Same Breed, Different Personalities: Reminiscing About the Life With Giant Schnauzers
Updated: May 8, 2020
As cliché as it sounds, I cannot imagine a life without having a dog (which is why university accommodations were a nightmare). Since I wasn’t the one making decisions and my parents were dedicated to one particular breed before I was even born, we ended up having three giant schnauzers throughout my lifetime.
Now, when you have a few puppers of the same breed, you’d think that you have them all figured out. The general traits of schnauzers are such of composed, courageous, easily trained, loyal, as well as being known for their ‘function’ as guard dogs. Surprisingly, the three furry friends I’ve had over the years could not have been more different, so I thought a trip down a memory lane was due. Without further ado, let’s start!
The one who was there since before the start – Thor
As I mentioned above, my parents got their first dog before I was even born, sort of as a trial run to see if they can handle having a kid (which is probably what a lot of people do these days). Naturally, because of this, I don’t have many specific memories of him, which I do sometimes feel bad about, but then again, what kid can remember their entire childhood?
It was more of a case of always feeling him there, even from when my mum was pregnant with me – according to her, Thor immediately appointed himself as her guardian and protector every step of the way. It even got to the point where he took it upon himself to sleep in their bed in the last trimester, leaving no space for dad (talk about a third wheel). I’m not really sure what unborn babies can actually learn while still inside the womb, but just like it’s recommended to play classical music to them, constantly having a dog nearby must’ve also had some kind of a positive effect.
(Apologies for the lacking quality of some of these photos, parents and new phones don't mix well.)
While I don’t have many memories of him, I do know that he was one of the most adventurous, curious and assertive dogs I’ve ever seen. There hasn’t been a fight he didn’t try to cause with a poor passer-by dog. Every time we’d go for a day out in nature to have an outdoor barbeque, he’d run off, but we were never worried cause he would always come back. He was a free soul, and we let him be as such, as that was part of his charm.
Unfortunately, as I was growing up and started going to school, Thor was getting older. I don’t remember the details too much (which was probably for the best), but he passed away from heart problems shortly after we moved to a different town. I was only seven at the time, so the concept of death was still a very clear picture loved ones leaving us having a blast up in heaven, so that made it a lot easier to deal with. Even now, I hope that’s true as I cherish the limited memories I have of my first ever furry friend.
The one who was there as I grew up – Thor Jr
My parents decided the family wouldn’t be complete without another dog, and naturally, I didn’t object. I did remember suggesting a different breed but my dad was set on getting another schnauzer and again, who was I to deny myself the joy of having another pet?
When we went to choose the lucky puppy, we were met by almost a dozen of super enthusiastic balls of joy. All except one of them, who, unlike his siblings, was hiding underneath the sofa. Call it the appreciation for the underdog, but we immediately knew that would be our new family member.
Despite sharing the same name, Thor Jr could not have been more different from his predecessor. He was quite fearful, cautious and hated water with a passion. His obedience trainer at the time said he was ‘useless at what his breed is meant to do’. Regardless, he was charming in his own way – for the most part calm, curious and sometimes a bit of a suck-up.
He ended up being the pet I spent the most time with. We would go on walks, on holidays, he would wake up to go to school, he would wait nearby to have the last bite of my breakfast sandwich – all the little things one does when growing up with a dog. Despite not being a courageous guard dog he was bred to be, my main priority was to have a friend and companion, which was exactly what I got.
Sadly, when it came time for me to leave to university, it was also apparent Thor Jr was at the sunset of his journey on this Earth. At that point, he’d already been sick from tick bites quite a few times, and the periods of those incidents were getting shorter and he was struggling to recover more and more. A couple months after I left, mum told me they had to put him to sleep as he had been in pain for weeks and couldn’t walk anymore and it was just the right thing to do. It absolutely sucked, and I hated I couldn’t be there, but at the end of the day, I knew it was the right thing to do. Yet another goodbye I had to say.
The one who’s still here despite the distance – Oz
My first Christmas break back at home while studying at university was eventful mostly because of a yet another furry addition to the household. From the very first moment I saw Oz, I knew he would be another mystery to crack as while he was polar opposite from Thor Jr, he also wasn’t quite like Thor. He wasn’t shy or cowardly, and yet just a bit too bratty to match the silent dignity of my first dog. In a weird way, he felt like a mix of both, but at the same time, still his own body and mind.
Since I only spent very limited time at my parent’s home during my study years, most of Oz’s shenanigans I know through messages, photos, and video footage. Understandably, sometimes I’d feel like he wasn’t actually my pet, as I was (and still am) living abroad, trying to build a life for myself here while Oz resides with my parents on the other side of Europe.
Despite that, every time I do visit, he acts as if I’ve never left, greeting me as if I just went to the grocery shop, but still with the same amount of excitement every dog greets its owner. From trying to climb into my bed to sitting nearby with the cutest look begging for snacks I’m eating at the moment, he’s always treated me as if I was his family. He even subjected himself to becoming the highlight of my Instagram reel, and if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
My parents always say that he’s acting like a human most of the time, more specifically like a spoiled brat who loves cuddles and attention. While he loves picking up fights with other dogs and isn’t scared of fireworks, I wouldn’t particularly call him an adventurer – Oz loves comfort, especially his nap time, during which he won’t be bothered by anyone (trust me, I’ve tried). At the end of the day, he’s yet another proof that no dog is the same.
Having finished university, I am nearing the time in my life where having a pet of my own that I would be responsible for seems like not so much of a scary responsibility. The question is, would I choose another giant schnauzer or experiment with other breeds? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure – with everything going on in the world right now, having a furry ball of excitement running around would definitely be something great.