I have stopped accepting new stories, but will keep "A Good Look at Mastiffs" online and available to anyone who wants to know more about this amazing breed. The Table of Contents, with links to each mastiff story, is in the sidebar on the left, while my Contributors are on the right, beneath the photo albums.
A Word from Joan Hahn, author of Champions, A View of the Mastiff in America (co-author: Judy Powers, 1983) and Grandeur and Good Nature - The Character of the Mastiff (1992):
Yours is truly a beautiful and amazing site devoted to "The Lion of Dogdom,"-- the best I've seen on line."A Good Look at Mastiffs" is just that.There is so little serious literature devoted to this great breed around anywhere, and I thank you for presenting the stories which continue to remind those who own, or who are interested in owning, these remarkable creatures just what they are all about.
Thank you for your work and devotion on their behalf.
Breeders: Rosella and Don Motz of Mill Creek Mastiffs
Owner and Therapy Partner: Martha Rawls
Abby had just stepped off the 7th floor hospital elevator when she spotted a young boy being pulled in a little red wagon.He neither turned his head, lifted his arms to her, nor spoke.She slowly walked over to him and began to lick his feet.The boy's face broke into a smile.
This scene took place in a physical rehabilitation facility where Abby worked as a therapy dog, and was her initial introduction to Kevin, a young boy who had been in a car accident that resulted in his inability to speak or move.The physical therapist moved Kevin's hand to make patting and rubbing motions on Abby's warm fur.The only response Kevin could give was a beautiful smile.That was good enough for Abby.She stayed in the hallway with her new friend, visiting for another fifteen minutes before she had to go, but she promised she would see him later in his room.
After she finished her regular rounds, Abby found Kevin's room, where she met his grandmother and father.After seeing Kevin's big smile, his father promised him that he could get an "Abby puppy", if only he would get well.Everyone in the room knew that this would probably take a very long time.
Kevin was quickly added to Abby's patient list, and was scheduled for visits every two weeks.One day, she arrived at his side with a stuffed "Abby puppy" in her mouth, which was to be his very own puppy while he was in the hospital.She also brought lots of Abby stickers to place on the plastic side guards on his bed.Now she could be with Kevin all the time, even when she was visiting other patients or other facilities, or when she had to go back to her own home.
Gradually Kevin improved, and after a few months was able to reach out ever so slowly, and touch Abby gently with one hand.He still could barely move and wasn't able to speak, but his smile let her know how much he loved her.She would put her head in his lap when he was propped up in his wagon.Everyone could see that Abby and Kevin were happy together, and had become quite an item.
Finally one day, a long-awaited miracle happened.The hospital called Kevin's family to tell them that he had spoken his first word, his first word in five months.A nurse had gone into his room, and saw him holding his Abby puppy and studying the Abby stickers surrounding him.She asked him if he liked dogs, and he nodded yes.Then she asked him what his dog's name was, and to her amazement, Kevin spoke."Abby," he said.
Abby went to see Kevin the very next day, and upon entering his room, discovered his grandmother, waiting to show her another surprise.When Kevin was placed in his wagon, he came close to her, touched her ever so gently, and said, "Abby, I love you."Abby responded in the best way she knew.She licked his arms and hands, covering him with kisses and saying "I love you too."
Abby continued to visit Kevin for several more months,while he continued to get stronger.When it was time for him to leave the hospital, he could move one of his arms well, and speak much more clearly.The hospital staff gave him a special party, which included a cake topped with Abby's picture.After Kevin's grandmother took lots of snapshots of the pair, Abby went to say goodbye for the last time.She washed kisses all over Kevin's face, arms, and legs.There was no doubt to anyone who witnessed these two together that Abby and Kevin shared a special bond that superseded all others, the bond of unconditional love.
Note from Louise
Abby's jobs included eight nursing homes each month, a public library 2 - 3 times a month, and various churches, schools, etc. upon request.She achieved the title of Therapy Dog International Exceptional Volunteer (TDIEVA), which is awarded after 350 therapy visits and is the highest title given by Therapy Dogs International.Abby completed 472 therapy visits.
Breeders: Stephen and Leah Napotnik, Greiner Hall Mastiffs
Owned and loved by Kelly Carter
Story submitted by Stephanie Stollings, previous owner
When I first got Alex from Stephen and Leah Napotnik of Greiner Hall, I was managing a bar. That's where he was socialized, starting right away as a brand, new puppy.Needless to say, after that, no noise or weird-looking people ever fazed him!He has been doing therapy work unofficially since he was 8 weeks old at the bar.You wouldn't believe the number of people I used to catch on the floor hugging him and whispering to him.
When he started his official therapy work four years ago, he was visiting nursing homes and such; but I believe that what he does now, which is working as a canine aide to speech pathologists, is much more rewarding to him.Alex works with children in the Speech Pathology Dept. of Tulsa University, the Mary K. Chapman Center.The lady in the picture above is Dr. Beth McCauley, the head of the dept.The other picture shows Alex in the lobby of the center with his owner, Kelly Carter. His workday begins once he is behind the gate.
Starting as a once-a-week commitment, Alex now works 5 days a week because he is so good at what he does, and the clinicians are always asking for him.Most of the kids know him by name.With his heavy work schedule, he now has a Faculty Staff ID from TU, and even met the President of the University recently.The TU President’s Chef cooked him some treats made especially for their newest faculty member;-).His service in the Speech Pathology Dept. has been so substantial that there are universities and schools in the area (including MO and AR) that are considering starting this same kind of program.
When Alex is working, it is not uncommon for parents of his patients to literally be in tears.There was one particular little girl that kept saying "Beeeg. Beeeg."Although it was adorable at the time, the child's mother had tears streaming down her face and was deeply moved. We later learned that up until that very moment, the little girl had never before spoken at all, not one single word.
When Alex goes to work, he is paired up with a single clinician, and I know that they are constantly arguing over who gets to use him with their clients.One of his favorite patients is a 9 year old girl.I'm not sure what type of problems she has (maybe cerebral palsy), but they are severe.She has very limited use of her arms and hands.And yet, all a person has to do is say Alex's name to her, and she throws back her head, and laughs with joy.
Alex is a great help to the children at the Mary K. Chapman Center, and he absolutely loves his work!! He provides a wonderful service, and is very much appreciated by all whose lives he touches.
This is the story of “Boomer”, who died saving the life of his owner’s girlfriend. Because his heroism so moved me, I began collecting stories about extraordinary mastiffs; and it is in his memory "A Good Look at Mastiffs" is dedicated. Boomer, this one's for you.
Lawraleigh's Boomer of Briarcliff
(Pallone's Road to Glory, CGC x Jim's Especial Lee)
September, 1998 - November, 2000
From Ken, Boomer'sOwner
Boomer stepped right in with the sensitivity and understanding unique to this magnificent breed of dog. Our mutual respect and love for each other grew deeper every day. Boomer was there for me every moment of the next two years on a day-in and day-out basis. I've NEVER had a better friend than Boomer. His untimely death from smoke inhalation, when he was saving the life of my lady friend, Marie, when my home caught fire, devastated me and left me feeling empty.
Boomer, I know you are in a good place, and I think about you every day, and I miss you terribly.
Your buddy, Ken
From Marie, the woman whose life Boomer saved
I was dog sitting with Boomer while Ken was away and I slept upstairs, while Boomer slept downstairs in the dining room. Occasionally, he would come up to the top of the stairs in the morning and wait, not disturbing anyone, unless they overslept.
This particular morning, I got out of bed and headed for the shower. I had the water running and one foot in the shower, when Boomer came into the bathroom. He whined and whined at me, not leaving me alone until I followed him. When I got to the head of the stairs, I heard a "crinkly" noise, and as I looked up, I saw the whole ceiling erupt into a shower of sparks and flames. Everything was filling up with smoke, and Boomer headed downstairs, I think to lead me to safety. But it was too smoky for me to find my way to the door. I dove back into the bathroom where I had a cordless phone, and dialed 911. I stuffed a robe under the door and a wet rag over my face, and it seemed like they were there almost instantly. The last thing I remember before I passed out was hearing the fire department saying that they were there.
I spent two months in the hospital with smoke inhalation injuries, followed by pneumonia and other complications that involved 5 surgeries. I'm on the road to recovery now, but I do know that without Boomer, I wouldn't be here, able to write this letter. I don't know how dogs sense danger, but I do know that Boomer gave his life to save mine because if he hadn't gotten me out of the shower, I wouldn't be here either.
Boomer, you will always be my "Guardian Angel".
From James and Alison Gerken, Boomer's breeders
I have no right to add to what they have said, but I wanted to because Jim and I have produced champions, and have ranked our dogs nationally. But the truly bright star on our tree is Boomer, and what he accomplished.
So for those people who think that being a Champion of Record is the best thing their pups can do, personally we feel Boomer wins hands down. We miss him too.... Please hug your mastiffs in his memory.
Sincerely, James and Alison Gerken, Lawraleigh Mastiffs
(Pallones Road to Glory, CGC x Kitans Battln Bard O Poteidaia, CGC)
Submitted by Nancy Brook Erdahl, owner and breeder
My son has Down Syndrome, and my dogs - his dogs - are a big part of his happiness and self-confidence.Trever has a very limited vocabulary, and among the few words he can say are the names of his dogs.He also finds unique ways of communicating with them; for instance, he claps quickly and lightly 3 or 4 times, and Darius, Kara, and Ziza have learned that he is saying "come".The neat thing is, this is something Trever and the dogs figured out all by themselves—I had no part in training them or even coming up with the idea.
