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Follow along while I lose my mind.

I don't think I'll ever forget those two days at the animal shelter. I don't think I'll ever forget the sadness in the manager's voice when she asked me, "You're going to take her, aren't you?"

You see, they were closing the next day due to a rat infestation and any animals not adopted would be euthanised.

Cloe was what you might call a 'wild card.'

She had been starved and severely beaten. She had suffered broken bones at her master's hand including a tail that had been broken completely and healed at a horrible, painful angle. When we came to the shelter two days before they would close, she was unresponsive. She did not eat or drink. She tried to hide in the corner of her chain link kennel. She wouldn't look at you and she couldn't lean any further into the fence than she was, even if you tried to touch her. She flinched and jerked when you got near her. So the door was labeled appropriately. Not to touch the dog through the gate or to enter the kennel.

That would be a death sentence for most dogs.

To make a very long story very short, I have something of a gift with animals and I just... felt something for this dog. So I spent the next two days building a relationship with the animal.

On the 2nd day, the day before the shelter would be closed and any existing animals would be euthanised, I had Cloe -who had no name then- out of her kennel, on a leash, in the exercise area. The workers were amazed.. Even the manager came out to watch the two of us together. And as I came closer to the fence, she gripped my arm gently and asked me, "You're going to take her... Aren't you?"

Looking back, I think if there had been another good option, I would've taken it. I didn't really want a dog. I especially didn't want such a huge dog.- Cloe appears to be a purebred brindle colored english mastiff. But I knew as well as she did that if I didn't take this animal, she would be put down the next day.

That was five months ago.

I couldn't have told you five months ago ...

I didn't save a dog. I saved a friend.

Cloe, because we named her Cloe and she is affectionately known as Cloe Dog, is my dog. Emphasis on my. It doesn't matter where I am, in the house or on the property, Cloe is by my side. If I'm moving, she's moving along with me. If I'm stationary, she's probably covering my feet. If someone comes that she doesn't know, she's sitting just in front of me.

I've read about teaching your mastiff tricks but to me, her sitting in front of me is the best trick she could ever know. She doesn't have to move or bark or anything and people automatically want to know if she's good (yes) and if she bites (no)... Although for a few strangers, I've told them, "Only if I tell her to." lol

Her appearance and her bark are protection in themselves. Reading more about her breed, I've learned that they are not agressive dogs. They do very well with small children and small animals alike. They are eager to please although not on the top of the doggy IQ chart. I lovingly pat her head and say "Very big but not much in it."

When faced with a potential threat -ie burglar- they are likely to grab them by the arm and hold them gently but firmly, corner them and not let them leave, or -my favorite- use their great size to their advantage and sit on said threat. Personally, I can't see it being a problem. Most people take one look at Cloe and back off... which is hilarious since I'm sitting here watching my 2 and 3 year old use her for a backrest while they watch Sesame Street.

I've been thinking over in my head lately... If I ever have another dog... I would want another mastiff... I know it's awesome to adopt and all... But there's just something entirely comforting in her presence. I know when I'm with her, I'm safe. She would fend off coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and the unwanted male without hesitation. I know if I was lost in the woods, she would lay beside me and keep me warm. The idea of not having Cloe... brings tears to my eyes. This is the downside of having a pet. I know, as much as I love that dog... One day I will have to say goodbye. She won't be with me forever.

Yeah. Totally crying now.

I've been wanting to write a post lately praising her... So there it is. This dog means more to me than so many people I will meet throughout my life. She is more loyal to me than most people could ever even consider being and she would happily protect me with her life. That... is such a gift.

There are dogs... And then there's Cloe.

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Comments:

shells37
Nov. 11, 2010 at 3:18 PM

I just had to give up my dog Luna last week due to complications of birthing a litter. It's still tearing me up but I hope that Cloe continues to be as big a part of your life like Luna was in mine. The best friendships are definitely between dog and owner for sure.

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Felip...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Oh... so sweet. Hugs to you. And accolades to your writing, again.

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