Monday, December 20, 2010

Foster the 8 month old Mastiff

~Hello, I'm only 8 months old. I am still growing & will get a lot bigger!!~

Foster is our first English Mastiff. I grew up with St. Bernards but, let's be honest, my mother was the one really raising them, I just lived in the house with them. Raising a giant breed dog, no matter how much we love him, comes with it's unique "challenges."

Let's start with the basic stats:
*At 7 weeks old (when we got him) he weighed 17lbs.
*At 8 months old he weighs 114lbs
. -- Yea, he's put on almost 100lbs in 6 months.
*Height from the floor to his shoulder ~ roughly 29". It's a little hard to measure accurately when he keeps turning around and trying to chew on the measuring tape.

Your puppy plays with tennis balls, ours like to drag pumpkins around the yard. The sizes range from a nice cantaloupe size to as big as a basketball. Oh yea, he also likes basketballs and soccer balls. Actually, he prefers soccer balls. It must be the English in him.

Foster likes chasing his tail. He LOVES it. That would be a fine thing usually. It would be a fine, self-sustaining activity. And, to some degree it is. Except Foster likes to be close to you. And when that mouth comes around, regardless of it chasing the tail & nothing else, and it grazes your knee instead ... well, needless to say you might just think JAWS swam by. Luckily his adult teeth have pretty much grown in, so your knee doesn't actually look like JAWS has been there. But still, cuss words tend to quickly fly.

He also doesn't seem to realize how big his body is in proportion the the room that he is in. He spins around and whacks his head on the edge of the kitchen island (you can see a corner in the photo above), and repeatedly knocks his noggin on the underside of tables.
Having survived almost 7 years of Shannon I am ready to respond to the WHAMS!! with 911 or at least a quick call to the emergency vet. Surely, his head must be split open. It hasn't been. He seems unfazed. I am amazed. I look at him in awe. He looks at me with those big brown eyes, unfazed and curious as to why my jaw is dropped.

We have a rule about no dogs on the bed. Ironically enough, I'm allergic to dogs (and cats, and so on). However, the allergies don't normally bother me. It is when they're allowed on the bed and near my pillow that I begin to not be able to breathe. So .. no dogs allowed on the bed.
There is a minor exception, we've always allowed them to put their front paws on the bed and say "hello." In fact, after Jomo passed that was what I missed so much - being able to wake up to a friendly face, waiting to be petted. So, Foster is allowed to put his two front paws on the bed.
Of course, this isn't a little dog. This is a dog who can stand on the floor at the right hand side of the bed and reach me ... with his paws .. and his head .. far .. far away .. on the left side of the bed. On the left EDGE of the bed.
If I've rolled over to nuzzle on Justin's side I'd better watch out. I've nearly woken up to black eyes a couple of times, paws whapping me in the face. He also has figured out about blankets ~ you know .. there may be people under them. That's ok, just start nosing around till you get your cold, wet nose & slobbery jaws under there.

Typical of Mastiffs, he sleeps a lot. Which is wonderful. We can sit around the living room in the evening, with him snoozing away soundly. And loudly. Mastiffs snore. And .... well, with a lot of aroma. Foster is a gas-bag. We actually bought some digestive enzymes to help decrease the nuclear attacks of farts (it worked some). Of course, he also likes to sleep under feet. And, if you've decided to raise your feet in the recliner, that's ok. He'll just sleep under that. Of course, if you want to get up ... you better be a yogi or gymnast.

And, when he isn't asleep, he is always on guard, also typical of Mastiffs. Apparently there is a reason we should all be on edge. There is this other Mastiff that, from time to time, goes and stands outside our living room window. It's amazing .. it looks just like Foster. And it only seems to appear in the window when Foster is looking out!! IT MUST NOT BE TRUSTED!!! We must growl at it to let it know it better not try to enter. And .. sometimes, these things appear above this other Mastiff's head. Weird floating hands. I mean, how can you possibly not go nuts over this!?!?! RED ALERT FOLKS, RED ALERT!!!!
Luckily, he hasn't gone through the window yet after this dastardly other Mastiff.

The rest of it all is standard stuff. You know, a 114 (and growing) pound dog that is timid about going out into the yard ... in the rain .. in the snow .. at night. Any of that.
And he likes to cuddle. In fact I think he thinks he might be a lap dog. A large, slobbery lap dog.
Speaking of slobber, our island was sporting a rather nice, several inch long, slobber-cicle last night.

Just part of another day with a Mastiff pup.

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