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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.

image

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

 

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Giant Angel Lands at Girls Ranch

Micah

Micah

As I close the car door and snap on Micah’s purple Gabriel’s Angels vest, I notice the window blinds separate, revealing big brown eyes and hear, “Micah’s here!  Micah’s here!”   I smile.  Little Sammy bursts through the front door, diapered and bare-footed with his mom on his heels and runs to Micah with his arms outstretched.  Sammy is two years old and has spent over a year seeing Micah every two weeks like clockwork.  He can’t tell time, but his teen mommy says that he has been camping at the window all afternoon, waiting for Micah.  He reaches up and wraps his arms around my 200-pound therapy dog’s giant neck, gives him a huge hug, turns on a dime and runs to the house, announcing that Micah has arrived as only Sammy can.

We have some changes this week!  We visit a group home under protective custody with abused, abandoned and at-risk children.  Normally we have about a dozen teen girls, give or take, a smattering of toddlers and a few infants, not counting the ones waiting to be born.  It’s not all teen moms.  We have had girls from “juvie”, some abused or self-abuse cases and occasionally an abandoned child.  This week one of the children has been released, one has turned 18 and has gone to live with a family member and we see three new faces and a brand new six-pound baby.

I introduce Micah to the new girls as Sammy pats the bag I’m carrying, asking for a brush.  Two of the girls are perched atop the back of the sofa like baby birds, eyes wide, staring at the behemoth that has entered the room.  As I explain the history of the breed, focusing on how the mastiff has protected their families and kept them safe for thousands of years, the girls relax a little.  “Safe” is something they crave. But they are NOT getting down or touching him!  “Keep that big dog away from me!”

Micah is already seeking out the infants who are scattered around the room in their car seats or carriers.  He’s kissing baby toes, and the toddlers are following him with their brushes.  The girls watch in amazement as the toddlers lie on top of the “gentle giant” and run their Matchbox trucks along his brindle stripes. Micah doesn’t move a muscle, even when a one-inch dump truck runs over his head and down his nose.

I pull the treats out and announce that we’re going to play “hide the treat”.  I give each of the girls a treat and have them hide it in their hand…toddlers included.  Micah goes to each child (Sammy FIRST!) and they hold out both fists and let Micah discover which hand contains the treat.  The “baby birds” slide down to the seat of the sofa and hold trembling fists out to “the big giant head”.  I show them by example how to hold their palms flat when he spots the right one.  I stand next to them and give Micah a treat first and coax them to respond.  The hand opens, Micah gently takes the tiny treat, barely brushing their palm with his lips, and they are amazed!  “Miss!  He’s so GENTLE!”  The free hand comes up as I encourage them to touch his satin-soft ear.  “Miss!  He’s so soft!”  Their body language changes and they unwind and slip to the floor as I hand them a brush and they begin their relationship with the biggest Gabriel’s Angel.

They have just overcome two huge barriers that are ingrained in their behavior patterns.  They have overcome fear and they have begun to trust.  Many of these children have lived in fear most of their lives.

I show them how I lay next to Micah on the floor at home, as if he’s a giant teddy bear.   One by one they take their turn cuddling their newfound friend.  One of the girls says, “Miss, I think Micah’s thirsty.  He’s panting.  May I give him some water, Miss?”  I thank her for being empathetic and noticing Micah’s discomfort.  She pours his bottled water into his bowl and she smiles as he tries to take it directly from the bottle.  She gets one of the towels that I carry and gently wipes his face when he’s finished.   I thank her for being so compassionate and loving to Micah.

I remind the children that dogs’ memories are often connected to their sense of smell, and they hold those memories all their lives.  I tell them if Micah sees them somewhere 5 years from now, he will recognize them as family.

Time’s up and Micah gets a hug from each of the children as we leave (each teen making SURE he gets their scent in his nose good and proper).  The mother of the newborn holds tiny infant up to Micah’s face so he will smell and remember her baby.

Once again I load my sleepy fur-baby in the back of my car, slide in next to him and hug him myself.  Good job, Micah!

Copyright 2013 by Mary Watson

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz

 

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Link

The Biggest Angel

Images of a Gentle Giant

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Good Morning, Majesty…

MajestyThe Micah.  We also address him as “Highness”.  190 pounds of entitlement in a sparkling brindle wrapping.  Bred from some of the finest lines known to the world of English Mastiffs…and he KNOWS it.  His collar is hand-crafted of a 6th Century Roman pattern with the words, “Cave Canem” hand-tooled in leather and adorned with hand-cast silver seals with King Arthur’s pendragon sigil to honor his legendary registered name of Indigo’s Arturius’ Cafall, CGC.  “Cave Canem” was taken from a Pompeian mosaic of a mastiff circa 79 AD and is Latin for “Beware the Dog”.  This is a ruse,  His Highness is 100 percent wuss, and the epitome of a gentle giant.

