Please enjoy the following collection of Pam's writings and poems.
He watches me with large brown eyes.
Something in them is both soft and wise.
And I look back at him and remember,
Other days of boundless energy.
Hours of chase the stick,
And then asking to do it again.
He’s always been a friend,
Never demanding, forever loyal.
He’s older now, some say he’s useless.
Why keep him? He’s only in the way.
Make way for younger stock they say.
Memories flood into my mind.
The tears and cheers of joy.
He’s a champion, you know,
This great, big, wonderful boy.
His step falters occasionally now.
And I am forced to think how it will be,
When he is no longer here with me,
And my eyes well up with tears.
He shifts his aging body closer to me and lifts one huge paw.
Not for a shake, but to say,
Dear friend, I will be with you till the end.
I look out into the yard and watch his son.
And though my old boys’ time is done.
There is his legacy.
A fine young dog, magnificent in every way.
The image of his father.
It takes my breath away to see how much alike they are.
So often I’ve compared them from afar.
A dream has come true and it is here at my feet.
And there at the gate hoping for a treat.
This proud and dignified old dog holds my heart.
Age has not lessened his splendour.
And when I hear that great deep bark, protecting,
I think, not today, will I consider a time without him.
Perhaps tomorrow I will face that inevitable grief.
And deliver my best friend to a land of peace.
But not today.
He has captured my heart and soul with his grace.
The years have left their mark on his graying face.
I will not imagine a day without him, not a moment gone.
For now, he is here, and I am holding on
Ethical Breeders and the Future of the Bullmastiff
On the subject of ethical Bullmastiff breeders, exactly what does constitute a moral (i.e. principled) breeder? Is it someone who breeds litters and sells the puppies randomly? Is it someone who regularly advertises puppies in the local paper and allows a buyer the opportunity to have one litter prior to spaying a pet female? Or is it someone who continuously breeds mediocre litters for sale to the general public. The foregoing are not perfect scenarios. But they are, although futile breeding endeavors, preferable to the appalling, tragic and filthy conditions of the extreme puppy millers. Every person, by definition, who produces a strain or collection of animals, can be termed a breeder. So the age old question will always be: who is a good Bullmastiff breeder and who is not. The Bullmastiff, as we know it today, has evolved through many years. While not an old breed, the physical changes from the original night dogs to today’s impressive creatures are fairly profound. The magnitude of muscle, girth, and headpiece has altered to the degree that the breed standards have demanded. The original night dogs were a mixture of various types, giving them the power, tenacity and wiry look of a large mutt. It was necessary to validate a specific appearance and from those written designs have come the mighty canines that we see today.
But sadly, these magnificent dogs are finding their way into the rescue system at an alarming rate. Too many ‘breeders’ are not committed enough to be responsible for the continuous lives of their puppies. Frequent litters amount to puppy production for profit only and there is no plan in place to elevate the worth of each subsequent generation. The inherited significance of multiple yearly litters is not improved and the puppies are of dubious quality. Unfortunately, some dogs mistakenly enter the show ring, and a few injudicious championship points give further credence to a misguided and ill fated breeding program. And while these bullmastiffs may be duly registered, there is no effort made to increase the quality or even breed to the written standard. Many slip through the cracks of society and frequently become wards of compassionate saviours. While there may be a market for such ordinary animals, perhaps we have come to a place in the history of the Bullmastiff when a high degree of superiority and optimum excellence is totally vital. Call it unconstitutional, undemocratic, or unfair, but the backyard breeder with no real enthusiasm to aspire to greater levels of excellence must become obsolete!!! What this translates to the dog buying public is that owning a well bred Bullmastiff will be a privilege not a right. And with that privilege will come terms and regulations that must be adhered to if the Bullmastiff is to prosper and flourish in the course of the coming years. Only resolute and caring breeders possess the skills to comprehend and meet this dramatic and daunting challenge: those extraordinary individuals who devote their energies, time, and wisdom to the creation of a specialized creature, one that carries the flawless genes of its predecessors. Ethical breeders do not settle for ‘good enough’ but rather strive for ‘the best’ and in so doing guarantee that the ideal Bullmastiff is sustained for future generations.
A SOLDIER’S STEP
When a soldier’s step falls silent, does his country weep for him.
When he walked into this bloody war, did he think the end so grim.
His family grieves so bitterly, his comrades rage and feel the sorrow,
They look to his accustomed place in line but he won’t be there tomorrow.
