Baywood Bullmastiffs, newly founded in 2007, is the culmination of childhood dreams and a passionate devotion to the wonderful Bullmastiff breed.|
My love of dogs began in 1972. Only six years old at the time, my parents purchased our first "show dog", a St. Bernard named Heidi. Eventually, with our first (and only) litter, we had seven adorable puppies joining us. For a small child like myself, it meant only one thing. Endless face-to-face meetings with the ground, getting knocked over at every turn. Sadly, I considered that "fun." I was no match for the energetic, over-sized slobber monsters back then but it didn't matter to me. They were great playmates.
And so it all began.
By 1976, other family members caught the "dog show" bug as well. With their diverse interests in many other breeds (Westies, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Basenjis), I garnered great experience learning how to handle these breeds by switching off in the showmanship classes, one breed to the next. When I received my first ribbon, I was hooked!
For my 12th birthday in 1979, my father consented to allow me to pick out a dog of my very own to show. I selected "Lady Ann" -- a spirited, intelligent, fun-loving Irish Setter. We enjoyed a successful dog show career at the junior showmanship and obedience levels but she never became a desireable specimen of the breed where conformation was concerned. We hit the show circuit with our family consistently until 1984. At that time, I graduated from high school and discovered a whole world out there I hadn't realized existed (ahhh.. the joy of young adulthood).
Unable to compete at the junior level any longer, and without a dog to show in the conformation classes, the only sport I had ever known fell to the wayside. For a time, that passion would be replaced with a marriage and the birth of two wonderful sons of my own.
Lady Ann's passing in 1992, at the age of 13, was a devastating blow. Despite her long, happy life, I was ill-prepared to face that day. It would be nearly another decade before I would venture out to bring home another dog for my family to love.
In 2001, I began doing my research on the Bullmastiffs. By the Grace of God, I was introduced to two of the top breeders in the nation, Jack and Gerry (Roach) Shastid, along the way.
Gerry was a wealth of information about the breed, investing a lot of time in educating me, answering numerous questions and offering to assist me in locating the "right" puppy. Ultimately, I met and fell in love with Ladybug Shastid's American Pi ("Pi Dog") while he was standing ringside with them that year. A young adult which, through no fault of his own (or the Shastids), had been re-homed twice previously, Gerry was reluctant to place him again. "He has been through too much already," she said. He had become Jack's dog and they were happy with him right where he was. Numerous communications occurred between us in the weeks that followed. Finally, my persistence paid off and my prayers were answered. With a promise to Gerry and Jack that Pi Dog would spend the rest of his life at my side, they were letting him go. Pi Dog would soon be on his way to Houston with me. I was the happiest gal in the world!
Pi Dog became the greatest doggy love of my life. I invite you to read more about our fabulous journey together via the "Pi Dog" link to the left. I suspect that many of you, regardless of the canine that graced your own life, will relate to our story in many ways.
Unfortunately, our magical journey with this magnificant dog ended abruptly on May 31, 2007. "Bloat" claimed Pi Dog's life on that day. He took his last breath while we were in transit to the emergency animal hospital. I never would have imagined that my best friend would not be returning home with me that night. Walking in the door without him was more than I could bear. With his favorite toys still scattered about, his dishes still in place, and my home office floor covered with his dog hair (we worked together in here 6-8 hours each day), the tears flowed endlessly. Even now, several weeks later, I find myself sobbing without any provocation whatsoever. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the pain that follows is a persistent, sometimes paralyzing pain that only time can heal in some small way.
While I never had the opportunity to do with Pi Dog what I had always wanted to do (i.e., using him as a foundation dog for a kennel someday and acquiring my first owner/handled championship), the path is now paved for little "Lord Bentley" to fill those shoes.
Thank you, Gerry, for granting me another opportunity to own a pup from your line. I couldn't have asked for a greater blessing than when Pi Dog came here to live. Now I have the opportunity to do it all over again with Lord Bentley.
I look forward to meeting many of you ringside in the months and years to come. Best wishes to all of you for continued success in your ownership and breeding of the dogs who have touched your hearts and lives in the way that the Ladybug line has done in ours.