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Chow Time!

Feeding the dogs is always such an adventure when you have four English Mastiffs. I yell, “Dishes!” And they follow me as I pick up their feed bowls. Two giant-sized for growing girls, a medium for His Royal Highness, Micah and a smaller one for dainty Nala…dainty being 160 pounds.

I line up the bowls and pour in kibble, canned rabbit, warm water, all in proportionate measures to the individual’s needs, and stir as they tap-dance behind me.

Feeding order is: Micah, Pebbles and Murphy with Nala bringing up the rear, swaying her head back and forth, moaning and dancing. (SO cute!)

Well, the other day I wasn’t focusing and grabbed the puppies’ bowls first and started down the hall. “BOWWOWF!!! The sound would have stopped a herd of stampeding bison!

Quickly, I retraced my steps, set the girls’ dishes on the counter and slipped Micah’s bowl into his food stand as he bored holes through me with an indignant stare that said, “One more slip like that and you’re out of a job, wench!”

I actually apologized to my dog. The shame. The guilt…unbearable.

Fed the other three and went slinking outside to sit with the cat, Mister Baggins whom I swear was clearing his throat and tapping his Rolex.

Alright!!! Here’s your flaked, wild-caught albacore! Just don’t LOOK at me like that!

Such is life at Casa de Muddy Pawz…

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Micah Earned His Wings

Micah Earned His Wings

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They leave such a huge hole in your chest.  Our precious Micah, healer of hearts, champion of children, rock star, Daddy’s boy, Mommy’s pride and joy left us 4 weeks ago.  It was such a shock when we discovered he had advanced lymphoma.  We knew we couldn’t let him suffer…not one day.  No.  Not this dog.

Dog.  He seemed so much more than that!  We watched him stroll into the protective custody group home with so much love emanating from him that the children could NOT be afraid.  Just the opposite!  He made them feel safe, loved unconditionally and ready to lend an ear for them to whisper their deepest fears, anger, shame and heartbreak.  With Micah, they learned to trust again.  They knew what unconditional love felt like.  If the children were too traumatized to speak to humans, they knew they would be safe talking to Micah.  “Safe” is huge to these children, many of whom have never known it.  Micah wouldn’t judge.  He accepted them despite their traumatic lives.  He simply loved.

When Micah looked at you with almost human eyes…maybe beyond human, you knew he understood exactly what you wanted.  The first time he appeared on stage before 2,000 people, he stood regally with confidence, exemplifying the finest traits of an English Mastiff.  How many children were healed and helped?  How many public appearances?  How many hearts were touched by this majestic, gentle soul?  I can safely say “thousands”.  He was so much more than “a dog”.

We will miss even the difficult, mastiff-stubborn parts of Micah.  “Micah, move your head, buddy!  Mommy’s legs are going numb.”  “Micah, are you going to make me LIFT you into the car??”  “I HEAR you, Mic’!  I’m coming!  I know you can’t open the door.”  “Micah, MOVE…you’re not a speedbump.”  “Micah, PLEASE get up.”  “Out of the car, Micah.  I know you don’t want a bath, but if I have to push you off the seat, dammit, you’re going to the groomer!”

And the good stuff…napping with his daddy.  Strutting before audiences.  Running to the door when he saw Mommy pick up his vest to see the kids.  Climbing into the driver’s seat of the car.  Laying perfectly still as a toddler used his stripes as a racetrack for his toy cars.  Kissing newborns delicately on the forehead.  Watching football with Dad.  Dancing when we told him he was going to see Miss Pam, the founder and CEO of Gabriel’s Angels.  Posing for his photo shoot with A Dog’s Life Photography.  Playing with his kitty and our other Mastiffs.  Feeling his warm breath on our necks when he slept with us.  “Puppy-barking” in his sleep.  Protecting the children with a deep-chested warning bark when an intruder poked his head in the doorway.  Playing with the two puppies when they arrived.  Going to classes at Dogological.  Passing his Therapy Dog evaluation and renewals with flying colors.  His Louisville Slugger tail wagging over his back when he was excited, especially if you said, “Micah!  Want to go see the kids?”.  Oh, so much GOOD!  Millions of sweet memories of this legendary dog.

