Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Arrivederci! Ci Vediamo L'anno Prossimo!

Well, it's just about time to move on to 2009.
Butt (yes, see above) before doing so, 'Drew and I want to celebrate the wonderful Newfoundland Dog (yes, us) with a reprise of our anthem, "Black & White Army".

Ciao tutti!

Seccatore Boy
(Non ti scodar di me)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How I Feel About Dog Shows

(Everybody, Sing Along With Satchie)

Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head
Where ever I may roam
In the ring or sea or foam
You will always hear me singing this song
Show me the way to go home.

(Photos courtesy of CDS & H2, Inc.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Newfoundland Takes To Rescue Duties Like A Duck To Water


Red Cross's Newest Recruit Is A Canine Volunteer

"The Red Cross’s newest recruit may not look like a typical volunteer, but it is more qualified than most to join the water rescue team.

"Loki, a 15-month-old Newfoundland, is following in the paw prints of its ancestors, which have a long history of saving stricken swimmers from stormy seas.

"The gentle giant, which already weighs almost nine stone and is still growing, is in training to become a member of the Red Cross’s flood response unit based at Inverness, the only dedicated team of its kind specialising in water search and rescue in the UK.

"Loki’s owner, Colin Lindsay, 50, of Ellon, has been a member of the team for eight years. He said the idea of Loki joining started as 'a bit of a joke'.

“'My boss has all the toys and somebody said you will need to get the next thing. Someone pointed out that we have a dog down in Aberdeen.'

"Mr Lindsay took Loki with him to a training session to Stirling University, where he took to his responsibilities like a duck to water.

"He said training sessions are a chance for Loki to have a play around just now, but the dog will start serious tuition in February and March. 'As soon as I put my gear on he goes daft, he totally changes and starts playing up and wants to be in the water.'

"Mr Lindsay said Loki will remain a pet, but will become the team’s mascot as well as a water rescue team member.

"Many people throughout history owe their lives to Newfoundlands’ instinctive abilities. Few ships in the 18th and 19th centuries set sail without a Newfoundland on board and in 1919 a member of the breed was awarded a gold medal for pulling a lifeboat with 20 shipwrecked people to safety."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Newfoundlands Giving Sleigh Rides

From the Schenectady Daily Gazette

Newfoundland Dogs Will Give Sleigh Rides for Albany Winterfest
Friday, December 26, 2008
By Bill Buell
Gazette Reporter

"Mary Lou Cuddy and her Newfoundland dog, Suzy, pull a youngster at last year's WinterFest. Well aware that animals are always a source of good family fun, this year’s Albany WinterFest is offering two types sure to be loved by everyone: Real live dogs — Newfoundlands to be more precise — and plenty of animal puppets courtesy of Dr. Marmalade, a pretend veterinarian from the Berkshires.

"Dogs from the Northland Newfoundland Club will be pulling children in sleighs and generally demonstrating their wonderfully warm personalities throughout the day, while those looking for a bit more theatrical entertainment can take in one of Dr. Marmalade’s four puppet shows.

"Both are making their return trip to the Albany WinterFest, now in its third year, while other performers will include American Idol participants Blake Lewis, Chris Sligh and Brandon Rogers. Lewis, the 2007 Idol runner-up to Jordin Sparks, will perform with Sligh and Rogers at the Palace Theater in the afternoon and will also be part of the grand finale outside City Hall at 5 p.m. Kicking off the day’s festivities at 11:30 a.m. will be the Jingle Jog, a road race for children ages 5 to 11. The day will end with a fireworks display beginning at 5:15 p.m.

"The Northland Newfoundland Club, a chapter of the Newfoundland Club of America, was formed in 1970 to 'encourage and promote quality in the breeding of purebred Newfoundland’s and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.'

"Mary Lou Cuddy of Ballston Spa and her husband, Bill, bought their first Newfoundland back in 1982.

Meeting the Breed
“'Until I met my first Newfoundland, I wasn’t a dog lover', said Mary Lou Cuddy, who has seven adult dogs and five puppies. 'My husband went to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and Newfoundlands were the school mascot. I just loved their temperament. They are sweet, gentle, tender and loving dogs, and they’re great with kids. They’re a great family dog.'

"Starr Willets of Watervliet, currently the president of the Northland Newfoundland Club, always liked dogs, but her enjoyment of them turned into a passion when she discovered the Newfoundland breed.