This hero started his young life eagerly wanting to serve.
He hefted his rifle, pack and helmet and more than a little nerve.
He left behind a mother and a father bravely caring,
Sisters, brothers, friends, and wives who thought his life so daring.
The land that he was sent to carried evil on the wind,
The mountains harboured secrets, shrouded with a cloak of sin.
The ground was raw and ugly with rocks strewn round about.
This forbidding, sandy, barren place must have filled his mind with doubt.
But he moved to his appointed rounds, his actions measured and sure,
His mastery of the soldier’s work, so swift, and in a blur,
A base camp was established and a home of sorts made ready,
And in a while the force grew strong, troops prepared and steady.
The days were long and hot and dusty, the enemy showed their faces.
Our brave lads attacked the hill leaving no more traces.
Of the wicked terror that crawled and lurked in the darkness of the caves,
And back at home the leaders were impressed and wildly raved.
These fine young men had proven they were soldiers through and through.
Presidents, prime ministers sang their praises, loud and true.
Canada’s noble servicemen marched bravely into war,
But if one of them stops marching, will you notice ever more.
Can you feel the pride, does your heart swell, as their bodies return to our soil.
Did you remember they sacrificed to protect, in a troubled land they toiled.
Could you say a prayer for the families who suffer such aching pain,
Their soldier boy won’t march again, his bootsteps are soundless but not in vain.
When a soldier’s step falls silent, will you mourn for him a while.
He wanted just a chance to help and did it with a smile.
His mission was to conquer and assist his allied friends,
When a soldier’s step falls silent, his contribution does not end.
A maroon beret, a coat of green, a soldier so vital and strong
He advanced into the conflict and somehow it went wrong.
Remember him and all the ones who fought for our land and won,
And if his step be silenced, he is a hero and a much loved son.
The most unthinkable and devastating event has happened. Unthinkable because the preparedness is never evident and devastating because the emptiness left in our hearts will not soon be filled. A beloved pet and family member has lost her life to the ultimate needle. The suffering has ended and the agonizing days and nights are now over. But during the week that we observed the decline and deterioration of this once vibrant and precocious little dog, one thing was painfully clear. We were losing our friend to an insidious, hateful disease process that was intangible and unseen. And yet it gradually stole our companion and robbed her of the ability to enjoy good health and happy times. Somehow this monster crept into our home and furtively and skillfully resolved that the elderly 25 pound dog would be a probable candidate for treachery and affliction. As the days and hours ticked by, her vision, surefootedness and equilibrium were compromised. Play times ended and the golden hours of a senior canine became, what appeared to be, a time of despair and sadness as she retreated from us. The apprehension and fright produced by the sudden loss of vision was dramatic but we reliably and assuredly assisted her with stairs and dark areas. How does one mark the time that these exceptional treasures grace our lives? The puppy years glide into adult years and in a brief second, or so it seems, our friends have slipped gracefully into that twilight time of graying muzzles, long sleeps and meanderings through the yard. If we are truly blessed these old souls are happy and content, a bit slower moving, with perhaps selective hearing loss, but surprisingly one of the senses that continues to work well primarily at meal times.
For so many of us who have invested years in the canine world of shows, breeding, and training, this last trip to the vet is not new or unique. But each time it is filled with the same misgivings and concern. Is the time right for the final injection? Should we or could we wait just one more day? And that really dreadful feeling of being torn between what is right and essential for our pet and the distinct hideous idea that we are somehow the grim reaper. Thankfully, we as dog owners are afforded the opportunity to make those decisions, however difficult, that will relieve our dearest pets of unnecessary pain and distress. We can deliver them to another place where they no longer hurt. If there is a doggy heaven, I am certain that our little Frenchie is there. She came to us at a mere few months old and quickly and assuredly wiggled her way into our lives and became the resident queen of her domain. The Bullmastiffs were no match for this self assured girl and mostly they spent their time, in their big way, trying to win the favor of this small fawn dynamo. Equally content on our bed or in her crate, she neither whined, barked excessively or was demanding. Dare I say that she was a near perfect dog??? Her show years were marked with BPIS wins, group placements and championships in two countries. And yet all of that has been mostly forgotten in favor of the sweeter side of her life which involved plenty of stuffie toys, nylabones, and the gentle nuzzlings of a large red Bullmastiff at the kitchen landing each day. That big boy thought she was so special. Now they are both gone. Perhaps they are together in some extraordinary place where the sun always shines, the water is pure and they will be forever at peace. Young dogs get old, time changes, and each charming canine leaves an indelible impression on our souls. When they depart this earth, their spirits continue to soar about us, a constant reminder of their beauty and splendor. Death must come and we are burdened with the finality of putting away special toys, beds, and crates. In my garden there is her stained glass picture embedded in stone, in my album are the pictures and in my heart are the memories. “My dogs……..I rejoice in their lives, I grieve at their death. They have enriched my world”.
