When my husband married he told me he wanted a Bull Mastiff. I had no clue what that was but I did know mastiff and instantly thought we will have the dog from Turner and Hooch. I can't have a drooly dog. Well I researched it. Not the same dog. But a big dog. let me rephrase that a ginormous dog. But being later I researched they don't drool, are great with children, and don't shed. I was all for it. An opportunity came for us to get her at a really good price because of our friend's Kenny and Vicky who knew the owners. She came from a litter of twelve. We go to the house and the parents of Belle were the biggest dogs I have ever seen. The father's head was the size of a Volkswagen. We meet the puppies. Some of them were jumpy and crazy. My only requirement was a female being we had a male dog already. Belle was quiet yet interested. She was doing puppy things but not all crazy and we instantly fell in love. We took her home. She was so easy to potty train and crate train. She never chewed up anything except the occasional Barbie when it was in her space. She rarely went to the bathroom in the house. She did do some things that made me insane though and always muttered "that stupid dog" when she did. For instance, most dogs will bark and scratch the door to let you know they need to go out. Not Belle. She would come up to you and stare you down until you got so tired of it you got up to let her out. There were a couple times she assumed we were not home and just went in the house. Let's just say cleaning up after a 150 pound dog is not like cleaning up after a Chihuahua but as much as it made me crazy I would do it gladly if she could be here for awhile longer. She would eat entire loafs of bread off the table, if left within her reach. We never had to worry about her getting anything else off the counter or table though. There was one time after I gave birth to Hannah though that somebody made me spaghetti sauce. It was frozen when brought to me so I left it out to thaw. Most dogs would make a complete mess of it after eating it but not Belle. She pulls it down tears a corner off the bag and licks it all out leaving me an empty bag on the floor. No mess to clean up. I could not even get mad at her because it made me laugh.
There was one thing she hated. Cats. She chased them whenever the opportunity arose and was the only time I have ever seen her run. Except one cat. Our cat Mittens. After Abby begged and pleaded for a day to let the cat that found us to live with us, Doug tried to prove a point that Belle hates cats. Abby brings the cat in and Belle could have cared less. The cat stayed.
She was wonderful with our girls from the time they were little babies. They would crawl on her and sit on her like a horse. Most said she was not a dog but a miniature pony. They would pull on her lips and she just sat there and let them. She loved them. She had to be right where they were especially when new people came over. She just always made her presence known quietly. She never growled. She just let people know I am here and they are mine. As a matter of fact, she had to be outside with me when I went. I never realized it until recently. It is because she was so passive in her protection of us. One time camping I had to leave and come back. She followed me out the gate and waited for me. She is not even my dog, she is my husband's dog. I never ever worried about how she would react if somebody ever tried to hurt me. I know she would protect me. Now if there is a bug zapper anywhere, that is a different story. She was deathly afraid of them. It was the most ridiculous site ever. If she heard it she refused to go outside. Try moving a passive aggressive 150 pound dog. That was a workout in itself. I always had to make sure it was turned off or getting her out was a chore. She also hated scales and that was ridiculous as well to get her to stand on a scale and stay on it. Bull Mastiffs are prone to cancer and do not live long They live on average less than ten years. Before my husband came home from Iraq, I noticed a growth on her back the size of a grapefruit. It grew very fast because I never noticed until it was that size. the vet could not confirm it was cancer but said she did not feel good about it. She did not act or look sick. she just looked like the hunch bank of Notre Dame. We decided to not make any decisions until Doug got back. It is like she waited for him and for a final trip to Fl to see the rest of our family to have it get worse. Our trip to Fl was wonderful but that is when she started to deteriorate. We had to help her get up to go out. Reality hit us. We knew when we got back that we would be making that call. It was only three days after coming back that it hurt to look at her in such pain. She panted constantly and the morning we called the vet, she was laying down with her back legs straddled in an unnatural position. Doug and I stayed with her when they euthanized her. She calmly just went to sleep. Hardest thing we have had to ever endure.
The house is not the same. I keep expecting to hear her role over. I keep expecting to hear her scare the crap out of everybody that walks by the back yard with her low bellowing bark. I keep expecting to see her run after any cats she sees outside. I don't know how long we will keep feeling this way or how long it will be before we want another dog because I know we will never find a dog like her. She really was the best dog ever.