Almost totally white with big fluffy hair and weighing 126 pounds, the dog, named Julie, was hard to miss. I was keeping my distance until I saw others petting her. Then I did the same. It is hard to keep your hands off Julie.
She was so gentle and loving. After I rubbed her on her head and her back, Julie got down and rolled over. She wanted me to rub her stomach. After that, Julie stood beside me and sort of leaned on my leg.
Julie, or Jules as Mark calls her, is a Great Pyrenees. The Noland family rescued her from an animal shelter.
An animal control worker had picked her up. Surprisingly, no one called or came looking for her. Neither did she have a collar or chip that could be used to identify her.
Mark thinks Julie got lost. He explains that Great Pyrenees do not have a sense of direction. When they are used to protect herds of goats or flocks of sheep, the dogs follow them as they graze.
Since the sheep and goats know the way home, the dogs just follow them back.
The family managed to take their new pet home with them, even though, as Jill laughingly said, “She is the size of a horse.”
Thankfully, the Nolands live in a big house. Julie immediately made herself at home downstairs but she will not go upstairs.
Julie is not an active dog, but one of the family takes her out regularly to walk. During hot weather it is a brief walk. But when the weather is freezing, she is sitting by the front door looking like she wants to say, “Come on. It’s 16 degrees out there. Let’s go.” In cold temperatures, she likes a long walk.
One of my questions when meeting Julie was, “How much does she eat?” I was amazed to learn that she only gets one cup of dog food for breakfast and another for dinner. Often, she does not eat all of that.
But like some of us, Julie likes to snack during the day. She like biscotti, pizza cheese, bread and ice cream.
One day Jill had put a package of crescent rolls on the kitchen counter and left the room. When she came back, all of the rolls were gone.
She immediately thought the family’s four cats were the culprits. But when she saw the drool on the package, she knew Julie was guilty. Sally says Julie drools a lot.
Julie and the cats get along well. Sally named one cat Striped Kitty with a Striped Tail. That cat showed up in the woods, followed Sally inside and has been there ever since.
Jill calls Skipper John, a Siamese, a snow-shoe because of his white feet. He was first named Ella, but when it was discovered he was a male, he got a name change. The other cats, Jeff and Betty, are litter mates. Like Julie, they are all beautiful.
During the time I have been around Julie I have not heard her make a sound. Even when she needs to go out, she just rubs her nose on someone’s leg.
Great Pyrenees are a protective breed. Julie sleeps by the front door. If she hears something that bothers her, she will bark. It is a loud, almost ear-shattering, “Woof.”
Sally said when Julie burps the sound is as loud as her bark.
Mark and Jill graduated from the same high school but they did not meet until they were both working at Windstream. While Mark did not have pets, Jill had two skunks, two cats, four ferrets and horses at the time.
He has worked at Windstream for 17 years and Jill is a stay-at-home mom. Both she and Sally are talented at arts and crafts.
Unlike many pets, Julie does not like riding in a car. When the garage door opens, Julie moves to the side and looks like she wants to say, “Not me. I’m not getting in that car.” It takes a lot of coaxing, pulling and tugging to get her inside. The final step is to lift her enormous backsides and push her in.
Julie likes for Jill to sing to her. Since Julie has big brown eyes, Jill often sings “Brown-eyed Girl.”
You might say Julie hit the jackpot when the Nolands adopted her. It was a lucky day for Mark, Jill and Sally Noland.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.