Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Horror Of It All

Puppy and I are exhausted. Two days of a benched show -- chained to some bolt-like-thing on some surface as hard as rock. Somebody please call the SPCA! Can you see the torture that Andrew and I had to go through? Oh, the questions about my feet and Puppy's bibs. I have a headache bigger than a mastiff. St. Joseph's Extra Strength Aspirin For Newfies, where are you?

But there was some fun in all the nonsense. I got to see Aunt Mer, Aunt Heidi, Aunt Jill, and Aunt Dawn, and a lot of friends we hadn't seen since our days in North Beach. They gave us love and support. Unfortunately, some of our aunts who used to parade as friends did not so much as stop by and even say hello to us, much less give us a pat on the head or throw us a bone. We received far nicer treatment from others who also had Newfies with them. They offered us water and cookies, and congratulated me on getting Winner's Dog on Saturday. (Maybe we've had it all wrong for far too long.) And bless Uncle Jeff and Aunt Blossum for loving us and taking such good care of us.

Most of all, we got to spend a few days with Gizzy's mom, who came all the way from Canada to see us, help out Dad, and cheer us on. You just can't imagine a nicer person with a nicer hubby and a more gorgeous Newfie. Aunt Cindy, we love you with all the slobber we could even muster.

But the weekend was marred and this cannot be ignored: you see, the person who bred us and was at the show did not so much as even acknowledge our existence. Nothing. Not a nod, not a smile, no congratulations. In short, complete disregard. Now folks (and even I) call me "Scoldy Boy", so I can possibly (ever so remotely) see her ignoring me because she always has. But Puppy? Puppy is the sweetest thing on the face of the earth -- he is pure joy. Ignoring Puppy is like . . . well, I just don't have the words it's so Daffy-Duck-despicable. So I'll tell you what I think because Puppy doesn't carry such thoughts: it's that this person is only about money and we're no longer a source of money to her, so we're not worth what she sees as a waste of her time, er, dollars. No breeder, much less anyone who knows a Newfie, can be considered anything other than completely vile for acting as if we do not exist. Yet for two days, being no more than 30 feet away, nothing. To her we are just food for the crow because there is no longer profit for her in us. Dad says his Mom used to say, "let your conscience be your guide". We'd say that to her but it assumes the existence of a conscience. And anyone who bred him yet would ignore Puppy is beyond description, outside the realm of the senses.

Today we must, therefore, say a prayer for the ten, because who knows if she ever has. It simply gets self-servingly referred to as "an accident", as if to imply the absence of fault. Yet anyone with an ounce of humanity would live by the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

"Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns,
And till my ghastly tale is told
This heart within me burns."
(The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, vv. 582-85.)

As Primo Levi so perceptively wrote in The Drowned and The Saved, "human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. The further events fade into the past, the more the construction of convenient truth grows and is perfected."

Judgment day, by judge, jury, and more importantly, by the Newfie Gods, still awaits. We would not wish to be in your shoes.

Bless our friends and may there be not contempt but rather sympathy for the others.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Andrew - My Brother, My Friend

Andrew is far more than just my brother; he's my friend.

What is a friend? One who
Accepts you as you are;
Believes in "you";
Doesn't give up on you;
Envisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts);
Forgives your mistakes;
Gives unconditionally;
Helps you;
Invites you over;
Just because;
Keeps you close at heart;
Loves you for who you are;
Makes a difference in your life;
Never judges;
Offers support;
Picks you up;
Quiets your fears;
Raises your spirits;
Says nice things about you;
Tells you the truth when you need to hear it;
Understands you;
Values you;
Walks beside you;
Yells when you won't listen; and
Zaps you back to reality.

We will always be brothers.
May we always be good buddies.
May we always be best friends,
and may our friendship be the kind
that never ends....


Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Special Newfie For Special Children

Feeding Archie Helps Children
(By Michelle Knight-
January 15, 2009

"Although many people would agree that he's worth his weight in gold, plans are underway to immortalize Archie — the larger than life therapy dog for abused children—with a bronze statue.

"Archie, a 165 pound, 3 foot tall Newfoundland, is part of the animal-assisted therapy program at Casa Pacifica in Camarillo. He has been featured in newspapers and on local and national TV.

"Ed Hogan, who recently joined Casa Pacifica's board of directors, has commissioned Robert Cunningham to sculpt a bronze statute of Archie surrounded by three children.
Hogan, co-founder of Pleasant Holidays, came up with the idea as a way to raise awareness and money for Casa Pacifica, a crisiscare and treatment facility for abused, neglected and atrisk children from two counties.

"'It's going to be really beautiful', Hogan said of the sculpture, which is expected to be completed by June. It will cost about $50,000, to be paid by the Hogan Family Foundation.