“'About 20 years ago, a friend of mine got one, and it was just the most amazing dog I ever saw', said Willets. 'Here was this dog that was as big as a black bear and he had the head of a Grizzly. But he was so gentle with kids and with older people, I was absolutely taken with the dog and then the whole breed. Their temperament is the hallmark of the breed. We call them gentle giants.'

"Willets has no children but she does have six Newfoundlands. She also has a pretty sizable backyard within the city limits of Watervliet, but her pets are almost always indoors.

“'I have a big yard, but they are all house dogs', she said. 'They’re like a potato chip. You can’t just have one, and I know which bark belongs to which dog. Even in pitch darkness, if there’s some noise I’ll be able to tell who the troublemaker is. Just like a parent can tell the difference in their children’s voices, I know their bark.'

"People who own and breed Newfoundlands can sometimes make a little money by selling puppies, but it’s certainly not a get-rich quick scheme. 'You don’t really make money on the animals', said Cuddy, 'and personally we don’t have any litters unless we’re looking to keep something for ourselves.'

"Willets said she has made money raising her Newfoundlands but only on rare occasions. 'When you’re breeding, you’re not making money', she said. 'It’s a very expensive proposition, and there are people who come out ahead on rare occasions. But most of the time, you’re losing money. You’re doing it because you love the animals.'

"There are a few drawbacks to the Newfoundland. Sometimes, they drool.
'Well, I am constantly running the vacuum and cleaning the walls or glass because of nose prints', conceded Willets. 'And then there are the strings; the saliva. We call them strings because they just kind of hang on.'"

[Remaining portion of article on "animal puppets" redacted for my sake.]

On the whole, 'Drew and I like the story.
As for drool being a "drawback", all we will presently say is that we see many a human Plonker walking down the street, mumbling to themselves, picking their noses, and drooling or spitting. Right back at you, Schenectady.

And as for sleigh rides, I'm happy to oblige ("the Dude obliges") as soon as one of those little snotnoses gives me his stroller. I mean, really. We like to spend an hour or so a day at a caffe, but invariably some couple comes by with a stroller the size of Schenectady and they expect us to move. Move where? It's not like we can go inside -- Dog forbid; humans carry more germs than New York subway rats but they make rules forbidding dogs from going inside a bleeding caffe. This is one thing (perhaps the only thing) the French have right. So much for the holiday spirit!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


S: "That time of the year."

A: "Christmas?"

S: "Naw, the time when I need to tell you how much I love you."

A: "I love you too -- you're not so scoldy after all."

S: "Just don't tell anyone. I love you, brother."

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Hangashore Christmas Song

As a public service to the (few)
other Hangashores out there,
we offer the following variation
on a theme, although according
to Satchie (in the words of a
well-known political figure),
"I deny the allegation, and
I deny the allegator".

* * * * * * *

Satchie, the Hangashore Newfie
had a very shiny coat.
And if you ever saw him,
you could even say it glows.

All of the other Newfies
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Satchie
join in any Newfie games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Satchie with your coat so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the Newfies loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Satchie the Hangashore Newfie,
you'll go down in history!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Holiday Season

"Tis the holiday season, and all through the house
The puppies are squeaking an old rubber mouse.
The decorations which had merrily hung on the door
Are scattered in pieces all over the floor.

"The stockings that hung in a neat little row,
Now boast a hole in each one of the toes.
The tree was subjected to bright-eyed whims,
And now, although splendid, it's missing some limbs.

"I catch them and hold them, be good I insist.
They lick me, then run off to see what they've missed.
And now as I watch them, the thought comes to me,
That theirs is the spirit that all holidays should be.

"Should children and puppies yet show us the way,
And teach us the joy that should come with this season?
Could they bring the message that's written above,
And tell us that, most of all, Happiness is Love!"

(Author Unknown)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Italian Newfoundlands To The Rescue

"Italian Dogs Take The Plunge From Helicopters To Rescue Bathers"
(By Peter Popham -- Roma)

"St. Bernards in the snow are old hat. A pioneering Italian dog enthusiast claims to be the first person in the world to have trained Newfoundland dogs to jump out of helicopters and rescue people drowning in the sea.

"The large dogs - mostly Newfoundlands but with a smattering of Labradors - patrolling Italy's beaches this summer in tandem with volunteers from Protezione Civile are not there just for show. All are graduates of the Italian Dog Rescue School, set up by Ferrucio Pilenga from Bergamo, who claims it is the first and only academy of its type in the world.

