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We attended a party on Saturday night at a friend’s home in the country. 70 beautiful, mountain-top acres! Not only is the house superb and beautiful, making you feel welcome with its casual grace, but the property will take your breath away!

Old English Mastif

This is Darla, 145 pounds of pure love! She is adorable and definitely named appropriately for her breed–the Gentle Giant!

On this particular evening, we joined about 30 others of all ages, from 4 to 74, in a fall bonfire and birthday celebration for Mindy.  She turned 30!  At the suggestion of others, we took Darla with us to the party. For about five minutes she didn’t want to exit her back-seat comfort zone. She eventually was coaxed out on a leash. We weren’t sure how she would do around so many strangers, with guns shooting (clay-pigeon practice for the guys), and kids screaming, riding bikes, golf carts, music playing and a bonfire. It was a lot for me to absorb!

But Darla made her way towards the house and then spied Eric, Nyki and her buddy, 4-year old grand daughter, Emery Grace. I can image her thinking, Finally! Familiar faces!  She trotted off to Emery, delighted to see her. From that time on, she inserted herself in everyone’s conversations, smelled the food on everyone’s plates and drank from the water bowl of the family’s other two pet dogs. She was comfortable and friendly to everyone.

Then the kids realized her love of playing Chase.  Our host, Linda, found an over-sized tennis ball belonging to her dog and Darla has one identical to it at home. The throwing began! From one girl to another, to Darla and back. She chased the ball, refused to give it to the girls, dropped it on command and then pounced on it to say it was My Ball!  She rolled, loped, tugged, ran, tumbled and played for about three hours with the kids. I am not sure who enjoyed it the most!  By the time we left, I can honestly say, she was a tired pup!

It is hard to imagine we have had her,  not quite a year. She is now 16 months old and the joy of our household. She greets us by the door, snuggles with us in the morning when the alarm goes off (yes, in our bed–but only on top of the covers!), she licks our plates, and waits patiently for her treats. She is the ideal dog. She rarely barks, unless there is a need to do so, slobbers very little, and sleeps under my desk, taking up my foot space while I work.

Her tail delivers a stinging slap for anyone or thing in it’s way. Emery has been the receiver of it on multiple occasions, right in her face, which happens to be the same height as Darla’s behind!  She is an ever-present source of smiles. And Saturday night, she was the hit of the party!

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