When we lost our first Newfoundland my parents said that they didn’t want another dog, ever.
When my sister lost her last Newfoundland (she had 4) she said she might get another Newf, but her heart couldn’t take the loss of another for quite some time.
It seems like when you’re owned by a Newfie, you will either always have one in your life because you can’t bear to be without one or you’ll never have one again because you can’t to be heart-broken again.
Having lost our first Newfoundland way before his time and when I was a young adult, I never understood why someone who had experienced the love of a Newf would never want to have that experience again.
Having 2 senior Newfoundlands I get it now.
Raising a Newfoundland is a lot of work.
Raising a senior Newfoundland is mentally and physically a lot of work and it takes a village.
I never use to get that saying either.
“It takes a village”
Over the last few years, I get it.
It makes me feel bad when someone comments that Sherman and Leroy are lucky to have me or that they have the best dog mom.
The truth is, I’m the lucky one to have them and I’m just a regular dog mom that does what she can for her boys except I don’t do it alone.
I have a village that helps me.
It takes an entire community of different people interacting and caring for our Newfoundlands in order for them to have the best possible life that they can.
I thought about that the other when I sat in the driveway with Sherman.
We had been walking out to get the mail and all of a sudden Sherman fell.
I turned around and he was on the ground holding up his front leg and then all of a sudden there was a pool of blood.
I thought for sure he had broken his leg but when I got the courage up to actually look at his leg I realized that he had torn a nail.
What to do. What to do.
I texted my husband and asked him to come outside.
He’s not a huge fan of blood so when he saw the puddle under Sherman his face went a little white.
I told him he needed to sit with Sherman while I went inside to gather up the needed supplies.
It took longer than expected but when I got back outside he was sitting next to Sherman giving him a belly rub.
He had already prepared an area for my supplies and he was assuming the position to tackle the task at hand.
I couldn’t have done any of that without him.
He works extra so that we can give Sherman and Leroy what they need.
Last month when I had to take Leroy to the vet early in the morning my daughter offered to go into school a little late to help me load Leroy in the car. I knew it was going to be a struggle even with the ramp and while she is little, she was the best candidate to help me because she follows direction easily.
We got Leroy loaded up no problem that morning.
Several months ago when Leroy had a poopie pants accident, my son was the one who held Leroy’s tail in place so that I could get him clean up. Ever since then he’s been a little more in tune to what is going on with the dogs and even voluntarily guided Leroy up the stairs the other day.
My family has sacrificed so many things for the boys. We leave functions early or go late so that the boys can be fed on time and get their medications. They sacrificed their weekend when we were showing and they heard more than they can count, “Wait, I have to get the dogs first.”
My sister, who is always willing to lend a listening ear, has let me ramble on for hours about the boys. She gets it, she’s been there and she knows it helps to listen. She loves on the boys when she visits and it’s the Newfie kind of love.
My parents, who also have human grandchildren, are always there to listen and ask how the boys are doing. They are the dog sitters when we need them to be and even though my dad still can’t tell who is who, he always gives them some lovin.
My hometown friends. You know, the keeper kind of friends, they always ask about the boys and are interested in hearing their stories. When they visit they give them love and always ask before they give and they don’t roll their eyes when I leave early because I have to let the dogs out.
My breeder. An invaluable friend who has been there for it all. We’ve spent hours talking on the phone, we’ve done things together that I didn’t know that I was capable of. She’s been an amazing mentor and she’s always only a phone call away.
I remember when Leroy earned his championship title in the ring and I called her right away and she couldn’t understand me because I was crying. “Settle down Jen. What’s wrong?” (In my defense I was in Florida and Leroy was back home so I was incredibly bummed that I missed it)
The veterinarian team. Let’s face it, at this stage in the game, it’s a team effort.
We wouldn’t be here without their knowledge, advice and patience. From receptionists who schedule us, the techs that treat the boys with love and care and get find their vein on the first try, the specialists that continuing education courses so that they can stay up to date on the latest and greatest tool in veterinarian medicine, and the vets that listen, act and advise, it’s a small village inside a village.
Newfie friends. I know that you can all relate to the village because you have your own. If your new to the Newfie world your village is just starting to build and you might not get it just yet.
That’s o.k. It took me a while too.
This is why Newfie people are the best because they get it and then some. They make you feel not alone and they offer invaluable advice. Not all Newfie people are created equal but you will find your Newfie people over the years.
And last but certainly not least, every one of you who reads this blog and offers encouragement and love.
You’ve given me this platform to share our stories and you have helped me through some very difficult times. You love Sherman and Leroy like they are your own. There’s been times when I’ve wanted to quit this blog but I can’t.
This is where part of my village is and you don’t never abandon your village.
So to end, the last few years have been hard. The last few months have been harder and I’ve had to lean on my village even more. I’m tired, my body is sore, my mind is exhausted but my heart is very much full. I wouldn’t change any of this for the world but for the first time in almost 12 years I’ve thought about what’s going to happen at the end. Will I continue down this road with Newfoundlands? Can my heart handle it? There use to never be a question but now I can clearly see why some people choose not to.
It’s a choice made out of love either way.
To be continued…….