"Mr. Pilenga had the idea of opening such a school in 1988. 'I wanted to train my own dog, a Newfoundland bitch called Mas, to learn how to save people in the water. As no such organisation existed, we created it ourselves, me and Mas together. I rounded up some friends and explained the project to them, we took advice from the Navy.'

"'Despite the great aptitude of Newfoundlands in the water, it was difficult', Mr. Pilenga said. 'Instinct alone is not enough, it's difficult for a dog to rescue a drowning man because he is flailing and splashing and runs the risk of drowning the person, or dog, who is attempting the rescue. But after innumerable experiments we found a way to do it that worked.'

"Nearly 20 years on, Mr. Pilenga is proud to boast that 'my dogs are the only ones in the world who are able to jump into water from a helicopter over water... For the dog it's not just a question of jumping from different heights but also of learning not to be distracted by noise, by wind or by the waves whipped up by the helicopter's rotors.'

"The dogs leap with their human colleagues - but Mr. Pilenga points out that they can also be invaluable in situations where human beings are useless. 'For example, near dangerous rocks, where it is difficult for a boat to go close because of the danger of being smashed against the rocks. Enter the dog: attached to the rope, he swims to the person in trouble with a lifebuoy, and the drowning person can then be towed to safety.'

"Full training takes about three years, and today scores of graduates from Mr. Pilenga's school patrol beaches from Venice to Sardinia. They are credited with having saved a number of lives."

Oh, me? Well, I don't live in Italy (sfortunatamente)and my helicopter's in the shop. Otherwise, I'd have nailed it. - Me chiamo Satchie

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Of Dogs and Men

"Dogs are wiser than men.
They do not set great store upon things.
They do not waste their days hoarding property.
They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have,
and to obtain the objects they have not.
There is nothing of value they have to bequeath,
except their love and their faith."

(Eugene O'Neill)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Newfies and Children

Of course, much has been written and documented about the wonderful interaction between Newfoundlands and children. However, we have now found some wise words on when it is a good for a Newfoundland to have children around:

“Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland.” - Josh Billings


Sunday, December 7, 2008

To Big Jack, From Satchie

I float now aimlessly
without my compass to guide me
rightly or wrongly.
My sense of direction is gone;
indeed, it never existed.
I am left to my own feelings,
thoughts, and desires.
And I am afraid.
For these have never
existed in me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Legend Of The Newfoundland Dog (Thanksgiving Reprise)

A Happy And Healthy Thanksgiving To All!

And for the incredible breed that binds us, no more perfectly beautiful words ever have been written:


"There is a land where the waves explode upon the reef in a boiling foam, there the legend was born.

"As the story is told, God turned one day to contemplate all of his creations and saw on that Newfoundland Isle, flailed by storm a small nation of fishermen, whose rough, weather-beaten people fought courageously against the impervious elements of nature as the freezing cold winter and the unforgiving coastline took its toll, and the sea often asked the sacrifice of human life. Nevertheless, they remained deep-rooted, these men of Newfoundland with the stubbornness as great as their courage.

"God saw, and in his infinite compassion, thought how he might alleviate their suffering. He searched among the creatures of his creations but found none that would serve. It was then he decided to create one anew.

"He took the body of a bear, whose bone structure lent well to such arduous labours and whose thick fur would resist the bitter Newfoundland cold. Then he thought to sweeten this silhouette with the lithe, flexuous lines and movements of the seal, with all its prowess to swim and speedily slip between the waves.

"Now turning to the sea, he saw the playful dolphins happily following the ships, their sweet, joy-filled eyes revealing their serene temperament, and more; they so love man that they often rescue them, saving them from the sea. Yes, they too would be part of this creature.

"When he had done the moulding and casting, there suddenly appeared in his creative arms, a superb animal with glistening black fur; powerful and sweet in the same moment.

"This new being, however, had to have an allegiance and faithfulness, tried and true, to be able to live beside man and be ever ready to offer his life for his master. It was at that moment that the Lord opened and placed in his chest, the heart of a dog, and the miracle was complete.

"From that day onward, those men of the sea had beside them, their courageous companion ever strong, ever faithful, the Newfoundland Dog."

(Reprinted in translation from the book Il Cane Di Terra Nova by Emmy Bruno, editor Mursia-Milano)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Conversation, Part Two

S: "I'm not talkin to you."

A: "I'm not talkin to you either. How come?"

S: "I dunno, but humans say that all the time."

A: "Who?"

S: "You did make a fool of yourself fawning over Bella, licking her ears, licking her face, snuggling up to her."

A: "She digs me. We're gonna have puppies."

S: "Puppies!! You can't even get to your water bowl without tripping."

