Baloo’s story begins with a phone call from a trusted friend and Animal Control Supervisor named Officer Sugg called me up and said “I’ve got a hard-case for ya.” She then proceeded to tell me about a huge, black, male mastiff mix that had come into the shelter days earlier as a stray. Officer Sugg knows that I love the big dogs and in particular, the dogs with a rough bast that are battling fear issues. She said that he was borderline aggressive and that they were very unsure of him if not afraid. I hopped in my truck and headed down to the Mojave Shelter which is interestingly located right next to The Spaceship Company. I arrived an Officer Sugg continued to debrief me implying that he was a real wild card and that he would take some serious work (and prayer, magic or witchcraft). Baloo was not going to go with us by choice: he fought with Sugg who was trying to get the leash on him and then fought with both of us as we tried to get him into the truck. Keep in mind he is 135lbs with dozens of scars on his face from God only knows what. With one, final, courageous nudge, Sugg and I had finally loaded the beast into the truck, but what about the drive back, there was nothing separating the two of us? I put on a hora of confidence, turned on some reggae music and began the hour long drive back to the rescue. I swear that Baloo was contemplating biting me for a good portion of that drive but he thankfully thought better of it.
Baloo held on to that “bad to the bone”, untrustworthy, wildcard persona for some time, almost a year, in fact. He was great with certain people whom he loved and was loyal to, but others he simply didn’t get a good vibe from. This was great for rescue “protection” but not so great when it came to sociability. One day a gentleman called the house phone and left a message informing jus that Baloo had been his dog and that Baloo was in fact a Brazilian Mastiff, not mastiff mix as we had guessed. He shared that he had spent 3 thousand dollars on Baloo and that he was aggressive which is why he let him go. But in spite of his original owners’ flippant decided to discard him, we would never let him go. And in spite of his rock hard demeanor, we knew that there was a softer, gentler side to Baloo, that would surface with the offering of love and safety we would provide. And we were right.
That was Baloo’s old life, his new life is the antithesis of that existence. He is loving and caring to all creatures, especially children and dogs and is a wonderful “pack general”, essentially receiving the torch from Marley who was my original pack general. Baloo personifies (per-dog-ifies) what Marley’s Mutts is all about and what we are capable of: rehabilitation, socialization and new beginnings! Baloo will stay with, sharing mascot duties with Hooch, until he passes over the rainbow bridge. Baloo is a gamble that paid off big time and I can’t imagine my life, much less my home without him!