I'll never forget the day we decided to get an American Bulldog pup. We had been debating over a Bullmastiff and the American Bulldog for weeks and we had only been a couple for about 6 months. My boyfriend wanted the American Bulldog after seeing them in Dog World adds, I wanted the Bullmastiff. Dogs like Mullen's Bubba and Stansbury's Jake were most to his liking, WOW impressive looking animals, so I gave in.
We found an ad for Bubba puppies in south Miami. We drove all the way down there to see them. There was one puppy left. Not the "beast" of the litter I'm sure but he was very cute and outgoing, oh that adorable black eye and that personality, were just too much. We met the dam La Nene (aka Osgood's Jezebel) what a beautiful dog. We watched tapes of Bubba doing protection work at 8 months - 1 year, super impressive bite work and drives. We decided to think about it, after all it was a lot of money. A grand for a dog back in the mid 90's was steep for us.
After a night of talking it out, he decided he wanted that pup even though it wasn't the "beast" he was looking for. So we went back and bought him. No guarantee, no paperwork to fill out, just the pedigree. On the ride home the puppy was licking me like crazy. I joked around how he was just a little Sugar Daddy. Saying he was white like sugar, sweet like the candy, a lover like a sugar daddy, and will be a daddy someday we hoped. The next morning we started calling him Sugar Daddy, the name stuck.
What a fun puppy, talk about a personality from day one and oh so confidant. The funniest of all things is that it wasn't for years until we realized just how special he was. From the day we brought him home he was the happiest and most outgoing of all creatures. Loved everyone he met and they always fell in love with him. How could you not with that adorable black eye? Boy, if we had a dime for every time someone called him "Petey" or "Spot" we would be living in the lap of luxury. His favorite game was always fetch. At 10 weeks when he came home he loved to play ball and Frisbee. I still remember him running sideways, as he couldn't see where he was going with the big Frisbee in his mouth. I still remember wearing oven mitts, as he would rip our skin to shreds with his sharp puppy teeth. He loved to play wrestle and fight, he would go crazy making all kinds of grunts and growls.
Ill never forget talking about him at work one night. Telling my coworkers how no matter what kind of mood I was in, just seeing him and his happy go lucky self just put a smile on my face and the world went away. I'll never forget how that same night that I was bragging about my puppy I got that dreaded call. My boyfriend was on the phone, he was very upset, something was wrong, something was wrong with our puppy. The puppy was at the emergency room. He was dropped half on the grass and half on the concrete. Che said, he started yelping and wouldn't stop. He said, the noise was unbearable and to hurry home, that I did. When we went to pick him up he was not his normal self. The emergency vet showed us x-rays and said he broke his carpal bone. We didn't really see it but went along with it as we surely didn't know. He put a florescent green cast on his arm up to his elbow and said to take him to our vet in a week to change the cast.
My puppy was no longer the happy go lucky puppy. He would lay around for days, very sad and depressed-like giving out a loud yelp on occasion. Who could blame him with that awful florescent green cast (smile). As the week came to an end, we took him to our vet; the outcome was not so good. Our vet took more x-rays and said his carpal bone was fine; it was his elbow that was broken. To repair it would take a specialist of whom would have to fly in from Jacksonville/ Tallahassee, I can't remember. He also said no vet should ever put a cast on a pup so young. Man were we upset on more than one level. So we had the specialist come down and fix his elbow with a bolt and nail (literally). During his cutest stages he was shaved and skinny legged and not so cute. Eventually he recovered but we were told he would be arthritic by 3-4 years of age and to limit his activity.
We limited his activity for a while restricting it to water games and light activities but we could not justify forcing him to live a life of boredom when he wanted so much more. We finally decided we would rather him have a full life however short it may be. Out came the Frisbee and ball again. Man he was a Frisbee catching machine and he loved to run out and jump up and catch it in the air in all kinds of twists and turns. He also loved his hang time rope and tire, trips to the park and beach, bike rides, he loved everything and had such a "zest for life". We quickly learned we had to be careful with him. Sometimes he loved things too much that he didn't care if he was hurt or overheated. For instance, he went mountain biking (yes in Florida). He kept up the entire time for miles and still jumped up into the truck with no help, he couldn't believe it as the other dog (a Rottweiler) had to be lifted up into the truck and was spent. We had no clue the entire ride his pads were sliced and cut and bleeding badly. That was just Sugs, he just had too much fun having fun.
Sugar was super intelligent. He knew how to do all the basic house obedience but he also knew the stupid pet tricks such as rollover, crawl, high five etc. He was so smart we used to spell things out. God forbid you mention any of the following words: Grandma's (where he always got a ton of human food as she insisted he must be starving when he was really just begging and spoiled by her), Frisbee, Ball, Ride, Swimming, Treat, Go, Squirrel, Bowl, etc. Anyone of these words would set him off and he would go instantly nuts. The worst was Frisbee since even if you spelled it out the "b" "e" "e" sounded close enough to Frisbee he would go crazy shaking and whining and running around. He was a "thinker" too, we could be outside in the backyard and tell him to go get his Frisbee and he would sit and think for a second then run in the house, run upstairs to where ever he left it, run back down the stairs and outside ready to play. We were amazed and he was always impressing us with his smarts.