A: "Oh, yeah. What do you think Gizzy and Hummer are doing?"

S: "Something better than this; something fun."

A: "So what do you like to do for fun."

S: "I told you last time; after four years I still don't know, but this isn't it."

A: "He's telling us to 'come'."

S: "Don't listen and don't turn you head. He's just trying to use the image-taking thing without our prior written consent."

A: "What's that?"

S: "Don't worry 'bout it; just keeping looking away."

A: "Now he's yelling at us."

S: "Yes, our work here is almost done. Just relax until he talks about having a 'headache'. I love it when I hear that."

A: "Hey, aren't we talking?"

S: "Of course! I'd never really stoop to being like a human."

A: "I miss Bella; she's Newfylicious."

S: "Oh young one, you're giving me a headache."

A: "Scoldy boy"

S: "You got that right."

A: "Hey, he used that word about his head hurting."

S: "Now you know why they call us 'working dogs'."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Satchie's Training Tips, Part Two

As we have previously documented,
at some stage in your owner's life
he or she may decide to instill
some basic control on your way of
life; of course, this must be gradually
trained out of them.

Lately, however, be it at shows,
parks, or just out and about,
we've seen some utterly horrible
examples of canines who appear to be
well-trained and enjoying it.
We must, therefore, reiterate and
update our training tips.

You see, humans are exceedingly
strange creatures; they may even
take you to classes to attempt to teach
you one or more forms of nonsense.
Hence, 'Drew and I have devised the
following set of rules and conditions
which, if you abide by,
should result in your speedy
retirement from obedience circles.

The first stage is to develop a range
of expressions concentrating mainly
on the eyes and angle of the head.
"Deep Mournful" looks
and "Sideways Glances" are important,
but not as critical as the pitiful
"Don't Whip Me" look. Above and
beyond all else, the "Don't Whip Me"
look will work to prevent any further
attempts at training by your human.
This is because perhaps above and
beyond all else, the human has an
innate capacity for guilt, and it
is by preying upon and maximizing
the human guilt that you can obtain
virtually anything you so desire.

The golden rule is that you can get
away with anything, so long as you
eventually trot back to the heel position
and ply your owner with "Sweet
Innocent" looks. Indeed,
even the mere threat of the "Don't Whip Me"
look, if executed properly, will convince
all others present that your owner is
the Marquis de Sade in disguise.

The first steps of basic control are
"heel on lead" and "sit". Heel on lead is
easy to master; simply drag your head
along the ground, tail between the
legs, as slowly as possible. Any jerking
on lead should be greeted by "Pitiful
Whimpering" and "Deep Mournful"
looks. Variations can include sudden
springing forward which can result in
your owner dislocating shoulders or
better still falling flat on his face.
Wait for the Plonker's fingers to get entangled
in the choke chain (another form of cruelty)
then spring with all your might
to see how many fingers you can
catch. A good firm thrust should break
at least one finger. With luck, you
may dislocate a wrist and then enjoy
weeks of off-leash bliss.

The "sit" is quite easy to master.
On command "Sit Newfie", start to slowly angle rear end
toward the ground, shuffling slightly and looking bemused.
Stop at any stage before
actually sitting so that a further command is necessary.
If ground is damp or cold, keep rear end one inch above ground level.
This gives you a distinct advantage to spring away suddenly.
Ensure tail goes into muddiest puddles then when it is really wet and sticky,
and wag tail with glee particularly when several owners are around.

The "stays" are especially easy to master.
"Sit-stays" can be destroyed
by smiling at your owner and slowly sinking to the
down position. "Down stays" are quite simple,
for all humans think that
once a Newfie is lying down he will not hurry to get back up
again. However, always remember to do good down stays until
exam day. Then you should run away and disturb as many other
dogs as possible. A big bonus is gained for keeping out of
owner's sight for about five minutes.

Learn to recognise the commands humans use such as "Exercise
Finished" and react accordingly. I am quite good at this,
if I don't say so myself.

Once you have mastered these exercises,
you can try "heel off lead", "basic recall" and "retrieve".
Heel off lead is particularly easy for you can gradually work it to get out of arms reach before dashing off.
"Retrieve" is okay, the only rule is to never pick up the object.
It's fine to spring forward on command and run towards it,
but either continue running, or sniff the object and return perfectly to owner without it.
(Under no circumstance should you let him know you can swim.)

