Tinkerbell (Tinks) is the first Saint Bernard that we have cared for and we are loving learning about this beautiful gentle giant of a breed. This Sit was to be for two Saint Bernards, 6 year old Tinks and her Mum, adorable Nana. Very sadly Nana passed a few weeks before our Sit began. So not only had Tinks recently lost her Mum, she normally has he family around her at all times and this is the first time she has been left with strangers. Luckily her pal beautiful black lab, Bella, was here with her.
We love it when we get to care for a new dog breed to us and this is the first time we’ve cared for a Saint Bernard. We’re loving learning about the care and attention Tinkerbell needs. She definitely is high maintenance but of course it’s rewarding to care for her and keep her looking nice. She needs daily grooming and she absolutely LOVES it when she sees us pick up her brush she rushes outside ready for her brushing, where the lawn is quickly covered in her blonde hair. Actually it’s quite addictive, we’ll often be gently pulling out little clumps of knots.
We call her Slobber chops (affectionately). Tinks drinks a lot of water and a towel always has to be handy to wipe her slobbering hanging jowls as water and saliva often gets trapped in her many skin folds.
Because of her beautiful sagging jowls she drools especially when she takes a drink, there is a lot of slobbering we have a towel ready to wipe all around her mouth, and bless her she turns her face to us for her clean up.
If we haven’t dried her off, she will shake her head to shake off the slobber and it goes all over the walls and ceiling!
She needs her eyes wiped daily, Tinks has particularly droopy eyes that get a lot of gunge and need cleaning often, just with a moist cloth, she’s not everso keen on it but she’s a good girl and tolerates it, in fact we think she is grateful when we do it as her eyes must feel much better.
Its been a great experience for us as we feel we now know so much more about her breed. Her head is big and beautiful and her huge soft furry feet are gorgeous and she loves her belly rubbed. She has so much love and affection and I wish I could show you how she kisses Bella in the morning, will try to video, it’s adorable.
We had already been told Tinks is a nervous doggie and when her Owners left us early evening she spent the rest of the evening upstairs on the landing and we could tell she was missing her owners when we went to comfort her. We were surprised and pleased she followed her normal routine the next morning and 7.00 am on the dot she came up to our bedroom and placed her big head on our bedside for some stroking and to tell us it was her breakfast time. After breakfast she had a few cuddles with us and then laid in the lounge for a little snooze. Then it was walkies, which she loves. Like a little excited kid, harnessed up we walked to the local park, lots of stroking as we walked. (last week we had miniature daxies with tiny poo bags, this week we were taking carrier bags with us haha!).
The Owners kindly left their truck for us to take the dogs to some scenic walks a few miles away where they can be off lead. We wanted to walk with them the first day straight from the house on the lead for some bonding time and to get them used to us.
On our return to the sunny garden, we groomed Tinks. She is a typical St Bernard and needs regular brushing – and she LOVES it ! She happily stood and sat and it was amazing how much hair came out, the green lawn was almost covered! But you could tell from Tinks the brushing felt sooo good. Bella had cuddles instead of brushing so she didn’t feel left out for a moment.
Most of all Tinks loves human company, and we can tell already, on Day 2, she knows we are here to care for her and love her and she’s giving us a lot of affection. She loves to lay near us and know we are nearby.
The Saint Bernard or St. Bernard is a breed of very large working dog from the Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred for rescue work by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border and were known as ‘Valley dogs’ or ‘Farm dogs’.
There are actually two breeds of St. Bernards – some have long fur, and others have shorter coats.
These gentle giants love every member of the family – even cats!
With a towering height of 26–30 inches at the shoulders, and weighing in at anywhere from 120 to 180 pounds, St. Bernards are one of the largest dog breeds in the world. Famous for heroic mountain rescues, they are also one of the gentlest breeds, known for their endless patience with children, other dogs, and cats.
In fact Tinkerbell’s parents run a children day care class and Tinkerbell is a main attraction the children love her and she loves them. She’s such a gentle giant. Saints do not have an aggressive bone in their body. Saint Bernards’ do have a deep brutish-sounding bark so you could easily be intimidated by these gentle giants would much prefer a huge big cuddle with you than show you any aggression.
Saints are famously watchful and patient ‘nanny dogs for children – hence why Disney used a Saint Bernard for his Nana in the animated Peter Pan feature film.
We’ve had a fabulous time and experience caring for a Saint Bernard. Tink’s has been a dream to look after and we really appreciate the work involved in keeping this breed. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted but for us we’d jump at the chance to care for another.