Well, dog #2 is home with the Fishers.  As I write, Boomer is happy and contented, hasn’t ripped anyone’s throat out, dashed in front of an oncoming truck, or swallowed the dining room whole.  He is just placidly trundling around the house, mildly observing the kids as they hurl their bodies at him.  He is a one-year-old brindle English Mastiff, and was raised with three little kids and another English Mastiff.  His dog pal was older and died, and that’s why he needed a new home: he was just lonely while his people were away all day.

1.  He came with an electric fence system, which is wonderful and amazing.  These always sounded barbaric to me.  I was imagining a paranoid, cringing animal getting zapped constantly; but actually, it’s no big deal.  We plugged in the central unit in the hallway near the back door and set the perimeter size.  When he wants to go out, we put the special collar on, and off he goes.  It buzzes and beeps to warn him that he’s getting too close to the perimeter, so he just goes, “Nope” and turns around.  So far, so good!  I still get nervous when I see him bounding toward the road, but he stops when he gets to the boundary.

2.  His head is e-nor-mous.

It’s just begging for a derby, or possibly — what do you call it, one of those squashy hats that urchins selling newspapers would wear.

3.  Probably we wouldn’t have chosen the name “Boomer,” although it does suit his ponderous ways.  I just can’t shake the memory of a Florence King essay which featured a lesbian and her large and hearty partner named, you guessed it, Boomer.  Oh well, it’ll pass.

4.  The kids keep saying in a wondering voice, “He’s not biting me at all!”  Although they loved Shane, we just could not break him of mouthing on the kids.  He just couldn’t get it through his head that we didn’t want to be chewed on.  He thought it was hilarious, even when he drew blood, and it was a constant, serious aggravation for all of us; and honestly, some days, I felt like there was an enemy living in our house.  It’s very hard to be good to an animal who is hurting your kids, even if it’s minor and unintentional.  So Boomer’s  non-bitey ways are a big, big, BIG big big relief.  Boomer is older, he’s fixed, and he’s just not a spaz.  He doesn’t even try to steal the baby’s food.  We got to eat dinner without (a) having our food stolen or (b) hearing whining and screaming and frantic pawing at the door the entire time we were eating.  It’s kind of like paradise.

Watching Curious George with his best friends in the whole world (a.k.a. some kids he met less than 24 hours ago)

5.  I couldn’t figure out what he reminds me of, but it suddenly hit me:  a heraldic lion.  Or, a Samurai mask.  Or something on a totem pole from the Pacific Northwest.  Or, I don’t know what!  I guess he just looks like a dog.  Benny (age 2) saw him and said, “A bear!”  There is something almost stylized about him — maybe because he is so ridiculously muscular, but he doesn’t actually do anything.  He will charge around for a while outside and make some noise, but then he wants to come in and sit on his blankie.  Yeah, kind of like this:

PIC Ferdinand smelling flowers


He also has these completely gratuitous stripes, where are clearly only there to make him fancy.  (Actually, they make him almost invisible in the woods.  Very tricky!)

6.  The only thing is, he’s spent most of his life on a rural country road, where it was kind of a big deal if a car goes by, and it was totally appropriate to bark your fool head off to warn everybody.  We, on the other hand, live on a highway.  A rather busy highway.  So, you see where this leaves us all.  But it’s okay, because we’re not constantly getting bitten. It’s amazing how much grace that buys you.

 7.  Sorry there aren’t more pictures.  Here  is another picture of Ferdinand:



So there you have it!  Dog dog dog.  Don’t forget to check out everyone else’s 7 Quick Takes – and say a quick prayer for Jennifer, who is sick and not up to writing her own quick takes.

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  • BadMF

    If you are not fond of the name, it’s ok to change it! Dogs don’t mind, and it’s easy to teach them a new one. Many rescue dogs get their names changed, and your dog is really young still. Ferdinand would make a great name 🙂
    And may I submit another possibility? Mongo. Just because it would be fun to say this:
    (Change it to spit for the kids, and because drool.)

