Adopt or shop, just do it responsibly

It’s happened again, a story about Newfoundlands living in deplorable conditions, used strictly for breeding for profit and finally being surrendered due to the owners declining health. These poor dogs lived outside in extreme heat, never received any veterinary care and didn’t even have names.  They were filthy, matted and in poor health. They are all in fair condition but thankfully are under the care of a Newfoundland rescue group. They have been bathed and groomed, probably for the first time in their lives and will be nurtured back to health before being adopted to loving families.

I understand people wanting to buy a puppy for their family. Maybe there is a specific breed they have an affinity for, they don’t want to bring a dog with “baggage” into their family, or any other reason that makes sense for their family.  I don’t take a strict adopt-don’t-shop stance, just shop responsibly with care and thought. I love the Newfoundland breed. Their size, their looks, their loyalty, their need to work and their gentle, sweet personalities.  I have had two Newfies that have come directly from breeders and two Newfies that have come from rescue groups.  Our very first dog came from a huge Chicago shelter.  He was a scraggly terrier mix who still holds a very special place in our hearts.  I think there is room for these different preferences, but the caveat to that is that no dog should be used for breeding with no care for their well-being.

If you want a pure bred puppy, do your research on breeders and research more than one. The first step is to go to the national website of the breed you have chosen. They will have a list of approved, reputable breeders. A reputable breeder will want to meet you to determine if your family is the right placement for one of their puppies.  They will want to get to know you and form a relationship that can carry on through the life of the dog. They will most likely choose which puppy they will place with your family based on your family dynamic and the puppy’s personality. After you have found a breeder that you like, you will probably have to wait a while for your puppy. You might get turned down, don’t be offended, the breeder just wants the best for their puppies and wants to make the best placement possible. They will always want the dog returned to them if circumstances change and you can no longer care for the dog.  They will make every effort with their breeding to ensure a healthy litter.  They will also provide appropriate vaccinations and health screenings before sending them to their new homes. A reputable breeder has nothing to hide and will want you to come to their property to meet their dogs and puppies.  IF YOU CAN’T MEET THE MAMA , DON’T BUY THE PUPPY! A reputable breeder WILL NOT sell to pet stores or on-line because they will want to know where their puppies are going.

Red flags will include releasing a puppy prior to 8-10 weeks of age (this varies by breed and recommendations stated by the national breed group should be followed), advertising “rare” colors that don’t comply with breed standard and offering to meet you half way so that you don’t see the breeder’s property. Colors that don’t comply with breed standard are mismarks and with ethical breeding shouldn’t happen. Deliberately creating rare colors is careless and is generally done for profit only.  Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store or on-line. Receiving AKC registration papers does not mean that puppy has been carefully and ethically bred. For the NCA rescue region that handled Annie’s group,  1% of Newfoundlands come from reputable breeders and 4% are strays. The remaining majority come from backyard and commercial breeders (these breeders provide pet stores with their puppies).

If there is a breed you love and you want a puppy or dog right now, Petfinder is a good resource.  I found Annie and Charlie on Pefinder by searching for Newfoundlands.  Many, but not all, rescue groups and shelters will post animals that are ready for adoption.  You can also contact the specific breed rescue group in your area.  You will need to fill out an application, have a conversation with the person who is fostering or caring for the dog and will probably have to have a home visit before you are approved. These dogs have already come from a circumstance that wasn’t good for them. The people who have taken them in will want to make every effort to ensure that they are going to a good home, they don’t want them to end up in another inappropriate situation.

Shelters all over the country are overflowing with animals looking for good homes.  Puppies get adopted pretty quickly and might not be available, but there are so many rewards to bringing in a dog that is a little older (2 bonuses of an older dog are easy house training and no chewing). Many shelter dogs are mixed breed and will live very healthy lives because they haven’t been improperly bred by an unethical breeder. Our first dog Bogart lived to be almost 15 and didn’t have any major health issues. They are all looking for love and often times you will find your perfect pet by paying them a visit and looking into their eyes. Many people who have found their beloved pets at a shelter say they knew immediately which one would be the one. Adopting from a shelter is one of the many steps to eliminating the breeding abuse of animals.  If the demand isn’t there, puppy mills and unethical breeders will go out of business!

Pets change our lives and bring so much to our families. They are forgiving and loyal and will love you unconditionally forever.  All they want in return is love and kindness. They are a big responsibility and the decision to get a pet should not be made lightly.  Annie was the most challenging dog I’ve ever dealt with.  She had lived her whole life producing puppies with little to no human interaction.  She had never learned to trust because she had been so neglected and had no reason to believe that she could be cared for in a loving manner. She is now my constant companion and craves as much attention as possible. I can’t imagine my life without her. Shelter, health care, food and water are the obvious needs to be provided but attention, affection, and engagement will guarantee the best friend you’ve ever had, for life.

