The Loyal, Soft-Natured Newfoundland

By Carol Stack

The county fire department got the call from the animal shelter that a dog was trapped in a storm drain pipe. It took awhile but they finally succeeded in freeing the large black dog and she was taken to the local shelter for care. They had to completely shave her to get rid of all the mats.

She was obviously old and the days spent trapped in the drain pipe had affected her health. Who would ever adopt such a creature? They considered euthanizing her. But there was a shelter employee who would not give up on finding this dog a home.

The shelter employee called her neighbor, who happened to know someone who was interested in Newfoundland dogs. That is how Suzie ended up at our home.

Sweetness is the hallmark of the Newfoundland temperament, and Suzie was very sweet. They are also huge. Having Suzie lying across the family room floor was like having a black bear in the house. A male Newfoundland can weigh about 150 pounds. Suzie weighed in at 115 pounds. She ate as much as our other three dogs combined. Keep that in mind if you ever think of bringing one home.

The history of the Newfoundland could trace back to about 4 AD. Indian graves dating to that time have been found with skeletons of giant dogs. Whether those dogs were the ancestors of the Newfoundland dog is not verifiable, but it is known that the Newfoundland is one of the older dog breeds of today.

It is thought that the extinct American Black Wolf might be an ancestor to the Newfoundland. In turn, the Newfoundland is an ancestor of the present day Labrador and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and the St. Bernard owes its coat to the Newfoundland.

Today’s Newfoundland makes a great family pet. Their keen sense of responsiblity makes them an excellent companion dog for children of any age.

The Newfoundland is loyal, dignified, fun-loving and soft-natured. They are also obedient, easygoing, fairly inactive indoors, and will even adapt to apartment living as long as they are taken on brisk walks every day.

Why such a sweet-tempered dog as Suzie ended up alone and abandoned we will never know. It’s a sad fact that dog and cat abandonement is becoming more and more common in today’s world where we discard anything that is no longer wanted. We need to educate people that it’s better to take an unwanted dog or cat to a rescue or shelter than to drop them off in a field or strange neighborhood.

Suzie was with us for a year, living a life of leisure and comfort, before we had to euthanize her for her own sake. Her age had caught up to her. She was in pain and it was the kind thing to do. It is never easy to say goodbye to a pet, but Suzie was so gentle and loving it was especially hard to say goodbye. She will always be missed.

Copyright 2006 Carol Stack

Carol Stack has been working with dogs for more than three decades. She and her daughter, Christy, have created a web site that helps you care for, train, and choose your dog: www.christysdogportal.com

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DAILY CARTOON





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