s dog!” Yep, he’s my buddy.
We established, that first day, the DG-Daily Guinness. With the kids in college or traveling for work, most days the kids don’t see him so I have to text or send to our family private messenger post a photo of Guinness. If I haven’t sent one by 5 pm, one of the kids will ask for it, sometimes dramatically. “Mom, is everything okay? We haven’t gotten the DG yet. If it’s bad news, I can handle it..” Etc. I quickly take a picture of our friend lying on the floor.
When he joined our family, he was shaved including his tail – all the way to the bone. He was completely vetted. He was a bit of a crazy boy, running from one end of the house to the other. He was horrible on the leash, but with the help of a local obedience trainer, he is now perfect on the leash. He LOVES people. We often take him to restaurants with outside seating that are dog-friendly and he just sits there getting lots of love.
Guinness and his awesome hoomans!
Likes and dislikes: He eats about five cups of dry food a day. His head is table height but he would never steal or beg while people are at the table. If no one is looking, all bets are off. He once ate 24 cupcakes, paper cups and all. He didn't move for two days. He will not eat a dog treat of any sort but will do anything for a Cheezit. He likes to be bribed with meat chunks too. If you go to my Instagram (@mcwheltle), we have a short video of him licking an ice cream cone--another favorite.
He loves going to the dog park. At 125 pounds, he is always the biggest guy there but loves playing with the other dogs. We like to tire him out at the dog park before taking him to a restaurant where he is so exhausted that everyone thinks he is so well behaved. I'm on day 882 of walking 10K a day. He is my faithful companion on those walks. When we had 30 inches of snow one day last winter, he loved it and that helped me get steps in.
We are huge Baltimore Ravens Fans. Guinness often wears a jersey on game day. We have a tradition of giving everyone in the room high fives when our team scores. Yes, Guinn has been trained to give high fives.
If you notice on the instagram, I dress him up a lot, much to the dismay of my husband who thinks it's just silly. That being said, the Ravens reposted my shot of Guinness with the Ravens flag, wearing an Eric Weddle (same pronunciation as our last name) jersey and the shot got 17,000 likes. He's instafamous!
We think he is about five years old. He has great indoor manners and will not jump on any furniture except our bed. There are times when he will sail over the footboard--at 5:30am. He is doing what he does best--giving us a lot of love.
Kudos to Guinness’ pawesome family for sharing their home with a rescue, and showing the world that with a little patience, love and understanding, even big crazy pups can make the perfect new family member!