Newfie = Dirt!

Murphy, our Newfoundland, is truly the most beautiful dog I have ever seen, but she is also the dirtiest.   If you have a Newf, you know that they are pretty much dirt and water sponges.  Most dogs bring in some mud when the snow starts to melt, but Murphy takes it to an entirely new level.


Baby Murphy in her pool last summer.

Newfies have what we call “feathers” on the back of their legs.  We may as well call them mops, because they collect every bit of moisture with which they come into contact–and hold it.  Murphy usually thinks this is a good time to try to sit on the couch or on your lap.  One cute thing–whenever Murph gets wet, her hair kinks up as if she had been left in a room with my old high school crimping iron.

Can you see the crimps in her ear fur?

Can you see the crimps in her ear fur?

Now, I understand that most dogs shed.  I am perfectly used to puffs of dog fur dancing around the floor each time the heat turns on.  What Murphy brings to the game is dirt.  When she gets up from the floor, left behind is a giant dog shaped dirt shadow.


Just a few hours worth of Murphy leftovers from our family room floor…

On our walk today. Murphy found one of the last remaining patches of snow and rolled all around in it, as she is wont to do.  It reminded me of a chinchilla taking a dust bath–when she arose (or was tugged back into the street for our walk), the clean white snow had a lovely, brownish doggie-shaped outline.


Yes, Murph–please wait until you are inside to shake! Love you!

Bits of dog biscuits stuck in her jowls are released onto her “napkin”, otherwise known as the rug in front of the hearth.   She is fond of putting her chin on your sleeve–and when she leaves, a nice slimy trail of dog slobber  undoubtedly remains.  Don’t bother wearing nice clothes to my house…Newfs also like to present their paws to everyone, and dainty, she is not.

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A nice shot of one of Murph’s hang out spots

She loves to get into the bathtub after the boys shower–and up on the sink to drink whatever is left in the sink.  It is never a secret when she does this as big muddy paw prints appear wherever she has been.  We try to dry off her feet before she gets too fair into the house or out of the tub, but tug-a-towel is one of her favorite games, which makes things a bit difficult.












There are myriad great reasons to bring a Newfoundland into your family.  However, if cleanliness is your thing, you may want to think again.

Murphy is our favorite great big, dirty, slobbery mess.  We love her to pieces!


Murphy surveying her domain–surprisingly, “her” deck is rather tidy, comparatively speaking. The window I am taking the picture through, however, is not. Newf finger painting!


Miss Murphy the Newfie Goes to the Dogtor.

We have this little neighbor dog, a pit bull/terrier something or other on whom her owners don’t exactly keep close tab.  In fact, if she is acting up, the boyfriend owner justs kicks her out the door–and invariably, the girlfriend owner wanders the neighborhood looking for her, even though the dog will never come to her when she calls.  Pretty sure that poor dog has been kicked around a bit, simply by the way it shies away from people.  So even though she terrorizes the fenced up dogs in the neighborhood, you can’t help feeling sorry for her.  You can see her good dog potential.  Her name is Karma.  The owners should have been more careful with her name, methinks.

Anyway, she loves to play with Murphy.  My husband sometimes lets her in the backyard with Murphy, and they have a grand time playing. Yesterday was such a day.  He was working on the garage, and heard a yelp.  He goes to investigate, thinking maybe Murphy sat on the little dog or something, but Murphy was the one limping. We have those yucky winter conditions right now:  the snow has melted, been rained on, and refrozen. We think Murph slipped chasing Karma and hurt her paw.  He made an appointment with the vet fot he next day. Murphy was limping significantly, plodding and favoring her left front paw. Newfs walk pretty heavy anyway; this felt like small earthquakes.


Silly, blurry Murphy (and her dad)

Murphy loves the vet.  She loves Dr. Lawson and Dr. Welle.  We love Dr. Lawson and Dr. Welle.  And they love Murphy.  At 8 months and change, Murphy weighed in at 90.8 pounds.  There were the usual exclamations about her size.  She was very excited–she loves people and that makes her forget her manners.


Murphy loves Dr. Welle

Today we get Dr. Welle.  She is really amazing.  She felt that Murph’s injury was a soft tissue one, and gave her a few days of Rimadyl.  We didn’t want to take any chances, because big dogs can have so many problems with their legs.  She gave Murphy a lot of love, said she was perfect, and was glad we weren’t trying to make her humungous like some large breed owners do–it is so bad for their joints.