Since he was our only dog he got the joy of going everywhere with us. Sugs has been to air shows with a million drunk people crammed on Ft. Lauderdale beach with loud military planes flying over us. He has been roughing 4'-5' waves out boating, jet skiing, mountain biking, to all kinds of festivals, Ft. Lauderdale strip on many occasions, etc. Never once did we ever see any shyness, insecurities, or fearfulness. Not that we were looking for it, it just wasn't there. He wanted to do it all. He had that "zest" for life, everything he did, he did 100%.
Since he went everywhere, he met everyone. People would follow us in their cars when we were out wanting to know more about him. American Bulldogs were not as common as they are today; in fact, it was always a story to explain what breed he was. Sugs went to all the family and friend gatherings, picnics, holidays, parties. It was literally Tracey and Sugar Daddy at every event. Man anytime I was bored I would take him out and I would meet a ton of people. Sugar with his white head and black eye hanging out the window of my white and black MR2 was a common site around town. I remember even in crime ridden south Florida I would have my T-tops off and the windows down with the doors unlocked as I went in the stores. I would leave him in the car like that. He was VERY protective of the car and very territorial. Sugs was the kind of dog that would never run away. He always stayed and protected his territory. When he was 11 months old and still very much a puppy we took him to a picnic. At this picnic were young drunken boys who got into a fight right in front of us. We were sitting at the picnic table, sugs at my feet and my back to the table. When the fight broke out a guy jumped over the table from behind me and sugs leaped up and took a bite out of his knee. Luckily it was a friend of ours and he told him to let go from the ground and he did. Luckily he was a friend, as he had to go to the emergency room. We had to pay for medical care and painkillers, over all we lucked out as the doctor said his bottom canine was very close to a major artery. Not that we are "happy" this day happened, no, more like impressed and proud to know he would rise to the occasion even as an immature 11 month old pup. What a good boy he was (smile).
When he was around 3 years of age we found out about an American Bulldog show up in Ocala and decided to go. It was the Nationals and exciting to see so many American Bulldogs. We went to several shows after that and Sugs always placed in the ring. When he was around 4 years of age, we went to a show where there was protection work. He had never seen this before but instantly went crazy on the siSchneideres. Barking and pulling and just going nuts while the other dogs were being worked. We kept correcting him shhhhhhhhh .stop it .. (laugh). Everyone convinced us to have him tested. We thought they were crazy, he was our pet not some fancy dog you read about online. Eventually, we decided to let him go in. He went crazy even the helper was asking about his lines and where we got him. People could not believe he had never seen this type of work before. He was a natural out there even as a suppressed 4 year old pet. He just took to it, naturally.
After that show and a year or two later we worked him with our new Schutzhund club just to learn. He was too old, or so we thought, to start him now. Too spoiled to get a good obedience on him, that would have been the biggest hurdle. The trainer always told people to "watch how this dog bites". He was always full mouthed and centered with great eye contact. He was always barking and going nuts and never equipment focused. If you put your hand out he would take it. Put a stick in his face and he would rip it out of your hands and spit it out and get back to business. He just had so much fun working.
As the years went on, we collected more dogs and we realized just how great Sugs really was. We realized he would be a great stud based on the dog that he was and the pedigree he represented. Although it was not planned at the time, it was a planned breeding and it turned out be a fantastic match. That was the breeding to Tiger's Eye. This match brought us dogs like Icon and Deuce. I always said, I wish I could start over with Sugs, as I really thought he could be a great Schutzhund prospect. I hoped and prayed I would get another one just like him to start from scratch. I don't think we have recreated Sugs but Icon and Deuce are very close and almost clones of Sugs in looks and mostly temperament. Both are exceptional dogs on many levels. Icon has become MY dog of a lifetime, we have that special bond as a handler / dog team. He reminds me so much of his sire. In him I will always have a piece of my SUGAR DADDY.
I could go on and on about Sugs, but the truth be told, some of it doesn't need to be put into words for all to read, he was definitely a bulldog. Also the memories get vague as the more time went on the more dogs we got and the less one on one Sugs received. This is my only regret.
Overall Sugs was an amazing animal in so many ways. A puppy to the end he was always entertaining himself to work off his drive. Those that came to the house will remember Sugs either playing with his tire, his ball, his Frisbee and of course his food bowl. He would take a full car tire and push it all over the yard with his muzzle and then pick it up and move it then drop it, attack it, and start all over again. He would take his ball, Frisbee, and of course his food bowl and throw them in the pool so he could jump and retrieve them. He would do this all day long unless a turtle, squirrel, or mole distracted him. He was very amusing to watch and it was this personality that so many remember and recall him as their "favorite".
Sugs had that perfect on/ off temperament, a true protector, a family member, a dog that would "shake" with excitement he had so much drive, he was intelligent, confident and stable as the day is long, and ever so funny, he was what we like to call a "natural". Was he perfect? No. He was however our "secret ingredient" here and much more of a dog than so many being bred today. He is what made KIWS, KIWS. He is that special blend that no one else has, a lost blood. He is what we hope to keep in our lines for years to come through careful breedings. He was never famous in his lifetime, but he will be remembered in his offspring and hopefully be famous in their successes.
Through shows, the internet, family, friends and his puppies we have met some of our best friends. We thank him for that. We thank him for where we are today and where we hope to be tomorrow. We are very sorry that he is no longer with us. Without Sugar Daddy I cant imagine where our lives would be today. He showed us what an American Bulldog was and taught us what an American Bulldog was supposed to be. He changed our lives forever and not only will we never forget him, but we will always remember.
Tracey of KIWS