Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Newfie Lessons


Author Unknown

Our first glimpse of Bear left us without a clue as to what life with a big dog might be like.
Moving flashes of black fluff were all that we could see; and those could only be glimpsed through air holes in the travel cage sitting on the Delta Airlines freight dock at Dallas-Ft Worth Airport.
We were too excited for it to sink in that our 12-week old Newfoundland Puppy already had to have a travel cage for medium sized dogs. But as I opened the cage door; what grabbed my attention was the biggest set of paws I have ever seen in my life! I remember thinking ”Good Lord! If this is just a puppy How big is this dog going to be when he grows up?”
Nine months later- at a year old, 29” tail and 130lbs. We got the answer: a whole lot bigger than the Newfoundland looked in the dog books. And we’re learning almost daily that there are hordes of big dog problems that the books didn’t tell you about.
After years of having only small dogs, we really thought we were ready for our first big dog. We had done our homework and felt we understood and had made mental adjustments for the obvious big dog requirements. We were prepared to by dog food in 50lb. Bags; clean up dog wastes in huge quantities and provide extra space and exercise. We also planned for obedience classes to establish firm control. Those are the kinds of things about which the books give you plenty of warning.
It’s the thing that the books don’t explain that boggle the minds of the first time big dog owner.
Like the statement, “Newfoundlands drink a lot of water.” They don’t drink a lot of water, they drink about a million gallons a day. And about half of that collects in their jowls just before they put their head into your lap while you’re wearing your new suit or dress. The books never said you need to buy extra bath towels just to wipe the dog’s face every drink about a thousand different times a day, but always at least 250 times during your favorite T.V show.
Sometimes I wonder if the people who write about big dogs actually own them? Or maybe they’re just passing along information they’ve read in dog books.
Being raised by a Newfoundland has taught us a lot of tricks that dog book writers seem never to mention; and Bear has been an excellent teacher. In fact we’re getting trained just the way she wants us. She’s taught us that from now on, barefoot is out anytime she’s in the house. We’ve learned that it hurts like heck when a 130lb. Dog steps on your bare feet. Nowhere in dog books does it tell prospective big dog owners to buy Steel-Toed boots at the same time the buy their first bag of puppy chow.
The books also don’t mention that the wagging tail of an excited big dog probably should be classified as a deadly weapon. Or that coffee tables can be swept clean of their contents with a single wag.
If I were writing a book, I’d tell big dog owners not to buy any tables until the dog is full grown. That way, you’d know how high they need to be to keep them out of tail range. There seems to be some unwritten rule at work that says furnishings already in the house will always be perfect tail level.
Maybe Big dog owners should lobby Congress for a law requiring breeders to put warning labels on the tail end of big dogs, being sent home with customers.
It might not be a bad idea to put one on the front end as well. It should say something like “Warning! This machine can be devastating to large pieces of furniture.”
Any dog, when it is teething can make a mistake and chew on your best sofa. The books warn about that. But what they don’t explain is the degree of difference involved with dog size.
For Example: our Dachshund once gnawed a small scar on the sofa leg. A swipe of the sand paper and a little furniture oil and it disappeared.
But our Newfoundland taught us that sandpaper and oil can’t make the entire arm reappear on the easy chair. Fortunately, we rationalized, the chair and sofa needed replaced anyway.
There’s a lot of other things about this life with a big dog for which the books don’t prepare you. But the trick to making the adjustment of life with a big dog is to use multiplication. All you need to do is multiply everything by a whole lot more.
*Heartworm pills are a good example. A bottle of 200 pills, each 180 mgs. Will last our 15lb. Dachshund for 800 days. Our Newfoundland goes through a bottle every 100 days. And that period will get even shorter as she gains weight. *A small dog sprawling on its back kicking its feet is a funny sight. A powerful, playful Newfoundland doing the same thing turns over coffee tables and rocking chairs. *A small dog wakes you in the night by whining. A big dog uses the shock treatment by washing your face with a mile long tongue. *A few fleas live on a small dog. A big dog can support a flea population equal to that of California. *A small dog digs holes in the yard. A big dog does swimming pool excavations. *A small dog looks at trees. A big dog either eats trees or strips the leaves of any branch less than 6 feet above the ground. *A small dog goes along for the ride and fits nicely in an economy car. The big dog is like taking 2 passengers, both of whom have a terminal case of the fidgets.
Those are just a sapling og the kinds of things the dog books should tell you when you are considering buying a big dog.
But they should also tell you that the big dog delivers an incredible amount of love and devotion; that their size makes them just perfect for hugging; and that they bring a feeling of security to a house that can’t be matched.
There’s also the very special feeling of being able to reach down touch the dog walking by your side without bending your knees or stooping over. That lets you maintain the special emotion, touching relationship with your dog in a way that only big dog owners can appreciate.
The dog books don’t tell you about that either. But they should. Because if we had known, we’d have gotten big dogs years ago.

I couldn't have said it better myself.....
Big Dogs Rule...

1 comment:

onecoatsam said...

Giz --


Satch and Drew