Getting her paws and legs checked out

We talked to her about what we call Murphy’s “demon eye”–the third eyelid regularly makes an appearance.  We had been assured in the past that it was probably just a minor irritation, but it seems more like a tic, now.  Everything else in her eye is normal–no excessive tearing, no inflammation.  She said Murphy is actually controlling the muscle in her eye that retracts the eyeball, which is why the eyelid pops up.  She agreed that it looked creepy and demonic, but it probably just a “Murphy thing”.  (Love Dr. Welle!)

After shaving the mats behind her ears (Murphy isn’t terribly easy to groom–lots of biting the brush), she told us that while she was a crazy ginormous puppy, we were lucky because Newfies always settle down eventually.  I gave Murphy a drink from the sink in the room (Dr. Welle thought that was a great trick!) and we went home.  She’s a good puppy.


Such a good puppy!

Our Crazy Newfie

The year we were married, my husband and I started sharing our home with two dogs, Simon and Smudge.  They were brother and sister, but looked nothing alike.  Simon was what we called the “Montana Black Dog”–a black lab mix with a white beard, white tipped tail, and white feet.  Smudge was also part black lab, but looked like her father who was a Catahoula Leopard Dog.  A what?  Exactly.  The state dog of Louisiana, apparently.  Our friend always called her a Saskahootchie Marmot Hound, so we did too.

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Anyway–to get back to the story, Simon and Smudge were generally great dogs, even though after the age of three, Smudge could not tolerate being around any other dogs except Simon and her mother Osa.  They never really had much interest in the boys, though–Smudge always looked confused as to why they were still in her house day after day.  She died a few years ago at the age of 11, suddenly, from a cancerous tumor bursting in her abdomen; it was, of course, very sad.


RIP Smudgerella


Her brother Simon received something of a new lease on life, though.

Finally he could go out in public again, to places where we hadn’t been able to take Smudgie.  He hung out with us in the front yard, went on road trips, went to River’s Edge Park–it was great.

Then last year, when it became clear that he was losing weight, Simon was diagnosed with cancer of the liver.  We babied him in his last months, but when it became obvious that he was miserable, we made the decision to release him from his pain.  It wasn’t an easy decision–why should we get to determine his last day alive?  Still–it was the right one.  When he was given his sedative, it was the first time in months that he seemed comfortable.  Still chokes me up to think about it.  I’m sure, selfishly, we kept him around longer than he wanted to be here.


RIP Old Simon Graybeard

The house was so empty.  And clean.  And empty.  I had long said that our next dog would be medium sized, with a light colored fur.  Our next dog wouldn’t drool or get nose prints all over the picture windows.  We ended up with…a Newfoundland.

555098_10150960599925886_1128409307_nIf you know anything about Newfies, you know they are gigantic, usually dark furred,   slobbery drool-y messes.  When we picked Murphy up, she could rest on one of my fore-arms.  Now, at eight months, she is a full head taller than me when I am sitting on the ground next to her.

Having a Newfoundland is an experience.  She is still a puppy, and acts like it, but she is a nearly 90 pound puppy.  We took her to obedience classes, and she knows her commands, but  looks at us like we are idiots if we expect her to do anything without treats in our hands.  My picture windows look like they have been finger-painted.  She regularly wipes her drool all over everyone’s arms and laps.  She mumbles when she gets in trouble, like a teenager talking under his breath when being sent to his room.  We can (mostly) get her to lie down when we are eating dinner, but she stomps her paw when we haven’t paid enough attention to her.  She walks well, as long as she is wearing her fancy pink Gentle Leader (that little device saved us!) and she knows how to ring a bell to go outside.IMG_0025

We have a few items to work on, though.  She still jumps, is still mouthy, and pounds on our picture windows when she wants to come inside.  And she barks–she takes to the perimeter of our fenced yard and barks at anything and everything.  We don’t keep her outside–that is where she prefers to be.  She will come in for a while to play, but invariably she rings the bell to go outside to hang out on her Coolaroo elevated bed.


Murphy on her Coolaroo

We adore her.  I’m not convinced that she will become the giant, mellow gentle beast she is purported to be, but I suppose it could happen.  We love her anyway.

Does anyone else have Newfie experience?  Did you have a crazy Newf who eventually settled down?  Any tips from Newfie veterans?