Contrary to the opinions of my pet parents, I see nothing wrong with my behavior. Take this statement from one of my Great Pyrenees Facebook friends: “I roam, I bark, and I don’t always listen, but I’ll guard you and love you forever and always.”
Now I ask, “What more could you want in a four-legged child?” According to the Royal Parents—lots. First, the powers of my bark collar seem to have diminished, no matter how snugly I wear it, and I am now able to bark whenever and however long I like.
What triggers a bark? It can be something as obvious as walkers on the street in front of the Royal Abode or deer in the driveway. On occasion, a leaf may fall from a tree, or as my Aunt Pam says about her dog, I may bark at an ant crawling on a blade of grass. As a vigilant guard dog, I must respond to all threats, even those unseen by humans. Unfortunately, Mum and Dad don’t appreciate this trait, especially before dawn.
Next, I have taken to “going walkabout” as Mum says. For my readers who aren’t word nerds like Mum, “walkabout” is an Australian term for a journey taken by young Aboriginal males. Mum read it in one of her gazillion books and immediately saw it as a fitting term for my tendency to roam. When I learned that young men take this journey between the ages of 10-16, I thought it seemed even more apropos. I, after all, am twelve.
From the time I arrived at the Royal Abode at age two, I have had a tendency to wander. With our backyard electric fence, I’m able to go in and out our side door and contentedly roam the woods. My older adopted sister Tinker was well behaved enough to be allowed in the front yard with Mum and Dad even though there was no fence out there. She’d sniff and smell and stay close.
Not me! I’d go out the front door and stay close until my parents looked the other way. In a flash, I’d set sail out of the yard and take off down the street. Mum says that despite my rather large size, I seemed to jog up the embankment and float over the bushes. Hence the term “set sail.” I enjoyed those adventures. Dad? Not so much. He’d chase after me, calling “Banjo, get back here right now; Banjo, come.” He said a few other things that can’t be printed in a family paper.
It only took a few of those episodes before I was banned from the front yard. My good behavior and failing eyesight, though, have recently earned me the privilege of visiting the front yard with Mum and Dad after dinner. I really don’t like going out the side door when it’s dark and prefer the well-lit front door. All was fine until I started expanding my boundaries and taking my sweet time responding to the come command. My exploring the neighbor’s front yard was the last straw for Dad.
Now the debate at the Royal Abode is long and loud. “Do we drag him out the side door with a flashlight? Do we put a leash on him and walk him around the front yard? Whatever are we going to do with him?” My answer? Whatever makes me happy because “I roam, I bark, and I don’t always listen, but I’ll guard you and love you forever and always.” End of discussion.
Lord Banjo lives in Georgia with his Mum, Kathy Manos Penn. Find similar stories in his book, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” available on Amazon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org