Losing Larry Finding Friends

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

We have a lot of dogs at Heartline.  The party line is that they are for security but the two giant beasts lying by our bed aren’t doing much in the guarding department.  They sleep while they wait for whatever food they can guilt us out of.

The “guard” dog of choice around here is Mastiff.  There are 10 total.  We know this because we count them when the vet visits yearly for their vaccinations.  It is always an event.  A comedy.  The muzzle comes out along with the syringes.  It can get ugly but so can the diseases the vaccinations protect against so we persevere.  We tackle the dogs who weigh more than the vet and get the job done.  The vet doesn’t like me.  He rolls his eyes at me.  I admit I am pesty to the man.  (Like the time at midnight Beth called the vet to come to our house because one of the dogs was giving birth.  He hung up on her.)

Most of our dogs have come from Vermont or they are offspring from the Vermonters.  We chose this breed because we believed the fallacy  that they are great guard dogs.  They do love their family, they do bark at strangers, they do trip you in the dark, and they do watch over their territory.  They are loyal beyond loyal, they want to head butt everyone they love and add drool for good measure.  They stink even after a bath.  The smarter ones stay out of reach of the hose when bath time comes around.

Larry came as a puppy from our friends in Vermont.  He settled in at the guest house and had ruled the yard ever since.  A mastiff isn’t full grown until year 3 and he went from a gangling teen aged dog to massive 200 pound truck.  He delighted all the dog loving visitors and terrified or annoyed those that don’t like cow sized canines.  Free drool hung in strings as Larry would greet those who came and went from the guest house.  Lots of visitors took photos of him.  He was huge, he was friendly, and he wasn’t what you would think of as a dog in Haiti.

The two mastiffs at the maternity center lay by the door while babies come into the world.  They guard the home and decide who comes in and who stays out.  Marley sees himself as character judge and whatever forces  that speak to his inner dog cause him to decide whether a person is worthy of entering our gate or not.   If he deems a man not worthy, that man is not coming in.  End of story.  We feel quite safe.

I was away last week for midwifery school.  Young, strong and healthy Larry took sick and died within 12 hours.  This massive beast was healthy in the evening and near death in the morning.  He died on the way to the vet.  We still don’t know what happened to him.  The news was kept out of cyber space lest I see it and feel rattled in my studies.  I am so grateful for that.

I cried when John told me.  Immediately feedback came – sweet Isaac Livesay was praying for Grandma Beth.  Ryan, from the guest house was posting pics of Larry on Face Book.  Evan was caring for Larry’s dear dog roommate Nora with extra TLC.  The sweetness of our community was endearing.

My heart swelled with the love of friends.  The life and death of a massive, drooly dog showed me how we love and protect each other.   People cared about this dog, who was part of our community.  He was part of what made the guest house a special place.  He was part of us and part of Heartline.

What I saw was that Heartline people care about each other and their feelings.  People were worried about me – I love them for that.  They cared enough to bury him on our land and put a marker there.  A statement that says we honor each other.

Larry had a madame named Annie.  They had a romance – we are waiting to see if puppies are in our near future.  Little Larry’s will have special meaning if Annie is indeed pregnant.  More drool, more love, more guard dogs to share.

Beth McHoul

  1. As a “mom” to mastiffs, I feel your pain. (And I suspect either bloat or snakebite as a diagnosis for your boy, but I know nothing about the details.) We’ve had four of these doggies, two at a time, and they are the most wonderful dogs God ever made. Blessings to you in your work!

    • johnmchoul says:

      Larry was an amazing dog and he is being missed by many. Dozens have written to give their condolences and to tell of how much they loved Larry. We yesterday received an eight week old female from Vermont. We have named her CeCe, and she already is letting the two older Mastiffs at our house know that she is in control. She is beautiful. We do still miss Larry.

  2. We loved Larry when we stayed at the guest house. He was so very special! We told our kids all about him and they hope to have a mastiff puppy one day! My husband was staying at the guesthouse last week and said that Nora seemed sad. Praying that CeCe is just as loved as Larry!

    • johnmchoul says:

      Nora still seems out of sorts. We all sure hoe that Annie, the mastiff at our house, is pregnant as she and Larry were together the night before he died. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Mari says:

    Heard of Larry’s passing through the Livesay blog. I met Larry while staying at the guesthouse. I was one of those dog-lovin’ guests that was jaw dropping right along with everyone else cuz of his overly ginormous size compared to other Mastiffs. The pictures I have of him will be more special now than they were before. So sorry to hear of your loss. He is definitely a canine legacy.

  4. Molly Bell says:

    I’m so sorry! As a guest there this summer I loved having Larry and Nora around the grounds. Larry made being there feel extra safe. I loved how he would hang out with us in the evenings while we ate dinner or just hung out in the front patio area attempting to escape the heat.

    I pray you get your batch of LITTLE Larrys! If so please post pics! Im thinking nothing about larry was or ever will be little.

  5. Molly says:

    Hello to you all! Evan, John, Melissa, Monice, “P”, and the rest of the crew! I hope you are all weathering this storm fairly well. It was sad to hear about it on the news. I feels very close to my heart.

    RIP LARRY! as a guest there this summer, Larry was a guest house icon. He always greeted us as we returned in the canter, shared our dinners and made us feel safe as we attempted to sleep. ( as we were fighting of the heat and bugs )

    HAVE Evan, Laurie & Melissa Hug NORA extra for us she is such a sweet girl! I’m sure she is missing him, its good to hear that Larry may have left a legacy!

    Post pics if we get some Little Larrys!

    • johnmchoul says:

      Yes, he was a guest house icon and he for for sure missed. The guest house doesn’t seem the same without him; and Nora seems a tad sad without her buddy. Thanks for caring.

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