Highness is suspicious of dew on the lawn and chooses the high, dry spot in the corner for his relief.  Lord only knows what might be lurking in those droplets of dew.  His greatest fear is being attacked by the dreaded chihuahua.

He awakens at 6 a.m., having shoved Mommy onto the floor at 3 from his king bed and having lost the battle for territorial bed rights to Daddy, who clung, white-knuckled, to the edge of the mattress and pushed back with his backside.  As we sit bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived on the patio, Highness stumbles from bed, shuffles down the hall, through the living and dining area to the doggie door…and barks.  You see, he learned early on that the doggie door is actually a wormhole that leads to an alternate universe…never to be broached.  I put down my iPad, glance at my husband who is soaking his mustache in his coffee cup, teetering in his chair, eyes closed. I open the door for his Highness who drags himself to his raised bed and drops onto it with a “whumph”.  I know…I should have carried him.  Poor, furry child.  He is already fast asleep.

Having been gently awoken by singing birds and a slight breeze, he checks his view of Camelback Mountain, finds his spot in “poo corner” and returns to the doggy door.  Now it IS actually possible to cross back into the house from the outside, as the wormhole only goes one way…but only if the interior is well-lit, his staff is inside calling his name and a chilled organic carrot awaits him on the other side.  It’s really much easier to just stare at the damned thing and bark again.  “Yes, Highness.  Coming, Highness!”

Daddy leaves for work and Mommy prepares his breakfast of canned rabbit with organ meat, organic coconut oil, probiotics, digestive enzymes, dermal enzymes, chicken and chickpea grain-free kibble and three chewy glucosamine mini-bones, followed by a fresh 2-quart bowl of water.  When the last bite of kibble has vanished, Highness stands, staring at the vacant bowl as if someone took his popsicle away.  “Micah, would you like to “Hoover”?”  He takes a step back as Mommy moves his raised food stand over 18″,to the right, allowing him to “Hoover” any bits that may have dropped from his jowls onto the woven rug beneath.  In the event that his Highness returns to the bowl, staring at its shiny stainless bottom, one must ask, “Micah, do you need littlebitmore?”  He steps back again with anticipation as Mommy retrieves two more tablespoons of kibble, dropping them into said bowl one by one (so the plinking sound may be duly observed).  He returns to the bowl for his “dessert” and then raises his head in gratitude with three 14″ strings of drool hanging from his chops.  “Please, Mummy…dry my chin…if you would be so kind.”  I retrieve a sterilized white cotton towel from “the drool bucket”, dampen it with warm water and wash the kibble from his face, ears, shoulders, chest, paws, forelegs, the top of his head, his collar…and mop the floor.

His highness will now have “first nap” as he digests on the woven area rug by the open french doors with a gentle breeze drying his face.

His Majesty’s day has begun.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Casa de Muddy Pawz at 4:00 a.m.

  • If ya can’t shoot em…hug em.

    Wake up call from Micah – 3:38 a.m. (Mommy, I gotta poop and I can’t open the door.  See?  No thumbs.)

