The Newfoundland is a large and very powerful dog, but is known as a Gentle Giant because of its mild, friendly and loyal personality. Even though the Newf is of a calm disposition and has a very laid- back character, it can be a challenge to own one. It can be a high maintenance dog and because of the drool and shedding is not meant for the family which is obsessed with neatness. Newfoundlands require grooming on a regular basis and because of the almost constant shedding, one must possess a very good quality vacuum cleaner. It goes without saying that as the number of Newfs in the household increases, so does the energy and time required to provide the care they need and deserve. During most of the past thirteen years we have had more than one of these gentle beasts living with us at the same time and presently we have four.

My intention in writing this blog is to give an insight into how the Newfoundland dog fits into the family home environment. Needless to say, when one has four large dogs living in the house the tendency is to take many photos. I have included several of these pictures throughout the blog which will help readers to visualize the unique atmosphere in the home.

We became interested in Newfoundland dogs quite by accident. We had heard of them and had seen the typical photos of them standing on a Newfoundland shore staring out over the sea. However, we really did not know much about them. Our “dog” life before Newfs consisted of many mixed breeds, mostly from shelters, and one purebred Golden Retriever by the name of Kelsey. None of our dogs of the past ever weighed more than 60 pounds.

One morning, many years ago, not far from our house and at the beginning of our commute to work, Ingrid and I passed a couple walking this monstrous black dog along the side of the road. We were quite impressed with this animal even from a distance. We saw them often during the next few weeks and became determined to meet them and discover more about this noble looking dog. Eventually it became too difficult to just drive by, so one day we stopped and said hello and were introduced to Charlie, the Newfoundland. Charlie, a very large, old and docile male Newf, was a rescue dog. During the next few weeks we met them many more times and learned of the qualities of this breed of dog. We learned of their gentleness, kindness and loyalty to their owners and became determined to eventually have one of our own.

My goodness! What a coincidence! Within weeks, while at our local post office, I noticed a homemade sign on the bulletin board advertising Newfoundland puppies for sale. This, to our way of thinking was just too good to be true. I made not of the phone number and the next day we were there looking at the last two remaining pups from the litter. We made our choice and two weeks later, our Life Among the Giants began.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Bill,
    I’m so glad to have come across your blog about the Newfies. We are currently searching for a Newfie puppy, but in all honestly, I’m having a few reservations about taking on such a large dog. My wife and daughter, however, were sold on the idea the first day we saw one of these gentle bears at the local dog show.
    Looking forward to your insights.
    Mitch Rossi
    San Francisco, CA


    • Posted by Val Frost and BUBBLES, my Newfoundland Service Dog on July 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Dear Bill and Mitch,

      I just happened upon your blog, and will soon be purchasing “Life Among The Giants”.
      I rescued BUBBLES 2 years ago the 27th of this month from her breeder, upon whom she was dropped off by the couple who originally had promised her the world and proceeded from the age of 1 yr (they mature at 2) to feed her garbage and not love her. She was on death’s door, not at all developed in bone (skull had not matured at all, nor the Newfy brow, eyes were bugged out rather than sunken and her rear could not lift for about 2 minutes due to severe nerve damage caused by spinal impact and underdeveloped ligaments and tendons and muscles) or muscle at all. She looked pathetic. HOWEVER, I spent the next year and a half working with massage therapy and analysis of damage by Sandy Benoit (Canine Touch and Tell) and was able to design a diet and exercise plan that got her up to 100% by October 5, 2010. As she recovered and became so happy, healthy and devoted to me, my health took a landslide, and she is now, without formal training of any kind, my Newfoundland Service Dog, medically and legally certified based on all that she does for me. I have had Chronic Migraine Disease for over 49 years and with that comes Ocular Migraine Strokes which come on suddenly with intense pain about the eyes area, followed by a total visual field blackout. She senses the attack and my distress and goes into “auto-pilot” without any command, getting me to either sit down or pulling me out of harm’s way to safety. She also notifies me of oncoming migraine headache attacks by leaning on my legs hard enough to force me to sit down. When disorientation occurs, she leads me in the correct direction. Her protection in standing between me and any person who gets too close is constant, as is her vigilance to anyone coming up behind me. I also was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (lumbar spine and hips) and Macular Degeneration in both eyes in January 2011, so in addition to the CMD, BUBBLES has a full workload in her daily vigilance taking care of me. But as my mobility (which she constantly does “shoulder checks on”) and my vision loss progress, she is always there for me and I love her to pieces.
      So from rescue dog to service dog, the roles have reversed and the breeder, Beardog Newfoundlands in Trenton, Ontario (Pat and Marc LeClair) – refers to this amalgamation of spirit as a “marriage made in heaven”. BUBBLES is 5 years old and she comes from Canadian Champion stock, CABOT, who is still busy, and STAR (Starry Starry Night) who is in retirement.
      BUBBLES has been photographed so frequently, as people adore her for her gentle nature, are impressed by the work that she does, and respect her as the majestic example of a true Canadian Icon which her breed has always been.
      Perhaps a Newfoundland “Cinderella Story”, but my life would be totally empty without her, and when you are in constant body pain, her silly antics and never-ending devotion keep you from thinking about it, and assist you in getting on with your life. Each day when we go out for our walks, shopping, whatever, we meet a cast of thousands and it is a “give and take”: we teach and we learn at the same time, face to face, up close and personal, the way people should be able to get to really meet and love a true Newfoundland Service Dog.
      Sorry for the length. Thanks for both of your time. Can’t wait to get the book.

      Val Frost and BUBBLES, my Newfoundland Service Dog



  2. Posted by marij erup on March 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I love your blog Bill, really nicely done!! Lots of memories about the oldies..


  3. Posted by Tina Barton on April 13, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I miss those walks.


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