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