I had filled out an application to work for mastiff rescue and after a few months, they called to inform me that they had received a call from a local shelter that a mastiff was there.All they knew was that he was an 18-month old brindle and he had been left tied to the shelter's fence in the middle of the night.Eventually they learned that his owner was a drug dealer fearing an arrest.He tied the dog to the fence because he had made him so barrier-aggressive that he knew if the police came, they would have had to shoot the dog.Even so, the shelter manager was able to talk down the mastiff and mastiff rescue reassured me that he was actually good-natured, just not trained.And not neutered.And he had probably never been in a car before because the hour-long trip home was most interesting, since he was determined to either drive or squeeze himself into the front seat of my Honda Civic.
After a year of intense training, behavioral counseling, obedience classes, copious hours of walking and dog-park socialization, I am proud to say Dozer passed his therapy dog test and began visiting a retirement home in Toronto.Not long after that, he tested with children because he is great at doing nothing, which is a good thing, and was pegged as a therapy dog aide for a children's reading program.As it turned out, he has become a regular visitor in a special school for disabled children and has been a great success.In every way he has become the sweet, warm, cuddly goofus he was meant to be, and we love him dearly.
This is the story about a family in Washington State, whose identity must be protected out of respect for what they have gone through.These are incredibly nice people who love their dog for what he has done for their family.Huge steps in their son’s recovery have been made thanks to the constant companionship of this loving mastiff.
Submitted by Dozer’s owner
Our rescue mastiff, Dozer was matched to our family for specific reasons.The main reason why our family sought a mastiff was for our son’s animal assisted therapy, specifically to help him overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which was the result of being the target of a sex offender who is currently in jail for what he did to our family.
The reason for our choice in breed (mastiff) was because of specific dynamics that come with PTSD.Since the trauma caused my son to be in constant fear, of his physical safety we needed to obtain a breed that gave him the comfort of always being protected, without the aggressiveness found in many working dog breeds.We needed a dog that was not going to be so over protective of the children that it may attack a person or another animal.The English Mastiff suits our needs perfectly.On an everyday basis Dozer is incredibly gentle with all members of the family, including the baby.Dozer with his size and constant presence makes our son always feel safe.Dozer is a shadow, always tending to the children, very tender, never pushy, never dominating, and has never growled or snapped at anything.He is a huge love muffin.By his presence and gentle nature alone, Dozer allows our family to feel secure after 14 months of stalking by a repeat sex offender.
Having Dozer in the house is a gift, we are able to sleep at night without my son constantly having night terror episodes and screaming due to his nightmares.Our son's anxiety has all but disappeared.In therapy our son talks about how much Dozer means to him, how he'll ride his bike outside, because Dozer can come too.How he'll play in the backyard and not be afraid because Dozer is always there.These are huge leaps from where he was prior to being so well-matched by Rescue with Dozer.Having a mastiff allows us to even travel to the beach, or hike on trails and watch our son laugh and behave like a "normal" six year old.Although, you can see who's the braver of the two now when our son runs towards the ocean, and Dozer runs away from it!
Dozer is not just good with our family, he has become the neighborhood mascot.All of the children in the neighborhood can love up on him.The parents always feel better when we are out with Dozer, and their children are with us as well.He is very popular due to his gentle nature.
I will forever endorse the English Mastiff, having one for our forever friend has certainly changed our life for the better!
Note from Louise
Julie has sent me several pictures of Dozer with his children.Due to the sensitive nature of his placement, those pictures have been withheld.However, it must be said that these are small children, children who can be seen clinging to their dog, who hovers protectively over them.I am so glad that Dozer and this family have found each other.Many thanks to Julie Nelson for making such stories as these possible.
Int'l/am CH Kinsmen Dragon of the Knight CD, CGC, TDT, TT, WD
(Ch. Macwoo's Knight in Shining Armour CD, CGC, TDI x Ch. Iron Hills Gwen at Kinsmen CD, CGC, TDI)
Breeder: Mary Lynn Speer
Draco has awards and accomplishments too numerous to mention here , so I’ll do a small recap.He has been a therapy dog with head injury and paralysis patients, a demo dog for a variety of canine education programs, a meet-and-greet dog, a reading partner program dog, and a general all-around canine good citizen.He has been honored by the Mastiff Club of America, as well as the American Kennel Club, and has done an incredible job of bridging the gap between dogs and people in terms of education and service.
Submitted by Linda Hayes, Draco’s owner
Even with all Draco’s accomplishments and years of service, the most important thing to me is that he is my friend and is always there for me.Especially in one very critical moment.
I was working nights as an RN at VA Medical Center in St. Louis. It was around 6pm and I was in bed trying to sleep before my shift.All of a sudden, I had the sensation of vertigo―but I was the one spinning, not the room!It just came upon me.I found that I could not get out of bed and had no control over my movement.
Draco was right there at my bedside, waiting for me to grab his collar.At the time, I did not have a phone in my room, so he pulled me by dragging me across the floor to the living room where the phone was.He even got the phone for me!I was able to call 911 to get an ambulance to my house.
He then pulled me to the door, so that I could open it for the EMT’s when they arrived.He never barked or even challenged the paramedics/police officers when they came into my house with all their equipment, and any mastiff owner knows how protective they can be of their house and owner.I was diagnosed with a rare inner ear infection that comes on fast and hard.
The police officers and paramedics were so impressed with him that they came by my house after my discharge from the hospital, to give him treats and to see how I was doing.
Another time, he did a wonderful down/stay for me when my mother passed out from loss of blood from a nose-bleed (she is on a blood thinner), which gave me time to elevate her legs until the paramedics arrived to take her to the hospital!
This story is from 2008, but remains as timely and important today as it was back then.
Story submitted by Natalie Allouche:
My name is Natalie Allouche and I have 4 English Mastiffs and 4 other dogs, mixed breeds, cattle dog, mini daschund and a pekingese.
I have a very emotional story to tell about Ed, my 20 month old male fawn mastiff, who was my lifesaver after I received him almost two years ago, a month after having lost the second of both my children to cancer. Ed was born on my second son's birthday, a fact I did not realize until after I received his registration papers. Even though I had been an RN for 17 years, I was absolutely devastated, once again, after I lost a child to cancer, and could not see myself going back into that profession. Ed accompanied me everywhere. I functioned according to his schedule and he kept me rooted in some form of reality.
18 months later, I started BIA, 'BROTHERS IN ARMS," animal assisted intervention, with Ed as the anchor of the program. BIA works with bereaved children, youths in crisis and children with difficult lives. In addition, I was asked by the school board to start a bereavement program with Ed, and worked hard on merging two well known programs with animal assisted therapy.
Please check out my website. I am not very good with websites, but I am proud of it!
Fluffy’s story has been published in 1999’s MCOA Journal no. 04, as well as the January, 2001 issue of the AKC GAZETTE. To see another photo of this extraordinary mastiff, please click here.
Submitted by owner, Tina Keith
When my husband and I decided we wanted a new dog, I was in my late 40’s and had never owned a pet, even though Alan had grown up with Rottweilers and Dobermans.After doing some research, we decided on a mastiff.When we finally went to pick up our 11-week-old mastiff puppy, it was love at first sight. My Mastiff journey had begun.
We decided to name her Fluffy, a name we knew would make people smile right off the bat.It was obvious from the start that Fluffy was definitely going to be my dog.When she was 6 months old, I started taking her to obedience classes once a week.Nobody in class had ever seen a Mastiff before, and the instructor enjoyed the novelty of having such a breed in the class.And Fluffy graduated first in her class!
When she was 9 months old, we went to watch a local fun match, and someone suggested I enter Fluffy.What a ridiculous suggestion, I thought.But I entered her, and she won!One instructor noted Fluffy's wonderful temperament and said she would make a great therapy dog.Meanwhile, Fluffy graduated from all her classes in first place and won two more first-place ribbons in Fun matches. She received her Canine Good Citizen® certificate at 10 months.When I received the list of facilities asking for therapy dogs, I noticed that few volunteers were going to any of the hospices in Las Vegas.We signed on with Nathan Adelson Hospice, a facility where many patients live their final days.I wasn't sure how I would handle being around patients who knew they were dying.
On our first visit to the Adelson facility, we entered a room where a patient had just died.I was terrified.On seeing Fluffy in the room, the family members started to kiss and hug her in silence while their tears rolled down their cheeks onto her face.They were so touched that I had brought her to them at that moment in their lives.Fluffy was an excellent therapy dog, and it was incredibly gratifying to hear a person whose days were numbered tell us how she had made their day.
At age 2, Fluffy weighed 182 pounds and was 33 inches at the shoulder.She could give the patients kisses while they rested in their beds.She was always the conversation piece and the "icebreaker."It used to take us 15 minutes just to get past the nurses station before we saw the first patient.We found out that the nurses needed therapy too!My supervisor asked if I would take Fluffy to Sunrise Children's Hospital Foundation as well, knowing that Fluffy loved kids.The children thought Fluffy was cool.In the cancer ward, I let her lay on their beds and they soon became friends.Nurses said that after our visits, the children slept better at night and didn't require as much pain medication.
Fluffy was a wonderful ambassador for her breed.In 2004 Fluffy was awarded the MCOA Wright Service Dog Award at the Tucson Specialty.
My Mastiff journey continues now with Desertknight’s Princess Muffy, CGC, TDI, who just passed her TDI and will begin her service work shortly.
