Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mastiff Moments

Have I mentioned that I live in a zoo? We have three mastiffs, four cats and a leopard gecko. I collectively call our dogs "The Beasts," not due to temperament, but size.

Mastiffs are amazing, by far my favorite breed. They're sweet, gentle, smart and low hour at the dog park...sleep the rest of the day. Slobbering, couch potatoes is a fair description.

Our oldest, Shania, is almost five--she's half English Mastiff, half Bull Mastiff. The others, Breckenridge and Sedona, are two--they're 1/4 English, 1/4 Bull and 1/2 Brazilian Mastiff. They're also Shania's nieces.

There are some unique things about giant dogs that you only discover via trial and error. Well, I guess you could read Mastiffs for Dummies, but trial and error is such an adventure.

Mastiffs have absolutely no clue what items are safe to eat. If they can swallow it, they will. You'd be amazed what comes out the other end sometimes... Or maybe you'd prefer not to know--I myself try never to venture too close when they're doing their business.

Our backyard is also a tribute to the movie Holes. The dogs methodically dig up rocks all over the yard. It seems very symbolic to me--if there's one thing I learned from that movie, it's that you don't mess with karma. The holes aren't big--they're narrow, deep and always lead straight to a rock. Depending on size, the rock is then often swallowed and passed on later.

I quit pruning our backyard after we got Shania. She does an excellent job--she even removed a few plants that didn't appeal to her aesthetically. The pups help with some of the pruning, although they're much better at reworking our deck. It seems to be sculpted to their liking now--they haven't touched it for a few months.

What's most impressive is that they're not outside that much, especially during winter. They're just gifted with the ability to work fast and accurately.

Shania's talent never ceases to amaze me. She has a pronounced under bite--a tribute to her bull father--yet she can gently remove every zipper tooth from coats, pants, etc., without damaging the garments. I couldn't be more proud...or cold.

When my technologically-gifted son gets home today, I'll ask him to post photos. Right now I need to fill in some holes and haul away the tree branches in my backyard...

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