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Mastiffs 2010
Sunstone Mastiffs
"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul
remains unawakened."~Anatole France
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Owning a giant breed dog, what's it like?

I spend the first months in complete and total awe of the
growth rate, most will be around 1.3 pounds at birth and 30+
pounds by 8 weeks.

Around 10 weeks I shed my first tears, when I realize I can no
longer lift them, I sit in the kitchen floor with them and hug
them and they never know why.

Between around 8 and 24 months I cry because many are so
freaking ugly only a mother could love them, everyone else
needs eye bleach.

At 24 months I cry again, because overnight they've usually
gone from ugly duckling to swan and I am so relieved I do a
tearful happy dance.

Around 30 months I cry, realizing they are probably about as
mature as they are going to get and now the countdown
begins.

Around 4 years I find myself catching my breath every once in
a while and gasping at the sheer beauty of these animals,
their size, their presence, their heart and I realize that some,
have now hit middle age, and I cry again.

At 6 they are eligible to be shown in the Veteran's class (at
some specialty shows) and I cry a tear of relief that they made
it.

At 7 every sigh, lump and bump becomes a concern and I
hug them and cry again because I realize, we are on
borrowed time.

I start to realize that some days I need to help them up and
down the stairs, just as I did when they were babies, and so I
give them extra treats before bed, an extra scratch behind the
ears and an extra snuggle and I cry.

At 8 we've made it to senior citizen, some do better than
others and many have some (or a lot) of gray and I do my best
to kiss their faces and thank G-d for them every day.

Then suddenly, or not so suddenly, they're gone.

Barrie Gregory (Fritz)
Sunstone Mastiffs