Ginger became a rescue mastiff that we decided to foster when her owners decided that, since the wife was pregnant, she had to go.In searching for her permanent home, I had a huge response, with many conscientious and wonderful people wanting to adopt her; but for some reason, I held off letting her go.Although I wasn’t sure why, I felt like I should hang onto her a little while longer.I turned a lot of disappointed people away.
I recently got a phone call about Ginger from a woman named Sally, who had lost her 16 year old son, Troy, in a horrible car accident six years before.Troy had always wanted a mastiff and they had actually picked out just the right puppy for him shortly before he died.After his death, Sally, Troy’s mom, didn’t follow up on the puppy, as she was so grief-stricken that simply breathing was almost too much for her to bear.
When Sally was finally able, she told her fiancé she was ready to get Troy his mastiff.Doing her internet search, she somehow landed on our website right away and saw Ginger on the rescue page.It was love at first sight.That was when she called.
After talking for an hour or so, she drove out to meet Ginger.From the moment she got out of the car, Ginger went straight to her side and stayed there.It seemed as if Ginger was greeting an old friend.And since Ginger usually takes some time to warm up to strangers, this was unusual and really impressive to me.As soon as I saw them together, I knew Ginger was supposed to help Sally heal.I've never seen such an instant connection between a human and a dog.I could almost see Troy standing next to them, smiling.Sally was crying, I was crying, and our poor menfolk just stood around looking uncomfortable. Once we composed ourselves, we all chatted for an hour or so, and Ginger never strayed far from Sally, staying near her side the whole time.
I finally understand completely why I held onto Ginger for so long.I would like to think that there is a very happy young man looking down on his mom right now and smiling because they both have a big, beautiful, drooly, faithful dog to love.
(St. Patrick's Governors Legacy x Wiley Ways Ingrids Enigma)
DOBMarch 13, 2004
From Fran Boppe, owner
Hanna has a lovely personality!She was an extremely energetic puppy to raise and her clown-like attitude has brought many laughs.I call her my velcro dog, since where I am, she has to be.This dog loves life and is just happy all the time.She is the first one to comfort me when I'm down or not feeling well.
Recently I had surgery and I was amazed at the change in her attitude.Normally she is happy-go-lucky, always running around looking for something to pick up and carry in her mouth.But on those days of my recovery it was Hanna by my side, with her big head on my chest, giving kisses.It was as though she knew not to carry on for a few days.If she wasn't laying her head on my chest, she was laying right by my side.I kept thinking, "Where did this calm dog come from, and what happened to my Hanna!?"Once I recovered I got the real Hanna back, and she is even more of a velcro dog. She is 2 years old now and has matured into a beautiful, loving, loyal partner!
(Ch. Greiner Hall Jedadiah, CGC, TDI x Ch. Skylar’s Screaming Mimi)
Owners: Kristen Dixon and Kim Morrell
Submitted by Kristen Dixon
I have received a copy of a very special paper today.The TDI Certificate and letter made it official that Ch. Muddy Creek’s Twist & Shout, CGC, TDIA is now also a TDIAOV, which stands for Therapy Dog International Active Outstanding Volunteer!Harry is owned, trained, and loved by Kim Morrell of Brodancroft Mastiffs.Harry and Kim (with Puddin', his therapy partner) have gone religiously week in and week out to nursing homes in both New Jersey and New Hampshire since Harry obtained his TDI title.This brand new title recognizes that he has completed his 150th therapy visit. Harry was featured on the Martha Stewart show as a star therapy dog and excellent example of our breed―which, of course, he truly is.
Note from Louise
There are many more pictures of Harry in the photo album, Mastiffs – In Service, here.
(Quietwood's Miracles Abound x Halfmoon Imagine the Stars)
From Teresa Macmahan, owner
At the 2006 Reliant Houston dogshow, our area rescue coordinator asked us to man the rescue booth with Kodi.Kodi was only months old, but he had always been the perfect gentleman—calm and never getting upset over anything.He is great at working the crowd for treats!!At the show, there was a young boy, around 10 years old, in a big, bulky wheelchair.His parents were pushing him through the aisles.He seemed mentally challenged, but I had no idea what was wrong with him physically.Kodi walked away from a small group of people that were feeding him doggie treats and led me over to the little boy.He was very insistent that we go see him.Kodi was almost a year old and is a pretty big boy.He was able to lay his big ole head right onto the kids lap.At first, I was a bit nervous because I didn't want the parents to be afraid, so I asked if it was okay.They both nodded their permission.I knew Kodi wouldn't hurt a fly, but I realized that those parents didn't know that.The little boy started patting Kodi on the head, HARD.Instead of getting upset by the child’s awkward roughness, Kodi remained perfectly still and even managed to sneak in a quick, slurpy kiss across the boy's face.The little boy started giggling.I thought it was cute, but when I looked up at the mom, she had tears in her eyes.Being slightly confused by her reaction, I am sure I had a puzzled look on my face.That's when she looked at me and said in a shaky voice, "Our son is autistic; he doesn't laugh".Well, you can imagine my reaction at that point.My eyes filled with tears and a lump developed in my throat.That is the moment I knew I'd use Kodi around children as a therapy dog.It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably intuitive and loving these big babies can be.Kodi has a gift for "knowing" and I hope to finish his TDI and CGC as soon as possible.
(Windy Mt. Angel Zade x Ch. Pharaway's Wynwood Willow)
From Denise Hyer, breeder
Kody was a 10 week old puppy when Erin Grey purchased him from me.Erin trains wild horses, shows horses and had owned a rescued Mastiff.She wanted to learn about and begin showing dogs.I thought she would be a good match for mastiff ownership and agreed to sell her a puppy and assist in her show training.
As best friends Erin and Kody worked together on her ranch side by side.The winter of 2003 brought a very severe ice storm to Portland, Oregon.Erin’s neighbors wouldn’t be able to get home until late in the afternoon and she went to their house to check that their horses were okay.As Erin and Kody were standing at their gate, trying to open it, Kody suddenly grabbed Erin's arm and pulled her away from the gate.A tree limb fell just where she had been standing.
You see, Erin is deaf!Kody had heard the cracking of the limb that Erin was unable to hear.Although only 1 year old at the time, and without formal training, he responded to the falling limb instinctively.They are both in tune to each other’s movements and needs.
Erin went on to become a competent show person, and with some assistance from me, took Kody to his Championship.Erin and Kody are best friends and soul mates for life.
Note from Louise: I’m starting with Orson, since he’s the most well-known of the Lyonhurst Mastiffs, but please don't miss Orson's sister and grand-dam, whose stories of service to humanity are quite remarkable.
O R S O N
CH Lyonhurst Orson CGC
(Sir Buckingham of Navaho Run x Lyonhurst Regina)
Submitted by Bonnie Faulstich, owner and breeder
Orson went through training for a movie being filmed here a few years back.He got replaced by a Great Dane after filming started, but learned to work around and cut through a flock of sheep.The woman helping me train told me that what he accomplished with her was the very final stages of training that is done with working Border Collies.
These dogs are a lot more intelligent than most people think.
J E A N L U C
Jean Luc, Orson's sister
(Sir Buckingham of Navaho Run x Lyonhurst Regina)
Submitted by Bonnie Faulstich, breeder
I got a call 8 years ago from a couple with a handicapped teenaged son.The boy had a lot of things wrong.He was Autistic, with the mental maturity of a 7 year old, had been born without the tubes in his ears connected, and had stainless steel implants; so, he was very sensitive to loud noises.When we met them, he was recovering from surgery for testicular cancer.
The boy’s therapist suggested they get a dog.He specifically suggested they get a Mastiff.The boy was 18 years old and weighed 230 pounds, so the doctor told them that a Mastiff would not only be of the size to not get accidentally squashed by the boy, but also had the temperament to handle his mood swings and temper tantrums.
I had great reservations about placing a puppy with this family.On the phone, the mother told me the last dog they had owned had been 20 years previous, and it was a little poodle.But they came to visit anyway, and we ended up spending 3 hours together.I learned they had a local friend who raised and showed Danes, and of course I was only a phone call away, so help was nearby, if they needed it.That was how Jean Luc became part of their family.
The parents spoiled her terribly, but in a good way.The son was an avid Star Trek-Next Generation fan, and named her Jean Luc. The mother had miscarried a daughter at 7 months, shortly after their son was born, and it was as if she had another baby girl.Jean Luc adored the son, and was gentle and patient with him from the start.
At some point, she started letting them know when the son was about to have a seizure!She would become agitated and run back and forth to wherever the mother was, until she came into the room with the son.Then Jean Luc laid her body down next to the boy, as if trying to cover him, until the seizure passed.It was purely instinctive on her part.This can't be trained for.
Well, she was the first official Service Dog for the State of Illinois.They didn't have any requirements or official status for service dogs other then seeing eye, but the mother wrote to the Governor about their situation.The Governor's wife made up a special card for them to carry, and signed it herself, so Jean Luc was able to go with them everywhere.She went with them to restaurants, to the hospital when the son went in for tests, anywhere they went, she was with them.
E M M A
Emma Lyonhurst Enchantress
Also submitted by Bonnie Faulstich
Orson's granddam was the first certified Search and Rescue Mastiff in the state of Kentucky, and she qualified at 10 months of age.Any older, and she would have been too big to be tested on their equipment.She was never called for duty, but I did get to see her go through the routine a few years later, and it was so exciting to watch!
My name is Patty McWilliams.This story is about my Macy.She came to me when she was five.That was almost two years ago.I saw her on the English Mastiff rescue website.Steve drove her in to me after Louise came and checked out my house.It was love at first sight!
I had heard that her first home was a barn where she was bred for her puppies.My vet said she was overbred because she had such a big stomach, so now she has to take estrogen.Her second home was a garage where she might have lapped up some antifreeze.She is now on special dogfood because she has a bad kidney.Steve thought she just had a bladder infection when he brought her.He said I could give her back for another healthier dog, but I said I was keeping her.Through Louise and Linda, I am able to keep stylish diapers on her in the house.Her leaking has greatly improved with the medication and food.
Louise had said she would make a great therapy dog.We started her in a therapy group and Macy did very well.Her gentleness and affection showed through because she would never leave my side.Everyone asked if she was professionally trained.But that is just the way she is.It seems Macy appreciates being with me.
I have a rare disease that got worse, so I had to quit the therapy group because I'm on chemo and heavy duty steroids that lower my immune system.It causes nerve and organ damage.I lost my hearing in one ear and now I have nerve damage in my feet.I can walk about ten minutes, before my feet stop working right.Then I have to find a place to sit for awhile.Since Macy never leaves my side, I made her my service dog.She keeps me steady till I can sit down.Macy loves this job because she can go everywhere with me!It seems like fate.I helped her and now she helps me.She is always well-behaved when we go into stores.I am so proud of her.
To see more pictures of Macy, please click here and here.
November 2010 Note from Louise:
Sadly, Patty died in the spring, when Macy was around 11 years old.Macy was in great health for such an old girl.She went to another loving home, where she spent three weeks enjoying the company of some other fine mastiffs and people, before she died unexpectedly.Although she seemed happy and well-adjusted, we will never know how she felt to be separated from Pat.Pat was my friend and I am comforted knowing those two are together again.
(Ch. Griffith's T. Geronimo x Ch. Willowledge Katrina)
owned and loved by dee dee Andersson and
the late Bjorn Andersson of Storm Mastiffs
May 6, 1980 – April 28, 1992
Maggie has awards and accomplishments too numerous to mention individually, so I’ll do a recap.She has made an enormous contribution to the mastiff breed, by being the only bitch to receive the Top Brood Bitch Award at two Mastiff Club of America specialty shows in 1985 and 1986.With nine of her 17 puppies becoming champions of record, and some receiving obedience championships as well, she earned a well-deserved place in the MCOA Mastiff Hall of Fame Top Producers. Her descendants continue to grace the mastiff breed today.
From dee dee Andersson
With a single look from her, 3 males, Bully, Sherman and Trooper, would hit the floor, prone and reverent.With a sneer, they back-pedaled out of her space.And yet, even at almost 12 years when a strong wind would have blown her over, wild and playful puppies could come tearing around the corner of the house, spot her, and belly up to her with wild kisses and licks, even when a bump from them would have tilted her. Maggie never had to say much, or do much, although she was quite capable of sounding like a freight train roaring through the house.I have said for years that she still dominated my dogs a good 6 months after she died.Maggie never left a mark on a human, puppy or dog.Once when an infant, visiting my house, crawled over to her and twisted her nipple, before we could get there to stop, Maggie rolled her eyes, turned away and flopped her head back down to let the baby do what it wanted.No protest whatsoever.Bjorn used to say that she read Marie Moore's book and then set about becoming a Mastiff.Maggie would throw her food up for a puppy up to 9 weeks old, notwithstanding that the puppy was not hers.She was generous with her love, compassion, and her demand that all creatures respect her.
Owners: Stephanie and Dusty Sharp, Goldrush Mastiffs
Story submitted by owner, Stephanie Sharp 04.11.06
A heavy cloud hangs over Goldrush Mastiffs today as we had to let our beloved boy Malachai, go and be free of his duties here on Earth.Although Mally didn't have any titles recognized by the governing bodies, he had the title around here as the World's Best Dog and a true Man's Best Friend...we have many great memories of our boy, him being our first Mastiff, and his legend will live on in our hearts and the hearts of those who crossed his path...he brought joy to all who met him.
Thank you all in advance for your support and knowing that we all truly own the best breed of dog regardless of their short life span...they do offer such joy to our life and make our family's complete.Malachai will always be in our thoughts, months and years from now and will always be revered as a noble, gentle giant.
Owned and loved by the Schemers, Moonshadow Mastiffs
Submitted by Pat Schemers
I was acquired by my first Mastiff in the fall of 1975, an 18 mo. old apricot female named Annabelle.She was joined by a 2 year old fawn female named Misty in the summer of 76.Cinnamon, our other dog, quickly decided she was also a Mastiff.It was a sight to see, those two big Mastiffs laying out on the lawn looking so regal, and perched between them, Cinnamon the Basenji puffed up for all she was worth, looking just as aloof and regal.
During the "Pebble People" era, I had painted eyes on several large rocks and strategically placed them around the yard.One day I noticed the rocks were being moved from one place to another.At first I thought my kids were playing mind games with me, until one morning I glanced out the sliding doors in the dining room.Lo and behold, there was Misty with a rock in her mouth, moving it to a new spot.She continued until she had moved every rock in the yard to a new location, and seemed to be enjoying herself immensely.
She also liked to carry our desert tortoise "Touché" around.When she first started picking him up, he would tuck his head and legs inside his shell until he got used to the impromptu rides, and then it became a game.Whenever we had company, Misty and Touché would trot out their dog and tortoise show.It was hilarious to see the look on people's faces when they looked up to see this big Mastiff walking around the yard with a tortoise in her mouth.Touché's head would be bobbing up and down, and his feet paddling as if he was walking on air.
In 1978 I was watching my grandsons while their parents were working.I had made a superman outfit for Aaron and he insisted on wearing it every day.As soon as he had eaten breakfast he'd put on his outfit, and would hit the yard at a full run, running by Misty who was sacked out in her regular morning nap.From a sound sleep, she would hit the ground running, and the chase was afoot.Misty ran as if the devil himself was on her tail, trying to catch up with Aaron.One morning after a night strategizing in her war room, Misty changed the rules.Fully awake, she stood waiting for Aaron to finish his breakfast.As soon as he stepped off the porch, she gently took him by the elbow, and ran him 3 fast laps around the yard, before unceremoniously dumping him on the porch and strutting away.I don't think Aaron's feet ever touched the ground, and I am here to tell you for a fact that he has never in his life run that fast again.
My husband John met Misty one week-end in February of '81, when we moved into our first home. Monday I went to work, and John stayed home to let the phone, electric, and gas people in the yard to set up our services.Misty, however, had a whole different game plan.Her number one priority was to remove the utility people from the yard as fast as they entered her territory.John decided to put her in the garage until everyone had come and gone (first mistake).Later John had to leave the house, so he went to the garage to get his truck (second mistake).Shortly after the stand-off, I received a call at work.I had to go home, and tell Misty to stop guarding the garage and let John have his truck.Shortly thereafter, Misty and John became close friends and buddies.And from then on, she thought she had to help him with every job he did in the yard or around the house.
Misty loved to go for rides.I used to drive a little four door Opel that had bucket seats in the front.I would put Annabelle in the back seat and Misty in the front seat, and take them for rides.Can you imagine the startled looks we got from people?Here was a 160 lb Mastiff sitting in the front seat, and then stretched out from door to door in the back seat, another Mastiff.John had a pickup, and if he left the tailgate down, Misty would climb in to sit for hours, waiting for a ride.After we moved to the high desert, whenever we saw her sitting in the truck, one of us would give her a ride around our five acres.She was as happy as a lark, especially when we went camping, since that meant she would get to ride around for 2 whole weeks!
Misty never ceased to amaze and surprise me with her bag of tricks, and she had many.She kept everyone on their toes from June of 1976 until July of 1989, when we lost her to a stroke at the ripe old age of 15 years, 2 months.I had many Mastiffs along with and after Misty, but I am so glad she was one of my first encounters with a Mastiff.Many a new dog/puppy was put in her care to be taught the do's & dont's of life in her yard.She was my puppy sitter, my puppy trainer, my hall monitor, my guardian, my companion, my friend.And I was her human.
I am the Region 1 Coordinator for Friends Of Rescued Mastiffs serving all of the New England States, and would like to share a story that took place last year.I pulled a pair of Mastiffs, a male and a female, out of a dog shelter in Connecticut, back in January.They had been left on a freezing night, tied outside the shelter, waiting for someone to stumble upon and discover in the morning.The shelter contacted me, since the staff was not comfortable working with a giant breed, so I stepped in.It was believed that the female had recently whelped a litter because she was still engorged with milk and huge, despite the fact that she was so very, very thin everywhere else.No one imagined that they would enter the shelter one morning to find Momma Lucie, as I came to name her later, tending four brindle Mastiff babies.Hours after the discovery, she had a fifth pup, just as healthy as the previous four.
Momma Lucie had whelped the babies all by herself on the cold cement shelter floor, removed them from their sacs, cleaned them, took care of the cords, and nursed them.That was a miracle in itself, but what one of those pups did 6 months later, was nothing short of another, even greater, miracle.
I picked up both parents and all five puppies when they were only a week old.The sire Mr. Big was neutered, fostered between my home and another for eight weeks, and finally adopted, to enjoy a wonderful life in a new home, where his beautiful temperament could be appreciated every day.Momma Lucie and her lil charges stayed with me for the following nine weeks, where I served as maid service, and tended to several laundry loads a day, not to mention the rigors of newspaper detail!!Momma Lucie was never protective of her babies, with me or my family or any visitors; she was a darling girl and welcomed any visitors.She even accepted parenting assistance from Mr. Big while he was still with us, her boyfriend who was the most gentle Daddy.Being spayed did nothing to stop her friendly, gentle nature and meticulous care of her babies.
