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.