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My first “mastiff” was a mutt, half-mastiff half-rottweiler, wonderful with kids, Abby (Abrams Bellwitch) lived 10 wonderful years with us before setting out for the Rainbow Bridge this last February, 2009.  But she got me interested in the mastiff breed and I began to spend long hours looking at mastiffs online, reading everything I could about them, researching pedigrees of dogs and lines that I particularly loved.

When I decided to be owned by mastiffs, I fell completely in love with brindles – the darker the better.  There were only a few breeders who bred for the blackest brindles, and I talked to them all before buying Harry (Castle Mount’s Sirius Black) from Castle Mount Mastiffs in Pittsburgh, PA.  He is my foundation male and I’ve had judges say he is the perfect English standard for the breed.  I was fortunate to find wonderful handlers, Jess and Dave Kemp at Dixieland Show Dogs, to show him for me.  And I discovered the hard truth about showing black brindles after a lot of blue ribbons but no points – they don’t show well indoors. And living in the South, well, there aren’t but a few outdoor shows in more temperate months.  This, coupled with the fact that Harry HATED being shown, made my decision to retire him. While he is now waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, he will forever be the proud patriarch here at Hocus Pocus Mastiffs. 

Hocus Pocus Mastiffs resides in the beautiful mountains of the Upper Cumberland Plateau.  The dogs are raised naturally on a combination BARF diet and Victor, premium professional quality kibble.  While they are allowed in the house, they all prefer to be outdoors where they have several acres to explore, creeks to play in, and where there is usually a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle!) cool breeze.  They are kenneled at night for their own safety as we do have coyotes, bobcats, bears and who knows what else in these hills.  The dogs are pets first, show dogs second, couch potatoes, speed bumps and lawn ornaments lastly.  Other dogs have owners, Mastiffs have Staff.  They love visitors, so call ahead to make sure I’m available for introductions. 

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A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After awhile, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered. 
"WOW! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."
The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing towards his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me," he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," he answered.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
 "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."
-author unknown-