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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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How To Disable a Biped

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is my husband, Rick’s close relationship with our mastiffs.  When “Daddy Comes Home”, there is generally severe tail-whacking of the cupboards and walls before he even gets in the door.  Boadicca wagged her tail so hard that she split it open, spraying the walls, door, appliances and artwork with Puppy-B-Positive and had to have a cast put on her tail for weeks.   “Daddy Come Home” is some serious happy-dog business.

As Rick enters the door, something closely resembling a buffalo stampede occurs as he attempts to drop his laptop, briefcase and keys in the midst of 360 pounds of furry love.  Then it’s time to head directly down the hall in a tail-wagging caravan behind Daddy to bail onto the bed with him and get some serious cuddles and have a sing-along.

One particular afternoon, events were unfolding as usual.  Rick dropped his gear, headed to the bedroom, laid back against the pillows and the impossible happened…Boadie (140 pound female) took Bentley’s (220 pound male) spot next to Daddy before he could get on the bed, and HE is Daddy’s FIRST BORN MASTIFF PUPPY-CHILD!   NO!  Bentley wrinkled every wrinkle in his forehead, whined and stomped his feet standing next to the bed, jealous and agrieved.  Attempting to get Daddy’s attention away from Mister Whiney-Pee-Pants, Boadie reached out to tap Daddy on the shoulder.  Rick turned his head at that moment and her newly trimmed claws hit the bridge of his nose instead and laid it right open.  I normally stand at the bedroom door to witness the spectacle, and Rick looked at me and said, “Am I bleeding??”  “Uhhhh…yes, Honey…she got your nose.”  Rick hopped up and went to his bathroom to staunch the blood flow with a wash cloth.  Bentley followed, worrying over Daddy.  Rick came back and said, “Okay, let’s try this again…” and lay back on the bed.  Well, Boadie STILL had Bentley’s spot!  Rick said, “C’mon, Bent!  There’s plenty of room!  Get up here!”  Rather than going around to the empty side of the bed, Bent’ immediately leapt in the air and came down on Rick’s chest.  “Oooof!!!  Get him off!!!  Mary, get him OFF!!! I can’t breathe!!!”  I gave Bent’ the “off” command and he promptly jumped down off the bed, resuming his tap dance as Ricky caught his breath.  “Okay, Bentley…come on.  Come see Daddy…”  Boadie at this point had enough of taking the back seat with Daddy’s affections and reached out a second time to thump him on the shoulder.  Again, Rick turned, wash cloth still pressed to his nose…and she caught him with a nice three-stripe chevron across his entire left cheek from jaw to eyebrow.  More blood…another wash cloth, and Bentley still throwing a tantrum next to the bed, stomping his huge paws and whining.   “For cryin’ out loud, Daddy!  We haven’t even done our singing yet, and SHE has MY SPOT!”  Rick let out a huge sigh as I contemplated whether or not sutures were required.  “OKAY, Bentley!  Get UP here!” Rick commanded.  (Bentley minds so well…)  Bentley leaped into the air a second time and came down with an elbow to Rick’s…well…huevos…with every one of his 220 pounds balanced on that point.  Rick screamed, curling into a fetal position, Bentley panting, drooling and smiling atop his midsection.  Again Rick begged (in a rather high voice), “Get him OFF!  I can’t BREATHE!!!”   “Bentley, off,” I said.  (Lordy, but he’s a good dog!)  Bentley hopped back to the carpet.

Rick said, “Okay…I think we had better take this outside,” and limped down the hall holding himself with one hand and staunching the blood flow on his face with the other.  (You know, facial cuts really bleed like crazy!)  He hobbled over to the pool fence where he could toss the ball very far away from himself.  He held the ball in the air as both dogs circled him awaiting the Hail-Mary-Daddy-Toss.  Who would get it first?  Bentley had the size, but Boadie had the speed.  Bentley hurled himself into the air to snag the ball out of Daddy’s hand as Boadie rushed him from behind, catching him at full speed in the back of his legs.  As I watched from the picture window in our living room, holding a frosty beverage for my poor, battered husband, I saw his legs fly up in the air, laying him out horizontally, suspended in time and space for a moment, three feet off the ground.  I held my breath as he came down HARD on his back…and he didn’t move.  (I’m sure you’ve seen this move on Monday Night Football… I think it’s called a quarterback sack.)   I rushed to the back yard, fearing a concussion.  There lay Ricky, pale, bleeding, eyes closed.  As I approached, he opened his eyes and in a croaking whisper, said, “I can’t breathe.  Gimme a minute…”  Thank God.  Just knocked the wind out of him.  As I pulled him to a sitting position, he turned one shoulder toward me and asked, “Is there anything on my shirt??”  It was the only time in the last 20 minutes that he got lucky.  He had landed about a millimeter from a mastiff-sized pile of poo.