So Micah found his purpose, fulfilled it and he earned his wings…a new loving angel in heaven.  Fly high, sweet boy.  We will miss you every day until we meet again over the Rainbow Bridge.  We know you’ll be there to meet us and we’ll hold you in our arms forever.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Micah’s on Deck!

Micah’s on Deck!

“Micah! Do you want to go see the KIDS?”IMG_0509

Ears perk up, tail curls over his back and he starts his happy dance and waits by the door to the garage.  I load our “go bag” full of games, books, slobber towels, Dasani water (he’s THAT spoiled…), carrots, brushes and cookies for the kids.

Bag in trunk, Micah leaps in the back seat. Is this the same dog I had to physically lift out of the car at the groomer by his buttcheeks??

Arriving at the protective custody group home I pop on his Gentle Leader, leash and purple vest.  Mindy greets Micah warmly. “Micah! My sweetie! I was thinking about you ALL day!”

Ah! A newborn beautiful baby has arrived from one of our kids! Less than one day old! Micah sniffs along the side of the bassinet, but it’s set too high for him to kiss baby toes, his favorite flavor.

Another new resident is wide-eyed at the big striped giant and cannot WAIT to get her hands on him! Several kids slip off the sofas and onto the floor, brushing, cuddling and LOVING Micah.  The new girl keeps looking at me as if to say, “Is he REAL?  Can I actually touch him??”  She is in awe and I encourage her to cuddle the giant teddy bear.  Another teen who’s been there over two years shows her how to pour his Dasani and the new girl is laughing so hard; she can barely hold the bottle.  “Don’t pour it too slow or he’ll swallow air!”  Mindy can tell the newer kids all about bloat, the purpose of a mastiff, lipomas, where they originated, how they protect people and all the names, ages and weights of our other mastiffs.   Not her first rodeo!

Laying down in the center of the room with his head raised proudly and front legs crossed, he’s telling us that he SO deserves being the center of attention!

“Miss Mary, Look at Micah! He looks like a king! He’s so noble!  King Micah!”  Oh, yes…Micah knows who he is and he’s exceptional at his job.

We pass out carrots and Micah gets a belly full, spotting which fist is holding the carrot with each child.  We play a round of Dog Bingo while others peruse the books I brought. One of the kids yells, “WOOF!” She won Dog Bingo!  She’s beaming like the sun!  Something GOOD just happened in her life!

Right now, they’re just kids playing a game and loving a dog.  Just kids…not abuse victims, abandoned, rape or incest victims, not part of an evil child trafficking ring,  No one in this room will hurt them.  In this moment, they’re not afraid, defensive, lashing out or angry.  Through this gentle giant, they can just be who they may one day become with a little (or a lot) of help. I’m grateful to be a part of the healing with my giants.

A little Q&A period and our time is up. The kids are so relaxed and happy as we pass by the staff’s desk where they’re checking in yet another new broken child. We’ll see you next time, darlin’.

All the kids follow us to the door, some begging me to leave Micah for the night.  Another asks if I can bring Micah on her next visit with her therapist.  A third has a court appointment and would like Micah there to get her through.  I remind them that I’m here for pet therapy, and any other activities have to be approved by their caseworkers and the state.  As usual, I tell them that Micah’s my dog and sleeps with me, so he can’t spend the night. They’ve had enough disappointment in life, but we have to draw boundaries, or they’d climb in my back pocket.

As we hear all the security locks click into place on the door, I remove Micah’s vest and leash, watch him clamber into the back seat and drop with a “harumph”.  He immediately falls asleep.

Rack up one more successful visit with a snoring giant in the back seat for the long drive home.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Downtown Murphy Brown

A day in the life of Downtown Murphy Brown.

img_6160Up at 5:00, she stumbled down the hall for her morning kisses, still toasty warm from sleeping with her sister, Pebbles and her kitty, ShortBus.

Mom calls out, “Dishes!” Four giant heads pop up and one little fluffy orange one. Breakfast comes early on the day of a Gabriel’s Angels visit, but there are always four baby carrots for dessert. Murph’ waits by the door of her room to be served.

Fed, watered and potted, we make it to the groomer for a 7 am appointment, and Tracy, our groomer calls about 2 hours later and tells us that although Murphy put herself in the tub for her bath, sat for her ear cleaning, the trimming of her britches and mani-pedi (or is it pedi-pedi?), she was NOT allowing the dryer anywhere near her behind and was really stressing over it!

I shot down to the salon and as soon as I got there, Murphy settled and let Tracy finish her up. Evidently she even tried tethering Murph’ to the grooming table, but that’s just carting practice for a mastiff. She can drag the huge apparatus all over the room, and did.

Personally, I think it was the snorting, yapping pug stressing her out.

Home again and time to roll, I pulled out her purple “Go Bag”, topped it off with a bag of baby carrots, two sanitized slobber towels, brushes, trading cards, activities and books on dogs, one purple Gabriel’s Angels vest (size XXXL) and her fancy collar. Murphy hopped in the back of the car, ready to rock a few sad kids’ worlds.

We arrived at the protective custody group home and the teens greeted her with squeals and hugs. Forgetting to read the name that is embroidered on her vest, they said, “Micah’s here!” “No, it’s Pebbles!” “Oh, look at how tall she is…and those big sad eyes!  It’s Downtown Murphy Brown!”

Jess was laying in a big chair, hiding her head, and Murphy targeted her immediately, snuffling through her curls and gently kissing her nose. Jess was on the floor giggling within a minute, arms around Murphy.

“Miss Mary, can I please have whisper time with Murphy? I’ve been really stressed all day.” Permission granted, the other teens backed away and Jess stretched out next to Murphy, tears welling in her beautiful brown eyes, lifted Murphy’s soft ear and whispered what was hurting her so badly. Murphy listened quietly and then pulled her head back, looked Jess dead in the eye and licked every tear from her cheeks until she was rolling on the floor laughing SO hard!

You could almost see Murphy dusting off her paws and saying, “Next!”

Kate asked, “Miss Mary, do you have carrots and could I give her one?” Out comes a quart bag of organic baby carrots, and Kate, who was once frightened of my giants, to the point of perching on the back of the sofa, sat in front of Murphy, gave her the “sit” command (and remembered to say please, as I always do) and put her entire hand in Murphy’s mouth with her “treat”.  I reminded her that 2 months ago she never would have dared that! “I’m not afraid anymore, Miss Mary! I’m safe with Murphy. She would never hurt me! She LOVES me!” (Inside, I’m beaming. Outside I’m agreeing and complimenting her.). “Can I have a slobber towel, please?”  She extended a very slimy hand to me with a giant smile.  I suggested she might want to quickly go “wash her paws” instead this time.

A round of treats, carrots, stories, quizzes and questions and after petting and massaging soft striped fur with their loving hands, Ariel stepped up and said, “Miss Mary, this is my last day here because I turned 18. Can I have Murphy for a little while? I’m really gonna miss her…and Micah and Pebbles, too!” Ariel lay next to Murphy, taking multiple selfies of her face next to Murphy’s to keep. With her head in Murphy’s soft fur, she gently scratched my giant’s chest. Murph’ went over on her back, and the next thing I heard was Ariel’s whisper, “Miss Mary, she’s SNORING! I made her go to sleep! I think she feels safe, too.”

Good luck in the world, sweet Ariel. May you always feel as safe as you do next to my loving Mastiffs.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz

 

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Chuckwagon

Feeding the dogs is always such an adventure when you have four English Mastiffs. I yell, “Dishes!” And they follow me as I pick up their feed bowls. Two giant-sized for growing girls, a medium for His Royal Highness, Micah and a smaller one for dainty Nala…dainty being 160 pounds.

I line up the bowls and pour in kibble, canned rabbit, warm water, all in proportionate measures to the individual’s needs, and stir as they tap-dance behind me.

Feeding order is: Micah, Pebbles and Murphy with Nala bringing up the rear, swaying her head back and forth, moaning and dancing. (SO cute!)

Dishes

Dishes

Well, the other day I wasn’t focusing and grabbed the puppies’ bowls first and started down the hall. “BOWWOWF!!!

The sound would have stopped a herd of stampeding bison, and it certainly stopped me!

Quickly, I retraced my steps, set the girls’ dishes on the counter and slipped Micah’s bowl into his food stand as he bored holes through me with an indignant stare that said, “One more slip like that and you’re out of a job, wench!”

I actually apologized to my dog. The shame. The guilt…unbearable.

Fed the other three and went slinking outside to sit with the cat, Mister Baggins whom I swear was clearing his throat and tapping his Rolex.

Alright!!! Here’s your flaked, wild-caught albacore! Just don’t LOOK at me like that!  Yeah…he gets fed before the dogs.  Cats, ya know?

Such is life at Casa de Muddy Pawz…

Copyright 2016

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Traveling with Giants

Traveling with Giants

Rather eventful drive home from the groomer with Murph’ and Micah in my new VW Sassbox. Loaded both dogs in the back seat, and yes, they fit just fine. Except Murphy was being a seat hog and his Highness was NOT amused. Micah saw a vacant passenger seat in front, stepped between the seats onto it and sat down. (I got SHOTGUN!!!).  image.jpeg

Mind you, I’m DRIVING while this is happening. I tried to get the seatbelt around him at a stoplight, but he’s so huge that I couldn’t reach it around his giant chest. This was my, “Oh, screw it!” moment. So I just drove…verrry slowly… from downtown Scottsdale to just south of LGO with a 5 year old very, VERY large male mastiff in the passenger seat and the diva stretched out in the rear. We may have caused a few accidents, and I definitely have slobber in my hair and over the right lens of my sunglasses. Finally, his royal majesty put his front feet on the floor, butt in the seat and chin on the dashboard for the remainder of the drive home. Nice view. We made it.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all the Saints and minions…thank you.

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Murphy’s Miracle

I’m still trying to digest what happened with Murphy while visiting theabused and neglected 

children this week for Gabriel’s Angels

. I’m still looking at her with amazement.    
I propped myself on my elbow next to her on the floor and had three teens petting her and learning about her; the rest of the children busy with craft projects, babies or simply watching from the comfort of the sofa and chair, waiting their turn. A staff member stepped outside the door to speak with a driver who dropped off one of the children. Two others popped in and out of the room, monitoring our visit and a Halloween craft project that Karen set up. Pretty quiet, normal evening with a surprising lack of drama.

Suddenly Murphy whimpered loudly twice (Murphy never makes a sound…ever!), leapt to her feet and dashed behind my back where a toddler stood shaking and choking on water from his bottle. No one could have seen the child, as I was blocking the view, and he made no sound at all. Even I didn’t realize he was standing behind me. Murphy nudged him in the tummy and knocked the bottle out of his hand with her nose. I followed with a thud between his shoulder blades and water flew from his trachea and he took a huge, deep breath, coughing up the rest of the water. Murphy sniffed the evil water on the carpet, nudged the little one again, and his mother flew by his side and took charge.  

The entire incident didn’t last more than a few seconds, but Karen and the older children witnessed it entirely. The kids ran to the staff shouting, “Murphy just caught the baby choking!”

It was over as quickly as it started.  

Murphy comforted three other children who were in pretty severe emotional distress that night and snuggled and cuddled with everyone including staff. She enjoyed treats and brushing, hugs and pets from the kids and getting a drink from one who’s normally too shy to participate. With tears damp in her soft coat, we packed up our brushes, treats and paraphernalia and let the kids all say good night to my gentle giant.

Since we left, I’ve asked myself so many questions! How did she know? Did she sense the baby’s distress even though she couldn’t see him? Is that whimper her distress signal? Thank God the little toddler’s okay. Thank God for my mastiffs. They’re truly angels with paws.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in Uncategorized