‘What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.’

~ Cynographia Britannica – 1800


This month I went on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. We did some great hiking and camping but one of my highlights was visiting Warren G. Magnuson Park. Magnuson Park is home to a nine-acre dog park. I’ve never been to a dog park before and it was fun. I met several dogs including a posse of Basset Hounds that really caught my sister Olive’s attention. We visited the park twice on our trip and met all kinds of cool dogs. If any dogs are visiting Seattle soon I highly recommend it.

Seattle was nice but after two weeks in the clouds it was nice to get back to sunny, dry Truckee. When I got back I borrowed the car so Olive and I could head over to the shelter. Lobo and Nica, two old friends from this column, got adopted. I was especially happy for Nica who has been at the shelter the longest. There were some new faces at he kennel including a Griffon mix named Charlie Brown. I’ve heard some talk around town about Mr. Brown and I have a feeling he is going to find a home real soon. Charlie’s best friend at the shelter is a Mastiff mix named Ben.

While Ben is not a purebred Mastiff he does share many of their qualities. The history of the breed goes back thousands of years. There is evidence of dogs resembling Mastiffs as far back as 2500 BC. Sculptures from that era show Mastiff-like dogs hunting lions in the desert near the Tigris River. The sculptures depict dogs that are taller and leaner than present day Mastiffs but are remarkably similar after the passing of 4500 years. There are many stories of Mastiffs fighting alongside troops in battle.

hen I first met Ben, he was in the yard at the shelter lifting weights. I don’t think he hunts lions but Ben is ripped. He would almost be intimidating if you didn’t see his eyes. Ben has the eyes of a gentle soul. I wasn’t sure if that’s because he is really gentle or if he just knows that he is bigger and stronger than everybody else.

We got Ben in the car and headed out to Prosser Reservoir for a nice walk. My sister constantly harassed Ben during our hike. She is only six months old and doesn’t know any better. Ben took the jumping and nipping in stride. He listened well, followed his commands and got along with all the dogs we met. I tested him by trying to show that I was the dominant dog around here. Ben just kind of smiled and ignored me. He was so well mannered it was starting to get annoying.

I spent an afternoon with Ben. He was great in my car, my house and on a walk. The only chink in Mr. Perfect’s armor was that he did not like to jump into the back of the car. With a little training that would be easy to fix. Ben is a pretty big guy, tipping the scales at just about 100 pounds. He really just wants to be a big lapdog. He gets along well with kids, adults and other dogs. I give him rating of 4 paws out of 4. He really is a gentle Ben.

If you are interested in Ben or any of the other fine animals at the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe you can always see pictures at hstt.org. If you would like to foster an animal or adopt Ben drop us an email or give us a call at 587-5948. Have a great month and remember, ‘Don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die.’