Lulu the Nana Dog

September 13, 2011  

Lulu takes her role as pit bull nanny seriously and lovingly

By Sam Gianulis

I know Nana from “Peter Pan” was based on a St. Bernard, but my pit bull Lulu has resurrected the spirit of a caregiver dog in a ridiculously adorable – and useful – way.

We rescued Lulu, a pit bull/Boxer mix, two years ago. After growing out of her pampered ball of fluff stage, it must have occurred to her that her new family of five people had many things to do each day. Silently and affectionately, she decided to do her share.

Bath night in any home during a busy weeknight of homework, dinner and multiple sports practices is a task that should be overseen by an adult. While making dinner, I often popped in and out of the bathroom, finding bottles of shampoo and asking the stubborn bathers to please hurry up. Lulu would follow me. One night, she found her way into the bathroom on her own, overseeing her human sisters, as it were. Lulu now sits beside the tub while the kids bathe, until they’re done. She pushes the bottles of kid’s shampoo into the tub. Lulu even speaks up when the kids get too rowdy in the tub and the water spills over the side, which she dutifully cleans up for me, since I haven’t gotten around to putting a water dish in that bathroom yet.

And I get to finish making the spaghetti and meatballs because my own Nana has got that task under control. I can tell by the giggles and happy barks that are now the soundtrack of bath time.

Somehow the dog knows when it’s 9:00 p.m. Lulu will walk over to my side of the bed and talk to me, bark at me, and let me know it’s bed time for her “pups” to go to bed. The kids go to sleep in their rooms, but before we, the human parents, can even get in the room, Lulu is by the edge of the bed (or on it), tucking the kids in. She pushes quilts up with her nose, and she paws at pillows. (Sometimes she gets jealous of teddy bears, it happens.) My children cannot sleep unless they’ve been put to bed by their pit bull.

In the morning, it’s her big, furry body that hops up on their bed or her familiar paws at the edge of their mattress that encourages the kids out of their dreams. Without even opening their eyes, they place their hands on her doggie head and smile. It’s a canine alarm clock.

I know for some people the idea of an affectionate and intuitive pit bull is fictitious and about as realistic as fairies and children who won’t grow up. Lulu, our pit bull, who fills in the gaps of busy schedules and places in the hearts of everyone who meets her, is a true story.

Part of the Neverland theme is real, and I’ll tell you why. When my children remember Lulu from their childhood, the dog who kissed them goodnight and never left their side, that bond will fortify their empathy for other creatures and be a measure of how all creatures are capable of, and should express, love for one another.

If you need an illustration, come over anytime. Second house to the right and straight on until the next rushed, dog-waking-up-the-kids morning.

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16 Responses to “Lulu the Nana Dog”
  1. laffin1 says:

    Great story and what a lucky dog and family!

  2. fruitandsugar says:

    Aw, I have a pitbull/boxer mix, too! He always dries off my shins after I take a shower. Maybe “boxbulls” like bath time?

  3. ValerieSherman says:

    <!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>
    <p>I love this story. Great job Lulu.</p>
    <p>My dad has alzhiemers and for the first few years that I was caring for him, having no clue what I was up against, he would just wander out the door to “go home”. I was left following him down the road trying to convince him to come back..we lived in the Sacramento Valley in California..and some days he would do it in temperatures of over 100 degrees wearing his jacket and several’s funny now, but it wasn’t then.</p>
    <p>My pit bull gradually started getting the idea that this was not okay and would bark at him ANY TIME he went out he door, even when I was with him..I never discouraged her because she became his safety net by giving me a chance to intercept and distract him, until the police suggested we put inside deadbolt key locks on the doors. (we can’t lock him in and leave, but we can lock him in while we’re there for his own protection) she seems to know when he’s in danger and comes to get me..kind of like Lassie.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Best dogs in the world. Loyal and dependable.</p>

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @ValerieSherman@page Thanks for sharing Valerie, your dog sounds fantastic, what a good girl! If you want to share your story with us, we would love that. If you’re interested, please email

  5. AndreaF says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! What a great dog Lulu is 🙂 I can’t imagine how much your kids must love their Nana. Enjoy every second you have with Lulu, may your time with her be a very long one <3

  6. BernadetteCortes-Driesse says:

    That was a fantastic story! Your family is truly blessed. I had a pit bull too and her name was Mama, she was beautiful and so smart. Her instincts were great. When I was pregnant with my youngest child, she was a high risk pregnancy and my Mama would lay on the bed with me while I monitored for contractions and heart beats per minute, she would place he head right under my belly and would not move for an hour. I am convinced she heard Jessie before any of us! Five years later she started acting very strangely, we thought she was sick because she was under my feet ALL the time. We took her to the vet and he gave her a clean bill if health.That same year in November, two weeks before Thanksgiving I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My beautiful Mama knew, there is no doubt in my mind…she knew. She passed away three years ago and I MISS her still! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Katherine says:

    Such a sweet girl. A wonderful dog for you children to remember for the rest of their lives. I still remember Wrinkles, a brindle boxer who was not even our dog. He would come every day and wait for me to get home. I changed out of my school clothes and we hit the woods together for hours. To this day I remember this dog with so much love. He was truly my best friend.

  8. StubbyDog says:

    @BernadetteCortes-Driesse Thanks for sharing Bernadette, Mama surely was a wonderful dog that was so connected to you and your family.

  9. StubbyDog says:

    @Katherine Every child should have those kind of memories. 🙂

  10. jesska077 says:

    “Part of the Neverland theme is real, and I’ll tell you why. When my children remember Lulu from their childhood, the dog who kissed them goodnight and never left their side, that bond will fortify their empathy for other creatures and be a measure of how all creatures are capable of, and should express, love for one another.”

    I just LOVE the way you phrased this. I’m a big believer that folks who love their pets like they are part of the family are the kind of folks who are good-natured, good-hearted people in general. My first thought when I met my current boyfriend was, “Wow, if he has this much compassion and love for his doggies (1 pitbull and 2 pitbull/mastfiff mixes), then I have no doubt he will be wonderful to me”. What a blessing it must be to have a dog like Nana 🙂

  11. Iluvmypibble says:

    This was an absolutely beautiful story and I giggled while reading it! Thank you for putting a smile on my face today!

  12. AdrienneClegg says:

    Thank you, your story is beautiful. You and Lulu have made my week.

  13. evalewis says:

    Nice post! the dog and kid are enjoying each others company.. lolz