HOW IT ALL BEGAN:
To understand why we decided on a Newfoundland as
a choice for a new furbaby we need to tell you about Blanche. We got Blanche from the local shelter when she was a pup. She
was supposed to be an English Springer Spaniel cross? This girl had heart! Mike would take her ice fishing and she would
pull the sled with all the gear through the snow. We entered her in dog pull competitions in the winter. She weighed 55 lbs.
and the first year she came second. She pulled approximately 325 lbs. and was only one of two dogs in her size category to
actually move the sled with concrete blocks on it. The first place winner was a "professional" and was trained specifically
for these contests. The crowd cheered when Mike told her..."Let's go fishing". She took off.... it was truly amazing. The
next year there was a mix-up and she didn't get called into the final but she was awarded the most important trophy of all.
This was a first time trophy, and it was in honor of the Safety and Rescue Organization's, mascot, a beautiful Basset Hound.
The award was for the dog that showed the most heart. She never gave up and they said that they couldn't believe how much
she tried ...she had tried that day to pull over 400lbs.
When she was five she was attacked in our back yard
by a much larger dog and it was a very traumatic experience for her, as she never was the same. She became extremely over
protective of Mike and she began biting strangers and even people she knew. The vet gave us the option of muzzling her, putting
her on anti-depressants or the worst option...saying goodbye. I could not muzzle her. How could I do that to her after all
these years, so I tried the anti-depressants? She became worse and then attacked a young child who came too close to Mike.
The vet said that when a pet is no longer a pet, then some very hard decisions needed to be made. The decision was made to
let our precious Blanche cross Rainbow Bridge.
We missed her terribly so we went to the pet stores to
get our "fix" of furbabies and to investigate breeds. We were so scared to get another pup. We wanted to minimize
the chances of having to go through anything like it again. We wanted a very "unprotective" breed. Course,
now we realize it was more the "incident" and not Blanche's breed.
Mike was ice fishing and saw two Newfs running and playing
and found out that they were "gentle giants" and he knew he had found the right breed for us. So we went to a breeder and
we met her Newfs and decided right there and then that we were going to put a deposit on her next litter. We saw Beau just
after he was born and he weighed in at 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. He was just this round ball of black fur playing in a playpen with
his siblings. We were in love and on May 29, 1992, Beau came home with us. He changed our lives, forever.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make
our lives whole". (Roger Caras)
|Beau at 14 weeks...
|Beau's weight....32 lbs.
As you can see from the above photo, Beau was a bundle of black
fur. According to our agreement with the breeder, Beau had to be carried up and down stairs for the first 4 months of
his life. That didn't seem to hard at first but once we realized that the average weight gain of a Newf is 10 lbs. per
month...well at almost 4 months he weighed in at close to 40 lbs. No easy feat, but we did it.
The first night with Beau was clearly a night to remember.
He cried all night. We had never heard anything like it. He sounded like a seal. Mike and I got up all night
(just like all good parents of a newborn) and tried to console Beau. I finally got some sleep and when I woke up I found
Mike and Beau sleeping side by side in the livingroom.
Mike and I were getting married on August 8 (after 13 years of being
together) and Beau was involved in all that craziness that goes on with wedding preparations. The picture below
is of me and Beau just before the wedding. You can tell he is the light of my life...
"Do not accept your dog's admiration as conclusive
evidence that you are a wonderful ".(Ann Landers)
|Beau at 16 weeks
|36 lbs and still growing....
For the first couple of months, Beau seemed to need to go outside during
the night a lot. I swear, it was like having a newborn! He cried and I would have to take him outside at
least 3-5 times per night. I was becoming extremely tired. One day I was in the pet shop and I think
I was so tired and thinking that I would not be able to keep the pace up that I finally just asked the clerk if he knew of
anything to help Beau sleep. Luckily, a pet food salesman was standing there and asked me what the problem was.
I relayed my problem and he looked at me as though shocked and said "That's not normal". You see, Beau was leaving as
many piles on the grass as I was getting up at night (not including the daytime piles). He suggested that I change
Beau's dog food as it might be that he was allergic to the food he was eating. I changed his food immediately and lo
and behold that very night I slept all night! I was a new mom after all....how was I supposed to know this wasn't
normal!!! It may have taken me close to three months before I was able to get a full nights sleep, but I wouldn't
have changed it for anything. I think that getting up everynight with him made our bond even stronger.