I e-mailed Rick’s boss the next morning, as he awoke battered, scored, limping and moving very slowly.  He was late for work for possibly the first time in his career.  I explained to his boss, Tom in an e-mail what had happened, and asked that he be kind to Ricky this day.  He was incredibly kind.  He didn’t forward my e-mail outside our solar system.

I may get Rick a flak vest and helmet for Christmas.  What do you think?

© 2011 Mary Watson

 

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A Day In The Life At Casa De Muddy Pawz

Nala and Bentley, our English Mastiffs

Nala and Bentley

The only way the guy would fix our fireplace was if I kept Bentley away from him, as he was extremely fearful of Bentley’s size alone. So I called our groomer first thing this morning and Tracey, the owner of Paws Salon took them right in.  I called the mason, giving him the “coast is clear” news and he said, “You did that for ME???  Oh THANK YOU!”  He came right over and repaired the fireplace and charged me $50 less because he knew I took the dogs to the groomer for his comfort level as much as the mud between their toes.

Bentley and Nala both got so excited when I pulled up in front of Paws Salon.  They were literally dancing in the back seat and making the car bounce up and down.  They pushed and shoved each other to get out of the car.  “ME first!”  “No, ME first!”  As soon as I got inside, the resident dogs were running all over the place and went nuts when they saw my buffalo herd.  Bent’ and Nala ignored them completely.  (“Awww, shut up, shrimps!”)  When Tracey opened the gate to the grooming area, Bentley’s ears and head went up, his tail curled right up over his back and I swear, I heard him yell, “BIRDS!!!”  Yup, he remembered and made a beeline for the birdcage.  This time, we grabbed both leashes amidst a flurry of panicked flapping wings and flying feathers and got the cage the hell out of there, FAST!  Onward!  Dog butts to sniff!  Kitties to sniff…and all these SMELLS!  Their noses were going at hyperspeed.  We managed to get them out to the fenced play yard and unleash them, and they were doing the grand military perimeter scouting when I left.  Not bad!  Not bad at all!

As I pulled in my driveway the mason, Jim was right behind me.  He loves our little old cowboy house, and he did a great and conscientious job in about 2 hours.  We have a fireplace again!  Woohoo!

I called Tracey to let her know that she didn’t have to keep the beasts for the day after all, and she said they would both be done and sparkling in 30 minutes.  PERFECT!

Knock on the door and here was Ramon who trimmed our palms and our oleanders a few years ago.  I’ve been dying to have our palms trimmed and he offered a fair price, so I not only let him do the palms, but also trim the bottom branches off the jacaranda tree, as cars were hitting them.  Our regular yard crew had been hedging on trimming the branches on the big mulberry by the pool, and it was beginning to drop leaves into the pool the size of salad plates.  They offered to do it yesterday but wanted to leave all the trimmings in the alley or in our yard.  I said, “No way…you gotta haul it out of here.  It’s the law,” and he said he’d do it “Ness veek, Meesus Vatsohn.  I veel breenk my traylore ness veek”.  (Yeah…right…I get “Ness veek” a lot from these guys.)

