Rags to Riches

This month’s blog is from Tom Kiernan—a fellow writer, dog-lover, and friend. Thanks, Tom, for sharing Juliette’s story.


Interested in being a guest-blogger? Contact me.  

Rags to Riches

It was fifteen degrees outside with a windchill that made if feel like five. In the late winter afternoon, the setting sun was sending the temperatures even lower. That’s when the doorbell rang, which was odd because in our Cowesett (fancy way to say Warwick) neighborhood, it only rang a few times a year.

When I got to the door, my stomach dropped to see the woman police officer standing about five steps back off the stoop, ready to brief. I opened the door and asked her to come inside. She said no thank you. “This would only take a minute.”

 Apparently, the police had received a call complaining of “dog abuse.” Our dog had been outside all day in the cold, barking and disturbing the neighborhood. And then she turned from dead serious to a friendly nature.

 “What’s your dog’s name?” she asked with a big smile. “She’s beautiful!”

 “That’s Juliette…and believe me, we try to get her to come in but…”

  The dog officer (K-9 on her car tipped me off) interrupted my explanation, “She’s a Great White Pyrenees! She’d stay out all night if you let her!”

Juliette finding shade under a tree
Juliette knows how to find the shade and, even on a hot summer day, she loves to be outdoors!

 “So true,” I said with great relief. I wasn’t going to have to defend the care of our beloved family member. This was obviously a highly knowledgeable professional. She left saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll set these people straight.”

While the “dog abuse” complaint was new, nuisance reports about Juliette were not. She barked a lot and we, as owners, are the only ones to blame. Hers was not just any bark. It is one that is bred to ward off predators to protect the flock, in this case us, her people. It was deep and the echo reverberated down the steep hill we lived on sending “signals” over a quarter mile away.

 While she had a few fans there, ultimately, for the first nine years of her life, Juliette wasn’t all that popular…until we began our time in the Narragansett Pier.

Great summer rentals are hard to find, there’s always a trade-off of some kind. But the home we rented on South Pier Road really had none, including one of the most important features: they allowed us to bring Juliette even though it was listed as “no dogs allowed.” The owners asked what breed she was and apparently were familiar and couldn’t say no.

Great white dog sitting on seawall
It was on our daily walks along the seawall that Juliette first attracted the attention of neighbors in our new neighborhood.  

 Juliette’s fame started as soon as we arrived on vacation. Neighbors and tourists walking down to the pier and the famed seawall would stop to say hello. We would take her for ice cream at Brickley’s or Nana’s and instantly people would stop what they were doing to pet her and ask all kinds of questions. We’d make the long 25-mile drive home (only in Rhode Island!) after two weeks of “dream living” and talk about how special she had been treated. 

 Then, two years ago through some good fortune, we bought the house we had rented in the Pier and moved to the place we called, “happily ever after.” And that’s when Juliette transformed into a celebrity.

It started with the school bus drivers who would come to a stop in front of our house to show the children the “Polar Bear” under the tree. Cars began to slow down to beep and wave, many yelling “Juliette!” as they drove by.

 And then there were the neighbors, of all ages, who made visits—whether just walking on their own or with their dogs—to share their day with lots of love….and treats. Even when we walk around town, people we don’t know stop us to ask, “Is that the same dog who sits under the tree up on South Pier…we love her!”

Juliette the dog enjoying the snow
Juliette’s favorite season is winter, the snowier the better!

 Juliette is approaching 12 years; her reward has come later in life…but how rich it is: She is treated like royalty by a community that has embraced her gentle, kind disposition, and her big bark with no bite. And for that, we are truly blessed.

Tom Kiernan is an Executive Global Sales Enablement Leader focused on software and product offering, enterprise sales and partnership development, and driving business objectives for cutting-edge technology solutions.

He is also a writer, and the author of Bite My Dust and Junkyard Dogs, two books in his ongoing series, The Mad Dash, written for readers ages 8 to 14 years—but as I can attest, the books are enjoyed by adults of all ages!

There is much more to know about Tom. Check out his website, www.lumpybones.com, as well as his partnership with www.insertlearning.com and www.noahtext.com. You can start a conversation with him at [email protected].

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