"Recall" is one of my favourite exercises as there are limitless possibilities. One I particularly enjoy is to await the command "Come" and then slink forward, belly on the ground, tail between legs, grovelling, "Whining Pitifully" and "Pleading Innocent" looks. This always convinces other humans of how cruel your owner is. Another good tool is to spring forward on command, run to owner and sit diligently directly in front of him. On the "finish" command (because confidence has grown) either rear up on hind legs or roll over on the ground, play dead or likewise.
If sitting just outside arms reach then spring away and cavort with other dogs.

Remember other dog etiquette - always greet members of the opposite sex with
the usually intimate Newfie greeting, and remember the maxim to
treat all bitches as if they are in season. ('Drew is excellent at this.)
Leg cocking is probably the only punishable offence in obedience and is best
left alone. Anything else goes. And remember, you can't be punished, and if you do the odd thing right (and this doesn't bore you too much) then "Warm Praise"
and "Big Cuddles" will be given. Indeed, I have so mastered the human that a
simple run around the show ring (win or not)is greeted with praise and cookies.
Hard to believe, but true.

However, once you have your "master" (throw him a bone and let him believe this) well trained you can revert to the old habits and no objection will be heard.

The point is that these training tips must be worked on and "reinforced".
There is no substitute for practice. You will know when you have mastered
them at the point in which he throws up his arms, mutters something
incomprehensible, and walks away. You will have then perfected your
human training. What can never be overlooked is the innate human capacity
for guilt. For once his attempts at training have failed, the human will
assiduously blame himself (a bit like "there are no bad dogs, only bad owners").
It is at this crucial time when the human is feeling such deep grief and
guilt that you must strike: jog up to him (some sacrifice is necessary),
wag your tail, rub up against him and give him "The Look of Love".
Nothing is more powerful. It may bring him to tears but at a minimum
will result in hugs and treats and the complete cessation of his attempts to
train you. Should he cry, remember to employ "Lick Tears" which will evoke
even more crying, guilt and spoiling of you.
Moreover, the human will realize that while he may be
a failure, you are his loving companion in both good times and bad.
"Preying Upon Guilt" cannot be overemphasized. It may be the most
essential training tool in your arsenal.

Best of luck to all. "Reinforcement" is the key.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Lines To A Curled Up Franny"

We wanted to bring you the story of our Grandpa and his first Newfie.
Grandpa served for several years in the U.S. Air Force in Italy and the Persian Gulf during World War II. He was a highly decorated Lieutenant and spent much of his time in dangerous reconnaissance work.
One of his last assignments came in leading a supply platoon into Russia during the winter of 1944. After successfully getting the supplies into the hands of Russian troops, Grandpa was approached by a young Russian soldier. The soldier had a Newfie puppy and he was being shipped out and could not take the Newfie with him. He pleaded with Grandpa to take the Newfie so that it would have a good home and not face a very uncertain future.
Grandpa agreed and the brief encounter between two soldiers was enough for handshakes, hugs, and best wishes to be exchanged.
Only a few weeks later, Grandpa received his orders to return home after years away from Grandma and his family. He had named the puppy "Franny" and was very concerned about how he would get Franny back home with him. After considerable thought, he decided to see if the pilot of the Air Force plane would take some money and store Franny underneath the pilot's seat. The pilot agreed, and Grandpa put Franny in a cardboard box with holes in it so she could breath. He gave her a sleeping pill so that no one else would know of the precious cargo.

Well, all went well, and Franny made her way with Grandpa back to Chicago and then on to San Francisco, where she lived until 1958 with two daughters who loved her dearly. Grandpa had brought back a Persian rug he kept in his office overseas. He put it in his basement office at home when he got back, and he and Franny spent many fond hours there curled up on the rug.

Not long after finally getting home, Grandpa wrote a poem to Franny, entitled

"Lines To A Curled Up Franny":

"Little Franny, lax and lazy
With a mind extremely hazy
In regard to human cares
Far removed from worldly affairs.

"There you lie your tail around you
With no Charlotte to hound you
With no taxes to be met
With no spending to regret.

"There you snuggle on the Persian
Bothered not by reconversion
Void of grief and sacrifice
Dreaming dreams of cats and mice."

(Lt. Samuel D. Sayad, 1945)

'Drew and I wish we'd have known him, if only for a moment.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Letter From Home

Our good friend Alexander Bridge (founder of "Safe Haven" Newfoundland Rescue) recently wrote of the beauty of the land from which we came. We want to share it because of the importance of remembering our origins and the civility and humanity which still exists in that beautiful place, way back home.

