About a month ago we lost one of the sweetest goofiest mastiffs you’ll ever find. We rescued Silas in November of 2013 from AZ Mastiff Rescue. We had no experience with giant breeds, but for some reason we just knew we needed one. We went to the dog kennel the rescue was using in the morning and as we walked up there was a lady getting out of her car with a huge cane corso mastiff. We were in awe at his power and strength and size, and I think we both had a moment of what the hell are we thinking, but he was beautiful and sweet and we continued on into the rescue. Prior to getting there we had chosen a few dogs we were interested in seeing. They brought out the first one they and us thinking he would be the best fit, and while he was a great dog he just wasn’t that in to us. Out came Silas (Noah was his name then). He was such a big sweet boy who seemed to like us a lot more than the first pup did. We spent some time walking him around and petting and playing and we decided he was our boy. We brought him back to my parents house before heading back to Albuquerque and everyone instantly fell in love.
Silas got his new name on our car ride back where he spent most of it sleeping. The first couple of days after we brought him home he tried to steal our food, eat the cat, and had a little bit of separation anxiety/potty problems. We also discovered he knew how to open doors. With a little coaching these problems were resolved pretty quickly. Except the doors. We had to lock all of our doors for months and use a tiny screwdriver to get into all of the bedrooms and bathrooms every time we left the house. But he was such a great dog and so so sweet.
About two weeks after we got him he woke up one morning and vomited. And then vomited again and again. We figured it was just a bug but took him in just to be safe. They sent us home to monitor and have a bland diet, but his symptoms progressed big time over night, and by the morning he was drooling excessively foamy drool and so lethargic and sad. We went back in for emergency surgery and they found something stuck in his intestines. Because it had been stuck for a while it managed to do a lot of damage to about 2/3 of his intentional tract and the vet gave him a 10% chance of making it. We were devestated but had to at least try.
He fought hard and made it through, and our bond was solidified because of it. He was forever our dog and us his people. Over the next months we discovered more and more of his awesome and goofy traits. Silas went everywhere with us. Any store, restaurant or bar that would allow him, he went. He loved people and all of the attention he got anywhere we went, but especially the attention of older ladies – the charm came on particularly high when an older lady would approach him. The only issue with this is that most large breed dogs like to lean on you ( we called this his hugs and he learned to give me a hug on command), which for an older lady, or anyone not expecting it for that matter, can knock you off balance pretty easy.
To compliment the leaning when we were sitting on the couch he would come up and put on back leg on the couch or our laps. And then the other one. Which then made him a 120 lb lap dog.
Silas’ absolute favorite pastime we soon discovered was water. Anything to do with water. Swimming, sprinklers, the hose, rain, snow, a bath, he loved it. We would turn on the sprinklers frequently and he would run around to each one sticking his face and mouth in the water, and then he would take off across the yard running like he was a puppy. The summer after we got him we got him a girlfriend and took them both to the lake for a couple days to bond. She wanted nothing to do with the water, but Silas put his life jacket on and blissfully jumped right in the cold lake water and went for a swim( which meant poor Daniel had to also go for a cold lake water swim).
We moved into a new house in January with tons of room to run and play with lots of sprinklers and him and his new girl( we tragically lost the first to cancer, and wanted him to have companion) would spend hours outside running the yard and greeting all of our new neighbors and sunbathing in the grass.
One of the sweetest things we got to experience with Silas was the incredible relationship he developed instantly for Elijah. We had Elijah in a pack n play in the living room for naps, and Silas would always quietly walk up and just peek his head in to check on him. As he got a little older and able to sit up, he would sit next to Silas on the ground and play with his toys, and Silas was ever so content with his new little brother hanging out with him.
Unfortunately Silas was not without his share of stomach issues after that first surgery. He would frequently vomit especially if he went just barely too long between meals, and he had two more surgeries to remove an object or repair intestines before the final one. Each time we didn’t really know what was stuck or where he got it because he really didn’t ever get into trouble.
On June 3rd we took him in because he had been vomiting and not eating – all the typical signs we had seen multiple times before. We waited on pins and needles expecting a phone call saying he was rocky but okay and would need to go to emergency care for the night. I got the phone call that afternoon but it was to say that something perforated his intestines and there was too much damage and just not enough left to repair, and I had to make the awful decision to let him go.
On his final day I had to be at work at 5:40 am. While I was up getting ready for the day, I took a break to just sit with him and give him a hug. Up until this moment I was so sure it would just be another surgery or maybe just a day at the vet. But in that hug, I think we both knew. Silas got up and went outside and rolled around in the grass and sat and looked off into the distance at the sun just beginning to rise over the trees and the mountains. He wouldn’t come back in with me and that was my last sight of him.
Losing that dog has been hard. I had such a strong bond with him. He was one of those truly special dogs who was so much more than just a dog, but a companion and friend. There was a level of trust and unconditional love that can only come from a dog like him, and that doesn’t come around often. Because of those last moments I had with him the sunrise is and always will be a special place for me. It is in those moments when the world is just becoming light that Silas is with me, and I can feel his spirit and love and appreciation for life, and I am reminded of just how precious and fragile it is and how important it is to live in the moment and to fill our lives with love and appreciation.