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.