Almost everyone has heard the lazy student’s lame excuse for not turning in homework, i.e., “The dog ate it.” I could have used that one over and over again if I’d had Moses when I was a child.
Moses is my 9-year-old American Mastiff. I chose him after an internet search, and flew to Houston, Texas, to get him. I brought him home in a small carrier that fit under the seat in the airplane. Today, at 115 pounds, he’d require a seat of his own.
I’ve never had much luck training dogs. Moses had to repeat first grade, so we never went any further. He responds to, "come," "sit," and, "shake," most of the time. He’ll "stay," for a few seconds. He likes 98 percent of the folks he meets, but I never know who will fall into the two-percent category. He’s unpredictable. He might snap at someone for no apparent reason. He once bit a deputy sheriff who came to check on the burglar alarm. No skin was broken, but the deputy called twice to gather material for his report. So I put him in an outside pen when anyone comes to visit.
When I was having a doggie door installed in one of my back doors, friends admonished me, “A burglar could crawl through a door that big!” My reply was, and still is, “Let him try.”Moses is so tall that he can easily reach my kitchen countertops when he stands on his hind legs. He has eaten chicken thawing in my sink and a pork chop dinner that was cooking in my crock pot. So, everything edible that I don’t want refrigerated has to go on top of the refrigerator, which often gets quite crowded. I have a Scat Mat (a plastic strip that sends out a mild shock when touched) that I can put on the counter to keep him off. I also have fake ones I keep on the sofa to fool him. So far so good.
He’ll eat anything. Once I set some butter out to soften before baking cookies. It disappeared. For some reason, I thought a butter dish would deter him. I searched antique shops in Springville, Trussville and Tallahassee, FL, before finally finding a gaily-colored, hand-painted one last October in Cordoba, Spain. One day, I came home and found the top in the floor, where Moses had knocked it so he could eat the butter.