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COMPANION OF THE YEAR

COMPANION OF THE YEAR

Though many Mastiffs will never enter the show ring or only appear there briefly, we think every single Mastiff is very special. Each of them is a wonderful companion, in that special Mastiff way, to the people who love them best. So we wanted to do something to allow for public recognition of the companionship that Mastiffs provide us.

We have therefore suggested, and the committee has kindly agreed, to make an annual award of the title "Mastiff Companion of the Year". Every Mastiff owned or part owned by a member of the club (except Mastiffs owned by us) is eligible to be nominated as Mastiff Companion of the Year and, yes, interstate and overseas Mastiffs are very definitely eligible to be nominated.

All you have to do is write a letter to the club explaining why the Mastiff you want to nominate is a wonderful companion to the people it lives with. You can write in about your own Mastiff or on behalf of another member. You can also write in about a Mastiff that has died during the year. As far as space permits, a selection of the letters will be printed in the newsletter so other members can read about some of our special Mastiffs.

The Mastiff to be named as the Companion of the Year will be selected by a member who is appointed by the committee and who doesn't own a Mastiff at the time. They will be asked to read the letters sent in and select the letter that, to them, best describes the special companionship that a Mastiff gives.

The Companion of the Year will be announced at the club Christmas Party. The winning dog's name will be engraved on a trophy we are donating to be held by the club as a perpetual record. The owners of the winner will also receive a trophy to keep. The perpetual trophy was kindly donated by John and Sara Reid.

The Companion of the Year is announced at the Championship Show.

2011 Companion       2008 Companion         2007 Companion       

2006 Companion         2005 Companion         2004 Companion        2003 Companion

2002 Companion         2001 Companion         2000 Companion        1999 Companion


2011 Companion Of The Year

Congratulations

CLINTON

Aust. Ch. Yanoor Tip O The Iceberg (AI)

 Bred, owned & loved by

Gabrielle & Paul Simmonds

 Submission made by

Janine Morffew

 I did not realise that someone could submit another person’s dog for the Companion of the Year award. Had I known this I would have submitted Clinton years ago! He is owned and bred by Gabrielle and Paul Simmonds and Debbie Hobbs, lives with Gabrielle and Paul, and is exhibited and managed by Gabrielle.

I have loved many of the Mastiffs bred by Gabrielle and Paul Simmonds under their prefixes of Marstenmoor and Yanoor, but Clinton has always stood out as he reminds me of my boy Diesel that some of you may remember. They are very similar in looks and this is what has drawn me to him over the years....along with his outstanding temperament!

Clinton has done therapy work as an accredited DOGS Victoria therapy dog; excelled in the show ring; sired some stunning pups all around the world; but his gentle and kind nature is always foremost to me. 

Every time I have visited Paul and Gabrielle, Clinton has made it his job to welcome me into the home. He always gives his bark to let them know there is a visitor but he is first to the door with a beautiful greeting and usually settles himself on the settee next to me. I am not special to him as he does this with all visitors, he just loves everyone, but he is very special to me and after being mastiffless for almost 5 years now it makes me so happy to have this treatment from him. It is like coming home to something I miss very much.

In the first few months of 2010, Clinton started to exhibit lameness and he was very sore in his foreleg. He was x-rayed and then referred to a specialist for CAT scans. He was diagnosed with bone cancer. A follow up CAT scan one month later was performed to confirm the original diagnosis, revealing that the cancer had grown. It was a terrible blow and shattered both Paul and Gabrielle, many times I spoke to Gabrielle she was in tears as his pain was getting worse. Paul was just very quiet about it as men often are. Many times after we hung up from our calls I was in tears at home. It was heartbreaking that this had to happen to such a brilliant ambassador for our breed.

One particular day I was under the impression that this was to be the day he was to leave us, I was miserable at work all day and could not get him out of my mind and imagining the pain both Paul and Gabrielle would have been in. I rang them that night and he was still with us, it was only a check-up so I was very relieved yet felt that this would not be a long reprieve. 

Not long after, his condition deteriorated significantly, as was always expected - it was Wednesday morning. So the decision was made and arrangements commenced to have him put to sleep on the Friday at home. 

This is the unbelievable part now. By the Thursday afternoon, he seemed to be improving: he was able to get up more easily and then not so sore when he did move. After consultation with the vet, everyone was in agreement that he had improved enough to put euthanasia off for the immediate time.

Now, I have never heard of this happening before, perhaps there is something to say for the power of prayer, perhaps this is a real miracle, who knows, but this dog who was booked in for euthanasia last year, won the Open Dog class at the MCOV Club Championship Show in April this year (as well as the very important Farnaby Perpetual Trophy for Best Brindle). And I was very glad to be there to see it and cheer for him!

Clinton is a dog who gives our breed a good name, and in these days of Dangerous Dog Acts and anti-dog people trying to make things hard, we need him, and others like him, to keep promoting what we all know, that the Mastiff is a gentle soul and individuals of the breed have so much love in their hearts that they need their giant bodies to hold it all. 

