About Esther’s Family
I really wanted a dog, but since I spend more time at my second home, Meadowbrook Manor Adult Care Facility, where I am the administrator, than I do my own home I needed to give this decision great thought. I was playing on the internet one day and ran across a list of dog breeds, so I started looking up the ones that caught my eye.
If I was to get a dog, she would have to be able to come to work with me. Which meant she would have to be calm, friendly, social, easily trained, not a barker, and big. Big because I would feel horrible if one of my residents (who range in age from 52 to 95) didn’t see her, tripped over her and broke a hip! Plus, they wouldn’t have to bend over to pet her.
The only thing I knew about Mastiffs is that they were the Lord of the Castle’s dog, in some of the novels I’ve read and the heroine was always afraid of them when she first arrives, usually unwillingly, at her new husband’s home. Ahh, fiction.
The picture, that is now on the home page of Flying W Farm’s website, of the little boy hugging that huge dog sold me. All the descriptions I read about the English and American Mastiff, all the pictures of Fredericka’s puppies with little children and that little boy hugging a dog at least eight times his size, with an expression that just says so many things, convinced me this was the perfect breed for us.
I brought Esther Elizabeth home in August 2003 and our first stop was the Manor. She has been welcomed and loved from day one. Forget about Mary, where’s Esther. Some residents love her as much as I do, most like her and a couple think she’s nice, but don’t want to get too cozy. She goes home with me at night and I better have a good reason if I don’t bring her back with me in the morning.
On that first visit I put Esther in Liz’s lap and took a picture. Every 10 weeks we take another picture with Esther in Liz’s lap, sort of. It’s really amazing to see how much she’s grown in such a short time. And Liz loves the opportunity to wrap her arms around Esther and hugs her as long as she can.
Another really fun thing we do is a pool on Esther’s weight. It’s a quarter a guess. The first time guesses ranged from 25 to 110 pounds, mind you she had weighed 65 pounds at her last office visit. Her weight gains finally started to slow, but no one can get over she’s less than a year old.
She has made all the difference in the world to the happiness of one resident in particular. She is so much happier now that Esther is here. She gets jealous if Esther climbs on the couch and it’s someone else’s lap her head is in. I’m waiting for the day, now that Esther is getting more freedom to wander, when I find the two of them in bed together for an afternoon nap.
My office is across from the dining room, so if Esther is not out by the door (the dining room and kitchen being restricted areas), to soak up their attention, the residents peek in my office on their way to and from meals and activities to see what she is doing… “There’s my dog” “Oh, he’s sleepin” “Look he’s got a bone” “Isn’t he beautiful!” “She” gets called a “he” most of the time, I think because of her size.
Esther has a few different names – “Bitsy” to Marjorie; “Chip” to Marcella; Virginia knows it’s not right, but likes to call her “Bridget”. And she’s still Liz’s dog (“you’re my doggie aren’t ya”).
I could go on and on about all the things I personally love about her (the different sounds she makes being my all time favorite), but anyone who spends even a minimal amount of time around Esther, especially when she’s with the residents (and I’m sure any of Fredericka’s puppies), would be able to start a list themselves.
I am looking forward to Esther having a sister, “Eleanor Rose”, in the spring of 2005. And so are the residents!
Our Home wouldn’t be the same without our Mastiff!
Mary, Esther’s Mom