Letter From Tracadie, Nova Scotia

"The daylight is shrinking now. Giving up to the approaching winter
months. Christmas is only two months away. We have been here Nova
Scotia since late June.

"It is getting colder too with stronger north winds streaming in off
the Northumberland Strait. I am reminded too of the coming winter, by
a large yellow highway sign at Exit 37 on the Trans Canada Highway.
It's situated at the exit that leads down into Tracadie and warns
motorists in large black letters- 'CAUTION Blowing snow area.'

"Only one heron from the colony of nearly twenty blue herons remains.
He walks as though in slow motion, like a solider on patrol, through
the low marshland and across the mud flats by the causeway, searching
for food. The other herons have left the inlets, dispatched by an
innate inner clock and heading south for a warmer place. Ducks too
have gathered in noisy groups by the island estuary, and have this
week, moved on south. Just the black birds, gulls, field birds, and a
pair of bald headed eagles and a few loons remain.

"Last night, I stood outside the house on the shore of the West Arm
harbour basin, staring at the black sky that touches the even darker
silhouette of Cape George in the distance. I listen to the Canadian
National freight train lumbering through East and West Tracadie, about
a mile away, as the crow flies. The tired whistle offers a low moan.
The sound drifts on the wind then vanishes into the night sky.

"I remember a time, when only ten, my family an lived beside a train
track in a small Laurentian, Quebec town. The railway line connected
Montreal in the east to the western part of the country out beyond
Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, and finally to the west coast and
Vancouver. In my mind's eye I can still see those huge black lumbering
steam trains and the friendly engineers, bandanas wrapped around their
necks, who waved regularly as they passed by, carrying passengers by
day and late at night, an assortment of freight cars.

"Three locomotives are hauling over a hundred freight cars westward.
The screech of steel on steel can be heard as the procession slows
down through these little communities, crossing the old Highway 4
insertions, guarded by red flashing lights and vintage railway bells.
The trains hauls Cape Breton coal from up near Sydney, to the Nova
Scotia electric generating plants on the mainland, coming through at
least two or three times a day.

"The train also reminds me of a recent trip to our bank in Antigonish,
a small Main Street branch populated by my mostly female employees who
refer to you as 'dear', 'hon', or 'my darling'. I tell myself that on
days when I might feel a little low, to go in there, not to conduct
any business, but just to hear the confronting words of their warm

"I have come to town to make a deposit in our checking account. I tell
the teller, who has already greeted me as 'my dear', that I do not
have my bank card with me, or my account number. She looks at me
across the black Formica counter and smiles one of the most caring
smiles and asks- 'But you do know who you are dear, don't you?' I
smile back and offer a ready, reassuring 'Oh, yes.'

"We chat while she processes my deposit. Not recognizing me, she asks
if I am new to the area. I tell her about recently building a home in
Tracadie and how welcoming the people have been towards my wife and
myself. She nods her head and smiles knowingly, adding she lives in
Monastery, the next town over from us.

"Between the various pieces of the bank transaction I comment on the
large families in Tracadie. I mention a neighbour who was one of
sixteen children, and another neighbour, one of twelve.

"She smiles and asks, 'You know why the families are that size in
Tracadie don't you?' I offer 'No, why?'

"'Well', she says, delivering her answer with a slight a smile, 'The
train comes through Tracadie at two in the morning, waking everyone
up. So a wife will turn to her husband and say, 'Well what do we do
now dear?'

"Our contagious laughter can be heard from one end of the small bank to
other. I thank her for her help and the local information and leave,
the sound of 'See you again soon, dear,' drifting over my shoulder.

"I walk down Main Street back to the half full parking lot. A smile as
wide as any harvest moon on my face. 'I love this place', I mutter to
myself. 'I love this place and the people here.'"

(Alexander Bridge, October 25, 2008)

Wonderful writing from a wonderful person.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Question Of Ethics

Well, 'Drew and I are back from the regional specialty show and then another two day show at Dixon. We didn't enter either of them for reasons that may become obvious.
Mostly, though, there are questions we are pondering about the dog show world and, in particular, why it is that people will resort to just about anything to win.

When a regional club for a given breed holds a specialty, and will be involved in taking care of the judge (whether it be picking him or her up from the airport, taking him or her out to dinner, and so on), should the members of the club's governing committee enter (or be allowed to enter) their dogs in the show? Wouldn't doing so, at a minimum, raise the appearance of impropriety? And, if one of the club committee member's dog then wins the show, doesn't it raise the spectre of actual impropriety?