    • Eileen

      Our dog thinks his name is dog. 😉
      Also, if you’d really like to change his name, you can just tack Boomer onto the end of his new name, e.g. “Come here, FidoBoomer!” Saying the FidoBoomer all high pitched and happy, of course. And then eventually you just drop the Boomer and the dog will respond to a simple Fido.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        I’m pretty sure our older dog thinks his name is Buddy, even though it’s actually Sutter. Our younger dog, a black greyhound-borzoi mix, is named Raven, but gets called Rae-Rae. It works.

  • This is whom I think of upon hearing the name “Boomer”:


    • Suburbanbanshee

      You have the wrong Battlestar Galactica generation for a male Boomer. Boomer was the big black male colonel (probably the sanest person on the Galactica) who was always talking down Starbuck’s crazy ideas. (And by that I mean the cool male Starbuck.)

      However, it is also likely that the owner had Boomer Esiason in mind.

  • Karen

    I’m jealous. I want a mastiff.

  • Blobee

    If your other dog stole food and stuff, you need to make sure this one doesn’t pick up that habit. Dogs eat in priority of rank in the pack. Therefore, never let the dog eat before the family eats. Make the dog go to a different room, or out of the kitchen (or where ever you eat) and feed him last. Make him wait a few seconds after you put the food bowl down, saying, “leave it!” and “sit” until you say, “okay” and he can eat. That makes you the head of the pack, since only the Alpha says who can eat and when. Remember, make him know it’s your food, and you are permitting him to eat. Dogs aren’t like kids. They live by pack animal rules, and you or your husband has to be pack leader.

    Make sure Boomer knows every person in your house, even the littlest kid is before him in the pack. Make sure he knows these are YOUR puppies, and he must defer to them. Always. If he doesn’t, squirt in the face with a spray bottle. Don’t let the dog take food out of the hands of the little kids. Because by doing it he’s challenging pack hierarchy, and claiming a higher status for himself. If it happens, say “NO!” and squirt with a spray bottle. And banish from the pack for a little while, (to his bed.) Also, no biting or mouthing allowed. Same thing: big loud “NO!” and squirt in the face with a bottle. Anything else you don’t want him doing: getting on the couch, or in beds, or whining or on kitchen cabinets or chewing shoes. Same treatment.

    Also, I just heard that if I dog’s training isn’t reinforced often it will revert to bad habits. So if he knows how to sit or lay on command, or heel on a leash, somebody should practice that with him for a 10 minute session a couple of times a week so he knows what the rules are. Get control now because he is a big boy, and sounds pretty well trained, so you need to keep him pleasant to be around.
    He sounds like a keeper already, and I know the kids will love him up. God bless and Merry Christmas!

    • Melissa Hunter-Kilmer

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. You can sometimes get away with not training smaller dogs, but big dogs Must. Be. Trained. Sure, he’s laid back and all that, but make sure he will perform simple commands like sit, down, stay, crate, etc.

      Also, we renamed our mastiff and he responds to his new name just fine. We named him Thurber, because he looks like the dogs James Thurber drew: Also, it is not a name that says “I am a big dangerous dog.” Rather, it says “I am a large but harmless dog. Don’t be afraid of me.” Unless one wants to hurt his people, of course.

      Enjoy your cuddly pillow dog!

  • anna lisa

    Holey Moley, he looks just like our big meat head, brindle Boxer, Benson. (r.i.p.) Maybe Benson had Mastiff in him instead of Rottweiler. I never cared very much for the pushed in faces of Boxers, so we felt lucky to have such a handsome looking specimen, with a more regal snout.
    We also used one of those electric collars. It would freak out the joggers because they thought he wasn’t fenced, so we were turned in a few times to the authorities. He loved to go terrorize a couple of pugs that lived next door, which was pretty funny because it was clearly entertaining for him. He’d get close to their fence and do his deep throaty walloping bark, which would make them shriek and flee in terror. If I yelled at him for doing it, he would fling himself to the floor in submission. I once reached in to pet him, and tell him it was okay, and he urinated in my face. I think that was his worst crime. He was a big love bug, but the pee, along with the fact that he would walk *me* on his leash tried my patience.
    Ugh. Some of that pee actually went in my mouth.
    What abuse *doesn’t* get heaped upon parents?
    So congratulations on your new big lout! Just think, now nobody ever has to fess up to their digestive disruptions again :)!

  • Lynn

    Those squashed hats that newsboys wear? They’re called newsboy caps. You’re welcome 🙂