One more thing, as many of you know I do dress up ‘Mastiff’ for many of our events, and every now and then I grow my nails and wear stickers I have which are always dog related.  I contacted a supplier in the US and had some custom made, some are of Clinton and I now wear him on my

fingers. Such a handsome boy, how could I not?  Make sure you check them out at our next get together. 

Janine.

 

 

2008 Companion Of The Year

TABS

Tabitha has been a companion in so many ways. Now in her twelfth year, she has been with us since she was twenty months old. As a lively, young energetic Mastiff she was interested in everything. When she was joined by Hugo, our second  Mastiff, she undertook to educate him in the ways of our household. ‘Basically, Hugo, I go first - always!’ Even though she was much the smaller dog, she always won the wrestling competition; Hugo knew when to give in and roll over. She was also a very happy companion to our two ‘therapy dogs’, Jack and Vegas, who lifted our spirits after Hugo’s loss. After Hugo passed away she has become matriarch to the two young arrivals - Jester and Maya. They were  immediately educated by Tabitha; she showed them who gets the first treat, who gets the first drink from the water bowl, who gets first choice of the bones, and, of course, who gets to sleep on the bed! Now, even on wobbly old legs she is still the first out of the door to investigate noises off in the bush.

For us Tabitha has made coming home every day a celebration. She will find a shoe or boot to bring in to show you how happy she is to see you. This is followed by compulsory play, which she will allow Jester and Maya to join in after she has made you welcome. Her younger companions adore her and play with her   constantly. She loves company and will make anyone welcome after we have approved them; then follows a fearfully intimate inspection. Last Christmas we had relatives visiting from New Zealand. Tabitha loved the company of the three young girls Grace, Sophia and Emily, and showed extraordinary patience when she had her collar decorated with festive ribbons. As the oldest dog she was happily adopted by Emily, the youngest daughter. Tabitha loved all the attention.

For us Tabitha has been a constant joy; we have been lucky to share our lives with her. Part garbage-bin, cook’s assistant and dedicated consultant on all matters culinary (both canine and human), she can be relied on to know when a treat might be due. But greeting us has always been more important. As a younger dog she had to endure a series of major operations and long periods of confinement in recuperation. She put up with the treatments and restrictions and was always happy to see us; our return still seems to be the highlight of her day. We are thrilled to have her as our companion.

 

Chris Harrington and Deborah Holland       

 

 

 

2007 Companion Of The Year

BRONX

(BISS/Aust. Ch. Yangerdook The Bronx)

 

Our time with BRONX

Whilst squatting before him to say hello one Sunday afternoon at KCC Park, Bronx introduced himself to me with an affectionate lick on the chin. That simple, friendly act along with a look in his eyes that touched my soul, was all it took, I was gone hook line and sinker… we had connected.

I was accompanying a friend who was considering a new pup and Bronx had caught my eye in the ring with his terrific conformation, and truly impressive display of saliva flinging. He had entered the ring as menacing as a tank and left it looking like a princess with a tiara of pure saliva, how could you not love him?

With each subsequent show I attended I looked for him and admired him even more, and when the opportunity came for him to live with us, I couldn’t have been happier.

 

The only storm cloud on the horizon was my daughters’ 14yr old Stafford ‘Darcy’ who had ruled the roost all of his life, how would he cope with a behemoth like Bronx entering his domain and what troubles were looming?  Bronx diffused all concerns when, as a perfect gentleman, he allowed Darcy to set the parameters and code of conduct of the new relationship. There were a few skirmishes on points that needed clarifying but once the rules had been agreed upon domestic bliss rained and a companionship of sorts evolved. The two of them are similar brindles with almost identical markings, Bronx views Darcy as a ‘mini–me’ and really likes his little buddy but if Darcy, as a cranky old man, becomes unreasonable on a point of contention, Bronx will gently place a paw upon him and squash him flat until Darcy changes his opinion and thus consensus is generally reached.

The first night he came home Glenda settled down with a bowl of fruit salad to watch a favourite show on TV when, in an obvious attempt to impress her, Bronx, with a flick of his head, flung an imposing strand of saliva which flew in a graceful arc across the room to land with incredible precision in the centre of her bowl just as she was taking her first spoonful.

I was disappointed that she did not appreciate the skill level required to do that.

My adult son plays a lot of sport and has an active social life, on the odd occasion he comes home inebriated and wanders into our bedroom for a 3am chat, Bronx, with a long, low rumbling growl, takes it upon himself to escort him down to his bedroom in a no-nonsense manner. He marches behind him as he ricochets of the hall walls like a pin ball to his room and once the door is closed and satisfied that his message has been well received, Bronx will come back to bed to resume his window rattling snoring.  

It didn’t take us long to realise that Bronx has issues with cats.

Apparently he sees them as some sort of menace, and feels a need to move them on (to a better world if possible) for safety’s sake. Any that innocently wander into the yard usually find themselves rapidly shifting scenery in an acutely heightened state of awareness with 104kg of brindled fury encouraging them to leave.

