We knew that Bentley was going to be the size of a Prius at full growth, so at 4 months of age, we enrolled our English Mastiff puppy at Team Canine, Inc. (The Obi-Wan’s of dog training…) for the first of many training classes, “Puppy Socialization”. By the time he was a year old, he was entered into their Canine Good Citizen class, and weighed about 200 pounds.
I arrived at 6:00 on the nose, and about ten other dog-moms and dog-dads were already there with their fur-babies. They were seated at the south and west perimeters of the room, and when they saw Bentley come in, they grabbed their fur-children to their chests, eyes bulging, as if a 300 pound silverback gorilla had entered the room. Our trainers, Brad and Jade Jaffe had known Bentley from puppydom and were well aware of his gentle temperment. Gathering the obvious discomfort of our new classmates, I seated myself on the north wall with Bentley’s Louisville slugger tail wagging…all alone with our spit towel, wondering if we would be forced to leave due to size, spit or the all-powerful Mastiff gas.
Brad stepped to the center of the classroom like a maesto at orchestra and began his welcome speech. About two minutes into his speech, he picked up the fact that not one eye was directed toward him, but focused on “King Kong o’ the North”. He stopped in mid-sentence. He glanced around the room, looked at Bentley and said, “Oooookaaaay….I get it!! Mary, let me have Bent’.” I handed the leash to Brad, delighting Bentley to the point that a veritable river was pouring out of his jowls. (He gets pretty drooley when excited, and he LOVES his Uncle Obi.) Brad asked Bent’ to sit and, SMACK, one large Mastiff’s behind hit the floor for Obi-Wan in a nanosecond.
Brad proceeded with, “Class, this is Bentley. Bentley is an English Mastiff, the largest breed on the planet per body mass. Bentley weighs around 200 pounds now, and has been with us since he was the size of a labrador, and yes, he’s still growing. He appears in our training dvd, “Dogological”, and shakes paws in three languages. I’m sure some of you may have been a little intimidated by Bentley’s size and I can see that you’re concerned about the well-being of your own dogs. I guarantee you, Bentley will neither bite nor swallow you nor ANY of your dogs this evening. He’s already had two Shih Tzus for breakfast.” The class burst into laughter (even the owners of a Shih Tzu), the tension in the air was torn asunder, and by the end of class, Bentley had been hugged by every owner and was sniffed and kissed by every one of his classmates.
God bless Obi-Wan.
© Copyright 2011 Mary Watson