Kimberly Robinson
Mason, who weighs in at 147 lbs, has been on a diet recently because his owners Mark Haller and Martha Fletcher gave him a few too many treats over the holidays. Mason however likes fruit, and really enjoys fresh cherry tomatoes.

Pet of the Week: Mason is a tomato hound

Mason, a Bull Mastiff, is happily at home with Mark Haller and his fiancé Martha Fletcher both of whom are residents of West Seattle for the past three months.

"Mason was a rescue dog," said Haller. "We were looking for a dog for the both of us and we ran across him on Petfinders.com. He was actually rescued from a Bull Mastiff rescue organization out in Roy. He and I connected right away so I went back and showed Martha a video of him. We put our heads together and decided we were going to do it so I came down and picked him up and he's been with us ever since." That was a year ago.

They estimate he's about three years old but that's not certain since there are no records for him.

Mason weighs 147 lbs, "after the holidays" said Haller chuckling. "He's been on a diet but yes the vet was not happy about his weight," said Fletcher.

Mason loves attention and actually gets pretty vocal about it. "He cries when Mark won't pet him," said Fletcher. "He'll get scratched and if I stop he will look back at me and 'woof' and he'll demand that I scratch him again, almost a commanding, 'why did you stop?' "

His normal demeanor is very calm. He sleeps a lot during the day and he's very protective at night. If he hears any knocks on the doors he will bark. Going on walks he is very drawn toward children. If he hears a child crying he will start running toward the child. He never picks a fight with another dog. Dogs will bark at him and he just stops and looks at them. Little dogs, though, they make him nervous. I think it's the shrill bark," explained Haller.

"He will lean up next to you and wants to be next to you all the time. He's almost more of an indoor dog. You'd think for a large dog he'd be an outside dog but he's very much an inside dog."

Mason is however a little sneaky. "This summer I grew tomatoes," Haller said, and he normally would just sniff the tomatoes and think nothing of them. Then one day he saw me pick a cherry tomato and eat it. From then on we had to watch him because he would go off and pick the cherry tomatoes off and eat them. But only if I picked them and ate them. I had to write home, 'This dog is so amazing and he learns so fast.'

"He was sneaky though," said Fletcher, "He waited until we were not looking and then we were saying, 'Where are all the tomatoes going?' and he wiped out the plant. We got a picture of him doing it."

Mason normally gets fed Nutra Source, Chicken and Rice and some nutritious food logs and some fish oil for his coat.

For treats he gets carrots but that's not all. "He likes cantaloupe, bananas and he also enjoys peanut butter and every once in a while he gets a nice huge bone," said Haller.

The couple has taught him a few things but he apparently had some rudimentary training to sit, stay and he's very good at not running off anywhere.

Mason's toys don't last long unfortunately. He's pretty aggressive with them. "The ones they claim are indestructible, I'd like to challenge that claim," said Haller, "He's destroyed about every one. We're close to one lasting about a month. He will get a hold of one and we end up with stuffing all over the floor."

Since they are new to the area, Mason hasn't had time to form any good friends as yet but he does have his eye on a neighbor dog. "It's a girl dog next door he met once and after that there was a lot of crying and it's so cute," said Fletcher. "She's a German Shepherd and I don't know what her name is," said Haller. "They got to play but he's very intimidated by her," said Fletcher," She knocked him over one time."

Mason does have issues likely stemming from his rescue experience. "I tried to take him to a doggy day care," explained Fletcher," but he saw the cages and he thought he was going back to a shelter so he just put the brakes on. He just sat there and wouldn't move. I finally realized that was the reason. After that he was really clingy to me. So we can't take him anywhere that has cages because he thinks he's going back."

Haller described Mason as a, "very engaging, disarming dog. When you see him you immediately want to go to him and pet him. For as large a dog as he is, I don't think there has been anyone who has felt threatened by him. You just want to come up and give him a hug." Fletcher said, "He's very sweet, he's quite the character and there's nothing subtle about him."

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