Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Learning Newfie.

Showers make great napping spots.
Two years ago, Denise and I set out on a journey. We wanted to bring a Newfoundland into our home. Now, we both had different reasons. Hers was not solidified until she met a pair of the big, beautiful dogs at Royal Flush Newfs. I actually took her as a surprise during her birthday week. When she got out of the car and the pair bounded up, she was almost in tears right then and there. Over the next few years, I will be documenting my journey into this amazing world with our girl. Her official name is Royal Flush's Lady Freyja Limerose. We just call her Freyja.

Flat on her back, enjoying the cool breeze on her belly.

For me, it was a dog from my childhood, and I never forgot that loving, wonderful bond I felt. Unfortunately for me, when I got out on my own, I had neither the room, nor the funds for such an amazing animal. So, as I begin to chronicle this journey with our girl, I will share a few things that I have learned as well as try to demystify a world that can seem daunting to an outsider (which I consider myself to be for now).

She won't be fitting there much longer.
If you are considering a Newfoundland, there is a lot you should probably ask yourself. Here are few internal conversations you may not be considering:

  1. Can I handle water being sloshed, tracked and spilled everywhere in my house?
  2. If I have stairs in my house, am I willing to be diligent and carry my Newfie up and down them for the first several months?
  3. Do I want my Newfie to enjoy a life of doing the activities that come so naturally?

Enjoying a light misting.
Newfoundlands LOVE water. There is no way to emphasize this enough. Puddles, streams, lakes, bathtubs, sprinklers. If it involves water, a Newfie is all about it. They will "dig" in their water dishes, flop down in any puddle they find, and then they will slip past you and run into the house while you are reaching for the towel that has now become a part of your wardrobe. It is in their nature, and you need to be accepting of it. Keeping a Newfoundland out of water (besides being a Herculean effort that you will simply never win) would be cruel at best. Can you deal with the mess? If not, keep looking for that ideal companion.

A budding friendship...
Stairs. The reality is that a Newfie is a big teddy bear in the early months. However, their weight is simply not something you want them dragging up and down stairs. It will put a strain on their joints that can cause PERMANENT damage. It might seem strange, but the best thing you can do for them is to carry them up and down for as long as possible. Also, you need to be responsible and limit that sort of activity once they are too big to carry. Think of it this way...would you drive a sports car on a motocross dirt track? Probably not. It would be damaged and ruined. Well, a Newfie is a member of your family and certainly much more important than a car. Don't put him or her in conditions that will cause damage and even injury.

Newfoundlands are working dogs. They are superb candidates for pulling carts, water rescue, as well as amazing companions. They have a heart to match their size and will want nothing more than to make you happy. Can you reciprocate? I was fortunate to watch a draft cart certification. The owners were on pins and needles, but the dogs were in heaven. There are clubs all over that will introduce you to some wonderful things that will only create a stronger bond between you and your Newfoundland. One of my complaints with the "dog world" is the people. There can be an exclusionary attitude that borders on mean. Personally, I don't understand such things. I was very lucky to find a group that was inviting and eager to add another Newfie family to the ranks. Look around, the good ones are out there. If you find a nasty bunch...keep looking.

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