Yesterday, before I went into the kitchen for my marathon of baking, I was upstairs with my hubby and the baby girl watching Dog Breeds 101 on the Animal Planet channel, a perennial favorite in our household. The program was featuring a small variety of breeds, giving the pro’s and con’s of each. We learned that the Italian Greyhound because of their size, are very sensitive to cold and wet and therefore they are often litter trained. They also have fragile bones so you shouldn’t let them jump off high places. As we were saying aww, and “how cute” we weren’t prepared to fall in love with the trio of English Mastiffs the show featured. This family, bless their hearts, started out with the one English Mastiff, a female. The family was very happy with her but at the age of two, they noticed that her eyesight started decreasing and a visit to the vet gave them the sad news that within the breed there is retinal myopathy and Bertie had a complicated case. The family was also informed that the breeder who had provided them Bertie wasn’t as reputable as they had been led to believe. We were listening to this story, riveted to its unfolding, the dad talked about seeing on a t.v program horse breeders using sighted horses for their blind horses and the dad thought well then, why not for Mastiffs. They did their research and found a certified reputable breeder who had had experience with seeing eye dogs. They were presented an English Mastiff puppy, he was so adorable and huge. They showed pictures of Bertie and the new puppy and you could see that they bonded from day one. When they showed the interaction between the two Mastiffs and the family, you immediately saw that the sighted Mastiff held Bertie as his top priority, if she had trouble navigating, he was right on hand to nudge her where she needed to go. The family loved their Mastiffs so much that they expanded their brood to three, with the addition of the brindle English Mastiff puppy.
We joked that Jack would be a good sighted companion dog for a Mastiff despite his tiny size, Jack knows how to get Rex moving when he wants him to, if Jack felt that he had to guide Rex in a direction, he would simply latch onto Rex’s jowls and tug him where he needs to go. I could just imagine Jack hanging onto a Mastiff’s jowls, with one good shake of his head, the Mastiff could send Jack flying if he wanted to. We still had a good laugh at the vision of Jack trying to herd a trio of Mastiffs, that’s Jack, always curious and minding everyone’s business. I especially like to watch these types of shows when it’s the three of us or even better, the four of us. We are all dog crazy and it seems to cement our closeness as a family, that we all share in a love completely outside of ourselves and directed towards our dogs who are wholly dependent on us. We share that in common, it’s wonderful.