When Life Matters Most…

Last night, I lost my almost 13 year-old English Mastiff.

I knew he was dying.  He told me so in his own words.  He wouldn’t move.  He wouldn’t eat.  He wouldn’t drink.  He cried.  But only because he wanted me by his side–not because he was sad or fearful or in pain.

I often wonder if dogs know when their time is up.  Having watched two of my pups die, they get a look in their eyes that says, “Momma, it’s time.”

I sat with him last night until I could take it no more.  He knew I was there.  That’s all that mattered to him.

I woke this morning and first thing I checked.  And I knew instantly…

The vet called this morning.  I made my husband answer the phone and tell her.

I am only consoled by the life he led.  It was good.  REAL good.  God put this creature in my life to care for and I did.

He was my misunderstood dog.  Big.  But afraid of people.  Loving.  But only to his “pack”. Demanding when it was time to eat.  Quiet and content otherwise.  No one else wanted him.  But I did.  And it goes without saying: loyal to the end.

He was a good, good dog.  He will forever be missed.  But he will forever be in my heart–with me wherever I go.

He’s with his sister now.  They are running and playing together again.  Awaiting me to join them. But having all the patience in the world…

I know he is happy.  Content.  At peace now.  And loving me from above.  I love you, my sweet, sweet pup.  Forever.

What Do You Do if You are Awakened by Your 200-lb Baby?

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

My chest suddenly felt weighed down.  I opened my eyes and didn’t see anything.  I moved my hand to rub the area that hurt and then I felt it:  fur.

Suddenly, the room lit up, a BOOM resounded in my ear, and hail was hitting the roof with a steady pounding.

I began to pet my 200-lb male English Mastiff who was lying across my chest and shivering in fear.

The room continued to be intermittently lit up.  Thunder roared. The rain continued.

I forced my dog off of me and he followed me into the kitchen where I have the best view of the night sky.  Yep, definitely a lightning storm.  The kind of lightning storm you only see once every 3-4 years.  Lightning was zig-zagging everywhere, lighting up the Heavens.  Thunder was almost constant.  Hail would mix with periods of just rain.

I went back to bed, my baby close behind.  He jumped back up, stepping on my foot in the process, and laid right next to me, his massive head on my side.

Then he jumped down, stepping over me once again and this time missing me somehow, and after a minute was back with his head in my face.

He jumped up again (after nuzzling me for a moment) and laid back down again.

This repeated itself for the entire length of the storm (about an hour).

I couldn’t yell at my poor dog.  After all, he didn’t understand.  I often wonder what goes through his mind when he hears those loud booms from Heaven.  I know he doesn’t have a concept of dying so it’s not that.  But what does drive him to seek me out? Maybe it’s like Chicken Little–The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

Maybe it’s pure instinct; instinct that drives him to his leader and protector (me) when he’s scared, confused, or befuddled.

If he could, he would have climbed up into my body and cowered until he deemed it safe to emerge.

I did the only thing I could do:  tried to sleep in-between his antics.

Poor thing.  This is my dog whom we got at age 4 months from a breeder and when we got him he had a huge gash on his ear.  So, I’ve always inferred he was either abused or left outside with other dogs.  He’s also afraid of people.  Most find this amusing as he does weigh 200 pounds.

He’s a big dog with just a big of heart.  But you have to earn his love.  He stays away from everyone excepting those in his inner circle.

He’s a big lump of fur who’s precious when he’s scared and needs his mama.

Just like my other human babies.  But he’s my baby too.

The Mightiest Heart

The Mightiest Heart is a kids book by Lynn Cullen.  It tells the tale of a loyal Irish Wolfhound, Gelert, to his master, Prince Llywelyn.  One day Gelert stays behind while Prince Llywelyn goes hunting.  When the Prince returns, Gelert is all bloody and his son is missing.  He blames the dog who runs away only to rescue the Prince once more when he is in danger.  The Prince finds his son and the body of a dead wolf nearby.

When the Llywelyn’s son grows up and finds a puppy (presumably Gelert’s child), the Prince tells him he may keep him only if “You never let him go.”  He continues, “The mightiest heart can come in the humblest vessel.”

I have read this story before where instead of Gelert running away, the Prince kills the dog with his sword before he finds out his son is alive.  This is the traditional tale.  I like this version better merely  because my daughter can’t stand it when animals die in stories but the traditional one is much more poignant.

It highlights how we all jump to conclusions, react when we shouldn’t, do things we shouldn’t, only to find out later we were wrong, and regret our choices made.  I especially like this one because this dog had shown no reason to doubt it in the past and yet our human mind still thinks the worst.

This is based on a true story.  The Prince really lived in the twelfth and thirteenth century and he had an Irish Wolfhound named Gelert.  In fact, the town of Beddgelert in Wales, United Kingdom is named for the dog where an actual grave site exists purported to be the resting spot of the real Gelert.  Fascinating stuff.

Irish Wolfhounds were prized in the Middle Ages for their hunting capabilities and given to royalty as gifts.

Dog owners know how loyal dogs are and uncharacteristic behavior usually has a very good reason behind it.

Personally, I like this tale because we almost got Irish Wolfhounds instead of English Mastiffs.  They are one of my favorite breeds and are still on my short list of dogs to own in the future.  I love loyal breed dogs, guard dogs, and big dogs–all of which describe these breeds best.

Here’s a link to the story with photos of the grave:


I Wish Dogs (and God) Could Speak

I’ m up early with the goal of finishing The Whiskey Rebels since I’ve finished my final edit on my book when I’m bothered by my male mastiff.  I just took him out and I couldn’t tell what he wanted so I shooed him off.  He kept doing this and I thought he just wanted to go sniff around outside.  He was acting absurdly weird the other day and we went out 10 times.  So I ignored him and he pooped in the middle of my floor.  Poor puppy!  Next time, I’ll know.

During this time, I was petting him, wishing he’d speak and tell me, “Hey, Mom!  I gotta poop!”  Then, it would have been easy.  I would have known what he had wanted from me and what he was trying to say.

So I wish God (whom I know does speak and very similarly to my dog–in cues and such) would speak as well.  I just finished my editing book again and am facing querying again, which I am not looking forward to.  I just wish God would lead me to the right agent.  I keep praying this, over and over.  I’m just so frustrated right now with a lot of things with regards to getting my book published that I do want to quit (although I doubt I ever will).  Quitting is definitely easier.  Yet, I have worked so hard on this project, I have to try, even though I have no desire at times.