Since I knew Ramon, I felt okay leaving him here working while I picked up the fur-babies.  Nala heard me pull up and was going “boing-boing-boing” in the bay window at Paws.  “MOMMY’S HERE!”   Tracey let both dogs thru the gate into the lobby (off leash), and we quickly rolled the birdcage right past them and back to safety.  They have on flag print scarves and patriotic bows and they look and smell wonderful.  Amazing the way washing off a little irrigation mud can transform your dogs from stinking barbarians back into the civilized breed that they are!  As I was standing at the tall reception desk writing Tracey a check, Nala hopped up, and stood next to me to watch.  Do you know that when she stands all the way up, she’s the same height as me?  We had to laugh because as I was writing the check, Nala was standing there looking Tracey right in the eye.  The new groomer (a big fella) came out and said, “When I took this job, I didn’t know we groomed HORSES!  I think Tracey had to call the City of Phoenix for a cherry-picker to get them in the tub!”  And then came the words I love to hear, “Mrs. Watson, you have some BEAUTIFUL animals there!”  Tracey said they were very well-behaved with the other dogs and people.  (Exhale.)  Since she has no kennels big enough to keep them in, they have the run of the house, and that makes them feel more at home.  Except for the bird issue with Bentley, they seem to think it’s play day at the spa.

After leaving Paws, we went to the drive-thru at the bank to get cash for Ramon and I thought the male teller was going to soil himself or pass out.  I had the sunroof open on the Rover, so Bentley could really stretch out.  “OH MY GOD!  Those are the biggest dogs I’ve ever SEEN!” exclaimed the teller.  Now, I wanted this to be a “quick and dirty” stop, but the teller left the window with my check and came back with what appeared to be the entire staff of the bank.  The dogs knew they were on display, so they stuck their heads out of the window and sunroof to give everyone a good look.  When the guy’s voice came over the speaker, Bentley let out a giant “BAWOOF” in grand Mastiff fashion, and the window cleared immediately as if my dog was going to jump out through the sunroof and go through their bullet-proof glass.  The tube magically delivered my cash with a whoosh, which set Nala off on a spitting-barking-growling tizzy.  I took my money and drove away with Mastiff drool in my hair, running down the left lens of my sunglasses, on the windows and slowly running off my shoulder.  We Mastiff-Moms accessorize in spit.

I was starving, so I thought I would do a quick trip thru McDonalds for a baby burger and a small Coke, and …. Ladies and Gentlemen…here we go again.  Nala barked at the speaker as they repeated my order.  I just said, “Thank you, and please don’t pet the dogs.”  I pulled up to pay and the girl’s eyes got huge and instead of taking my money, she flat disappeared.  The manager came back to the window, said the obligatory, “Oh-my-God!” and took my money.  Evidently his employee was afraid of putting her hand out to take my money.  Once again…yeah…my dog’s gonna jump through the sunroof into your drive-thru window and eat you alive.  Uh-huh…right.  (Wimp.)  Then at the pick-up window, a repeat of the bank action.  I swear, we shut down operations at McDonalds for 5 minutes of, “Oh-my-Gods, what kind of dog is that, how much do they weigh, do they eat a lot, and of course…bet ya hate cleaning up after them, HUH???”  There were no less than 10 people crowded into the little pick-up window area.  I said, “English Mastiffs, about 220 and 140, four cups a day, yes, they drool, I’ve seen bigger piles out of a Labrador, no, I don’t have a saddle, and no you can’t pet them.”  I may have all that painted on the side of my car for the next little road trip.

We came home, the dogs went in the back yard, the yard crew ran up the mulberry tree like squirrel monkeys, yelling, “Dios!”  and I said, “Told ya to shut the pool gate…”  I herded the dogs back in the house and they’re both sleeping now. Everyone’s finally gone.   I was going to do a little more holiday decorating, but right now, I believe I will join the kids (while they still smell civilized) for a little pup-nap.

© 2011 Mary Watson

 

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Bentley Sunstar Downunder

The prime example of a Champion of Hearts lived in the 217 pound body of Bentley Sunstar Downunder.  We ultimately created a website around this beast and named it MonsterDogz.com® because, although we love all dogs, we’re just not “jewelry dog” people.  In our home, dogs contain mass, function and a huggability factor of 10, so we go for the giant breeds.  You know…the Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, Bouvier des Flandres and basically any dog that weighs over 100 pounds and drools on your shoes.  MonsterDogz® was created after failing to find a 30 inch collar to fit Bentley at eight months of age.  He still had a LOT of growing to do!

Life with our gentle giant lasted less than 5 years, and those were the happiest days of our lives.  Complimenting Bentley and adding to our joy were two female rescues who arrived via our trainers at Team Canine, the Obi-Wans of dog training.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in and other things..., It's a Brand New Day, Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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