He takes his job of eradicating the cat peril so seriously that he is occasionally involved in head-on collisions with letter boxes and gate posts when out on his evening walks, a painful consequence of his undivided attention being directed up driveways in focused vigilance of stray moggies.

Not so long ago a 4 week old kitten was found abandoned on our front lawn, it was cautiously introduced to Bronx who was showing an intense interest in our little visitor, (he was sniffing it so hard that I thought he might inhale it and lodge it in a nostril), to our relief he demonstrated his civility by treating it with impeccable propriety… we should have known better.

The chook that was discovered in our back yard around the same time was a different story altogether, it took Bronx about a nano-second upon introduction to figure out that it was made of chicken… and from that point on it was considered fair game. Perhaps the fact that he eats chicken frames and mince daily had something to do with it, but the chook was eventually hand-balled to a friend living up in the Dandenong’s for its safe keeping.

Unfortunately it was taken by a fox the following night which at the end of the day only confirmed Bronx’s gut feeling regarding its destiny.

Another that felt Bronx’s power of persuasion was a homeless man that unfortunately decided to sleep under trees in the playground one door up from our home. I usually walk the dogs early morning and late evening, and on this occasion dawn had not broken, it was still dark. We entered the park with Bronx off the lead and shortly afterward there was a dreadfully rude awakening for the poor vagrant.

All hell broke loose as he woke to find himself face to face with what must have seemed to him, the dog from hell, at full noise, just inches from his face.

Terror reigned; at first I thought he had a possum bailed up in the dark until I saw the shadowy figure of a man high-stepping out from under the tree line with the silhouette of a fully involved mastiff just inches behind, barking and bellowing in a universal language that could not be mistaken. Despite my lame assurances that “it’s ok mate, he’s friendly” the mortified man gathered pace and wordlessly decamped only to be nearly run down as he ran past our front gate by my son who was leaving for work. It looked like a bad start to a day that was rapidly worsening… I often wonder if he made it to dusk, (haven’t seen him since).

Bronx seems to have adapted to ‘life in the burbs’ reasonably well, when we walk down the main street the Vietnamese run out of their shops saying “Ohhh, like a Tiger” in admiration and photograph him on their mobile phones…he takes it all in his stride.

He always alerts us to any visitors, challenging any one who enters the property and on one memorable occasion I opened the front door to find a little Indian national promoting a service provider. I had Bronx by the collar and as I opened the door the hawker stumbled backwards with his eyes wide and jaw gaping, all he could manage to stammer in a heavy accent was “Oh My God it’s a DOG! …… It, it’s like a Buffalo, I don’t believe it!

That was a pleasant change from the horse analogies we usually get.

He enjoys walking along the nature strips alongside the train lines but seriously wants to derail every train that thunders past.

The first time he launched himself at one took me by surprise; luckily I had a good hold of him.

Early each Saturday morning I walk the dogs off the lead at a remote local reserve and Bronx loves nothing more than galloping after the pine cones I throw for him, he enjoys the freedom and the exercise and usually has to be half lifted and shouldered back into the car protesting via passive non-compliance when it’s time to leave.

Sunday mornings its beach time, he loves chasing and biting at the waves as they lap the shore and both dogs enjoy retrieving the sticks I throw into the sea.

Darcy, (just to show who’s who in the zoo) insists on chasing the larger sticks meant for the big fellow, leaving the ever-obliging Bronx with the smaller sticks. They are a sight walking along the beach with their individual treasures, Darcy looks like a tight rope walker carrying a balancing pole and Bronx, holding his little stick in his mouth cigarette style, looks like some sort of try hard tough guy.

Darcy yells abuse at every jelly fish he finds washed up on the shore, he is convinced they are alien life forms, but Bronx just looks on with disdain as he knows they are only seal snot and nothing to get excited about.

We usually stop at the life saving club café afterwards for a hot chocolate and a treat for the dogs and, as is usually the case with Mastiffs, Bronx is a sensation, he has his own fan club and all the regular dog walkers on the beach know him, with some even bringing him a treat. He does the breed proud with his cool demeanour and polite acceptance of other dogs when socialising. He has little yap-yaps shrieking at him, some larger dogs wary of him and has even had the occasional lunatic K9 question his authority, but all are greeted with a wagging tail and friendly disposition.

His good temperament was confirmed during an early morning walk we were taking through the Royal Botanical gardens in the city. He was suddenly besieged by two bus loads of Japanese tourists taking photos and wanting a pat, he posed and presented like an A list celebrity until everyone was happy, he was amazing.

He has also survived (with distinction) three tours of duty at the Caulfield Racecourse Pet Expo where he has been petted, prodded, poked and over crowded all day in high temperatures.

Bronx has to come up to the bed to say goodnight when it’s lights out and after a final pat on the head for the day settles down to sleep alongside the bed. He shadows me wherever I go, he hangs on every word I say and helps me in the garden, he watches TV lying across my feet, and either holds my hand with his paw or places it on my foot when I talk to him… he just has to touch you when close by.

Another of his endearing traits is his refusal to enter the house unless invited and only then after he has held up each of his front paws to be wiped.

He is incredibly interested in one of his favourite subjects, food, and carefully studies every movement anyone makes when there’s food around. At these times his saliva glands kick in and he usually decides to wash the floor in his own inimitable way, and, when fully stimulated, has the ability to shower anything or anybody within range, much to everyone’s distress. He can scatter people like no other when he winds up for a head shake and when he does its every man for himself.

I don’t know who started it but Bronx and Darcy insist on having a piece of toast which must be buttered to each corner then spread with a generous topping of jam and cream each morning. They sit side by side, bolt upright with Bronx doing waterfall impersonations, (sometimes over an unblinking Darcy) and they do not relax nor are satisfied until it’s ‘mission accomplished’.

After the very first tasting they insisted that this ought to become a routine, or even better, an immediate and sacred tradition never to be broken.

He also does his little bit for the environment by offering to eat any and all leftovers after each meal and by conscientiously watering each and every single damn tree in the neighbourhood whilst out on our walks.

Bronx has lived with us a little over twelve months now, endearing himself to all who have met him (with the exception of the homeless man).

He is a gem and we are fortunate to have him as part of our family and grateful to him for introducing us to the mastiff experience.

He possesses Beauty without Vanity,

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity

and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices

(With apologies to Lord Byron).

Clive & Glenda Saultry and family.

 

 


2006 Companion Of The Year

OUR VERY SPECIAL BOY

 BEAR 

BANPHSTY LORD BARNABUS (Australian Champion)

Paul knew a little about Mastiffs, having wanted one since he was a young boy, whereas Cheryl knew nothing about the breed and simply picked Bear for his beautiful fawn colouring - a feature which draws much favourable comment. Cheryl likened him to a bear and the name stuck. When told his name people often respond “But of course”.

We had no intention of becoming involved in the dog show world, but on his first birthday Bear competed (well) in his first shows – an Open Show and a Championship Show. He achieved his title just over 13 months later and was the Utility Dog Club’s top male Mastiff for 2005.

Showing is part of his life however Bear quite obviously loves being a socialite and companion. He has helped an elderly lady from our neighbourhood overcome her great fear of dogs after being attacked by her own Afghan hound. She progressed from a 10 metre stand-off to hugging his neck.  Bear is a regular and popular visitor to the retirement village where Cheryl’s mother resides. He is also walked to visit a close friend with cancer, to brighten his day. Our immediate neighbours marvel at how quiet he is.

A school cricket match at a nearby park was halted so that the children could gather around for a “show and tell” session. On another occasion a little girl at an ‘after school care facility’ at a local park was overheard to say to a little boy “Don’t be silly Daniel, it’s only Bear”.

A teenage boy came especially to the recent Perth Royal Show to see Bear, having met him the previous year at the show. We took the lad’s photo with Bear and emailed it to him, much to his delight. On the same day a primary school teacher took a series of photos to show her young students. Countless other photos were taken, even when he sound asleep and snoring (noisily).

Our Bank Manager recently came to our home, on the pretext of delivering an Application form, however it was obvious that he actually wanted an updated photo with the dog, having previously had his photo taken with Bear at the 2005 Perth Royal Show. These photos were soon emailed to his family in Malaysia, the family having owned a Neopolitan / Bullmastiff cross they previously thought big.

Bear’s reputation has passed to friends of friends, who have then invited us over so that they can meet our boy personally.  On one occasion we were a little concerned, as the hosts were to have their lovely gardens open as part of the “Open Garden Scheme” the following weekend, and Mastiff’s do have awfully large feet.  The worst that happened was he plodded straight through their frog pond.  No harm done and he has been invited back.

Bear was a great hit at a ‘Pet Week’ promotion at a local pet shop and when we take him on outings to either of two favourite seaside towns he is quite a tourist attraction - stopping the traffic, having photos and even movies taken of him.  On a recent such outing, a lady passing by summed it all up, saying “How lucky you are to see that beautiful sight when you wake up each day”.           Paul and Cheryl Hinchon

 

 

2005 Companion Of The Year

The 2005 Mastiff companion of the year was awarded to "Raff" owned and loved by The Gray family

I think Raff should be the companion of the year because he’s a brilliant show dog, a loving pet and a great guard dog. He’s an excellent pet because Sophie and Ally (my 3 & 4 year old sisters) can be playing on the trampoline and he will just sit there and not get upset with them for jumping on up and down on his bed, and when we make daisy chain necklaces for him he wears them happily.

At night when we bring him inside to sleep on his enormous orange pillow, he’ll just sit there and watch what your doing, until we move into another room when he likes to do the army crawl, without standing up he drags himself into the room we are and then quickly drops his head, like “Me move? I didn’t move! Don’t know what are you talking about?”

Dad thinks he leaves a little to be desired as a guard dog because he lets people get into the backyard but won’t let them leave, like when two workmen jumped the fence to have a look at the storm water drain and he kept them trapped in the back corner for 20minutes. Dad says he’s not stopping them from going because he’s a guard dog, but more likely because he thinks they would be good company and he doesn’t want them to go because he wants to play with them.  But when someone knocks on the front door he barks a lot, like when the Australia post delivery man rang the door bell and insisted on Dad opening the front door to get a signature for a parcel, he soon changed his mind when he saw Raff’s head poke through the door, he dropped the package and ran saying “Don’t worry, rules were meant to be broken!”

