Up until June, 2007, we owned a dog named Cognac, she was a Great Pyrenees. My parents drove down to Danville, VA in search of a guard dog, specifially a great pyrenees. A friend referred us to a breeder and they had two females left from a litter. It was hard to pick which one, but the puppy that we would call Cognac climbed up onto my moms arm and gave her the look of, “Oh, take me home, you know you want to,” at which point my mom says to pops, “Harry, I think we got our new dog.” Ever since she was a puppy, she was one of the best behaved dogs we have ever owned. As she was growing up, she trained herself to bark when she wanted to go out for the bathroom. She rarely ever went in the house, but for the business she didn’t do inside, she still loved to destroy whatever she could. It must be a puppy thing for all of our dogs have done it. She went through at least three of my shoes, two of my mom’s, but none of my father’s. She also decided to chew through our electical cord during christmas, and the railing on the porch all have teeth marks from her just chewing on it. But after puppyhood, she calmed down and became a mature guard dog.
As she grew older, she had a routine of coming in to sleep during the day and going out to defend our property at night. And even though we had to fence in our property to keep her from getting out, her loyalty to our family was never questioned.
My father and I were working on the drainage to one of our animal sheds when my father all of a sudden slipped and fell. I didnt have enough time to catch him, but Cognac was immediately there to make sure that dad was okay. When my father had a vertigo problem in the middle of the night, he passed out and fell right on Cognac. Cognac didn’t yell, yip, bark, snap, or bite dad when he fell right on her, but she got up and stood over him to make sure that he indeed woke up and was not hurt. She understood if something was wrong, and even though she was only a dog, she was a caring human at heart.
Cognac would always wake me up in the morning by sniffing my face and wagging her tail to get my up. Whenever I toppled down the hill, she would always get excited and leap towards me, wanting to play. When we got another Great Pyrenees for her to train for when her fateful day would come, she made sure that the puppy understood who was boss, yet who would be teaching it to become a good guard dog. Cognac was a good guard dog a good mother to our new pup, and a loyal dog to the family to the end. When we went into town with her, she would emprace new people with a tail wage and a nudge with her nose. She sniffed everyone and was very calm, especially with kids much smaller than her.
In March, 2007, Cognac got a severe limp in her right front leg. She vet told my parents that it was bone cancer, and they could either amputate or give her pain pills. My parents gave her pain pills because amputation would ruin her spirit. It wasn’t until the end of June that the pain pills stopped working and Cognac gave us the signs that she was giving up. She knew that it was that time, and she was put down with her whole family around her. I have never seen someone take the death of a dog any harder than my father. For anyone who thinks that dogs are just property or are put on earth to be abused by man, will never be able to fulfill life to its fullest, for a dog is more than man’s best friend, it is a companion, a child, a sibling, a member of the family that will always be there, in life and spirit.

Marten from VA