Guard Mastiffs; A Paradox

We recently bought a small sign that hangs on our front door. It says “Guard Mastiff On Duty” and has a depiction of an English Mastiff’s face on it. It makes me laugh every time I see it. While the sign (and Stella’s bark) might be effective if anyone who isn’t familiar with Mastiffs tries to rob us, any future felon familiar with the breed wouldn’t be intimidated in the least.

My giant dog is a giant wimp. I’ve posted before about her lack coordination. Let me now explain how fearful the poor thing is.

We got her as an adult dog from a friend of mine whose fence is more fashionable than it is functional when it comes to containing dogs the size of farm animals, so I can’t speak for what may have happened in her puppy years that may have traumatized her. Our first indication that we had adopted a ‘fraidy dog came a few weeks after we brought her home. She had already sufficiently overcome the expected fear of a new place and new family. She was waiting comfortably on her bed in our laundry room when we came home from the store one day. I had seen a large cat in the backyard when we pulled in the drive and I was anxious to see if she would be willing to chase the thing away. Please note, it wasn’t cruelty that drove my curiosity. My wife is allergic to cats and while I’m not one to unnecessarily inconvenience animals I feel that the needs of a human being take precedence over those of an animal. That being said, I let Stella out the back door and stood close by, watching, just in case she took the job of clearing our yard too personally. I needn’t have worried. In addition to being afraid of cats, our Stella is less than observant. It was nearly a full minute before she even noticed the creature. When she did she let out a deep and intimidating woof. The cat didn’t even react. It just kept sniffing around the kids’ gardens. Stella stuck her tail straight out and stalked to within about ten feet of the cat and barked again. The cat turned around and a massive Mastiff turned around and ran so fast and so footloosely that she barely stopped before crashing head first into the garage. She barked again, weakly, and trotted back into the house, nearly knocking me over.

Her running past me through the doorway seems surprising now since if I want her to stay in the laundry room, usually because we are eating dinner and she is eye level with our plates and not shy at all about sharing our food whether we are feeling generous or not, all I have to do is prop a broom against the wall just inside the laundry room door. She is horrified to walk past it. She’ll stare at it and whine from the back of the room and the second I move it she bursts in like she owns the place.

Our first Christmas season with her was interesting. We had our tree up and once, after dropping the girls off at school I returned home with the precocious five year old boy. Stella greeted us at the door, and, wagging her tail ferociously, knocked several ornaments off the tree. My son had run toward the street and as I hollered at him to stop, the ornaments began to hit the floor. Stella startled and charged forward, knocking me on my back as I desperately grabbed at her collar. For several short eternities I lay on my back, clinging with all I had to the worn bit of cloth that was all that restrained a monster from running amuck as I screamed at the youngster I could no longer see to get back to the house before he was killed. Somehow it all turned out ok. I wonder what if the neighbors noticed the disasters nearly averted that day?

Despite her uselessness as a guard dog she is quite adorable sometimes. I’ll try to walk by her as she lays on her side on the floor and she’ll paw at my ankle, nearly tripping me because she wants to be petted. Other times she lays her head on my lap and I’ll scratch her shoulders. Once it relaxed her so much she leaned against the ottoman. It slid, she fell, quite entertaining. She opens the door with her face when we come home. As soon as we crack it wide enough a huge, wet nose pokes through and she’ll jaw the thing open and block our entry in her excitement to say hello.

Her endearing qualities scored her a supporting role in the children’s book I wrote. If you’re interested, or know a young reader who might be, you can find “How Sir Donkey Legs Became a Knight” in paperback or ebook format on Google, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and xlibris.com on their online bookstore. You can also connect with me on Facebook. I use the username William Ennis. Everyone is welcome. Know that a portion of all money I receive from sales of my book (soon to be books) will go to programs dedicated to the enrichment and strengthening of families.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…love dogs, or any pets, for their endearing qualities even if they fail in other areas.

A don’t…judge me for plugging my book. I won’t be offended if you call it a silly thing. Also a don’t…think I’ve forgotten that Schnauzer. He’s scheduled to appear in the third book of the Sir Donkey Legs series.

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A New Children’s Book, Soon to be (hopefully) A Phenomenon

If you only know me based on what you’ve read in my blog, you may be surprised to find that I would even be capable of writing an appropriate children’s book.  Despite any misgivings you may have, I assure you I am capable of such.  Allow me to bore you with my philosophy.

Ideally a book should unite families in calm togetherness that they may venture for a while outside the realm of worldly cares.  A book should teach new words, inspire questions, conversation and laughter without boring anyone (in the case of this book “anyone” refers to parents) to too many tears.

I believe these to be true of all books, however, thick novels are often most satisfying when enjoyed silently and may not be ideal for family time.  I also believe that whatever is written will be loved by some and hated by some.  With a massive world population, rampant drug use and new psychoses being diagnosed everyday, one could find a willing audience for any sort of shenanigans if one tried hard enough.  I say this as a sort of backup disclaimer.  In other words I could have said “My description of my book as a means for families to come together and laugh and learn and be entertained is in no way a guarantee that you will experience these things when reading my book with your family.  It is also in no way implied or inferred that if you don’t enjoy it you must be psychotic or filled with intoxicants.”

A brief description of the book here follows:

There isn’t much to be said.  The title says it all.  This is the story of a young boy who earns the nickname of Donkey Legs and then is knighted after accidentally saving the kingdom.  Being a children’s book, I tried to keep the plot fairly simply so as not to overwhelm and kill interest.  I tried to keep it from becoming too long and tedious. I hope I succeeded.  I did, however, end on a cliffhanger.  This is designed to inspire discussion about the ending and, hopefully, excitement for the next book, which will be available as soon as I sell enough copies of this one to be able to publish the next.

I would also like to mention that a portion of all royalties I receive from book sales will go towards programs whose goal is the enrichment and strengthening of the family, which I believe is the backbone of any civilization.  I will also work toward assisting families who are in need of food, clothing and etc.

It is time again to bid you Adieu and A don’t.

Adieu…Purchase the book to enjoy with your children and/or recommend it to someone who might like to enjoy it with theirs.  By doing so you’ll help me help families.  It is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com in paperback and e-book formats. If you like you can friend me on facebook for updates on new books and amusing generalities when the updates are few. Search for William Ennis if you find yourself inclined to do this.

A don’t…feel pressured to buy or share it.  I’m not a natural salesman and now feel guilty for this semi self-serving request.