Who would actually name their dog Beef? I know it’s a crazy name, but it worked for me at the time. Beef was a huge German Shepherd I used to have back in the 1980’s. He was the biggest one in the litter, and that was why we chose him – we knew he would be huge. Beef had the biggest head I ever saw on any German Shepherd and he had a beautiful light color that was one of a kind.
Once we got him home, we were trying to think of a name for him and were tossing names around like Moose, Kong and Bubba, and then that old commercial came on the television and that old lady asked, “Where’s the beef?” So, I playfully asked the dog, “Where’s the Beef?” And he responded very well, so the name stuck. He would soon be about the size of a side of beef, so I thought it was appropriate.
Beef weighed 100 pounds by the time he was seven months old, and in his adult years he maintained an average weight of about 120, which is a little bigger than your average German Shepard. He wasn’t a very fast dog, but he was very strong and very smart. We used to keep his dog food on the pantry floor and whenever he was hungry he would go in there and come out with a can in his mouth, wagging his tail.
Living in Chicago at the time, he used to pull my kids around on a sled in the winter. He was always very good with the kids. They used to sit on his back and steer his ears around like they were riding a giant, flying beast, and he would just lay there and let them do whatever they wanted.
He loved the attention he got from the kids and would follow them around the house and yard and play any game they wanted to play – he would even sit in a wagon as they pulled it around the yard. Beef had his own bed in their clubhouse, which was a big shed.
He had a good sense of time too. Every day, just before the kids came home from school, he would sit and look out the window and wait for them.
Our yard had a chain-link fence around it that was about four feet tall. Beef would literally climb over that fence when he felt the need to roam, which was quite often, being the stud he was (and never neutered). We always knew where to find him though. He would head straight to the park and we’d always find him there in the playground, playing with whatever kids were there. He loved kids – any kids.
I also trained him to slide down the slide. Every morning I’d walk him to the park and, when no one was around, I’d turn him loose and let him run around and go down the slide. It took a little coaxing in the beginning, but once he got the hang of it he never tired of the attention it got him, especially when there were kids around, because they would get a kick out of seeing this huge dog playing on the slide. The kids would call him to follow them down, and he always would.
Some dogs, they say, their bark is worse than their bite, but for Beef it was quite the opposite. Beef didn’t bark much, so when he did, we took notice. His bite was only witnessed three times in his thirteen years, but all three were warranted. One day, a mean Doberman was chasing some kid, and the poor kid was running up my neighbors stairs, jumping off the other side of the porch, then the Doberman would run around to the other side, so the kid would have to climb up the hard way, then the dog would run back toward the stairs, so the kid would jump off again, then climb up again, over and over. According to witnesses, the kid was running out of steam, going back and forth, when Beef climbed the fence and attacked the dog, sending him fleeing down the block. Then Beef came back to lick the kids’ face. All of the neighbors clapped and rewarded him with pats on the head before one of them led him back into his yard.
Then, there was the time that three young punks tried to rob my mother-in-law, who lived two doors down from me, as she sat on her porch. She screamed for help and her son and nephew came running outside. A fight ensued, but it was two against three. My 10-year-old son was in the yard and saw his uncles getting beat up. One of them yelled to my son, “Let Beef out.” So, he opened the gate and said, “Sick ‘em boy!” Beef knew exactly who family was and who was trouble when he attacked. In about two seconds the fight was over and the three punks were running for their lives, two of them with scars. Once again, Beef saved the day.
I had my own tow-truck in Beefs’ early days and used to take him with me whenever I had to do a repo. He was my back-up in case I had to face an irate customer (which most people are when you take their car). But I never had any trouble when he was with me. Just the sight of him kept people in check, especially when they noticed the window was rolled down.
I trained him to jump in the truck. Whenever I said, “Go get in the truck,” he would either jump on the back or jump inside if the door was open. He would even jump in other peoples’ trucks sometimes when I walked him without a leash. He loved trucks and he loved going for a ride. Maybe he loved it so much because he knew it also meant that we might stop at a park (which I usually did).
Beef was the best dog I ever had, or ever even knew of. I sure do miss him. For more fun and informative driving tips, tricks and articles, be sure to bookmark Big City Driver. The dog in the pic is not Beef, his nose was lighter in color.