  • Rick usually sleeps til around 6, so I had to stay quiet and busy, so I putzed around trying to find clothes in the dark.  Can’t water because the hose valve is near enough to the bedroom window that it wakes him up if I turn it on.
  • 4:00 a.m. – What the heck.  May as well walk the dogs.  Both dogs ramming me to get their leash on and go first, so I bounced around between the two until I got Nala’s Gentle Leader on her mug.  Held Micah back with one foot in his chest til Nala got through the door, jumped out after her and quickly closed the door.  Took 2 steps and she saw Merriwether, one of our two cats and bolted after the poor ole geezer.  He dove under Rick’s car, and I nearly did a face-plant on the car door before I got “the princess” under control.  Meanwhile, Micah started howling by the door.  Quick-stepped back to the door, cracked it, patted Micah on the head and promised he’d be next.  Nala hot-stepped it down to 38th, up to Montecito and back again.  Dead dark..not a soul awake save me and the dogs…a good thing, since I later discovered I had my t-shirt on inside out…and backwards.
  • Home again.  Nala’s leash off.  Micah’s leash on.  Nala dove into her bowl for a drink (up to her eyeballs) and it sounded like fat kid doing a belly flop into her water bowl.  Splash-splash-gulp-gulp-splooosh!  Water everywhere.  She hit the doggie door.  Micah and I sprinted out the front door…right into Baggins’ face…kitty #2.  Baggins hissed at Micah and he simply gives the cat a confused look and cocked his big head.  Off we went.  Micah wanted to pee on every blade of grass that any other dog has peed on in the last 50 years.  Constantly pulling him off pee spots, we forged ahead.  Micah, stay close…stay close…good BOY!  (MORE PEE!)  Down to 38th, up to Montecito, over to 40th and back again.  Pee, pee, peeee!  And when we got home, I dropped the leash and he went right outside…and peed…of course.  Must have been saving it for days.
  • 5:20 and I wanted to brush my teeth in the worst way, so I tiptoed in and got my toothbrush and ran 4 drops of water over the toothpaste.  I stood outside by the barbecue and brushed my teeth, remembering that there’s an ingredient in toothpaste that’s harmful to dogs, so I spat in the garbage can and in the 1956 barbecue.  Tiptoed back in, grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, rinsed off my toothbrush in the kitchen sink.  Tripped over Micah in the dark in front of the bathroom door while attempting to put my toothbrush back and ran into the chair in front of my vanity…and heard Rick rustling.  I really didn’t want to flush, but dammit, I had to pee now after walking two piddling dogs!  Turned on the light and noticed the t-shirt tag at my throat.  (Aw geeze!) Turned it right-side out…and frontwards.
  • 5:45 and he’s officially making morning noises.  You know…those strange guy noises that men make when they wake up.  (Grumble, grumble, snort…)   I punched the button on the coffeemaker and went outside and turned on the hose.  There was enough light to see that my zucchini has sprouted.  Rick headed toward the patio door with his coffee and I quickly scooped two piles that magically appeared on the lawn since returning from the walk and it stunk like a barnyard.
  • I checked e-mail while Rick was in the shower, fed the cats and washed out the dogs dishes (there are 10 of them).  My husband always emerges from our room looking crisp and neat and tidy with a ray of sunshine glinting off his smile.  I usually have mascara under my eyes, eggbeater hair and dog spit dripping off one elbow.  He gave me a smooch (I don’t know why…I wouldn’t have kissed me!) as he tossed his badge on, grabbed his briefcase and hit the bricks.  The dogs immediately started body-slamming each other and acting foolish out back.  I grabbed the camera and caught some cute shots of mastiff war as the sun broke over Camelback Mountain.  I finished watering and inspecting my seedlings and, damn, it was warming up quick!  It wasn’t even 7:30 and I was already all sticky.
  • I DID get a bath.  Fed the dogs, picked up cat dishes, and at least 14 phone calls later with our vet, pet insurance, people insurance and various tech support people, I got back to my computer, answered some e-mails, checked Facebook and did my Lumosity lessons to keep my brain functioning at at least 30% capacity.
  • Printer wasn’t working, so spent 45 minutes on the phone with Tech Support to get it working again.  (Crawled under my desk twice for that…)  Fixed the printer, but the scanner died.  Picked up poop again.  Took off the damned bra. I did not pay $75 to have cardiovascular surgery via underwire.
  • Phone!  My prescription was ready!  Up to Tatum and Shea to pick it up and a quick stop at Whole Foods for laundry detergent and organic everything for the dogs.  Got home in time to wash dog dishes (yes…ten…really…) and feed dogs again.
  • Woopsie…PHONE!  Forms were ready at the vet.  Quick run to Dr. Bracken’s and home again.  It was now “Africa-HOT” and my hair is sticking to my forehead and neck!
  • Granddaughter Ashley called, just leaving from her latest ultrasound and it’s a BOY!  She’s just so excited; she’s about to pee her pants…but she’s pregnant…she has an excuse.  I don’t. Hit the door running, leap-frog two dogs…and peeee.
  • While on the phone, I noted that the dogs were milling around the back yard, and I had just ended my call when Micah decided to sample his “leavings”.  I bellowed.  One does not bellow at one’s beautiful dog…or even at one’s homely dog.  But I bellowed loud enough for our blessed puppy to patooey what was in his mouth approximately 6 feet into the lawn and belly-crawl into the house to his casa (kennel)…which is where one goes if one eats their leavings and gets busted in the act.  This was not the highlight of my day.
  • 15 minutes later, I let Mr. Pottymouth out of his casa on leash and marched him to the back yard hose where we cautiously, but thoroughly sprayed what leavings were left out of his mouth.  He refused to look at me for the rest of the day and actually turned his back on me.  The nerve.  The hand, shoe and deck sanitization process followed the oral lavage, and the dog smelled civilized again.  I, however, smelled like something between a gym bag and a dairy farm.
  • That lovely task behind me, it was time to start dinner, pick up dog poop, feed the cats, make the bed, for heaven’s sake, straighten the house and…there was Mr. Wonderful pulling in the driveway.
  • I looked like I’d been ridden hard and put away wet.  Never got my make-up on, hair in my eyes, standing in sweat, drool and dog food stained garb, I greeted my poor, hard-working husband with a frosty beverage and listened to his download of a hard day at the office.  He didn’t even have a wrinkle in his shirt.   I did not love him at that moment.
  • I simply smiled and  thanked God that he didn’t ask, “So…what did you do today?”  I would have simply cried into a slobber towel.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Muddy Pawz

 

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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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