Many clubs state right on their premium lists that "Out of courtesy to our exhibitors members of the this kennel club will not enter or exhibit dogs at this show." Good for them. They are exhibiting some ethics. Unfortunately, that was not the case this weekend. Perhaps the answer to the question about a club member's dog winning under such circumstances comes in the song lyrics, "Why would you want to take that stolen thing, and what real happiness can it bring?"

Let's take this supposition one step further. Suppose you are appointed judge of the show and that one of the dogs you have bred is entered: would you not recuse yourself from judging? If not, wouldn't the most basic tenets of ethical conduct compel you to refrain from picking that dog as the winner? Not in the show world.
The show world, perhaps more than anything else, demonstrates the difference between dogs and humans. For we dare say that Lord Byron is rolling over in his grave today:

"Oh man! thy feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame."

We think Byron would agree with what Lewis Mumford wrote on ethics over 50 years ago.

"Qualitative discrimination and selection and quantitative control are both essential elements in an ethics of development. Where their practice is not deeply ingrained in custom and habit and conscious self-direction, a disordered life will result. Who in our time has not witnessed and participated in this disorder? - often with a false feeling of emancipation and pride, coming directly from the fact that we had overthrown old rules and norms on the supposition that they had no place in a universe interpreted by the sciences. And one does not have to seek far to detect such sinners: one need only honestly examine one's own life. Once the constant need for discrimination and self-direction is admitted, as an unfailing condition for truly human life, every day becomes a day of reckoning."
(Lewis Mumford, The Conduct of Life, p. 147 (1951).)

That day has yet to arrive for all too many. And that is a sad commentary on the condition of man.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Movie Of The Month -- "Free Satchie"

Our movie of the month is a heartwarming tale of love between a child and a Newfie. The film was almost entirely ripped off by the producers of a multi-million dollar grossing film in which the Newfie was replaced by an Orca but finally, after years of litigation, the based-on-could-be-real event story of "Free Satchie" has been released to worldwide rave reviews. According to the New York Times:

"The film begins with a pod of Newfies swimming near the coastline of the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, this family of Newfies is tracked down by a large group of Newf-hunters, and a single Newfie (Satchie) gets caught in their net. Unable to save him, his family (Lisa and Phantom) leaves him behind, and he is taken away to a local amusement park.
Sometime later Andy, a street-wise boy who has been on the run since he was abandoned by his mother (Heidey) six years before, gets caught by The San Francisco Police Department vandalizing the marina along with a gang of three other abandoned kids. However, his social worker (Clairice) helps him avoid legal consequences, provided he cleans up his mess at the marina. While there, Andy befriends the Newfie, who has an injured toe, named Satchie by the park owners, and teaches him behaviors, something the trainer, Philly, had failed to do. Over time, Andy and Satchie become the best of friends, and Andy earns a long-term job at the marina while learning to live with his new and supportive foster parents, Dougey and Cindey.
The owners of the amusement park (Davey & Terry) see the talent Andy and Satchie have together, and make large-scale plans to host "The Satchie Show" in hopes of boosting sales and making money for themselves. On the day of the first performance, everyone is set to begin, but Satchie comes down with stage fright due to the children banging constantly on his underwater observation area. Satchie scares them off by smashing against the tank, unintentionally damaging it. Andy is devastated, but later returns to the tank and determines ultimately that Satchie is homesick for his family, as evidenced by Satchie's nightly "singing".
While at the tank, Andy notices one of the park owners' assistants (Sophie) sneaking into the underwater observation area who damages the tank enough that the water will gradually leak out in an effort to further injure Satchie's big toe. It is surmised that the park owners are interested in collecting the insurance money, since they have a $5,000,000 life insurance plan on Satchie.
Thus, Andy and his friends begin plans to release the Newfie. They use equipment at the park to load Satchie onto a trailer, and Andy and his friends (Gizzy, Hummer, Axl & Bella) 'borrow' his foster parents' truck to tote Satchie to the ocean. They try to stick to back roads to keep from being spotted with a gigantic Terranova, and eventually get stuck on a back road. Meanwhile, the park owners are notified that the Newfie is missing, and they and their henchmen (including Philly) begin a search to find Satchie.
Andy must admit that he needs help, and calls his foster parents using a CB-Radio located in the truck they took. Dougey and Cindey show up and are able to help free the truck, and continue on to the marina they are headed to, in order to release Satchie. The owner knows where they are likely headed, and when they show up, he and his henchmen are blocking the gate into the marina. Dougey charges them full speed in the truck, forcing the henchmen to move right before Satchie's ride plows through the gate to the marina. Dougey quickly turns the truck around and backs up Satchie into the water, flooding his truck in the process.
Satchie is finally released into the water, but the park owners and their goons have a contingency plan. The Newf-hunters show up in the water, releasing nets into the water to trap Satchie in the marina. Andy has one last chance. He leads Satchie to an area where if Satchie would just jump, he would be free. Amidst everyone's prayers, Satchie makes the jump, to the amazement of all his friends, and is free to return to his family. The film ends with the happy trainers and newly formed family watching Satchie swim away back to his home at Parker's Landing."

