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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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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

 

Dear Daddy:

We did pee an poo in da frunt an bak yahdz.  We did play berry hard an drank fresh bigdog wadder.  We did play summore an den Misser John came but he tuk a looooong tyme fore he kleent da poooull bekuz he needed lossa puppy bref an picherz furst.  We bited his eerbuds but he juss lafft.

Miss Emily comed ober wif Annabelly an her fren in a beeg strollur.  Miss Emily theenks we are soooooo soff!  We did pee summore an pood for her.

Den Misser John got dun wiff da pooul but he wunt leaf cuz he needed more puppy breff an more picherz…for a loooong tyme.

Mommy finks we played so hard dat we shud sleep but we ar in ower hows now an we are still playeen.

We wacht Nanny Nala an Beegg Bro Micah play, too.  It was mazeen!  Nanny Nala wuz bahkeen an Beeg Micah was jumpeen an dey wuz runneen an ebertheen!  We got a lil bit askaret.  Dey wuz bahkeen an groeleen an runneen in surklez, Daddy!  Nanny Nala wuz trine to play wif us, too but her feetz are reel beeg, an we sed uh-uh-no-way.

Now dey are resteen an Mommy is pikkeen up alla ower poo.  Dat is FUN!  We mayd LOTS!

We miss yoo, Daddy.  We are goeen to tayk a nap now.

Luv,

Pebbles an Murphy

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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Baggins

Mister Baggins

 In May of 2002, I was lifting weights in our side yard when I felt that someone was staring at me.  I sat up on the weight bench and looked around.  Nothing.  No one.  The third time I paused, I noticed two tiny heads with bright eyes peering out at me from between two fireplace logs at the top of our woodpile.  One was black with piercing green eyes and one was white with markings of a Siamese.  Having lost our 17 year-old Siamese, Ness the previous fall, I could hardly wait to tell my husband.

“Rick!  We have two tiny kittens outside!”

“We are NOT having another cat in this house!” <pause> “Where outside?”

“They were in the woodpile!  They must be from that feral black stray.  Come see!”

We scouted the back yard and found no kittens.  Mama kitty must have moved them.  Later, cleaning the windows in the spare room at the front of our house, I spotted the kittens swatting at a thin spray of water from our irrigation valve and pouncing on evil blades of grass.  I called Rick to the window to see them, and he watched much longer than he meant to.

“They are cute, aren’t they?” he said.  “Look at that little guy killing the grass!  Grrrrrr!  Haha!  Well, we’re NOT feeding them.  Got that?  Not!”   (Yup.  Got it, Sir.)

A few nights later I was getting ready for bed and Rick had disappeared.  I looked all over the house and in the back yard with our Doberman, Houston and our Bouvier des Flandres, Tanker.  No Ricky.  I finally checked the front porch, quietly opening the door, as I had a hunch that proved to be correct.  There sat Rick on the bench out front, feeding two tiny, fluffy little souls…albacore tuna…from a crystal dish.  He caught me peeking at him and simply said, “Shut up.  They were hungry and they’re still not coming in the house.”  I sat down next to him watching “Mr. Tough Guy” now hand-feeding the tiny guys bits of precious albacore from his fingers.  Rick then informed me that the black one was to be referred to as Mister Baggins and the white one was Frodo and our front garden was their Shire.  I know when to keep my mouth shut.

Tragically, we lost little Frodo a few months later when he ventured out of the shire and was hit by a dragon in the road.  I thank God I wasn’t home to see it and thank my neighbor for lovingly taking care of his tiny little body.

Baggins learned from the tragedy and now 10 years later, sticks pretty close to the shire.

Oh, yes…he’s still here despite the decree from our faithful leader.  You see, Baggins grew, the seasons changed and it started getting pretty chilly.  One evening as we relaxing in front of the tv with Houston and Tank sprawled and snoring across the floor, we heard the doggy door flap shut.  We looked at each other, looked at the dogs, shook our heads and went back to watching our program.  Out of the corner of our eyes, we caught a black shadow.  Baggins calmly strolled through the living room, hopped over the 117-pound Bouvier, skirted around one neurotic Doberman and proceeded down the hall to our bedroom.  He glanced over his shoulder once as if to say, “Minions, I have arrived.  I am taking over.  Carry on.”   Ya gotta love cats.  They live their lives with attitude.

 A year later, he was pushing the Bouvier aside to taste what the peasants were eating, camped out on Rick’s lap, tap-danced on his keyboard and generally owned us all. 

Dinner with Tank

One evening, a few years into his takeover, Houston, our Doberman was sleeping peacefully in an overstuffed chair that was angled in the corner of the living room opposite the sofa.  As Rick and I relaxed after a long day at the office, we watched Baggins walk into the room, assess the situation and in full kitty-stealth mode, slip under the overstuffed chair.  Now, Houston was edgy at best, likened to a neurotic cobra on Mountain Dew.  One does not poke the cobra whence it sleeps.  Evidently Baggins felt he had the genetics of a mongoose in his kitty-veins, because as we watched our beautiful cobra coiled peacefully asleep, over the back of the chair appeared “ninja-kitty” from the armpits up.  Ever-so-quietly he reached one black paw forward as far as he could…and thumped the Doberman hard on the top of her head, disappearing like a puff of smoke.  Houston leapt to her feet in the big chair, ready to strike, trembling with eyes darting left and right.  Rick and I sat frozen, too astonished to move!  Sensing no immediate danger, Houston once again settled into the soft cushion of the chair and had no more than closed her eyes when Baggins came over the rounded arm of the chair, thumped the Dobie’s skull hard and disappeared under the chair again!  Houston again jumped to her feet in full, fierce attack form…to nothing but air.  After his third attack on the fearsome guard dog, Baggins evidently bored of the sport and marched off to conquer yet another world.

 Houston and Tank went over the Rainbow Bridge and we are now on our third and fourth English Mastiff.  Baggins remains, has brought us three more strays and is neither intimidated nor amused by over 300 pounds of canines. 

 If you would like to meet Mister Baggins, he can be located at the kitchen door at 3:30 pm each day awaiting his dinner (warmed 11 seconds in the microwave), or at 8:00 pm tapping his Rolex and stepping under the noses of two Mastiffs, overseeing the preparation of his evening snack.  If you happen to work late, you can still see him retiring for the night with his attendant, Mr. Tough guy, who will be tucking him into his fluffy bed with two soft blankets…on the hood of his Range Rover. 

Cats actually do rule the world. 

© Copyright Mary Watson 2012

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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