When we left Maine, a part of my heart stayed behind. I have loved sleddogs since I was in Jr. High School, and that wasn’t yesterday! I got my first husky in 1976. I have had show dogs, pet dogs and dozens of working sled dogs. Training and running sled dogs is as much a part of me as being left handed. I’ve felt like a piece of me has been missing since we re-homed all of our huskies before moving to HOTlanta.
Don’t misunderstand, it’s not like we’re dogless or that I am not crazy about our Belgian Sheepdog, Guinness, our Collies, Lady and Karma, or even Iris the Virus, our Cardigan Corgi. They are awesome and own their own real estate in my heart, but working dogs in harness is just necessary to my good health.
Sustainable farming has opened the possibilities for a variety of draft animals. We have our mules and we have our donkeys, both of which will fill certain needs, but I wanted an animal that could be harnessed quickly and hooked to a wagon or cart to help me carry loads about the farm. Sure, an ATV would do that, but I wanted something that didn’t require gasoline, oil or engine work. Enter, the Mastiff.
Mastiffs are large dogs who love their people and have a history of being outstanding draft animals. They are also outstanding guard dogs demonstrate strong protective instincts without being aggressive. They have been bred for centuries to know the difference between neighborhood children who want to snuggle and the bad guy who wants to burgle. We have loved them from afar for years.
Last week I saw someone on Facebook who had some English Mastiff/Bullmastiff cross puppies for sale. I ignored it because we have enough dogs. When Brittan, though, sent me an email at work asking if I wanted one to satisfy my jones, I leapt at the opportunity. So on Saturday, we drove up to Ringgold, GA and picked up our little bundle of Lucy.
When she is full grown, Lucy will weigh in at about 120 lbs, give or take and ounce or two. Even at only 10 weeks, she shows all the traditional calm, assured, quiet Mastiff tendencies. She is good with people. She is great with the cats and other dogs. She has shown zero interest in chasing the chickens. So far, AWESOME.
We will take her to puppy class after her last shots and will get her in an obedience class soon after. She will be 7 to 9 months old before she gets in her first harness. By that time, we should have another donkey foal who will also be harness trained. Life is getting better all the time.