Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Girls.

We came last Sunday from Thanksgiving break with two brown female Newfoundland puppies. Our plan was to come home with Stout, and after he died, a chain of events fell into place that worked out best for the breeder and for us.

The puppies are six months old, and about 60lbs each. They came as a pair, which, while it sounds crazy to have two huge dogs, works better for us anyway. We were wanting Stout to be outside more. Actually, I was demanding it. He was too big, too hairy, and too much food was getting eaten off of our counter and table. The problem is that Newfoundlands really like people and other dogs, so leaving them outside alone all day made me feel too guilty.

Part of our original plan then was to get a companion dog for Stout for our new place in the Great White North. Last week we had visited the Humane Society, and even went to a man's house who was giving away his three year old Golden Retriever.

Everything changed when Stout died. However, since we had been in close communication with the breeder through the whole ordeal, we came to find out that she had an inseparable pair of six month old sisters, and we not only had lost our dog, but were looking to have two.

I was quite hesitant to bring a dog home so soon after losing Stout, and even more hesitant to bring home two. My mind was racing with concern over how we would make it work in the midst of our busy family life. Mark was quick to calm my fears, and as soon as the dogs were home with us I realized how I little I had to worry.

Now, on our two wooded acres, we have two Newfies having the time of their life. They have a huge kennel full of hay, and a four year old boy who has spent more time outside in the last three days than in the last three weeks. The girls follow him around, and even pull him on the sled! Mark has been so happy to come home home to the slobbery girls who want nothing from us but love.

And, as far as I go? I'm happy to have two walking companions, and wonderfully happy to have two dogs standing guard to bark if someone should come to our door. I feel so much more safe with a dog around, and I've slept better at night knowing that the girls are looking out for us. Having the space to let them roam freely has made all the difference in the world as far as stress goes, and I don't have to lose to my temper with them for the havoc they reek on the house--they simply are outside.

Here's to Chapter Two...and Three, of our family dog story.


Theresa said...


are they strictly outside dogs? are they easily trainable? do you use invisible fencing or are they kenneled?
i'm wondering because we are looking into worker/guard dogs for the alpaca. we need something large, somewhat territorial to strangers and other animals, but very kid friendly and trainable. i suppose i should just call your breeder.
just wanting some first hand tips.

congrats on your ladies!!! ;-)

Mallory said...

Right now they are strictly outside dogs. Unless we were to move to a different house that I would deem dog-worthy, they will stay outside. They shed and are huge, and they smell like dogs. I will only ever let another dog into the house unless we have a porch or mudroom. Take it from me, I think you'll agree.

Newfies are work dogs, and they have a mean bark, but they are extremely gentle. I'm not sure if they'd actually be good at guarding your animals against anything dangerous (wolves, coyotes), but they will scare deer away and other animals.

If they are going to be outside doing herding and territorial work, have you thought about a border collie? Or other herding dogs? Those can be pretty intense about their family and space and actually WOULD do something about strangers and animals. Newfies are the danger equivalent of a teddy bear, they are just huge and could be intimidating if they had to be.

I hate to even write this, but you might want a German Shepherd...

Theresa said...

good to know. actually, the alpacas don't need to be herded, they need to be guarded. we've actually been looking into more of the "giant sized" guard dogs like anatolians and mastiffs....both are family friendly AND good guard dogs who WILL defend. just thought we'd check out the newfies since you guys seem to be so happy with them. but, yeah....we need a dog who will go to bat for the alpacas not just bark for them. ;-)

Mallory said...

The only reason I was thinking of a herding dog was just that they can get aggressive if they animals are in danger. I don't know anything about Anatolians, but I've read a great deal about English Mastiffs, and that might be more of what you're looking for. They are supposed to be very gentle, low key and good with kids, but they'd give their life to keep you safe. They are incredibly strong. I've never actually seen on in person, which makes me think that to get one would be $$$$. Good luck! I'm so surprised that you guys don't have a dog yet. If you keep them outside they aren't nearly as much work.

Theresa said...

we were expecting to dole out about 1k for a pure bred giant guard dog. funny you mention the english mastiffs because it has been between those and a turkish anatolian. mastiffs are insanely huge and will defend if necessary, but their sheer size poses some significant health risks. anatolians are almost as large and tend to be a bit more physically active (more like a huge lab) and could take out a mountain lion. not that we have huge predators here. anatolians came highly recommended by our alpaca sellers.

either way, we will have a dog by this time next year especially with female and baby alpacas coming in June.

you, mallory, have been an inspiration in regards the family dog. i've dragged my feet about it but my heart is gradually softening and almost anticipating the day.