"The 4-foot-tall bronze dog will sport a bib with the words, 'Feed Archie', encouraging donors to drop money into its mouth. The base will read, 'So he can care for his children.' A bag inside the mouth will collect the money, which will be used to support the nonprofit's services.

"Cunningham recently completed a resin model of the sculpture, which he based only on photographs of Archie. After meeting the dog last week, Cunningham said the finished product will better convey the giant dog's gentle nature. Cunningham said he will try to capture that 'certain droop' of Archie's eyes, his sagging jowls and how he sits with his right leg extended. The entire sculpture should be about 56 inches tall, with the bronze Archie about 4 feet tall, a foot taller than the real Archie.

"Hogan said he'll display the sculpture first at Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, which is owned by the Hogan Family Foundation. Then he'll have the 300 pound sculpture transported to various high-traffic sites in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

"Hogan, 81, also recently hired a Seattle artist to design 12 holiday greeting cards featuring Archie. The cards will be sold in box sets and the money used to help support Casa Pacifica. Three cards have been completed so far.

"Hogan has also opened the doors of his foundation's ranch to Casa Pacifica children. Three times a week, the children come to Rancho St. Francis in Thousand Oaks for 90 minutes of horseback riding. Therapeutic and fun, the experience teaches the children discipline and how to love and be loved unconditionally, he said.

"Vicki Murphy, Casa Pacifica's director of development and operations, said she couldn't be more pleased with Hogan's enthusiasm and ideas.

"Casa Pacifica is honored to have someone of his stature join our board of directors', Murphy said. 'He is a gift to the children.'

"The admiration appears to go both ways.

"'The work that's being done will help these children become more productive and happy citizens, and that will happen because of the wonderful, wonderful work Casa Pacifica people do. It's a great organization', Hogan said.

"To volunteer to assist Casa Pacifica children during their visits to Rancho St. Francis, call (805) 495-3036. For more information about Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit provider of children's mental health services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, visit or call (805) 445-7800."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting Ready For Water Work

Well, Aunt Terri has made a bet that she'll have me doing water work this summer.
At first, I was rather hesitant about the prospect, so I decided to do a little research. And, what I discovered is that if done in a civilized manner, it's not too bad at all.

Now, where's my cocktail?
("Shaken, not stirred!")


Monday, January 5, 2009

GGNRA Allows Elderly Woman To Die

Never at a loss of resources when it comes to harassing and ticketing people for having their dogs off-leash, the GGNRA made its priorities very clear yesterday when it acted with reckeless disregard for the life of an elderly woman.

Elderly Woman Found Dying On Beach Didn't Make It To Hospital
(Sunday, January 4, 2009 – updated: 6:39 pm PST January 4, 2009 - KTVU News)

"SAUSALITO, CAlif. -- As law enforcement investigates the death of an elderly woman found Sunday on Rodeo beach, firefighters are saying budget cuts may have cost her life.

"Firefighter Paul Sandigo arrived on the scene at 7 a.m. Sunday morning on Sausalito's Rodeo Beach to find an elderly woman just a few hundred yards away from Presidio Fire Station 2.

"'She was kinda mumbling to me, kind of clenching down on her teeth a little bit and kind of opening her eyes a little back and forth and taking like gasping respirations', said Sandigo. 'She was kinda waving a little bit when we showed up. Got there, started trying to work on her, figure out what was going wrong. About two minutes into it, that's when she coded and that's when we started working her up.'

"Sandigo says the woman was suffering hypothermia and was unable to describe how she ended up in the sand. The 71-year-old victim then went into cardiac arrest and firefighters summoned an ambulance.

"But instead of using this one in their own station across the street, they had to summon one from the Presidio five miles away and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Budget cuts enforced by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) last spring cost Station 2 the use of their ambulance.

"'Could it have made the difference between life and death today for this woman? In my opinion, yes', said Brandon Treat, a Presidio firefighter and paramedic.

"Treat says this Presidio ambulance took 15 minutes to reach the beach, travelling through a one-lane tunnel that often delays vehicles for five minutes at a time. Treat says it took another 22 minutes to reach San Francisco's California Pacific Hospital, where the victim was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m.

"The Presidio Firefighters Local Union is currently in arbitration with the GGNRA over cuts the union says have affected response times and public safety in the Marin Headlands.

"'We would like to see ourselves on-scene in four to six minutes, be on the scene for no more than ten, and on our way to the trauma center so we can get that person the care that they need'", said Treat.

GGNRA Spokesman Michael Feinstein said staffing Station 2's ambulance might not have saved the victim.

"'Medical CPR was delivered within minutes. So I don't know much difference it would've made. I don't believe it's an issue', said Feinstein.

"Firefighters at Station 2 disagree. 'It hinders us', said Sandigo.

"Investigators later towed a car from nearby where the body was found, which may've belonged to the victim. Investigators are treating Rodeo Beach as a crime scene -- though they say there are other likely scenarios.