This may be too much info, but this is about Beau's life and I think he would say that this was a time in his life that wasn't
much fun, but at least he got to be with his mom. I'm sure he would be smiling down and remembering how silly
I was not to have known sooner that there was something not quite right.
Beau was such a cute "little" puppy, and he was
so well behaved....at first! We took him to obedience class and he was the biggest pup there. He could sit,
stay, heal, and all the other things they teach in sub-novice. There was only one problem....as soon as he
got one inch outside of the training room, he seemed to forget everything he had learned and he turned into a maniac!!!
Mike sat through every session with me, thank goodness, because he was my only witness. I told the trainer that I was
having problems. She would take him and give him the commands and sure enough....he was perfect! I think
she thought I was some kind of crazy woman. How could I say I was having problems; when he was so well behaved?
Let me describe the real Beau. There was the time he gave me a black eye. Or the umpteen times that I had
to back out of the yard with a rake or something in front of me to protect myself. I didn't dare turn my
back on him! He would jump up on me, nip me, try to knock me over and I was bruised all over.. So much,
for the non-aggressive breed!!! This went on until he was almost two and by then he weighed 165 lbs. He outweighed
me, so I really didn't stand much of a chance. I guess you could say..."he threw his weight around". The
breeder suggested that I show him who was boss and told me how to "aggressively" take control. In retrospect, I know
that this was probably not the best advice, in Beau's case. If I got control for one minute he would work
harder to get that control back. I was exhausted! He did not do it with Mike. Mike watched me do the same
things that he was doing but it did not work for me. I wasn't giving up, though. I was not going to
loose another dog because of aggressive behaviour. I took private lessons and was told the same thing...be in
control. Well, I had tried that. Mike had seen me try it and it just didn't work. So I
started thinking about why Beau was like this. The breeder had told us to crate train Beau. I finally realized
that whenever Beau got out of control, and we were at our wits end, and didn't know what else to do with him, we put
him in the crate for down time. Mike was out of town on business so I thought I would try something. Instead
of putting Beau in the crate at bedtime, I brought him into the bedroom with me. The first night, neither of us slept.
The next night was better and by the time Mike got home, a week later....well there was a new dog in the house.
The change was incredible!! We finally had the Newf we were hoping for. For the next few years, Beau would go
into "Maniac" mode, once every six months or so. But we would tell him no and he would calm down right away.
I think he was always just trying to play with me and never meant to hurt me. He just didn't know his own strength.
The key to his change? I believe he just needed to be near me. Once he could see me and be around me all the time,
he was happy. What a lesson for me. Again, new mom who didn't have all the answers. Through this
experience I think Beau and I bonded even more and I doubt that I would have changed it, even if I could. We were both
better off after going through it together. Many times throughout his trying behaviour, my friends would ask
"How can you put up with him"? How indeed. I loved him and I wasn't going to loose him. We were going
to find a way even if it killed me. So Beau's life went from being crazy and hyperactive.... to being
happy and content.
"In order to keep a true perspective
of one's importance, everyone should have a dog"
|Beau at 19 weeks
When Beau was 16 months old we went on an adventure.
Mike and I were moving to British Columbia from Ontario. Three thousand miles and guess what? I was driving Beau
and his two siblings, Buzz and Bill with me, alone, as Mike had already moved . I found another lady to come with me
for the drive and off we went. Did I mention that this was during Beau's "Maniac" period? I couldn't believe it.
He was perfect. For the four days that it took us to make the trip he was an angel. He would jump up on the hotel
room bed and just sleep. He stayed in the back of the truck when we were driving and we never heard a peep out of him.
I think he knew that this was a stressful situation for me and he decided to back off. That's when I knew that
he had a much gentler side to him!!!! All I had to do was find out how to get rid of all that aggression.
Finding a hotel room that would take all of us was
not easy. In Montana I remember that every hotel was booked (those that allowed furbabies). I finally found one,
but after registering we had to leave. You see there were no elevators and Beau would not climb strange stairs.
Beau had a few other "quirks" as well. He would walk into many a room but he never turned around and walked out.
He would back out. One of my commands to him was "Back out" and he would. This never occured on floors that had
rugs, just those that didn't. Beau did not like tiled (or slippery) floors. We had to be creative if we
wanted to take him to the mall to get a picture with Santa or go to the groomers who did not have carpeting. We brought
our own rugs. Runners, actually. We would lay a couple out and get him as far as they went and then we would pick
them up and lay them out again, until he reached his destination. Oh, how people would stare and wonder what we were
doing! Beau also would not jump into a truck and he had to be helped into a car. He loved to go for rides because
he knew he was going "places". We could stand outside the car or truck for 15 minutes and try to coax him in.
He would look like he was going to do it but he always chickened out. We tried making ramps and moveable stairs with
nothing ever working. I was taking him to the vet one day and I couldn't get him into the truck. I couldn't lift
him by myself so I was in a real bind. A neighbor watched us for about 10 minutes and finally came over and asked if
I needed help. No kidding! What gave you that idea? Anyway, I was so grateful that he lifted Beau into the
truck for me. I don't think my neighbour was that happy though...I think Beau was a little heavier than he thought!
I loved Beau's quirks. It made him even more
special. Did I tell you about selling my dream car for Beau? He would get into my brand new sports car and sit
in the front seat. I had to sell it when he started shifting gears on me. I was trying to get onto a highway
from an "on" ramp and he put the car in neutral. Time for the car to go! We always got comments whenever we drove
together. His head always touch the roof of the car or the truck and there I was looking like some small frail thing
beside him. Beau never had any trouble attracting attention. Everything he did, made heads turn.
"Money will buy you a pretty good
dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail". (H. W. Shaw)
BEAU'S TRAVELLING COMPANIONS:
|Beau's brother...Buzz, better known as Buddha
|...weighing in at close to 20 lbs.
|....weighing in at 7 lbs.
Once we got to our new home and Beau had outgrown
his "Maniac" stage, life was great. I think back on how quickly the next seven years went by. Beau was always
there when I got home from work. He was not needy. He was a real couch potato. He was perfectly happy to
just "hang out". Beau never liked to cuddle, although he needed to be near us and be able to see us.
He would lay in the same spot and his eyes would follow you were ever you went. He was very content or so it appeared.
I sure hope he was. We would take walks down to the waterfront. He was a people magnet. I actually had people
say that they would like to borrow him just so they could meet members of the opposite sex. Just about everyone wanted
to touch him or wanted to know what kind of dog he was. Some were a little frightened by his size. More people
stopped and wanted to get a picture of themselves with him. He always agreed and mom was never asked to be in the picture!
Beau was probably the most photographed (by strangers) dog. He would always allow people to throw their arms around
him, rub his belly, give him ear rubs or take his picture. Oh, and if they wanted to give him a treat...well...that
was okay, too. He was so gentle with everyone, young and old. Hard to believe after our rocky beginning!
"I think we are drawn to dogs because
they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better". (George B. Evans)
|Beau's first experience with snow.....28 weeks
Beau only had one experience with a flower pot.
I think he learned what would happen if he were to try this trick again! Bath time! Beau never looked forward
to baths, although he would patiently wait until we were done. It took forever to get him wet. Once he was outside
and it was drizzling, so we brought him in and thought it would be a good opportunity to bathe him. He was a little
wet already and we figured that it would be easier. So we had him stand in the shower stall and we proceeded to "get
him wet". Well the water ran until it turned almost too cold and we found that when we went to shampoo him, his undercoat
was dry! After that, we learned to take him to the groomer. We didn't have enough warm water in our house
to give him a proper bath. The groomer has a picture of Beau on her wall. She had never groomed a dog quite like
him and said she wanted a picture to show people who might not believe her. The picture shows Beau sleeping on the floor
while they gave him a hair cut. She said that he was the easiest dog to groom. He'd lay down and go to sleep,
then wake up long enough for them to move him so they could get the other side of him. He'd go back to sleep and continue
sleeping while they had the dryers on him and again he would wake up long enough for them to move him again, to dry the other
side. Funny thing. He would never let Mike or I groom him. He would not stay still. He
would try to chew the brush, bite on the comb, or get up and walk away. When he was younger I would clip his nails
but then we had an accident. I accidently clipped too far. I freaked! He didn't think anything of it.
He was two years old and when a large dog has this happen to them....well it was not the prettiest site. I was traumatized
and was never able to clip his nails again.
" I think dogs are the
most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive". (Gilda
Parnell's photo album and other pictures...
Don't miss our pet photo album. More fun pics!