A few of the dogs from Annie’s rescue group (taken from the Newfoundland Club of America rescue site).


Weekly photo challenge: shine

When we brought Annie home she was still fighting itchy and infected skin. Her coat was just beginning to thicken up and fill in but there were still some patchy areas under her chin and on her chest.  We tried multiple combinations of different medications and antibiotics until we finally found success with her current prescription.  We also add fish oil and a skin and coat supplement to her meals.  The results have been amazing and she now has the most beautiful, shiny full coat.  Her undercoat is coming in thicker and her top coat glistens giving it a reflective quality.  Here she is, shiny and beautiful!

Check out other shine photos.

Who’s ready for some baseball?

I have lived most of my life as a tortured baseball fan.  I grew up in the Boston area, and spent years cheering on a team that just couldn’t get to the world series.  Everything changed in 2004 when they ended their 85 year drought and won.  At that time, the Red Sox and the Cubs were on the top 5 list of most years between championships, 85 years and 96 years respectively.  If the Red Sox could do it, surely now it’s time for the Cubs, right?   I’ve said that so many times since 2004!  (Oh and that other Chicago team, the White Sox endend their 87 year drought in 2005.)

There have been several close calls over the years, but this spring everyone I know was convinced that this, this is the year.  We pulled out the W flag out and started flying it this spring.  My husband is traditional, so the flag only flies after they win.  It came down at the end of June for a loss and then I changed it out for the American flag in preparation for the 4th of July.  Several weeks went by and then my son grabbed the flag and put it in with his dorm room boxes.  So now what, the flag is with him.  I guess I better buy another one.img_3221

I will be the first to admit, I’m not a great fan.  I love spring training and we go to Florida every year for spring break so when the dates match up, we try to go to a Red Sox game (The Cubs train in Arizona).  We see them either at the Twins stadium or at Mini-Fenway and it’s so much fun. Usually I watch the opening day games and gradually follow results as the season progresses.  I definitely lose interest in July and August, because really, there are still so many games and things get more interesting in September. Between the Red Sox and the Cubs, I’ve had enough disappointment to make me a bit cynical until the play-offs get close.

But here we are, about to watch game 1 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians!  In preparation for that, I’ve put together some fun-facts with freakish coincidences that relate to these teams and the World Series:

  • The two men that ran the 2004 Red Sox team, that ended the 85 year drought between championships, are now on opposite sides.  Theo Epstein is now the President of the Cubs and Terry Francona is the manager of the Indians.
  • The two teams with the longest active championship droughts are the Indians (68 years) and the Cubs (108 years).
  • The 1948 Indians finished their regular season tied with the Red Sox.  They play a one game play-off and beat the Red Sox to then go on and beat the Boston Braves in the World Series.
  • In the 1989 film Back to the Future II, The Cubs won the World Series in 2015 after more than 100 years. Prediction off by just one year? Let’s hope!

We can’t forget about the curses!

The Curse of the Bambino:  The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees who had never won a World Series.  After that, the Red Sox hit their slump and the Yankees have won 27 championships. It wasn’t unusual for the “ghost of the Bambino” to be seen running through Fenway when the Yankees were in town. There were many years of torment including chants of “1918” during rivalry games.  Some declared the curse broken during a game on August 31, 2004, when a foul ball hit by Manny Ramirez struck a boy in the face, knocking two of his teeth out. This 16 year old fan whose favorite player was Ramirez, lived on the farm in Sudbury, MA once owned by Babe Ruth. That same day, the Yankees suffered their worst loss in team history, 22-0 to the Cleveland Indians.  Of course, that is the year they came back from an 0-3 disadvantage to beat the Yankees and go on to win the ALCS and the World Series! (If you want to relive that excitement watch the 2005 movie Fever Pitch.)

The Curse of the Billy Goat: During game 4 of the 1945 series Billy Sianis, the owner of The Billy Goat Tavern, showed up with his pet goat Murphy.  Other fans were offended by Murphy’s odor and Billy and Murphy were asked to leave. In his outrage Billy shouted “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” which has been interpreted to mean that either the Cubs would never win another National League Pennant or else that they would never again win a World Series.

Prior to his death on October 22, 1970 (let’s pause and look at that date) Billy Sianis tried multiple times to reverse the curse by sending his nephew to Wrigley Field with a goat. He did this on opening day in 1984 and 1989 both years in which the Cubs won their division.  He also went in 1994 to stop a home game losing streak and again in 1998 for the Wild Card tie-breaker game, which the Cubs won.  On October 22, 2016, the Cubs beat the Dodgers to earn their first trip to the World Series since 1945!