When the time finally came for the puppies and Momma Lucie to go to their adoptive forever-homes, I watched each of them leave with tears in my eyes, especially Momma Lucie.Oh, how she had wormed her way into my heart!Even today, I tear up typing this because I can truly say, I've never met a more special girl.Parting with her was difficult, but I had three Mastiffs of my own, and it wasn't feasible to keep her.I knew what had to be done and that she needed a special family all her own, which is exactly what she got.I have stayed in close contact with all my adopters, receiving pictures, and going on visits, and even providing month-long puppysitting service while one of my families was away.
I imagine you are waiting for the next miracle I mentioned above, and I am sorry to be so longwinded; but it's hard to leave out the background information that helps explain how special this whole family of Mastiffs is.
One day, I received an email from Patsy, the adopter of Lefty, one of the male pups, telling me that Lefty had saved her son's life.She reported that she could hear him barking furiously from somewhere in the house, and he would not stop, even when she called to him several times and tried to shush him.He wanted her attention and he wanted it now.When he became more frantic, she went off to find him, and investigate what her 6 month-old puppy was up to.The barking seemed to be coming from an upstairs bathroom whose door was ajar, so Patsy called out, and when there was no answer, pushed the door open to find, much to her alarm, her adult son lying on the floor.Several months prior to this, he had become very ill and moved back in with his parents.She found him unconscious and bleeding profusely from his nose, with Lefty standing beside him, licking his face.The faucets were running, and the tub was about to overflow.
When I called to make sure Patsy's son was okay, he answered the phone and told me that he couldn't fathom how Lefty had opened the bathroom door.Since the door was shut, of which he was certain, Lefty could only have opened it by turning the knob!For Lefty to want to get into the bathroom at all was very strange, since he was almost always right by Patsy's side.The son had recovered, and both he and his mother were incredibly emotional about the whole incident, convinced that Lefty is an incredibly special Mastiff.The more they told me, the more I came to believe that this little hero somehow sensed the son was in trouble, and was intent on getting into that bathroom, just as he later became intent on insisting Patsy come to help.I also understand that after this incident, Lefty decided that Patsy's son's side was a more important side to be on, and he switched over, refusing to be called away, even for a cookie.
I am incredibly proud of Lefty, my hero, and his whole Mastiff family who are so special and doing so well in their new forever-homes. It was an honor to be a part of this.
(Groppetti Ghengis Cohen X Groppetti No More Sweeter Than Honey)
Bred, Owned, and Loved by: Stanley and Roberta Einbender
Submitted by Stan Einbender
I have two stories to offer, both about Moses, who was our very first mastiff.Moses was a therapy dog, and on one of his trips to a nursing home, he visited the room of a stroke victim who had not spoken for a number of months.Upon seeing this 200 lb dog, the woman turned and said, "I love dogs".Of course, the nurses and attendants were amazed and thankful that this wonderful mastiff had inspired this patient to utter her first words in a long time.
Another extraordinary incident occurred at a show in PA.Moses, although retired from the show ring, came along in our RV.Upon hearing an adult crying hysterically, my wife Roberta, with Moses on a leash, went to see what was going on.After seeing this huge animal, this challenged adult stopped crying and wanted to pet Moses.His parents were extremely grateful Moses was available, and able to help this challenged person get through some emotional crisis.Moses seemed to have a certain sense, and although he was extremely athletic in the show ring, when serving as a therapy dog, he was able to go into a completely different mode.
I hope these stories will help to show that mastiffs are really multipurpose dogs.
(Ch. Beowulfs Bear Necessity x Beowulfs Inkomazie)
Ginel - Calebs Special Girl of Rydalmount
(Ch. Valley Views Caleb of Rydalmount x Ch Rydalmounts Divine Miss Em)
Both mastiffs owned and loved by Sandra Prokes and Holly Banig-Gardner
From Gloria Cuthbert
I thought I would tell you a true story that happened to one of my dear friends one day in February, 2006.
Sandy is owned by two mastiffs, Nigel and Ginel, whom she walks every morning separately.Nigel is a male over 2 years old, and Ginel is a female around 14 months.They live together in Cleveland, Ohio.
That particular morning, Sandy walked Nigel, put him back in the house, and then took Ginel for her walk.In front of her home, a young man stopped her to ask questions about Ginel.You know how that goes.They were the typical questions, like how much does she weigh, how much does she eat....Well, Sandy didn't think much about it, and was answering his questions.
Suddenly, the man jumped out of his car, tried to grab Ginel, and when Sandy wouldn't let go of the leash, he began beating her in the face.From the house, Nigel saw what was happening from the storm door, broke the door to get out, jumped on the man, and pushed him to the ground.He laid on the ground, while the man started beating him.Sandy threw herself over the man's arms so he couldn't beat Nigel anymore, somehow held onto Ginel, and called 911.The police were there in seconds, the man arrested, and Nigel a hero.
We all need to be aware of these corrupt people that are out there, and we also need to hear good stories of mastiffs.Nigel growled at the man, but never attempted to bite him.
I think this is both a warning to beware, and a wonderful story of a mastiff doing his job.
I am the proud mother of two mastiffs that work with me in a long term care facility for ventilator-dependent patients.Oscar has shown affinity to work with patients that have come to us with devastating head injuries.Many of these individuals are in a vegetative state.
10 months ago, we received a young man who had been the victim of a violent mugging that left him neurologically devastated.It was so sad and his parents were going through the stages of mourning.It was hard to be objective and make it out of that room without tears.
When I work, I bring Oscar one day and Ali the next, so they take turns.The second day this young man was in the facility, Oscar came to work.His routine is always the same.He goes through the door to the unit and begins checking each room and each patient.Everyone refers to them as “mastiff rounds”.This time, when he came to this young man, he stopped.He put his foot on the side rail and looked to me to lower it.I lowered the rail and Oscar put his face next to this young man’s face.Although Oscar checked on his other patients throughout the shift, he kept returning to the bedside to lay his head next to Ron’s (not his real name).He had not done this before, but I didn’t question what the dogs do with the patients, since they seem to know intuitively what each patient needs.This routine continued each time Oscar came to work for about 3 months.
Then one day I was caring for Ron’s airway and Oscar was positioned nose to nose with Ron.I saw a slight movement out of the corner of my eye and to my surprise, Ron was smiling!I almost fainted, but I kept what I thought I saw to myself.I did not want to raise hopes until I was sure it wasn’t just a reflex.Oscar continued his care and a month later, as Ron was sitting in a geriatric chair, he moved his right hand.This time other people were there to see it.The next morning Oscar and I sat down with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, the physician and the facility director to plan a rehab program.Over a long period of time, Oscar brought this young man back.The first words spoken were, “Osc love me.”
Ron learned to walk with assistance, using aids began to feed himself, and as long as Oscar was there to cheer him on, he slowly learned to perform activities of daily living.To make a long story short, he walked out to the car today and went home with his parents.He still has many challenges, but I have no doubt he will make it.Oh, yes, he is going home to a mastiff puppy named Oscar.So tonight, when you have a conversation with God, mention Ron, and ask God to watch over him.
It was difficult to say goodbye, but I know little Oscar will take good care of him.I just thought you all might enjoy another account of the way our babies serve humankind.
Gatehouse Van D Dryvs Lyk A Dream, RN, CGC, TT, TDI
May 10, 2007 - July 26, 2010
Breeders: Shannon and Nick Van Duren and Carrie Klaiber
Owner and Therapy Partner: Carrie Klaiber
Pictured above is Parker with one of his friends, Terry.Terry was a great athlete when he was in high school with my mom, but he had some sort of accident that caused permanent brain damage when he was in his 20s.No longer able to communicate with words, only grunts and strange noises, he still could understand what other people were saying to him.Whenever he saw Parker out in the hallway he always started yelling so we would go in for a visit.I would walk in with Parker and say, "Terry, do you want to hold the puppy on your lap?" and Terry would giggle and laugh like crazy.
Although Terry was mostly paralyzed, he did have limited use of his left arm.I usually had Parker put his front paws up on the arm of Terry's chair and Terry would grab onto one of Parker's paws, hold it and laugh.Often, when Terry was holding Parker's paw, there was a steady stream of nurse's aids, RNs and housekeepers coming in to see them and smile. :)
Parker sometimes climbed up onto Terry's roommate's empty bed and Terry especially loved that.You could almost make out that he was saying "BAD! BAD!" while he was roaring with laughter.
In the picture above, Terry was laughing because I had been trying to get Parker's attention and he was ignoring me, so I tried something different.I said "Say Cookies!" and Parker snapped to attention and looked right at me with his ears all perked up. :)
Parker was doing therapy work before he was even a year old, and eventually became a "real" therapy dog like his big sister T'kila.
Note from Louise
Parker died suddenly at a young age and will be loved and missed by many for a long, long time.
(Lionhearted Medieval Man X Lionhearted Star of India)
Breeder: Gloria Davis
Submitted by Gloria Davis of Lionhearted Mastiffs
Sam is owned by Craig and Laurie Stapleton of Knoxville, TN.As a therapy dog registered with HABIT, he has done therapy work at the University Hospital in Knoxville, and when he was living in Florida with me, he did therapy work at the Good Samaritan Center in Advent Christian Village, Dowling Park.
Sam has never met a stranger, and is a star everywhere he goes.He was chosen by a major, internationally-known hair salon, Salon Visage in Knoxville, to pose with young models for hair ads.He is a frequent visitor to Petsmart, where he goes in and picks out his own toys!
Laurie keeps me up to date on Sam, and tells me how he seems to have an uncanny trait of understanding whatever she asks him to do.Like how he fetches the newspaper each morning for her. And picks out whatever toy from his box that Laurie asks him to get.And anytime she and I are talking on the phone, if he hears her mention his name to me, he immediately begins barking.
When you hear the term “gentle giant”, Sam is the perfect example.He is a special boy that will continue to be an ambassador for his breed.
I had a special love for my first mastiff Samson.We were the best of friends.When he became a senior citizen (in dog years), he was no longer able to jump up on my bed, which had been his regular sleeping spot for his whole life, so he moved to a new place beside the bed on the floor.He spent the night there, in the same spot, for eight months, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, he hopped up on my bed, and continued to do so every night for several nights.
One of those nights, while we were sound asleep, he jumped off the bed, then back on the bed, on and off, pawing at me and crying.He did this over and over again, until I woke up completely.I got mad at him then because this weird behavior was escalating and I was annoyed.I wanted to go back to sleep!So I got up to take him to his crate.It was then that I noticed I was not feeling well at all, as if I was on a diabetic low, which can be fatal if not attended to.I went into the kitchen, got something sweet to eat and checked my blood sugar.It was dangerously low.
Samson and I remained the best of friends throughout his life, and I loved him very much.I miss him every day.I will always be grateful to him, especially because I know he saved my life.
(Kumormai Samurai x St. Patrick's Ultimate Desire)
DOBOctober 4, 2004
From Fran Boppe, owner
Stryker has been such a wonderful puppy to raise.He earned his CGC title at 11 months old.He's now 17 mos. old and has had the run of the house since the tender age of 4 months!Since then I have called him my guardian at night even though I always thought if anyone tried getting in the house Stryker would lick them to pieces.
Every night he gets a snack, a kiss good night and I tell him, "Okay, Stryker, take care of the house," and then he curls up on his bed.One night was a little different.My daughter had taken a job where she wouldn't get home until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, and of course Stryker wasn't used to this, but none of us gave it a second thought.The next morning when my daughter got up, the first thing she said to me was, "You won't believe what Stryker did last night," and proceeded to tell me the story.Stryker had heard someone in the garage, and by the time my daughter got the door open and was walking in, she looked up to see Stryker bolting across the room with a very low growl, and heading straight for her!The instant she said his name, his tail started wagging.Since then, he has gotten used to her routine, and now just lifts his head to double check, then goes back to sleep.
I think sometimes we all wonder what our Mastiff guardians would do in a given situation, but in this case I found out.He is such a comfort to me because my husband travels a lot and I am here by myself.I totally trust this wonderful partner of mine!
(Ch. Pinewood His Maj Holy Moses x Ch. Gloribee Fantasy Back in Black CGC, TDI)
December 28, 1999 – June 30, 2006
Owner and breeder:Melody Fuller
The day after Stryker died, Melody wrote this:
Someone once said, “The greater the love, the greater the loss, the greater the pain,” but I must say that I would not trade any of the anguish I feel today to have never known and loved, and been loved by, my Stryker.I would have missed out on so much, his gentle eyes, his always bringing me a woobie every morning as I came down the steps, and my favorite memory of the time all his toys were being washed, so he ran into the bathroom and brought me a bar of soap!He didn’t like the taste, but he held it till I took it and exclaimed over the wonderful gift he had brought me that morning.He was gentle, funny, and loving.I will miss him and hold him in my heart forever.
Owned and loved by Amy, John, Josh, Andy, and Emily Coglio
May 3, 2001 - April 28, 2005
Story submitted by owner, Amy Coglio
We purchased our Toby boy after our family had lost our first mastiff Jake at the age of 11.My kids were 13, 11, and 7 years old.They were devastated after Jake died and we needed to love another dog.Toby was about 7 months old and needed a lot of work.He was shy and very sick when we got him, but nothing that some antibiotics, worming and frontline couldn't cure.
After the initial newness wore off and the medications were done, he was coming around to being a happy boy.But three months after we got him, we noticed that he was having some difficulty walking, running, and going up steps.We took him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.We got a second opinion, which was the same as the first.Our family did some research and talked about what to do.The kids thought that we would have to put him down, and they were begging us not to do it.I explained to them that people get hip dysplasia, and a lot of the "Special Ed," kids that I work with have HD, and they are fine.We talked about how people who have disabilities are still people with feelings, and can live happy lives with some adaptations and special care.We discussed the possibility of surgery for him, and told the kids that the cost would deplete our vacation and our fun money fund.Our whole family talked to the vet about post-surgical recovery and all the work that would be needed to help him, and that it would be difficult for everyone, but especially Toby.
So he had the surgery, and then the real work began.Before we left the vet, we were all trained on how to do range-of-motion exercises with Toby.It had to be done several times a day on both legs, so he would not lose too much muscle mass.We brought him home after a week in the hospital, and scheduled our lives around him for the next 12 weeks.We all took turns sitting with him 24-7.He could not move without our help.Our daughter was too little to move him on her own (he was 100 pounds at the time of surgery), so one of us was always with her while it was her shift to care for him.He had a beach towel tied around his waist for 12 weeks.Every time he needed to stand, relieve himself, and move from one room to another, he had to be lifted by one or more of us.We crated him at night and used lawn furniture cushions to pad the sides of the crate to comfort his hips.He learned to lay quietly and not move while we ate dinner, which was a big help.We all got up an hour early in the morning, so that we could get him and ourselves ready for our school and work days.We had no visitors for several weeks because we needed to concentrate on keeping him quiet and comfortable.Sharing in his care brought us together as a family.
Toby took a tough situation and adapted to it in his own way.When he wanted his dog biscuits, he learned to bark three times.And he turned himself in a semi-circle to get pointed in the direction he wanted to go, and wait for us to help him get up.He accepted his exercises and never showed us any aggression.He seemed to know we were doing our best to help him.
Once he was able to go out for short walks, we took turns because he was still needing help and he was getting too heavy to do it alone.Sometimes kids and adults would make comments about the dog who walked like he was drunk, and our kids would stick up for him and defend him and his disability, to the point of embarrassing the people who made the remark in the first place.We had a disabled dog now and we were not going to put up with anyone making fun of him.
Toby did struggle to walk, and he would let us know when enough was enough.He learned to bark in several different tones, and each one meant something different.His funniest was when he would bark at me around 8:00 every night until I would tell him a bedtime story.We started this when he came home from the hospital.It was a way to pass the time while we were sitting with him, and he loved it.He loved to be talked to, and he tried to talk back.
His last three months were hard.He slowly lost mobility, and was once again in need of help to get up and keep his balance.We were back and forth with the vet once a month during that time, trying to find out what more to do to improve his mobility.In the end it was a tumor in the leg of his bad hip that took him from us.It had eaten away all the muscle mass that he had, and there was no chance of recovery.He died with his big head on the lap of my daughter who was now 10 years old, telling him how much we loved him, what a great dog he was, and how we did everything we could for him.She told him that God would fix him and he would be able to run in heaven with our Jake when he got there.
Toby taught our family to be compassionate, to understand disabilities, and work together to try to improve his quality of life.
(Ch. Iron Hills Warwagon x Arrabelle of Acorn Hill CD) / 1990 - 2000
Breeder: Mary Louise Owen
Submitted by Susan Krauser who owned and loved Uther
Even as a puppy Uther loved visiting schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.He was a part of the ‘petting zoo’ at our veterinarian clinic every single year, as part of their celebration of National Pet Week.He was in an enclosure with adult and baby animals of all kinds, who were petted and loved by the children who came to visit.There were ducks, rabbits, goats, sheep, kittens and puppies in the enclosure with him.
We were regular visitors at one elementary school, and Uther was “Mudge” at every visit.The teacher would read one of the Henry and Mudge books to her class, and Uther and I would participate.In the upper grades, the students would read their reports on the Old English Mastiff aloud to the rest of the class.The report was a required “to do” before Uther could come.In other schools we gave talks to the children on dog safety and the importance of good veterinary care.And, we answered all the usual questions that children ask about Mastiffs.How big is he, how much does he eat, etc.
At nursing homes, his great head would rest quietly on the beds of the patients.There, he would be patted and loved.I found it truly amazing how much a gentle dog could actually bring back to the elderly who were suffering from Alzheimer’s.If they had been a dog lover in years past, sometimes the mere sight and touch (and even the smell) of a friendly dog brought back memories.Mostly, comfort and happiness were recalled from days long gone by.Uther exuded love and gentleness to everyone who came in contact with him, and the patients eagerly awaited his weekly visits.
Thursdays were his very favorite days.Thursday was NURSING HOME day!He knew every week when that day rolled around that he would have fun.He became very familiar with the routine, and after awhile, he was trusted off lead to visit on his own with the Activities Coordinator and myself following behind.Being a wee bit single minded at times, he would occasionally ‘do his own thing’.He would trot down the hall, completely bypass at least six rooms, and make a sharp turn to the left.We were always in hot pursuit.From the hallway, we could hear Mrs. Miller laughing and talking.It was “Uther Day”, and every week, she saved him something from her lunch tray.Sometimes, it would be half a hamburger, sometimes, a piece of meatloaf, and sometimes, it was a Twinkie.He was no dummy.He knew where the best room was located.This simple act not only brought sheer joy to Mrs. Miller and Uther, but also to the Activities Coordinator, the nursing staff, some of the patients and myself.He always ‘brought the house down’ with that ploy.Laughter is always such a wonderful thing, and Mrs. Miller could not wait for his visits.By the time we entered her room, he had eaten his snack, she had wiped his mouth, and they were having a perfectly wonderful visit.Of course, we made sure to double back and visit the patients he had passed by on his Twinkie quest.He loved his special people, and they loved him.Over time, he had become best friends with many of them.