THE NIGHT DOG……….his story
On tough, tight feet and well-developed legs, he treads softly across the marshy ground. He is lighter framed and leaner at ninety pounds than his descendants will be in the years to come. Large, vigorous, blocky headed and powerful, he is an intimidating fierce adversary to those who would invade his domain and challenge him. The blood of many dubious ancestors flows in his veins, but soon, this one they call the Night Dog, will be unique, an historically significant breed, taking his place amongst the finest in the world. For now, he is a capable hunter and tracker. He inhales deeply, thoughtfully filtering the scents that drift on the breeze as it rustles through the trees and bushes. He is tense and alert. These grounds are his realm and he has established a complete authority to wander freely and without restraint. Well used muscles surge as he slinks between trees, leaping effortlessly over windfalls and quietly dipping into shallow creeks and boggy lowlands. His short dark coat, intriguingly stripped, fades easily into the shadows even during the diffused daylight hours. Then, quite suddenly, the silent spectre emerges several yards further along the trail, his inspection of the immediate area seemingly complete.
At the edge of the trail he stands motionless, watchfully casting glances to right and left, drop ears folded haphazardly and lifted, easily distinguishing the alluring smells of the roaming wildlife from the other presence. That pungent smell, when it comes, will permeate his nostrils and deep within his brain an unforgettable memory will emerge. For the moment, the gentle winds hovering over the manor land are harmless, carrying a mixture of animal odors, rotting vegetation, and newly leafed stately trees soaring upwards to the sunlight. Twisting his body slightly, he surveys another sector, peering into the underbrush. Then, with practiced deftness, he steps soundlessly into the thick invasive growth, to examine the region on the opposite side of the path. Only the slightest crack of a twig belies his location and never does he give voice to indicate his position. He is strong, determined and self assured, independently able to scrutinize the vastness of this land.
When he materializes once again far down the path, an enormous body shake causes ears to flap crazily, scattered water droplets glistening briefly in the sun’s rays that streak earthward through the heavy overhead canopy. Scanning the path, he breaks into an even light footed trot, retracing his steps along the well worn track, intent on the familiar figure walking towards him. The gamekeeper too, honors the distinctive trait of steady but muted footfall. High topped leather boots and somewhat thread bare breeches are testimony to his ever vigilant guardianship of the master’s forest. A long barreled rifle is carried easily, slung over one arm and safely pointed downward. A coarse, woolen, jacket and protective cap, completes his durable but less than fashionable appearance. This man in his hunting garb might well be a saint, so delighted is the dog to be in his presence. The two exchange the pleasantries of friends that are acutely tuned to one another. A scratch, a special pat, the battering of a tail gone wild, a few murmured good boys joining the raspy low growls of contentment and the joyous moment is over
In a synchronized instant, gamekeeper and Night Dog return to the task at hand. Protecting the vast arboreal forests from the unscrupulous poachers who would kill and steal the master’s wildlife is a daunting challenge, but one easily faced by these two companions. Both are intuitively aware of each others gestures and body language. Moving aggressively now along the trail, they search and listen for the clues that will warn them of the danger and trespass of a stranger. The poacher is often a desperate man. Penniless and with many hungry mouths at home, he must invade the sanctuary of the estate lands to find and kill game to feed a starving family. The master is not willing to share his bounty, as the wild creatures are his for sport shooting. Ignoring the inevitable tragedy of the situation, the pair forges onward and in minutes they both detect the obvious sounds of an animal in distress. The bleating and thrashing in the distant thickets is unmistakable. The dog does not wait for a signal. All of his senses are heightened, instinct awakens, and bright images flash intensely in his mind, as he rockets into the woods. With incredible fleetness and agility, combined with a remarkably stealthy footfall, he interrupts the impending butchery. The poacher is unaware of his assailant, he being crouched over the body of a young doe caught in a wire leg snare. The doe thrashes helplessly on her side, moaning, ribs heaving, and with one knee on her neck for control, the poacher raises a dirty, encrusted knife preparing to sever her throat.
