Tag Archives: Newfoundland rescue

The oldest and the youngest

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how everybody is getting along and I can easily say that they are all getting along very well.

I never really thought about or wished for a 3 dog household. Last October, we were visiting friends with a new litter and I was clear with everyone around me that we are a 2 dog family and didn’t have room for another.  So what changed? In the back of my mind I know Annie is a senior and won’t be with us for a long, long time but I don’t want to predict when that might happen so I just thought seize the day, go with what feels right.

I considered all of the changes that I could think of but my biggest worry wasn’t about logistics (3 crates in one room is A LOT), increased food and care costs or the extra hair and muddy footprints. I was most worried about Annie and how she would respond.  I don’t want her to think we are replacing her or that it’s OK for her to start to slow down.  I have always felt that Charlie stopped fighting once he saw that we would be taken care of by Maisie. I’m still shocked that he curled up by my feet and then took his last breath. He was so quiet about it but seemed to be at peace.

Annie has changed so much over the past year and a half.  She is much more confident, very affectionate and is so devoted to my husband and me.  She and Maisie are good friends but Annie still doesn’t play with her.  Annie will chase me in the yard and give me a little body slam which will get Maisie very excited.  When Maisie tries to join us, on very rare occasions (usually when it’s very cold outside which makes them both more frisky) Annie might give her 20-30 seconds of play but then it always ends with Annie walking away and giving Maisie a scolding if she doesn’t back off.

When we arrived home with Winn, we stayed outside in the yard for introductions. Annie and Maisie were both curious and so, so gentle.  Winn was a bit overwhelmed and stayed between my feet as she took in her new surroundings and these two girls.  They both gave her some sniffs and then Annie strolled away, keeping a good distance for the rest of the day.  Maisie was more persistent and Winn was very clear with her about appropriate boundaries. It was pretty much what I expected from all of them but it didn’t take very long for them to adjust, settle down and accept each other.IMG_0814

It has been so fun watching Winn explore our house and yard and find her favorite spots.  She has discovered the tiny bathroom and likes the feel of the cool tile on her belly and the cast iron tub on her back.  She loves toys and will rummage through the toy basket when she’s ready for a new one.  She’s a crate hopper, she rolls around in all the crates but seems to like Annie’s best.  Once she has pulled out a toy, she will frequently drag it into Annie’s crate. Annie doesn’t play with toys but once Winn leaves her crate Annie will quickly go in and flop down without regard to any toy that may have been left behind. Winn enjoys being outside, both in our back yard and on our front porch and like every Newfie I know, she LOVES the water bowl.

The most heartwarming part of all of this has been watching Annie and Winn.  Annie really loves her!  She actually play bowed to Winn on day 2 and since then I have watched them playing together several times each day and of course she is so incredibly gentle.  Annie plays in very short bursts but to see her initiate play and willingly engage with Winn is wonderful, it’s a new behavior that we really have never seen out of her.  My husband thinks that for Annie, Winn is the puppy that she got to keep.  She gets to love her, play with her and show her the ways of our house and she isn’t a product of Annie’s mothering days which were filled with so much hardship.  I’m just relieved to see Annie so happy.

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Newf National

It’s that time of year again, the Newfoundland Club of America National Specialty. 

I have never registered or shown my dogs, and prior to adopting Annie, my only impressions of the show world were formed by the movie “Best in Show” which I found hilarious.

The NCA (Newfoundland Club of America) and the South Central Newfoundland Club were in charge of Annie’s rescue, and as a result of adopting Annie I have become acquainted with so many people who are passionate about this breed and they have shared their experience with me.

Last year at this time we had only had Annie for a couple of months and I was in frequent contact with her rescuers and fosters.  They were a great support for us as we were all getting used to each other. My Facebook feed started filling up with pictures from National, and all of these gorgeous dogs that looked to be having so much fun with their owners, and I began to appreciate how many people around the country are in love with this breed.  Up until then, I didn’t know many other Newfie owners. I was one of a few owners in my area and we (the dogs and I) would get a lot of attention when we were out and about because they are so big and unique.

As I started to learn more about the NCA (Newfoundland Club of America), what truly ethical breeding means, draft work, obedience, water work and therapy,  I began advanced obediance and therapy classes with Maisie.  Annie, she’s different and special and classes would not be right for her, but there is one activity that I want to do with her–the Rescue Parade.  When I saw that on the agenda last year I immediately set that as a goal for us for this year. Unfortunately, Newf National is in Oregon this year and that is simply too far away for us. The Rescue Parade is today at 3:00 in the main ring and I really wish we were there.  Next year it will be in Michigan, and while I have been very careful to keep my expectations in check because of her age, I am going to put it out there that I want us to be there next year.

Annie deserves to strut her stuff in front of all of those beautifully bred Newfoundlands.  She worked hard, producing hundreds of puppies in terrible conditions for most of her life.  Now it’s her time to enjoy life and I would love nothing more than to enter the “Rescue Ring” with her and shine the spotlight on her for others to see.  Annie turns 11 in June, that’s our next big day on the calendar, and then who knows, hopefully we will be on to Newf National 2018!

Our heart grows with each dog

I’m feeling sad today, I just heard that one of the dogs from Annie’s rescue group has passed away. Like Annie, she was a senior girl who survived many years of breeding abuse and neglect.

I think it’s hitting me especially hard because I am out of town right now, and will be for another week.  I’ve always known my time with Annie is limited because of her age and this is a reminder that we need to make each day count.

Amber was with her owner for 2 years and had a lovely life with him.  He loved her and spoiled her and she learned what a dog’s life should be. Her final meal was a stack of bacon cheeseburgers that she thoroughly enjoyed. Last year she was joined by another, younger Newfie girl from rescue that turned out to be her niece. She was from the same kennel but I think had been one of the many puppies that had been purchased and then later surrendered to rescue.  Several other dogs from this kennel have ended up in rescue, another common trend of disreputable breeding practices.

In his tribute to his special brown girl, her owner posted this poem by Erica Jong.  It beautifully sums up the feelings of many of us dog owners.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love,

they depart to teach us about loss.

A new dog never replaces an old dog,

it merely expands the heart.

If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.

 

Rest in peace sweet Amber.

Amber (Autumn) was one of the dogs featured at the end of this blog post: Adopt or shop, just do it responsibly

 

Happy Gotcha Day Sweet Annie!

One year ago, you came into our lives and so much has changed since that cold, January day.

It was not easy for you, during the previous year you had moved 4 times.  You were rescued from the only home you knew.  It was a terrible place that failed you in so many ways, but the future was scary and unknown.  You were taken to a temporary foster kennel until your foster placement was found.  You were with your foster family for several months before you were adopted but your needs were more than that family could handle so you were returned to your foster pack. On January 31st, we found each other and started down a new path together.

It took a while for you to trust us.  I don’t blame you, you were 9 1/2 and it was really hard for you to shed your fears and memories.  I wasn’t sure that you would ever bond with us, but I was OK with that, I just wanted to show you that you were worthy of the love that every dog should know.

Slowly, very slowly you have let me in.  You search me out and join me in different rooms in our home.  You trust that you are safe with me when we leave the house.  You show your personality which is very silly and you are so affectionate. You love food and treats so much, you seem to never get enough. You talk to me, almost every day.

You have changed our lives, filled our hearts and honored us by choosing us to be your family.

Annie, I promise you this, just as I did with Thomas and Abigail while they were growing up, I say this to you:

When you are nervous, I gotcha.

When you want to change directions because someone is walking towards us, I gotcha.

When you have a belly ache because you ate a whole loaf of bread you found on the counter, I gotcha.

When you howl at me to wish me good morning or are telling me that yes, you want to go for a walk, I gotcha.

When you are feeling unsure at your Dr.’s office, I gotcha.

When you are so hungry for dinner, you start dancing around, I gotcha.

For all those moments we share, fun, scary or otherwise, I gotcha.

Until we say goodbye, I gotcha Annie, I gotcha.img_4487

 

 

 

 

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).

Sugar
Hope
Tatoo
Silvia
Tank
Debra
Autumn
Sugar