Submitted by Cherry and Terry Flaherty of Noblehaven Mastiffs
From the day he was born, I knew there was something special about Victor.He has always been such a calm, sweet soul, even as a young puppy.He is the happiest when he is in the company of people.It doesn't matter if they are children or seniors or any age in between.His love for people and his gentle nature is what led me to get him tested for therapy work.
After he passed his basic obedience class and obtained his Canine Good Citizen title, we set out for his TDI certification.Victor passed the test with flying colors and, as soon as we received his badge and paperwork in the mail, we got busy.
Victor and I began visiting seniors in nursing homes right away.He quickly made lots of friends.It is really great to see the smiles when Victor arrives.I don't know who enjoys the visits more, the residents or the staff!We also visit the residents in the Alzheimer's unit.Victor's presence seems to relax everyone he meets.
Recently, we started visiting a local elementary school to give students a help with their reading.Therapy Dogs International has a program called Tail Waggin' Tutors.Victor gives children a boost of self-confidence when they read to him.He loves to hear the children read.They sit on bean bags and read books that their teachers have recommended.Sometimes Victor sits on the bean bags too, or at least he tries.They need to make those things bigger!
The school is very proud of their students and of Victor, so much so, that they sent pictures into our local newspaper.Word got out about the program and our local news station came to the school to watch the children read to Victor and filmed a segment for the news.Apparently, people think this is a neat idea because the segment got passed along to the national news and CNN!Victor had no idea that he would be quite the celebrity.He just loves doing what he does best, spreading joy to people.I'm very proud of my boy and the fact that he makes so many people smile.He is truly one of a kind.
Owned and loved by the Tryon Family of North Carolina
Submitted by owner
Our daughter attends preschool.We brought Vortec home on August 20th and school started on August 25th, so we thought, what a better science project then for these preschoolers to watch a mastiff pup grow.Vortec goes to school the first Friday of every month as the science project. The class has a poster size board with pictures of him from each month, from birth to present, and then a large bar graph where they graph his weight each month. It has been an amazing experience for both the students and Vortec.How much love can one puppy get??The children are amazed each month as Vortec enters their classroom.The expressions on their faces are sometimes just priceless.The whole school has fallen in love with him.They can hardly wait each month just to see him.I hear parents in the parking lot on the first Friday tell their little ones that the big puppy is here today and the kids squeal trying to run in and see him.Some actually meet us at our truck to get the "first peek". Sometimes its hard to tell who is more excited to see him, the kids or the parents.Of course Vortec enjoys the attention, and what better way to socialize him, than with a classroom full of 18 four year olds?
If I could time the purchase of every future mastiff puppy I ever own, to the start of school, I would do this project a million times over!!! It has been a great experience for everyone
(Semper Fi Full Metal Jacket x Ch. Tygerhall Marilyn Monmo)
From Lori Sandlin, owner
War used to rescue little animals.. he loved them. We have raised many rabbits and birds by hand, as he would find them and bring them in.. a little wet but always unharmed.. anything small he just loved it to death..
I could tell many stories about Winston.The one that stands out the most in my mind is the one where he went with me to the hospital to visit an 8 or 9 year old boy who was seriously ill, and wanted to meet "Hercules", the mastiff from The Sandlot, his favorite movie.I went, planning to stay about 15 min.When I was ready to leave, Winston wanted to stay, and would not go.So I wound up watching the whole movie with Winston and this boy, cuddled together on the floor on a blow-up mattress, with the young man making weak comments to Winston, and telling him what a good actor he was for a dog.Eventually we departed, and I found out later that the young man passed away a few hours after we left; but everyone said how excited he had been, and how much he loved Winston.He told one of the nurses that when he got better, he was going to "get him one of those dogs”.I surely would have given him one from my next breeding!
Winston often goes with me to my job.I am a teacher in a psych setting.He is able to just lay quietly with kids and, believe it or not, at times the children will talk to him when no one else has ever been able to get them to speak.He instinictivly knows who is hurting and what to do.He is never intrusive, but will gain attention from the child with a nose bump, paw, snort or snore.He decides what to do.
Winston also visits the school for blind children.Amy and John Coglio work there as well, and are training their mastiffs for this wonderful work.The children are multiply physically challenged, and he has never stepped on one, knows exactly who to give a nose-bump-kiss to, and how to make sure each child can pet him no matter how many tubes or machines they are hooked up to.He will lie down for tummy rubs and let the kids do whatever they like.He just loves children!!!!!
Winston will be 9 years old in a few weeks, and we realize we won't have him forever.He will be a tough act to follow.When he does pass, he will be cremated and buried under a tree that we'll plant for the blind children on their school grounds.I think he needs to go to his final place where he was loved and gave so much love to so many.
These are just a few of his stories over the years.He has not been the perfect dog, and as a puppy, he was pure hell, giving us some really funny stories.He now has a grandson who is 4 months old, and is so much like his grandpap, it is amazing.We have high hopes he will follow in his footsteps.
Afternote from Louise
Rose wrote in a recent email:As you know, he has been a truly wonderful ambassador for the breed.We have been so blessed to have him in our lives.I don't think there is a creature on earth he doesn't love and want to nurture.Rose
Owners: William and Maria Ruoto, Dunraven Mastiffs
From Maria Ruoto
A neighbor of ours developed bacterial meningitis - both legs, an arm and all her fingers except one on her remaining arm had to be amputated. After a very long hospital and rehabilitation stay, she was able to return home. However, her return was bittersweet.She was not able to do the things she used to, and people "looked" at her and treated her differently.
A couple days after she returned home, I was stepping outside to take Winston for a walk...and he spotted his old friend, whom he hadn't seen in such a long time. He nearly pulled me down the stairs to get to her and give her a big kiss.He didn't see her any differently.And she knew it.
(Ch. Lionsire Run’n Bear’s Samson x Running Bear’s Tulip)
From Louise Yeiser, Winston’s owner
I have a special love for this gentle soul, partially because he was my first mastiff, but also because he was a natural teacher and guide.I used to think of Winston as a canine copy of the Dalai Lama, since he displayed the same kindness, wit, humor, and wisdom.From time to time, he would give me a certain look, inviting me to sit with him, so that he could put his head on my shoulder, and engage me in deep, slow breaths, his own brand of therapy, reminiscent of the techniques used in equine therapy.This only occurred when I was terribly emotional or upset.If I initiated the "session", he wouldn’t participate, making it clear that he was the spiritual guide, not me.
One afternoon years ago, my son Jeffrey and I had finished class with Winston at Misty Pines Training Center that has a small swimming pond on their training site.Jeffrey and I invited another friend, Robin, with her rather enthusiastic, energetic Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Rhodey, to come with us to the lake to swim and play fetch.
At the lake, Jeffrey and Rhodey were behind us somewhere, Winston was in the water fetching a tennis ball, and Robin and I were engrossed in conversation.Winston brought me the ball, I picked it up, and threw it again as hard as I could.Robin and I continued talking while Winston swam around in circles at the far end of the lake, with the fluorescent, yellow tennis ball in his mouth.
"Help!” I heard Jeffrey yell from behind me.Robin and I both whipped around to see Rhodey jumping all over him.Jeffrey was trying to protect himself with his hands.“Somebody help!I can’t get him off me!”
"Rhodey, come!” Robin yelled, as we started to run.Rhodey ignored her.Jeffrey was moving backward, trying to get away from the puppy.Thin, blood-red scratches had formed on his chest.
All of a sudden, I saw a blur of reddish-tan streak by."Uh oh,” I thought, wondering how Winston had negotiated the lake, the banks, and the hill, in about two seconds.
Of course, he got to Jeffrey first.To my amazement, there was no growl, no physical contact, no obvious correction or warning, nothing.What I observed was Winston running up behind Rhodey, catching his eye, giving a play bow and holding eye contact for a few seconds with his tail wagging, and then both dogs running off.They didn’t go into the lake right away, but instead ran a lap before diving in.Robin and I could see that Jeffrey's only injuries were his pride and the scratches on his chest; and he joined us, watching the two dogs swimming together, weaving in and out of huge tangles of weeds.
"Can you believe what Winston just did?" he asked.
Robin touched my arm.“I'm so glad everybody's alright.I thought Winston was going to kill my puppy, but he didn’t even touch him.”
"He never even stopped wagging his tail!" I said.
I’d never been in a situation like that before, and I didn’t know what Winston would do, although I knew he would find some way protect Jeffrey.As it turned out, he was looking out for both of them, creating a win-win situation.
I am still awed by my many, wonderful memories of Winston's winsome ways, not just with me, but with our other mastiffs, puppies, children, groomers, pet-sitters, trainers, and many others.For a long time, the house was filled with strangers, who were working on a major remodel of my home, and Winston used to run up to them, face sideways, and lean his greeting against their legs, before trying to engage them in a dribbling match with his favorite ball in the yard.He wore his heart on the outside, where everyone could see.I wish I could have kept him with me forever.