I have read that some Indian fans plan to bring goats to Progressive Field tonight to keep the goat curse alive.  I don’t think it works that way, but I appreciate their spirit!

Now for some fun:

The Cubs have just added Kyle Schwarber to tonights line-up as a DH. He had a great rookie season last year but was injured early this season.  It’s great to see his name again, plus it’s fun to say!

In 2013 we attended a fundraiser for St. Judes Hospital and won a framed Kerry Wood jersey and tickets to “family day” at Wrigley Field.  We got to go down on the field, the kids ran the bases, hit balls in the batting cages, sat in the dugout and we all got to peek into the Cubs locker room.

Maisie was not very happy about posing for this picture.

And now, it’s 10 minutes til game time so I better wrap this up!  Go Cubs!

Real Neat Blog Award



A very big thank you to Xenia of  Whippets Wisdom for nominating us, it’s our first award!  She has a beautiful blog filled with photos and poetry dedicated to her two rescue whippets Elvor and Pearl. They go on great hiking adventures and the scenery is incredible.


Here are the rules for the Real Neat Blog Award:

  1. Post the Award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you and link to their blog.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like and link to their blog.
  5. Let them know you nominated them by leaving a comment on their blog.

The questions are:

  1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
    Most come from the United States and Canada but we also have visitors from the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia.
  2. What is your favourite sport or exercise?
    I love to go for long walks with my dogs, that is my preferred exercise for my mind and body.  As a fan, my favorite sport to watch is my son playing college lacrosse but I also love college football (the band adds so much spirit) and baseball.  The Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs are the two teams that I follow. (Really hoping this is the year for the Cubs in the World Series!)
  3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?
    We adopted Annie in January and it’s been a long road to recovery.  She has been doing so well that we recently went to see her foster family and she had a wonderful visit with them.  She was confident, relaxed and happy to see them all.  She flopped down with each of their dogs like no time had passed at all and then happily jumped into our car when it was time to go home.  It was a big moment that we all enjoyed.
  4. What is your favourite quote?
    It’s hard to choose but I recently found this one:  Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.
    —Sidney Jeanne Seward
  5. What was your favourite class when still at school?
    British Literature, I just love all of those classic stories.
  6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
    I wish I had focused on historic preservation and architecture when I was in school,  I have slowly figured it out with trial and error and lots of independent reading as we have renovated our old houses.
  7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?
    I’m more of a listener than a performer.  I learned to play the clarinet in grade school but figured out pretty quickly that I preferred other people’s musical talents over my own.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

My Brown Newfies:  I have read this blog for years, long before I started my own.  She was one of my inspirations that maybe I could do this too.  You don’t have to be a Newfie owner or even a dog owner to appreciate her humorous and informative posts.

de Wets Wild:  I have always wanted to go to Africa and they post the most amazing and beautiful pictures of wild animals and their surroundings in South Africa.

The Swirling Dervish: We are big wine drinkers in our house and she writes about wine and regions all over the world.  It’s always interesting to read about what she is highlighting.

Under new management: A couple raising their kids while renovating their old house.  My husband and I have done this for years, and we are close to finishing so it’s fun for me to relive all the chaos, frustration and satisfaction of living in a renovation.

Harley, a puppy mill survivor:  The message is so important and they are highlighting and doing good work with efforts to end puppy mills.  The majority of puppy mill dogs are small and live their lives in filthy, small cages producing puppies for pet stores and on-line purchases. Harley’s story is an inspiration.

It’s crucial to raise awareness to this cause and  I have written Annie’s story so that people hopefully can understand what these dogs go through.  Whether the dogs are big or small, their fears and behaviors are similar. Like Harley, Annie lived in deplorable conditions with basically no health care and limited human contact and she is just now, at the end of her life, figuring out what it means to have a family to call her own.

If you choose not to accept this award, I understand.  I just want you to know that I appreciate your blogs and always look forward to new posts in my feed!



Weekly photo challenge: local

I grew up in New England and lighthouses were always part of the background.  Some people might be surprised that there are also lighthouses in the Midwest.  This is the lighthouse in our town and there are beautiful, old stone structures and a wooded park adjacent to the lighthouse and its beach. We took a leisurely walk through the area and were able to appreciate the natural beauty around us.img_3386img_3376img_3370img_3410img_3402img_3397img_3428Check out more local photos.

a shared life with our very large dogs

%d bloggers like this: