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08/27/2013 @ 8:15am

We’re back in the big dog biz. It’s been about a decade since the last big dog, and getting back in the biz was purely accidental. One of our daughters has a coworker who, to my understanding, wanted kind of a guard dog to tie in the front yard to keep ne’er-do-wells at bay. Their solution was to get a Newfoundland pup. This was a flawed concept. Newfoundlands love ne’er-do-wells. Actually, Newfoundlands love everyone. If you were to hang out with Mother Theresa and a Newfoundland, you’d end up thinking, “Boy, that Mother Theresa has a mean streak.” Newfoundlands exude good will to all of creation – along with gallons of slobber.

The pup’s first owners perhaps didn’t do their due diligence. She’s about 7 months old – the size of a full-grown Black Lab – and still has all her puppy fur. The owner asked my daughter if she knew how much bigger she’d get. When she explained that Newfoundlands grow until they’re about 3 years old, it was decided that the best place for the pup was the Humane Society. The Humane Society is an unacceptable place for a Newf. After several emails, a couple phone calls, many discussions, and a moderate amount of wheedling, the dog ended up at our place instead. I admit that it didn’t take a lot of wheedling; I like Newfoundlands.  

We got our very first Newfoundland when our children were small. I searched the dog books to find the one with the best temperament with kids. I hit the mother lode when I got to “N.” Then I saw an ad about a litter of pups for sale just across the border in Wisconsin.  Of course, we live on the opposite border in Minnesota, which meant a four-hour drive to look at a puppy. It seemed like a long way to go on a whim, but I asked a friend if he was busy that afternoon and when he said “not really,” I asked him if he wanted to go to Wisconsin.  

He said, “Sure.”

Our arrival was met with woofs of delight by half a dozen massive Newfoundlands. While I was settling up with the seller, my friend waited in the kitchen. He owns a lumberyard, and the unique texture on the drywall caught his eye. As he puzzled over the technique used to get that texture, a giant dog burst through a giant dog door, stood in the middle of the room and shook his head. The slobber splattered far and wide, and the mystery was solved.

We headed for home, and although I’d promised a steak dinner in exchange for my friend’s company, we ended up driving through McDonalds, because he may have forgotten to let his wife know he was going to a different state. The puppy sat on his lap all the way home and ate half of his Big Mac.

The new puppy arrived with considerably less effort on my part. My daughter and her family delivered her, along with her bed and toys. She loped around the yard, met cats and ducks and chickens for the first time, ate the badminton set, and stopped every couple minutes to lean against us and gaze adoringly in our faces. She didn’t respond to her given name, which doesn’t seem to suit her anyway, so we’re working on something more appropriate. Although Lumpy fits, it has been deemed much too undignified for permanent use.

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