Big Dog Ownership
After publishing my Top 7 Reasons Why BIG Dog Ownership Is Not Right for Everyone, I was asked to publish a list on why people SHOULD consider a big dog. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I am not comfortable selling people on why they SHOULD get a big dog. Frankly, I am more concerned about deterring folks that aren’t the right home for a big dog, than I am convincing someone that they are.
That said, there are some aspects of big dog ownership that are unexpected, pleasant surprises, that cause us fanciers to move from thankful to obsessive, raging fans.
To illustrate the point further, with my first Mastiff, Maya, I was a big dog lover. A Mastiff fancier. An otherwise normal (sized) young lady with an abnormally large dog.
Today, with my third and fourth Mastiffs, Sulley and Junior, I am now known as a Big Dog Mom. A big dog writer incapable of writing anything on the topic of big dogs in less than 1000 words. An otherwise normal (sized) woman absolutely crazy in love with her ginormous dogs, drool and all.
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The Top 7 Unexpected Benefits of Big Dog Ownership
1. Crime Deterrent of Big Dog Ownership
A few weeks ago, on a routine walk around our neighborhood, Sulley and I observed a tall, unfit man in a black t-shirt and blue jeans meandering up the street towards my house. He seemed strangely devoid of purpose, walking slowly, yet progressively, down the street, alone. He didn’t seem lost and he carried nothing with him except for his creepiness.
Sulley and I followed Creepy Guy at a distance. The man saw us and moved across the street toward the house on the corner. He walked up to our corner neighbor’s house and stood right near their door, but not up to it like he was knocking or ringing the doorbell. He waited there for about 15 seconds while the tiny dogs inside barked and then turned around to head back in the direction he had just come from. Sulley and I continued walking in the general area so I could keep a skeptical eye on Creepy Guy. Once out of sight, Sulley and I went home and I promptly locked all the doors.
I have no idea where he was headed or why he was there. I had never seen him before, and fortunately, not again since that day.
If there was ever a day that I was relieved to have a big dog at my side, it was that day.
2. Big Dog Ownership Friendship Screener
In my post Welcome, Junior, The Most Irresistible Puppy on the Planet, I briefly addressed my reason for leaving my very successful career to stay home full time with my kids. Because I had a home office and a company car, on my last day of work, a company representative had to come and pick up my car, printer and a few other company-owned items. Keep in mind, Junior was about 13 weeks old at this time.
The representative was a middle-aged woman who took her job very seriously and wrote veeeerrrryyy slow.
Me: Stepping outside “My dogs are very friendly. Is it alright if I let them out to say hello?”
Slow Writer: “No, please don’t. Everyone says that, until their dog bites.”
Me: “Oh, it sounds like you’ve not had great experience with dogs. I’m so sorry. One of mine is just a “little” puppy and meeting new people is great socialization. Would you mind if I just let the puppy out to say hello?”
Slow Writer (as she’s still writing my name after this 3 minute conversation): “No.”
Me: “Ok. That’s too bad [wierdo].”
It’s moments like this when you realize who you could be friends with and who you want to grab the pen from and get them out of your house. What should have taken 10 minutes took over an hour, while adorable baby Junior and sweet Sulley watched us longingly from the back door.
3. Rock Star with No Talent Required
I joke often that when I take my dogs out in public, they are like rock stars. People flock to them like groupies at a rock concert. Because, of course, I am the one holding the leash and answering the questions about how much they eat and how much they weigh, I am, by extension, a rock star as well.
It’s a beautiful thing to not have a single talent to speak of and generate a fan base everywhere I go. Sure they aren’t taking the pictures of me, and, yes, I have been asked to step aside so they can get a better angle of Junior’s head. But, hey, not every job is lollipops and rainbows.
4. Big Dogs Ownership Inspires Creativity for Left-Brained People
When I was in high school I was told by my Home Economics teacher that I should consider going to college to be an actuary. An actu–what, you ask? An actuary. I quickly learned that an actuary is someone who does math all day in order to help organizations manage risk. These are folks with unbeatable analytical skills.
What I embraced as a compliment at the time was probably more a criticism of my lack of domestic skills; important activities like sewing, cooking, or carrying an egg around for a week pretending it was a baby (true story). For a chuckle on this last point, read Big Dog Mom’s Most Glaring Weakness Revealed and It Will Surprise You.
It all has to do with strengths. My strengths lie on the left side of my brain. I love writing, analyzing, being on time and logic. The discussion of feelings or emotions causes me to want to curl up in the fetal position.
So, what does all of this have to do with big dogs? Big dogs allow you to continually stretch and grow the weaker side of your brain. For me that is definitely the right side. Whether it is forcing me to be patient and take a break on a walk or giving me the opportunity to better understand their feelings and desires, big dogs have a unique power to defy the odds. I am helplessly uncreative, yet, I was able to actualize Big Dog Mom from concept to blog, create unique content and build the early stages of a brand.
5. Big Dog Ownership Solves the Size Complex
When I was in middle school, I was teased. I was taller than almost all of the other girls at my school and was painfully self-conscious of my size. While the other girls eventually caught up with the middle school giant (who hit 5’4.5” in middle school then stopped growing), I never quite got rid of that size complex.
So, when people see me with Junior or Sulley, their eye is drawn to them. “Wow, what a big dog!” NOT “Wow, what a Big Mom!”
Unexpected benefit of a very big dog.
6. Big Dog Drool Makes a House Cleaner… Say What?
You heard me right. Drool makes a house cleaner and I can prove it.
I believe there is a direct relationship between big dog drool and cleanliness. The more drool, the cleaner my house gets. I discussed this issue at great length in How To Make A Great First Impression Big Dog Mom Style. With just one Mastiff, I found myself not overly concerned with wiping dried slobber off walls, sweeping the floors, or laundering drool cloths laying around the house. With two Mastiffs, the drool cleaning is constant. In order to keep the accumulating drool and hair to a minimum, I have to stay on top of it, literally. The actuary in me feels compelled to share this relationship graphically, but I will spare you the nerdy details.
With a husband who is a bit of a clean freak, I think I have a pretty strong argument for a third Mastiff, don’t you think?
7. Big Dog Ownership Builds a Community of Big Dog Friends
And this is where all of you come in. One of the biggest and most unexpected benefits of big dog ownership has been the community of like-minded, drool crazy friends I have found. According to Strengths Finder, I have zero relationship building skills, and yet Big Dog Mom has grown exponentially since inception.
New big dog lovers find this blog and our community every day (**subscribe below**). Unfortunately for me, this growth is not due to my writing skills or charming personality. It is the power of our big dogs, their virtue, which brings us all together.
We are an exclusive group. Many of us have experienced the joy and worry of raising a large breed puppy. Too many of us have experienced the premature loss of a beloved best friend. We are all learning how to better love and care for our big dogs. And we share a love like no other.
Big Dog Mom brings us all together.
Big dogs make us who we are.