"A heartwarming film for the entire family. A must for your dog. Let's hope there's a sequel."
(San Francisco Comicle)

"Two paws up."
(Roger Ebert)

"When I wasn't laughing, I cried the entire time."
(Phillipedia Free Press)

"The most fictional piece of %&*# I've ever seen"
(McCain Not-So-Free Press)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book of the Month: "Sailor - The Hangashore Newfoundland Dog"

From comes our pick for book of the month -- "Sailor, The Hangashore Newfoundland Dog", written by Catherine Simpson and illustrated by Joanne Snook-Hann.

Price: $8.95 CDN
ISBN 1-895387-98-1

As described by our friends at Tidespoint:

"Sailor is a very unusual Newfoundland dog -- he's afraid of the water! This brings a lot of scorn for Sailor, which also rubs off on his owner, six-year-old Ike, who tries a variety of methods to entice Sailor into the water. Everything fails until one Spring day Ike follows a group of other boys onto the ice. When Ike falls in, Sailor overcomes his fear and saves him. After this Sailor is no longer called a hangashore, but is the town hero.

"This is the second collaboration of Cathy Simpson and Joanne Snook-Hann. Their first book, There Are No Polar Bears Here! is now into its third printing.

"'This simple, loving tale of a boy and his dog will charm small children everywhere with its lovely illustrations and authentic Newfoundland flavour.'"

--The Evening Telegram
"'Snook-Hann's wonderful illustrations will delight toddlers and preschoolers; Simpson's expert story-telling techniques will attract primary and elementary school children. This charming book will capture a wide audience.'"

-- The Newfoundland Herald

And, while you're shopping at, make sure to buy some yummy and newly-introduced Newfoundland Chocolate.

"Are you looking for a great tasting food that is also good for you? Introducing a good source of antioxidants and a delicious treat - Chocolate manufactured right here in Newfoundland!
"With names such as Battery Series, Bonavista and Cabot, and full of healthy flavonoids and flavor, Newfoundland Chocolate is sure to be a hit with you, or as a gift!"

"Flavonoids" -- it just screams out "healthy".
'Drew and I just tried some and the stuff is fantastic.

A great book and some great treats. Not a bad day at all.
But don't be calling me a hangashore -- swimming is a choice I choose not to make.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Financial Crisis Hits Newfoundlands

Dear Senator McCain:

While you are busy running for President, Newfoundlands are facing a dire financial state of affairs. Yes, the financial crisis of 2008 has not only hit Europe and Asia, but also Newfoundlands. I'm speaking of 'Drew and myself.

You see, our favorite treats are Solid Gold's Beef Jerky. However, due to the rather poor economic climate, our rations have been cut by three-quarters, with severe results: we can no longer muster the strength for water rescue, no longer afford show entries, and are withering away from starvation. Personally, I have dropped ten pounds in the last month alone. I even tried tasting small-dog but it was horrid. The health benefits of Solid Gold treats are well documented by the company itself:

"Good dogs deserve good treats! Treats that are not only good tasting, but wholesome and healthy. The nutritionists at Solid Gold believe in using only the natural ingredients that dogs love. They have formulated these treats with your dog's health in mind and have ensured that ingredients, such as wheat, corn and soy are not added because they are among the most common cause of allergies in pets. The bakers then created quality inspired recipes that make 'heavenly treats from nature's bounty.' Solid Gold Beef Jerky treats made with real beef are ideal for training and the show ring. They are soft enough for puppies and older dogs."

We (and others) therefore plead with you for a financial bailout. Not one like that you endorsed for AIG, but just a few hundred thousand dollars (which would also get us the Maserati we so desire and need) to keep us in the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. We only ask for equal protection under the law: to be treated by the government as those similarly situated. Time is of the essence. We implore you to come to our aid. As you recently stated, "these are very, very difficult times."
Yes, we know.


Karazan Satchel & Karazan Music of the Night