I first met Zeus the day he received his Service Award (explained below) at the 2002 MCOA Specialty in Portland, OR.When I first sent out emails, asking for information about this extraordinary mastiff, Julie Nelson was the first to respond.What I have collected here is a mixture of writing from Julie, owner Florence Fiddler, and copy from an old MCOA Journal.The first winner of the MCOA’s service award, another Zeus, was owned by the late Nell Wright, for whom the award is named.
From Julie Nelson, Rescue and Working Service Dog coordinator
An MCOA member named Nell Wright adopted a Mastiff from Mastiff Club of America Rescue years ago.He was a favorite at the MCOA Rescue Parades, and he was well known as the "Great Mastiff" on Animal Planet, the episode about amazing animals that had saved their owners’ lives.Zeus saved Nell's life as she was in a diabetic coma and he got help for her.Zeus passed on several years ago, and Nell followed him over Rainbow Bridge shortly thereafter.
From Nell Wright’s love of her dog, Zeus, and her experience with him―as well as the exposure she received on Animal Planet―so was born the "Wright Outstanding Service Dog" Award.This hopefully annual trophy will honor any rescued or registered English Mastiff for "outstanding service to their owner.” The term "outstanding service" includes extremely important acts of service to owner or community.I hope this will encourage the public to view the mastiff as a working therapy dog, as well as a Service Dog for those with disabilities.And I also hope that local newspaper articles will follow when the award winner is brought to their attention. Good PR for the mastiff breed is always important. Nell Wright's family received the first MCOA Wright Service Dog Award in Nell's and Zeus's honor and memory in 2001, the initial year of this award.
Florence Fiddler received an award for her Zeus the following year.Florence runs a therapeutic foster home for children with psychological disabilities.Florence's Zeus is a working Service dog in the state of WA and a dear fellow.He was placed by rescue about 3 plus years ago.Florence's Zeus saved her from a low blood sugar episode and he gives day in, day out, working as a Service Dog in the therapeutic foster home for psychologically disabled children that she runs.I hope her story inspires you about the possibilities of our great breed.Florence was asked to write down how he "works" so it could shared here and so everyone could see that not all Service Dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act guide the blind or fetch dropped objects.They have other wonderful, meaningful uses too.
From Florence Fiddler, after receiving the Mastiff Club of America’s 2002 Wright Service Dog Award
When Julie asked me to put into words all that Zeus does for this family and our community, I thought it would be easy.He is all that an English mastiff should be, size, attitude, temperament, all just right.He works with foster children who have Fetal Alcohol Effect, calming them during times of confusion.He makes the world safe for those who have extreme debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.There are days when some of the kids wouldn't be able to go outside the house if he wasn't with us.Or do their therapy sessions.
For example, one little boy who couldn't go to school out of fear.He would get kicked out of school just to come home.Zeus brought him to and from school every day for two years, staying at school when needed for support.He made it possible for a little girl to do a full homework assignment for the first time in her life, by making her feel safe.He has kept the impulsivity disorder kids from running out the front door.He has helped old people here get up out of chairs.He has helped me off the floor when I have my arthritis flare-ups.Yep, easy to write about a dog that does all that.
Zeus knows when my sugar is going down a half hour before I do.I have the opposite of diabetes, my sugar can drop dangerously low in a matter of minutes.He carries my little sugar pills around for me in a back pack and tells me when I need to eat by insistently barking at me when my blood sugar is getting too low.Zeus tells me when one of my foster children is entering a manic state and needs medication by signaling me.He knows how to talk to these kids to make them understand how important it is to hold on.Yes, he means the world to this family, but he means alot to many others also.
Zeus filled one old woman's last two years of life with love, and gave her something to be dedicated to after so many losses in her life. She brought him lunch on a regular basis. He was the only one she allowed to slobber in the house. He made her smile when the world was a frightening place.
Zeus comforts the caseworkers at the CPS office on my many trips there.They have hard jobs, filled with pain and sorrow.Their days get very long and very draining.He comforts them, gives them a reminder of how good it can be, he gives them hope and eases their emotions.
So there it is Julie, only I can't figure out how to put in words all the rest he does for me as the caregiver of these troubled kids.I can't figure out how to talk at the end of the day some days, ... when I have worked with these kids all day with the mental illnesses and how hopeless I feel that I can't cure it, how he then comes and lays by my feet and looks at me and tells it will all be OK, don't worry, let it go.And he means it, and suddenly, the day drains off me and away.And I put my hand on his head, he stares me in the eye and says he will not abandon any of us, he will be here, hard times or good.And when you look in his eyes and see the depth of his devotion to the family, and the community, and the world, you can believe that you can go on for one more day, help one more kid, one more elderly person.You can do it because Zeus will be there by your side making it all OK, making it work out.
How do I write about the miracle of a best friend, a friend that not only makes you happy, but touches your very soul with his wisdom and kindness?I don't know the words to say it.My heart says it.Zeus probably knows the right words, but he won't brag about himself that way.But he knows, and I know, and anyone who touches our lives in any way or meets him knows.He is special, he is Zeus, the one and only.He is a good old dog, and he deserves so much more than we can ever repay him.Mostly though, he just wants a good scratch, a comfortable bed, and to be near to those he loves.This much we can give.
Thanks Julie, for knowing it would work out.For the hours of training us to know this dog and in having faith in his ability to work with me and the children.I would only hope that more people can find their "Zeus" for their lives.
So, this is the best I can do.I can write about what he does physically each day as a service dog, how he makes it so we can have a life, so we can function "out here" with the rest of the world.But I can't put to words the miracle, nope, they will have to find their miracle friend and then they will know the depth of the heart and the depth of the soul that only a best friend can reach.Zeus is the life jacket in the troubled sea of life.
PostScript from Florence
The day Zeus died was the hardest day of my life.Things have not been the same since; life is very hard to face without him.There are many things I just stopped doing.He was the best.We had records in his rescue file that indicated he was 13 years old at the time of his death.
Zoey, pictured above with new lifelong friend, Savannha
Breeder:Old Town Mastiffs
Submitted by Billy Phillips, Old Town Mastiffs
Written by father and owner, George Aretino
Savannha was diagnosed with a very rare bone disease called hypophosphatashia.She was not expected to make it to her first birthday.From the time she was five months old until she was two, she was in a hospital.After two bone marrow transplants, bone chips in her tummy, and numerous transfusions....she is her with us now.
Savannha is going to be seven next December.She has accomplished a lot.At one point she had to do therapy four days a week, was on constant prescriptions, and had to learn how to do everything a normal child would do naturally.
She is one of the most gentle and loving children I have ever seen.I am not just saying that because I am her dad.I am saying it because it is true.She loves animals most of all.We have had pets such as a bird, cats, (still have one), a bunny, and fish.She has always loved dogs.After searching for the right one, my wife and I decided on a mastiff.But I was very hesitant.They are big dogs, and to me they always looked like trouble.When my wife talked me into it, we started to research them.I was surprised!I found out that they are loving, gentle creatures that need their family more than we need them.Yes, they are big, and I mean BIG.They are just a tad smaller than a horse!
When we decided to get the dog, the hardest part was to find a breeder.I did not know what I was in for.Mastiffs are expensive!Not only to buy, but also to care for.I did not really care though.Savannha wanted one.We don't have much, but Laurie (my wife) and I saved up as much as possible to get her one.We called and e-mailed about fifty different breeders.Their price ranges were from $300-$3000!!
Finally we found the right breeder.Savannha was excited.After everything she had been through, it made me so happy to see her happiness.I don't care what I have, I don't care what car I drive, and I don't care how nice I look when I go out—I just want the best for my girls.Plus, the breeder and his wife were more concerned abut picking the right dog for the family than just the sale.I will never forget that.
Savannha wanted her puppy so badly that for days, all I heard was “When can we get her, daddy?”But I personally was filled with anxiety.
Finally the day arrived, and we got the puppy.I would never have thought that a dog would become a part of the family with the speed Zoey did.
Today we don't go anywhere without her, especially since she is very attached to Savannha.I have never seen this with any of the other animals we have owned.It is like she is a guardian angel.
I am proud of getting a mastiff and would recommend getting one to any person who has a lot of love to give.It has made Savannha happy and that's all that matters.
Story submitted by Mastiff Owner and Foster Mom, Terri Latva:
My Grandson, Stone, was born with Trachea Malaysia (basically no airway) and was hospitalized for many months following his birth, but after he became stronger and started doing better, he, his mother and his other 2 siblings moved in with us.
I owned four wonderful English Mastiffs, at the time, Major, Stella, Sadie and Zoie.Zoie was a rescue who was as sweet as she could be.She’d been raised in a wire kennel and was severely underweight when I got her.After two months of care, she became a beautiful, well-adjusted girl who loved us all very deeply.You could tell she was very grateful.
One night, at about 1 am, long after we all had gone to bed, Zoie got up, went down the hall and tried to wedge her nose under my grandson’s doorway.I pulled her off and put her back in my room 2-3 times, only to have her trot back to his door, now scratching at it, as if to dig her way in.I was angry with her because I didn’t want her to wake the baby.I spoke to her harshly, so she reluctantly laid down outside Stone’s door.This got me thinking that perhaps one of our cats had become trapped behind the door, so I moved her out of the way and opened the door.When I looked in, I saw that my grandson was having a seizure and was gasping for air!He was medi-lifted to Children’s hospital with Croup, and eventually recovered.Not until after we all had time to calm down did we realize we would have lost our baby had it not been for Zoie’s insistence that I open that door…Now we are as grateful to her as she was to us.She finally was adopted and has a FOREVER home.
I wanted to share this with you so that you may possibly share with others.