This year, I think my Monday theme is going to be centered around something dear to my heart…my Newfoundland, Freyja. Every year, I take a little of my writing time to put something together that is really just special to me. Last year, it was TRIBUTE. I spent time with bands, was invited to rehearsals, and saw A LOT of shows. This is going to be the year of the Newfoundland for me.
When I set out to get our newf, I did what I always do…search for reading material. That was when I ran into my first problem. Sure, there are a few books out there that supposedly tell you “how to care for your Newfoundland”. The problem with them lies in the fact that they are basically generic. They take all the basic information on caring for ANY dog and then insert the word “Newfoundland” where appropriate. In short, they are useless.
What I hope to do is share what I have learned and continue to learn with anybody that is considering (or maybe doesn’t realize it yet, but soon will) the possibility of adding one of these beautiful dogs to their family. This is not a choice to make lightly. There are so many things that make each dog special, and they can also make for a miserable life (for both you and your newf) if you simply rush into it without ding at least the most basic research.
The first thing that I will tell you is that I don’t know everything. As this column continues, I will be quoting other owners, breeders, and newf lovers. I hope that you will find this interesting, even if adding a Newfoundland to your family is not in the plans. Maybe this will inspire you to do the research for a breed that you fancy.
So, I will leave you with one of the Q & A forms that I filled out when I began what would turn out to be a two year quest to add a Newfoundland to our family. Oh yeah…you read that right…it took over two years from when we thought that a Newfoundland would be something we would want to when we actually brought our sweet girl home.
- Who will be the primary caretaker? Todd Brown
- Describe this household’s previous pet experience. I have been around dogs all my life. I bred English Bulldogs in the 80s. I have never shown a dog, but have always wanted to, and now have the time to learn and make good on that dream. Denise has always owned a dog, but never been enthusiastic about the more serious aspects of breeding or showing until recently.
- What other animals do you have? Describe species, age, and if intact or altered. We have a three-year-old Border Collie who will be altered due to hip issues which remove her from the potential of breeding.
- Why have you chosen the Newfoundland breed? I had one as a child. She is the first dog I remember. I have been around them, but never personally had the room to give one a proper home. Now that I will, this is a dog that I have had a love affair with since childhood and again, I have the chance to pursue my dream.
- Do you want a male or female? Why? What color do you prefer, black or brown? Female. I have never seen a brown that struck my eye until yours (not kissing up, I just always preferred the black) and now Denise and I both would love a brown.
- What training plans do you have for a Newfoundland? I am already ordering books on water rescue training. Also, I started looking in to tracking, but am JUST now looking so I am undecided. We are looking for a few acres, so I would not discount draft, but that would honestly be predicated on how much land we get as well as how much of a “farmer” I become.
- Do you want to breed Newfoundlands? I would like to. I am a firm believer in keeping a strong, pure, and HEALTHY animal. That is why I am not interested in finding my Newf from just any owner with a batch of puppies.
- Please describe your living situation by circling the appropriate words and adding whatever comments you wish. *We just bought a home. It is in Estacada and has a .75 acre back yard that is like a park more than a yard.
City Suburban Rural House Townhouse Apartment Condominium
Single level home Split level Few Stairs Many levels/stairs
Own Rent Live with roommates Live with extended family
Flooring: Cement Linoleum Ceramic tile Wood Carpet Rugs
Fencing: None Partial Dog run (list dimensions) We have a fully fenced property.
Describe your basic house keeping style: Meticulous (todd) Tidy Casual Safe but messy (Denise)
I (Todd) am a very clean person. But that means that I keep my dogs well-groomed and make sure that they have a safe and clean place to live. I DO NOT believe in “outdoor” dogs. They are members of the family and belong inside with us. I am very aware of the shedding AND slobbering of the Newf. I have no problems with it and will ensure that they are kept looking beautiful.
- What vehicle/vehicles do you drive? Currently a Ford Ranger and a PT Cruiser, and I have a 70s VW bus.
- Where will the dog sleep at night? Most likely in our room. I am not adverse to my dog being on my recliner, couch, or bed. I will have a bed for her just as I do for my Border Collie, but when my Border comes up to cuddle, she is allowed to stay. It will be no different for Fryeja (we have a Norse name chosen for her already.)
- Where will the dog be during the day? I am a writer and work at home. She will be with me. That includes my afternoon walk as well as trips to parks etc. once she is old enough.