As a show dog he’s a bit energetic and happy, everybody knows he’s a loving dog by the way his tail never stops wagging, but in spite of sitting when he is suppose to be standing, or sniffing the ground when he is meant to be trotting around, he still manages to bring home great prizes!

All round he’s a loving, loyal, friendly Mastiff and definitely a big part of our family. That’s why I believe he should be the companion of the year!

By Bianca Gray  
(Age 11  years)  


2004 Companion Of The Year

The 2004 Mastiff companion of the year was awarded to "Shadow" owned and loved by Meredith & Adrian Dunlop

Hi, my name is Shadow and I wish to nominate myself this year. My biological parents Orla Simmonds & Albert Hobbs could not afford to feed all of us kids so I was adopted to my new parents Meredith & Adrian at 8 weeks of age. I lived with my new family in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne and have recently travelled north to Caringbah, Sydney.

My story begins almost one year ago...Dad came home from work with a big smile on his face, normally when he comes home from work he has his grumpy face on and I have to do my stuff to make him happy, sniffing his crotch and slobbering on his suit generally works a treat. Anyway this day he was already happy and after some chit chat Mum was happy too. Not long after that Dad packed his clothes, told me I was in charge and left. My mum was sad.

Being a Mastiff bitch approaching the terrible 2's is hard enough without the added responsibility of also being the man of house.

I was Mum's emotional support, we shared many late lonely nights watching chick flicks together, shedding a few tears. Actually Mum did all the tear shedding, I was busy sleeping and my caring Mum would wake me to tell me it was time to go to bed...go figure. Mum would complain I was sleeping too loud and would turn the picture box up, so I would sleep louder, the picture would get louder and so on, we would play this game for hours. I would always win, I am the loudest sleeper in our t>

Then there was the house, many hours spent patrolling the perimeters ensuring my mum was safe inside. My vocals have certainly developed in recent months, plenty of barking to let everyone know I was in charge. Mum had some funny men come and pack up all my stuff, my water dish, food bowl and house all vanished. I was a bit confused, so Mum took me to happy place...NANNIES, I love my nanny, only one problem, no toilets at Nannies.

Lots of red bricks and grey pavers but no green toilets. For nearly two whole days I had to hold my urges until my Dad called in for his weekly visit and took me for a walk....phew, what a relief....Dad needed both his hands...that will teach him to leave me.

Then one Saturday morning Mum & Dad said we would go for a little drive. In the car I hopped, Mum and Nanny were shedding more tears, I think Collingwood must have lost the night before...well a little drive...after a while I laid down across the back seat, every so often I would sit up and look at my Mum & Dad with those "are we there yet" eyes, they would say something like not long to go now, for 9 hours and 865klms we played this game.

My new house is near the beach, Mum & Dad know I do not like the beach so I do not understand. Anyway Dad has resumed his role as man of the house, not that I miss it. My Mum has given up her job to stay home and take care of me, I think she is feeling guilty for relying on me so much over these past 7 months and is trying to make it up to me. I have made my first new friend, his name is James, he is a 2 legged 4 yo, he is tough, I can bark at him with my angry bark and he laughs at me. He even told his Mum he was not scared of me....hope no burglars heard that.

So why do I think I should be Companion of the Year, cause I provided my Mum with company and protection, supervised the removalist, arranged temporary accommodation at Nannies and then navigated all the way to Sydney, selected our new home and helped Mum unpack. Without me my Mummy would never have coped on her own.

 Bye for now....Shadow

(Submitted by Adrian Dunlop)


2003 Companion Of The Year

The 2003 Mastiff companion of the year was awarded to "Arnie" owned and loved by Katrina & Peter Spence of Victoria. 

Hello, my name is Arnie and if you hadn’t guessed I am a rather large Mastiff dog, last time I weighed in at 102kg. I live in Black Rock, a bay side suburb of Melbourne, with my masters Peter & Katrina and my little Cocker Spaniel companion Tiffany.  Some people now call me Arnie of Black Rock but I used to be called Arnie of Avenel, as I was born in that country town about four and a half years ago.

I lived my early puppy days with my former master Russell and his family and lots of other Mastiffs.  It was a wonderful place and I had plenty of fun wrestling with my brother Max, the other Mastiffs and Russell’s children.  Avenel is a country town, so there was lots of grass, trees and open space around.  I would spend my days playing and at night I would sleep with m mum Molly. Russell named me Arnie after Arnie the actor who plays the role of the Terminator.  He thought the name was right, as I grew so big so quickly.

One day when I was about eight months old my current masters visited to “have a look at me”.  I did not know why they wanted to look at me but they were very friendly.  I remember them telling Russell that they were sad because their other Mastiff Bess “had gone to God”.  I don’t know where that is but it seemed like it might be a nice place, the way Peter and Katrina talked about it.  They smelled really good; they patted me and told me that I looked good.  Afterwards they went into the house with Russell and then they left.  I hoped that they would come back and “look at me” again as I enjoyed their company.

Not long after this they returned to Avenel.  I remember them handing Russell some folded paper stuff and then they put me on a lead and took me to their car.  Peter had to get my front legs into the back of the car and then hoist my rear end to lift me in.  I laughed to myself because I could have easily just got in myself but I let him lift me anyway!  Then the car started moving and I saw lots of different things going past and I began to wonder

where we were going.  Peter and Katrina seemed to get a little edgy when I started to chew on the tasty leather covering of the back seats, it was delicious but I thought that I had better try to please them and stop the chewing.  Peter tried to eat a muesli bar so I hung over his shoulder and dribbled all over his back and neck, as I was hungry as well.  

The journey seemed to last forever until we came to an endless stretch of houses and big buildings, then we travelled along a road where Peter said “the beach looks great today”; he seemed to be looking at the open space which had a lot of water behind it.  It was the most water that I had ever seen.  I was getting thirsty and I would have liked to lap some of that up.

When we arrived at the house in Black Rock we were greeted by a little white dog known as “White Rose Lord Tim”, or “Tim” for short.  He was a Maltese Terrier and he taught me how to handle my masters and just about everything else.  He was an old stager at this, he had been around for a long time and he explained to me that they were good masters but you had to play the game, you know look sad and brighten up when you get a treat or what you want.  Because he was so much older than me, he was really the second in charge to my masters, although sometimes I wondered whether he was actually in charge and then that would mean that I would become second in charge, our masters third.  

Later I realised that there was another in our midst, the old cat known as Tiger.  I would try and play with him; he would get cranky and hook into my jowls with his claws.  I did not really mind him doing this as I have a lot of loose skin and it did not hurt.  One day he hooked me and his claw got stuck, I just kept walking around the yard with Tiger hanging off my jowls until it finally came lose.  Funny he didn’t do it much after that.

Every day Peter got up early and walked us along the “beach”, which was really nice to walk on, so soft and the sand felt good between my pads.  We would meet other dogs and people who would always say, “what sort is he?”, “how much does he eat?”, “oh there’s a contrast” and “the long and the short of it!”  With all that water around, I tried to lap it up and found that is tasted quite strange.  

Not all that long after I arrived, Tim also went to God.  Peter and Katrina were sad but I think it seems like a nice place so I was happy that Tim had gone there, as he seemed old and sick just before he left.  Soon after Tim went, Peter and Katrina went out one day and came back with Tiffany, the Cocker Spaniel.  She is a handful and keeps me very fit, I am always wrestling with her and chasing toys with her.

During the warmer months, Peter and Katrina take both of us around to the shops where Jim the man from the Deli always gives us a sausage roll or some other tasty treat.  I am always admired and patted by many people and they have come to know my name, my masters say that I am a bit of a “celebrity” in Black Rock.  

Peter still walks us along the beach every day.  One day we were coming back from the beach through the shops, I needed to do a poo although Peter did not know this.  Unfortunately it happened right outside the Taco Bill’s restaurant so Peter was not very happy for some reason; everyone seemed to take a great interest when he picked up after me.  I do not know why, but his face became quite red and he seemed really sheepish, normally if it happens elsewhere he just picks up using a bag and there is no fuss.  

Some of our friends describe me as a lion without a mane.  I do not go to shows but we are

members of the Mastiff Club and sometimes my masters take me to visit my relatives.  It is great fun and nice to see them from time to time.  My brother Max now lives in the United States, which is far away.  I don’t really miss him but I have great memories of us growing up together in Avenel.

All in all I have a great life, my masters work through the day but I have great fun with Tiff, we walk every day along a beautiful beach, I am inside and warm at night during the winter, I am cool during the summer and have plenty of good food.  The only complaint that my masters have is about my snoring, although it never worries me and I have never heard it.  At night I am relegated to the lounge room, while Tiff can sleep in her basket in the bedroom.  My masters treat me as one of their family and they regularly say that Tiff and I are very spoilt but we do not think so.  Life’s great being a family Mastiff, I couldn’t ask for more; maybe just a bit more of the Sunday lamb roast might not go astray.

 Peter Spence

 

 


2002 Companion Of The Year

The 2002 Mastiff companion of the year was posthumously awarded to "Boadicea" owned and loved by the Shaw family of Western Australia. Here is the poem written by Jackie, Wayne, Jordan and Benjamin.

20/10/97 - 28/04/02

Your fur vacuumed from the carpet
Your drool scrubbed from the wall
Not many signs left to remind me
That a Mastiff lived here at all.

Except for this giant hole
That nothing seems to fill
And I wonder my darling Boadi
If anything ever will.

The kids maybe too young to remember
But I won’t let them forget you
The one who stood always at their side
To guard with her life if she had to.

I remember you'd bark and protect us
From things new or simply out of place
And how you'd charge to get into the car
Though getting you out was done at no great pace!

Your most beautiful nature
A gentle giant indeed
But I must let you go now
And from your pain be freed.

So it's farewell for now
Walk with comfort in the next world
The most majestic of all creatures
My darling baby girl.

And just one last thing
Before I let you go
I love you with all my heart
And I miss you Bo.

Love Always Jackie, Wayne , Jordan & Benjamin Shaw

Barbara Everett & Family, Norman

XXX


2001 Companion Of The Year

The 2001 Mastiff companion of the year was "Rocky" (Yangerdook Lordokingrock) adored and cared for by Irene & Laura Hobbs. Here is the article written by Irene, and a photo of Rocky.

I’d like to share this story of our Mastiff "Rocky" with all Mastiff owners and those considering owning a Mastiff in the future.
We live on an isolated farm 30 kilometres out of Echuca. In May of last year I left home mid-afternoon to visit my daughter in-law and new baby in hospital. Rocky, who was 11 months old at this time was given the standard instructions, when I left – "You be a brave man and hold down the fort mate"!
After spending several hours at the hospital I left to come home; my daughter Laura who had met me there was to follow me home after she dropped off a friend in Echuca.
I arrived home about an hour after dark. I pulled up in front of the "house yard" fence to see Rocky standing there ready to greet me as he always does. As I watched him in the headlights I was surprised to see him barking at me. I entered the "house yard" telling Rocky to settle down and "I’ll get your tea", at the same time laughing at the way he was pushing me towards the house. Believed it was his way of showing his disapproval at being left alone for so long.
When I went into the house he remained on the veranda – his bark having taken on a serious tone.
In realizing that I had stupidly misread his warning, I immediately went out to him, asking "What is it mate? What’s the matter?" He was looking towards where I had parked the car. I thought perhaps it was a fox, so I stepped forward to go into the yard.
We have a closed in veranda and Rocky had take up position in the doorway. When I tried to go into the yard he laid his weight against me and forced me back into the veranda. I put my hand on his shoulders to reassure him, and felt him trembling with fear. I was baffled to think what it was that he could see.
I grabbed a torch and started to go out to see what it was. Each time I tried to take a step forward Rocky, who had not stopped barking the whole time, laid his shoulders against my thighs and tried to stop me going any closer. After a good 5 minutes fighting against Rocky, who was trying to push me back, I got into the yard, which is only fenced with "Ringlock".
In the six inch beam from the torch I saw the reflection of animal eyes about ten feet the other side of the fence.
By now Rocky’s bark had become hysterical! He was shaking so hard he could barely stand, but he remained in his sentry position in front of me.
I’m not a person who scares easily, but to see Rocky so frightened did unnerve me, but not as much as when I realized what I was looking at was a feral pig – a boar in fact – rooting around and crashing the cars with his huge tusks.
I ran back to the house to get the rifle, Rocky still barking and stuck to my thighs like "Velcro".
I rang my daughter, Laura, to ask where the bullets were for the rifle. When she heard Rocky so distressed and learned that there was a wild boar in the yard all she could say was "Please Mum, Lock Rocky up! Don’t let him get hurt!"
I gave up on her and found the bullets myself. By this time the pig had run up a sand hill. I went up the driveway to look for it, still with Rocky trying to stop me. It was pitch black outside and only had a small torch with which to see.
I was half way up the driveway when my husband, Rob, arrived home in his truck. When Rob saw me with the torch and the rifle, and saw Rocky, who by now looked as if he had rabies with white froth lathered all over his face, he jumped out of the truck yelling "What is it?"
When I told him it was a wild boar we got the spotlight and went after it, leaving Rocky locked in the house yard. At this point Laura drove in and saw the pig in her headlights, which she flashed to let us know. We shot the pig!
I came back immediately and got Rocky who was still barking, and I took him to show him that we had killed the pig. Only when he was sure that it was no longer a threat would he allow us to walk around freely or to inspect the dead animal.
Rocky is our first Mastiff and we’ve always had working dogs before. As anyone who knows working dogs knows, they are your "right arm" in the field. Of all the working dogs I’ve owned and known, I’ve never loved or felt so proud as I did of Rocky that night.
Even though he was only a pup, and was terrified himself, his one thought was to protect me. He was prepared to stand his ground against a beast, the like of which he had never seen or smelled before in his life, all because of his love and devotion to me.

Rocky is so much more than a companion. He is a true family member!

Irene Hobbs


2000 Companion Of The Year 

The 2000 Mastiff companion of the year was "Pumpkin" (Ch. Haanstorf Cleo) 
owned by Janine Morffew. Here is the article written by Janine, and a photo of Pumpkin.

Pumpkin will be nine in a few days, she is so special to everyone in my family and to so many people who have met her. I am not going to write about her show wins or litters, they are all in the past now, she is retired many years ago.

First and foremost she has been a great mate.

She has been there for me when the times have been so hard you want to walk away. There have been the deaths of Shadow, Thomas, Keena and Kira. All so special and missed so much, when you lose one of your dogs it hurts so much, but Pumpkin really comforted us, though she grieved herself for Thomas especially. She has taught "the newcomers" in the family manners, always the mother hen. She was never aggressive with any of them. Although she certainly let them know she was the boss and where they stood in the pecking order. When Diesel came to us, she looked at me as if to say, "give me a break, not another kid", she would put up with him crawling over her, dragging on her flews and tail, barking in her ears wanting her to play with him, when she had enough, she would show her teeth, I would tell her to be nice, then she would walk outside and of course Diesel would follow her, I would hear her growl and him yelp and he would come tearing inside and sit at my feet looking at me as if to say, "she hit me". Diesel will be 18 months soon, he always approaches the old girl with caution, testing the waters, if she ignores him, he lies down with her and snuggles right in, it is like she is a big soft security blanket, if she lifts her head and gives him "the look", he lowers his head in submission and goes and gets on the other bed.

She is devoted to my children, she has grown up with them, my boys are 13 and 11, they were only babies themselves when she came to us, when the boys are playing with Diesel, and he does tend to get a bit rough, she will hunt him away and protect the boys, though she is quite stiff now days and a lot slower. She is happiest when laying on her bed in the lounge or eating. Her two favourite pastimes.

I will always remember one year at the Royal Melbourne Show. A man and his young daughter stopped to speak with me about her, the man asked the usual questions, we have all heard them a million times, he then asked me if his daughter could pat Pumpkin and feel her all over as she was blind. I said of course she could. She came under the barrier and I sat her next to Pumpkin, the little girl touched her and her face broke into the most beautiful smile, she turned her face towards where I was speaking and told me my dog was "beautiful". No matter what anyone has ever said about Pumpkin, this little girl’s opinion has always meant the most to me.

Pumpkin is beautiful, loyal, loving, devoted and you would not be able to but a better mate than her. I am so grateful she has passed these traits on to not only her own babies, but the surrogates she has also raised. We all love you so much old girl.

Janine Morffew


1999 Companion Of The Year

The 1999 Mastiff companion of the year was "Tillie" (Ch. Fireshon Rain Song) owned by Paul & Gabrielle Simmonds. Here is the article written by Gabrielle, and a photo of Tillie

“TILLIE”

When speaking of companions, Tillie is just IT! Of course, we are biased, but how could we not be with Tillie in our home and lives. She is just adorable.
 She joined us in 1995 and was a wonderful buddy for our first Mastiff, Emma. Since that time, there have been several younger Mastiffs and older ones in our home, and Tillie has been exceptional with all of them.

Tillie assumes the mother and teaching role. It is quite extraordinary to watch her with young puppies – she gently plays with them, whilst still teaching them the rules. We have seen her physically intervene by positioning herself between youngsters that she perceives are playing too much. We remember one occasion when she laid down between two youngsters and gently nudged the youngest away from “the action”. We have seen her position herself between adolescents so often and ensure that play is kept in order. She is always gently and tolerates so much from these, at times, unruly puppies.

Just recently, after a new puppy had come into our home, Tillie became very attentive and kept whining as I was walking her on the road near our block. I couldn’t understand what the problem was, and then I heard the puppy crying. Tillie was so keen to get back home and once she was back, there were kisses and you’d think that they had been parted for months. She was obviously quite distressed about the welfare of the puppy.

Tillie loves her “walkies” and she doesn’t pull or bother about all the dogs barking. She accepts the puppies walking all around her and hassling her. She has her favourite spot where she selects the grass that she likes to eat and then walks through it to rub her belly. She says hello to the Golden Retrievers down the road, but takes on a more protective role if we are also walking the Flat Coat puppy.

To say that she has been more than accepting of this bouncy Flat Coat puppy is an understatement. She allows Belle to bound all around her, constantly licking the slobber from her mouth, and then lays down while Belle plays and barks at her. She is ever so tolerant, and that tolerance also extends to our active 12 month Mastiff, Whitbey.

So how is Tillie towards us and living with? She is the most loving and devoted companion who demands nothing (except her dinner if it is really late!). She always greets us with a present, whether it be a shoe, a cloth, or a leaf, if that’s all she can find – she takes great delight in presenting her gift to us. Tillie will never get on the couch unless the covers are on it; she loves to lie on the couch next to us with her head in a lap; she very gently paws for “more fuss”. Tillie will bark once or twice at the door if she wants to come in or go out; she will sit to have her paw wiped and then give you the other paw. She follows us to be where we are without being obtrusive and “in your face”; she doesn’t run around wildly and only barks for a very good reason. She is so perceptive to our moods and responds with affection to our times of sadness. She has her favourite human friends and they are always remembered and welcomed lovingly by her. She is just so cute when she looks up at us, half asleep, with her tongue just poking out – Tillie completely content!

Well, we just have to say that Tillie is the best dog ever to live with and the most wonderful companion. We know that we are very, very lucky to have her in our home. We care for her, but she gives far more to us than just caring for her. She is that reason to come home for every night because she is just so undemanding and unquestionably loving. She is an asset that a value cannot be placed on because she is just far too special. Our lives would certainly be unthinkably incomplete without her.

Tillie is just our best companion ever!

Gabrielle & Paul Simmonds