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Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
By Kenneth Heath
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“Caesar!” A name to be feared, but “Julius” couldn’t compare to my dog, “Caesar.” We first met in a little village called Berlin. As the local Sheriff, I was delivering a subpoena, when I met him. Sitting in a fenced-off part of the yard he watched me drive up. On seeing him, my blood ran cold, he was huge and I quickly checked to see if there were any gaps in the fence. I had never seen such a large dog and had visions of being shredded before I could make it to the front door.
Exiting my vehicle I decided to take a closer look and to my surprise he was as docile as a lamb, allowing me to scratch his head through the wire. Standing on his hind legs, he looking me straight in the eye. He must have weighed at least 140 pounds, but I never knew his true weight, as it proved much too difficult to weigh him. What really made him stand out were his muscles, he was definitely the “Mike Tyson” of Bullmastiffs. Muscles bulged from every angle and there was no fat on him. Thick veins bulged on his massive head and the thighbone of an ox was no match for his massive jaws.
There was more to Caesar than his huge size, it was his eyes and vibrant personality that caught my attention. He spoke with his eyes and while Bullmastiffs do have expressive faces, Caesar spoke directly to me with his big brown eyes. He was asking for help and at first I thought that he just wanted to get out and run around but that was not the reason, you see Caesar was on “Death Row”. His owner informed me that his favorite pastime was chasing cars and there had been so many accidents caused by Caesar, when unsuspecting drivers were suddenly confronted by a huge dog lunging at them through the window, causing them to swerve off the road into a ditch or tree.
He was considered a hazard to public safety and the police had instructed his owner to have him put down. On the day I arrived he was awaiting his execution. The vet was due in two hours and so I made the best decision of my life and asked if I could have him. His owner was only too happy to find a home for him and gave him to me.
In South Africa we live under siege, as the criminals, with the government blessing, run amok. Burglaries, home invasions, robberies, murder and rape are common everyday occurrences and so having the best security is vital to our survival. High walls, razor wire, electric fences, burglar bars, safety gates, alarm systems and guard dogs are the minimum requirements for home security.
So in high spirits I arrived home, and introduced him to my family. Shasha, my large faithful Ridgeback came out to meet him and he promptly picked her up by the shoulders and shook her effortlessly like a rag doll, he then released her, having established the new pecking order. Mischief our fearless, dog loving, cat ran out to see what the commotion was and found herself trapped in Caesars huge paws. A cry went up as we though our beloved cat would now become a “tooth pick” but we need not have worried as Caesar stuck out his huge tongue and gave her a wet look, before releasing her.
I use to take him for daily walks or should I say he took me for runs, so powerful was he. I am a big strong man, weighing in at two hundred and twenty pounds and yet I needed all my strength to control him. As a watchdog he was magnificent, always alert he allowed me much needed sleep, as he had everything under control. Nobody came near our property and those who unknowingly did, ran as soon as they saw him gripping the wire fencing in his mouth, trying to rip it apart to get to them.
I have a large sign outside my gate, it reads;
“I can get to the gate in five seconds, can you?” Below the words, is a large picture of Caesar in full cry.
He died a few years ago and I now have two female Bullmastiffs, but his fearsome reputation lives on, as people still walk by our house on the other side of the road, “just incase!” Even now he watches over us.
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