Monday, November 14, 2005

Daisy Finds Adventure and Blueberries in Newfoundland


Daisy was an "easy champion". She won a BISSW, quite handily, even beating her now famous brother, Andy, Am. Can. Ch. Foxfair Excalibur, BISS.

So, what is a dog show girl to do? Have puppies perhaps. But, just due to life circumstances, I was too busy to raise a litter when she was young and should have been bred. Bred when she was older, she produced one male puppy who now lives happily in Michigan with his snowmobiling family. The decision was made that Daisy, who in addition to not being a mom was not overly enthusiastic about her sisters who are moms, should be retired.

Enter Alan MacKenzie. Alan called one day and said his 17 year old Keeshond had died. He and his wife were retired and would like to have another Keeshond. He did not really want a puppy but was considering an older dog that would like to go for daily walks in the woods and acommpany him on fishing trips, etc. Did I mention that he also liked brush his dog daily? Daisy loves the woods, and loves being brushed. I knew she would also like being an only dog. A match was made.

Al then left Newfoundland for Ohio to bring Daisy home. Do you have any idea where Newfoundland is? It is 700 miles across the water from Greenland. It is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, it gets dark there at 4:00PM. And it takes three days of solid driving and a 12 hour ferry boat ride to get to Ohio. Incidentally, according to Al it was a ferry boat ride worthy of a amusement park with 11 foot waves. Al, a lifetime commercial fisherman, said he felt sorry for his fellow passengers who looked like they wanted to die! Al was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but he was put behind schedule by the ferry boat. He called my son from Buffalo, NY and asked if he was nearby. Well, that was relative, much closer than Newfoundland, but still a 6 hour drive.

Al arrived early Sunday morning in a mini-van with a nice new crate for Daisy to ride in since this is how show dogs are used to traveling. He assured me that if the ferry was too rough on the return Daisy would fly the 100 miles to Newfoundland.

We learned a lot about life in Newfoundland from Al's visit. There are still many Newfoundland dogs on the island. They are great swimmers and have the terrific Newfoundland temperament but they are short lived with 7 being old age. There is no commercial fishing allowed on Newfoundland since the government has sold the rights to Japan and China. However, there are many inland rivers and ponds. So many, that Elk and Caribou thrive there with a population of 500,000. Each islander with a hunting liscense is allowed one Elk, and one Caribou per season. Al gets his limit every year and has in his freezer, 100 lbs of trout, 50 lbs of salt fish, 400 lbs of Elk, and 60 lbs of Caribou. There is also an unlimited supply of blueberries and cranberries due to the many bogs on the island.

With such a healthy diet, primarily fish, and no air pollution, it is not uncommon for Newfounlanders to live into their 90's. There you have it. Daisy, who like many dogs, and her owner, has fought the battle of bulge all her life. She will now slim down from hiking, and eating fish and blueberries. We will miss Daisy but know that she and Al will be very happy and healthy in their Newfoundland home. Ryan and Al made some tenative plans for him to visit and go fishing. The great things about dogs is meeting wonderful people.

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