Backup Pack
Bitz, Syd and Mala


We enjoyed the devoted love and protection of Bitz the Wondermutt for eight of her 11 years. A Rottweiler/Black Lab mix, she got the best of both breeds: smart, fearless (except when it came to thunderstorms), funny, and a devoted lover of her Family.


Just as Bitz started to relax into her senior years, she ended up getting a little sister: Sydney Sapphire Churchill. As a youngster, Sydney’s nickname was Osama bin Puppy. While everyone in the household contributed to Sydney’s training, it was Bitz who took her under her paw, showed her the ropes, and turned her into the wonderful dog she has grown into. Her favorite activities are napping, wrestling with Mala, and snuggling with her beloved pink octopus.

When we lost Bitz to chronic liver failure in January of 2009, we thought it would take a long time to find the next dog for our home. As it turned out, she showed up in just a few months.

Maladroit (French for “clumsy”) is a 2 1/2-year-old, 95-pound Cane Corso/Bull Mastiff mix. We call her Mala, which means “Bad Girl” or “Evil She-Dog” in Spanish—that comes in handy here in Phoenix. We’d gotten used to having a big dog for companionship and protection, and Sydney needed someone to wrestle with.

Mala has quickly settled into her dual role as family guardian and loveable lump of muscle. Her favorite activities are protection training, tug of war with Dad, and wrestling with Sydney. Her role models are Pansy and a footstool. She makes sure the house is a safe zone for all who are welcomed into it by the humans and a fortress against all those who are not.

—Roland Murphy & Nathalie Cadieux-Murphy