Without warning, a dark projectile slams the thief to the ground with enormous force, the knife thrust from his hand. There was no sound and there was no time to flee. On his back, rotting teeth exposed as he attempts a ragged scream, the poacher stares straight into the black eyes of a demon. The dog masterfully straddles his opponent and heavily breathes hot moist air from his huge lungs onto the terrified face. Wide panting jaws slowly drip saliva, mixing with facial grime and forming ragged streaks of filth that crisscross the disheveled features of his victim. Large teeth are defined behind black lips and a pink tongue hangs precariously close to exposed skin. Panic obliterates the poacher’s mind and leaves him breathless with fear. A moment later, the gamekeeper has reached the scene. He extracts a special potion from his knapsack and skillfully treats the wire cuts on the doe’s leg while the dog maintains his dominant stance over his victim. The wire is cut and the doe is released to join her dappled youngster, standing trembling some distance away, frightened and bewildered by a seemingly mad dog and a man who somehow extricates his mother relatively unharmed, from this horror that he has witnessed. As the pair nuzzles each other for comfort, the doe glances over her shoulder once and then leads her baby deep into the protection of the forest, white tails flashing as they quickly vanish. Their freedom is elusive. It will be jeopardized again.
At the appropriate moment, the dog steps away and unnervingly fixes menacing eye contact on his captive. At gunpoint, the gamekeeper must lead the poacher back to the local law enforcement where he will be imprisoned. The poacher has met the Night Dog. His family will suffer the consequences of this fateful day. As the years progress the Night Dog will become a breed with a name, maintaining his development and heritage with England. Imposing, majestic and extraordinary, the Bullmastiff will come of age. He will captivate, charm, and fascinate us with his magnificence. His protection and security for the future will be our passion and purpose.
FRENCHIES....They Have Little Quirks and Traits!!!
The French bulldog is a radiantly, whimsical, happy creature. He does not elicit the gruff intense guardian nature of his bigger working dog friends. He is satisfied with his toys, soft beds and usually the company of other frenchies. Dare I say that he rather enjoys luxury and comfort?? Smiling throughout the day or napping in a sunbeam as it streaks through a window onto the floor, this delightful dog is both amusing and enchanting. However he comes as a package deal, complete with a myriad of sounds that are peculiar to the uninitiated and wonderful music to the ears of the fancier. This little breed snores to perfection, often cranking the volume up a notch or two by hanging its head off a bed or chair at just the right angle or stuffing their flat noses into a blanket so that one would think breathing was impaired. The gulps and clicks and all out rumbles would make a grown man question his own snoring ability!! That is part of their charm. If one were to have this petite dog as a nightly bed partner, there would no doubt be several sleep interruptions as the frenchie snuggles ever deeply into the bed and into its dreams. They are also very efficient at making bizarre sounds, pleading really, especially when food is present, in hopes that a treat will tumble their way.
The French bulldog can elicit a number of other noises that are beyond description. The orchestrations that exude from the throat of this breed need to be heard to be appreciated or at the very least believed. Their bark is high pitched. They are small after all. And it. has none of the resonance that one would expect from a larger dog. It is a sharp tone and if they are really excited it may escalate to a screech or shriek, guaranteed to make one wonder if death is imminent. The average frenchie has a whole repertoire of barks, warbles, squeaks, screams, babbles, and chortles. Some individuals have practiced their musical scores well and play them regularly. Others prefer the quieter, gentler method of employing sound to emphasize their opinion, turning up the volume only on occasion, when required.
Although not considered a guardian by nature, nor by design, this breed can and will attempt to defend their home and property if they perceive a threat or invasion. And while they do tend to be capable of living agreeably in numbers, still there must always be an observant person who will recognize aggressive or intolerant behaviour within the group.
All in all, this is a small breed with a large dog mentality. He has no fear of barking away an intruder at the gate or leaping into protector mode at the chime of the door bell. He does often believe himself to be bigger than life and while small in stature, he is strong muscular and sturdily built.
What a wonderful combination of sweetness and charm wrapped in a package of varying colours. He has the face of an angel and the body of a well developed athlete. In short, he may be the perfect small dog for the lap or for peaceful garden meanderings, content in the company of his people and special frenchie friends.
©Pam McClintock 2010. Web design by Valamar Web Solutions.