ROGER & OUT
Reprinted by permission from the Journal of Pediatrix Medical Group, Volume 1, Number 7, November, 1994
If you have ever been to my house, you have met Leo.
For those of you who haven't (and you're welcome any time you're in town), Leo is my dog. His real name is Leonardo and when I tell people that, they always ask "Oh, you named him after the artist?" Unfortunately we're not quite that cultured in our family, we named him after the Ninja Turtle.
If you don't have kids or have just been too busy watching the World Series this year, the country was invaded a while back by four Teenage Mutuant Ninja Turtles, named Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael. It seems there were four baby turtles in a sewer .... never mind.
I have had dogs on and off my whole life. In fact, I've always had a secret yearning to be a dog breeder and apply all of my knowledge in genetics to mating the best pair of dogs possible and thus obtain the perfect dog. To a large degree it is Leo's fault that I haven't done this. Let me explain.
Leo is an English Mastiff. This is an old British breed used for guarding castles, etc. The name may stem from the word "massive," as indeed they are. Leo is four years old and weighs 210 pounds. This is the third mastiff in our family and indeed a special dog. He's the most naturally obedient dog I've ever known (a good thing ... remember the joke about the 500-pound canary?). He seems to have a built-in desire to please people no matter what. He's the only dog I've ever owned who will consistently, 100% of the time, come when called. I don't even use a leash when I walk him. It doesn't matter if there are kids, other dogs, whatever. When I call him, he comes. I've trained him to sit, to stay, to go to his place (a special rug at home where he goes whenever I want him out of the way), etc., etc. and it has never been so easy. Ana, our housekeeper, is from Guatemala. She speaks to the dog in Spanish and he listens!
He is calm, craves to spend his time with you, is never in a bad mood and his day is perfect if you pay a little attention to him.
His parents are both champions, not only for their breed, but also for obedience. His dad, "Titan," 240 pounds, is probably the Mastiff with the most obedience titles in the country.
Where all of this is leading you probably have already guessed. Sometimes the things we desire the most are already there; we just need to be patient and let time run its course.
It was total serendipity that we found Leo. In fact, the breeder still had him at 12 weeks of age, only because the original buyers had backed out at the last minute. Their loss was, of course, my gain, as they walked away from the perfect dog.
Roger and Out