Winston’s Bonnie Fluffy CD, CGC, TDI
December 8, 1997 – June 06, 2005
Owned and loved by Tina and Alan Keith
Note from Louise
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.