"'There's a possibility of a fall. There's a 15 or 20 foot cliff area, embankment, down to the beach', said Sam Eddy, a national park service law enforcement ranger.

"The San Francisco County Coroner's Office says it has not positively identified the victim, but investigators say the woman may've been laying on the beach overnight-- when temperatures dipped as low as 29 degrees. An autopsy is expected to be completed by Tuesday."

The criminals who run the GGNRA (headed by Brian O'Neill) have no care for life; human or otherwise. Their goal is the elimination of everyone and everything from a National Park established first and foremost for recreation. This woman's death, like the annual deaths of swimmers and body-surfers at Ocean Beach, could and should have been avoided. But as Feinstein's callous remarks demonstrate, the GGNRA doesn't care. According to him, a 37-minute faster response time would have made no difference to a woman who was alive and responsive when initially attended to and just a couple of minutes away from an ambulance that should have been used. Thank you, Dr. Feinstein. Ironically, the GGNRA continues to muster the resources to constantly harass and ticket those engaged in off-leash recreation, a perfectly legal act. (See We've said it once and will say it again: if we ever see one of them drowning in the water, we'll make sure we stay on leash.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Associated Press Prints Fighting Words

The following piece of . . . writing appeared today from the Associated Press, a group of Plonkers better know for their work in believing what comes out of the mouth of the Bushman.

Leonberger Dogs 'A Lifelong Commitment'

Associated Press - January 4, 2009 2:25 PM ET

"POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Horses are a familiar site at many Wyoming homes. But dogs as large as small horses aren't.
"A Powell family has two Leonberger dogs that stand chest high to most adults.
"The smaller of the two big dogs owned by Paul and Mary Ann Smith is 4 years old and weighs about 100 pounds. The bigger one is 20 months old and weighs 140 pounds.
"The European breed is uncommon in the United States. Leonbergers are descended from Newfoundlands and St. Bernards, with great Pyranese added to breed out the problem of drooling.

"Like their Newfoundland ancestors, Leonbergers love to swim and are used as water rescue dogs. But they also love to run and are more energetic than Newfoundlands.
"In addition, they are very protective of children."

(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Now, we have no issue whatsoever with the Leonberger, except for the name of the poor breed. "We'll have two Leonbergers and two large fries!!!"
That aside, what is "the problem with drooling"? It's common in humans, but you don't see them manufacturing a "Humanberger". And of course it's necessary for health reasons that the AP didn't bother to think about.

Second, where is the proof that Leon is more energetic than Newf? That's just nonsense. Why today I ran at least 20 yards without stopping. But all kidding aside, what the heck does it mean to be "more energetic"? Can they swim for hours in almost freezing water. Are there accounts of them saving lives? Do they cart? Come on AP, let's see some evidence rather than baseless conclusions. And while you're at it, put your spellchecker on because it's the "Great Pyrenees" -- that's P Y R E N E E S. What a group of toe-rags.

For the love of dog, this is going to be a long year.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another Year Of Newfoundland Questions

Well, it's just the third day of the New Year, and 'Drew and I are exhausted.
With so many humanoids out and about, we've been inundated with the same old
questions. So much so that we are going to comment on some of them so that those of you who have yet to ask them might think twice (or at all) before asking. The following is anything but an inclusive list.

*How is the Newfoundland with children? [Depends on how the child tastes]
*Are they protective of the home and family? [Depends on whether the intruder has cookies]
*What kind of exercise do they need? [More than you are getting]
*Do they eat a lot? [Depends on the size of the child]
*Do they drool? [Depends on whether you look tasty]
*Do they shed? [Is that a toupee?]
*How long do they live? [May we ask this about your child?]
*What health problems are particular to the breed? [Do you mean like the headaches we have right now from stupid questions?]
*Are they just black St. Bernards? [No, we are bears]
*The Newfoundland is in the Working Dog group, why? [Don't ask me]
*Why is the Newfoundland also called the Lifeguard Dog? [I said "don't ask me!"]
*What does the Newfoundland do as a ship dog? [Sleep]
*What draft work did the Newfoundland do? [Must I reiterate the reiteration?]
*What is the Standard for Excellence for the Newfoundland? [Length of drool]
*What is the AKC parent club for the Newfoundland? []
*What does the application for NCA membership ask for? [Money]
*What are the Rescue and Regional club contacts? []
*What are the qualifications for judging Newfoundlands? [Being able to endorse a check]
*Where can I read more on Newfoundlands? [This assumes you can read at all]
*How does the color inheritance work in the Newfoundlands? [Luck]
*What about playing roughhouse with the pup? [What about throwing Billy from the train?]
*What about training? [Good in theory]
*What is Lord Byron's poem? [What did you study in school? Jello?]