Matfield the Gentle Giant

I was sitting in the sun, reading a magazine and just chilling.  Matfield was lying a few meters away, snoring his head off.  Hmmm life is good!  

Matfield is my two-year-old Great Dane.  He is a giant-of-a-dog who is like an in-your-face healthy, happy child with a character larger-than-life and extremes.  

We have a real love-hate relationship.   

He is playful, verbal, loving, loyal, gentle, affectionate, always-excited-to-see-me, intimidating- to- others and protective- of-me.  I often wish I could take him for a walk on a beach somewhere.  He is bound to be an instant head-turner with his calm, regal demeanor.  Who needs an online dating service?  Hmmm I love that dog!  

But, he drives me insane when he is inquisitive, clumsy, egocentric, forever-hungry, stubborn, messy and smelly.   Sheesh you have never smelt anything so vile.  Even he gets up, reluctantly, and moves away to escape the stench of his own farts.  And, I’m convinced he houses a spit factory in that seemingly noble, dignified appearance.  He leaves a trail of drool everywhere he goes.  Matfield is also the worst slobbery-kisser you could ever imagine.  (But, it’s either that or a self-imposed once-a-month, five-day, not-so-slobbery kissing marathon with my Comrades legs.  After all, my heart is still running free at the other end of the country.)  

Matfield’s imposing size and stature always gets him into lots of trouble.  He just cannot help it.  He is always in the way.  There is always somebody in the house shouting at him.  Matfield!  Get out!  OUT!  

But, one look from those gentle, droopy-puppy-dog eyes, which are unusually green in colour, and my heart just melts with adoration.  He is the most pleasant natured dog I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  Needless to say he gets away with bloody murder.  

One sunny winter’s day, when Matfield was about eight months old and already quite big, I was sitting outside reading a magazine whilst he was playing with the other dogs.  All of a sudden he grabbed hold of the end of my scarf and began tugging – playfully but forcefully.  It happened so quickly.  He is strong.  I panicked.  

The tighter the scarf wound around my neck, the harder he pulled – and the more he wagged his tail, shaking his head from side to side whilst growling and snarling in delight.  He was totally oblivious to my fear and severe discomfort.  He was literally strangling me.  I was choking – unable to speak or even breathe.  I felt extreme pressure on my throat.  My head felt like it wanted to explode.  My eyes felt like they were popping out of their sockets.  I was terrified.  Oh my God!  

Just then my care assistant came around the corner – thankfully.  

She realized immediately that I was in trouble.  She was wide-eyed as she rushed to stop Matfield, screeching his name at the top of her voice.  Being inquisitive, he instantly turned his attention to her, still wagging his tail.  She still had to dislodge the scarf from his canine tooth before loosening its grip around my neck.  The tears were streaming down my cheeks as I was gasping for breath and the adrenalin was pumping through my veins.  Initially, I couldn’t speak, partly due to shock and partly due to a very sore and tender throat.  I was still hoarse hours later.  

Later, after we had all calmed down and Matfield was fast asleep, snoring his head off, I started giggling.  I was eventually crying tears of laughter.  

Just imagine the headline in our local newspaper?  






Matfield 2 months old.


But, I still love my Matfield, the gentle giant. 

About Tracy Todd (Brave Lotus Flower)

Author of Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon – an intimate and inspiring memoir of a quadriplegic. Inspirational Speaker. Teacher. Counsellor. Wife. Mother. Animal lover. Although I need a wheelchair to get around, it is most certainly not what defines me.
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14 Responses to Matfield the Gentle Giant

  1. Pingback: Gentleman, Goodbye | Tracy Todd's Blog

  2. Bill Watson says:

    Jane asked the question I had before I could put it down – how Matfield got his name. What a scary experience.

  3. leon says:

    For many years we only had rotteweilers and the last two we had to put out because of cancer in their hips .Both reached a good rottie life of 8-9 years .Because of the children now leaving the house i descided not to have any more dogs .My children however did not agree and they decided to give us a 18 month old Great Dane .I nearly got a heart attack. Can you imagine what went through my mind ,food poo and again poo ,his age ,space and a million of other things .My children knew that once a animal is inside my care i will never dump such a animal ,so after much maoning and groaning i descided to keep the dog .This is now a couple of months later and what a lovely animal .I must say that he is just a gentle giant .My wife loves the dog and she gets so much love back .His name is Ceasar and my grand children likes the name dommino ,so they call him Ceasar Dommino.

  4. Jane says:

    What a lovely story!

    Sorry for my ignorance, but how on earth did he end up with a name like “Matfield”?

  5. Jillian says:

    What a lovley story, except the part with the scarf ! That must have been extremely scary.
    Also love my dogs to bits, they can drive me mad, but also melt my heart. : )

  6. Tracy says:

    he is gorgeous.
    That almost reads like a Son headline 😉

  7. Aw, he’s adorable. I’m glad you were spared an exit from his unwitting action, but I suppose a humorous and absurd death is better than a tragic one. I hope you will both stick around for many more stunts.

  8. Lindy Maclaurin says:

    I know the feeling. I had a HUGE great dane and they remain puppies for ever, but have the most loving and gentle nature. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Between my great dane and my basset, nothing was safe in the house. The basset would go in low and the great dane always took the high road. They were quite a team.

  9. Anton says:

    Tracy, I know it is “wrong” to categorize people, but in my opinion there are only two “types/categories” of people: “Dog” and “non-dog” people.

    If I can categorize “dog people” – the “elite” are the “Dane” people.

    He is as typical Great Dane as they come. Those he doesn’t like he will bite to death, those he love he can quite easily love to death, which he nearly did with you.

    He is awesome!

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