Not only are dogs man’s best friend, but it has been said that dogs are also our link to paradise. If you want to know true love, true friendship and true happiness, then you need to know a dog. This story of a dog named Mason shows you why both of those things are true. You may want to prepare yourself, though. This is the kind of story that will leave tears streaming down your face… you’ll have a knot in your throat.
This is Steve Mason, the most incredible dog Hannah has ever met and her best friend of 16 years. And this is the story of how he died saving her life one last time.
Mason was a Husky, Lab, Rottweiler mutt with insanely fluffy ears and markings on his face that made it look like he was always wearing Harry Potter specs. Hannah picked him out of a litter of puppies because while all the others yipped and squealed and played, he was the only one to stop and snuffle the flowers.
He always had this way of perking up his ears that could spur Hannah to keep going, either to the top of a ridge line or out of what ever ridiculous angst she found myself muddled in.
He was obsessed with shortening sticks and tearing up any cardboard he could find. He was extremely meticulous and many a vacuum cleaner died trying to tidy up his messes.
Mason was a best friend and rock steady companion for Hannah’s older brother and a traveling companion like no other. And every time he saw her brother, even if 5 years had gone by, he’d still try and jump in his arms like a puppy.
Everyone who met him came away saying that he was a remarkable dog, and many could honestly say he was the nicest person they’d ever met.
Over the last 2 years he began to show his age. His hearing and much of his eyesight abandoned him, along with his sense of balance.
Hannah kept expecting him to die in his sleep or collapse on a hike.
Hannah’s worst fear was that he would grow so old and infirm that they’d have to put him down. She honestly didn’t think she’d be able to go through what she’s had to do for so many other dogs with him. He was far too special. He just seemed so old.
But he just kept on going, refusing to take it easy. He moved slower, and couldn’t go as far, but he never seemed to mind.
That winter Hannah had been sure to get as many adventures in with him as possible, knowing their days together might be numbered. On March 5th, he and Hannah, along with her family’s 3 younger dogs took off for what was meant to be a quick hike around their property before she had to go to work.
They were about a mile from home on their snowshoe trail when Hannah noticed a figure following them about a quarter mile back. She recognized it as a wolf right away. She hadn’t seen a wolf in her valley for about 15 years, but wolves are shy and usually hide from humans, especially one with 4 dogs. Trying to be respectful, she turned them towards home, thinking they’d give the wolf room to escape and think no more about it.
A few minutes later the littlest dog gave a bark and Hannah turned to see the wolf standing 5 feet behind them. She was huge, her shoulder nearly coming up to Hannah’s hip. She looked scared but determined, and most of all she looked hungry. They were in trouble. She attacked and they spent the next 20 minutes trying to fight her off. Hannah was hitting her with her ski poles while the dogs nipped and tried to avoid her teeth. She was weak but a good fighter.
Mason and Hannah ended up fighting side-by-side. The wolf kept staring Hannah in the eyes, but it was clear she was after the dogs. She finally pinned the smallest dog and Mason lunged at her. Suddenly Mason looked huge, bigger than Hannah had ever seen him before. He knocked her off the puppy, but she got Mason by the throat. It was over in a split second. Hannah had never screamed so loud. Every fiber in Hannah’s being was telling her to kill the wolf, stab her in the eye, tear her throat out if she could. But that would have only gotten her killed too, and there were 3 other dogs. They had to get out of there. It was too late anyway. He was dead and she was eating him.
This is the wolf. This picture was taken the morning after by some guards and the nearby border station when she wandered past. Though all Hannah wanted to do in the moment was kill her, she really is one of the most beautiful things Hannah has ever seen. And now that it’s done, Hannah holds no hate for her. She was starving to death and did what she had to to survive. She went into the fight knowing she might be the one to get killed, and it was simply the luck of the draw that she got Mason first. Hannah only hopes she leaves this valley safely.
Hannah misses Mason like there is a hole in her chest. Though she knows there was nothing else she could have done, she can’t escape the thought that she failed to save him. But most dogs at 16 die by the fireside, slowly and painfully of old age. Mason went out of this world like a thunderbolt, saving Hannah’s life and the lives of the 3 younger dogs. He was Hannah’s puppy, her “grizzly”, her brother, her friend, and he died as he lived: Hannah’s hero.
Even though Mason was old and tired, he was willing to give up his own life to protect those he loved. That’s why dogs are man’s best friend; they love us wildly and truly. Please share Mason’s final gift with others. Let us know what you think in the comment below: