Cozy Tales: 43. Fame

Since my Cozy had her own website that many people in the Newfy community routinely visited, her page had references on thousands of other pages. This was at a time before Myspace and Facebook, when the average person was just learning about the Internet. Google did not yet exist, and Alta Vista and Yahoo were the big names in search engines.

I often receive emails sent by people from throughout the world commenting on Cozy or Daisy and how much they loved the pictures and updates, and those who searched for terms such as Newfoundland dog would find Cozy’s page since it was so popular. One day in 2002 I received an email from the Army Corps of Engineers asking if they could use one of the images of Cozy for a project. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 42. Down the Shore

Lauren grew up spending her summers at the Jersey Shore, loving everything about it from the sand between her toes to the nasty jellyfish in the surf. For her birthday in 2002 she wanted to go back since it had been far too long since her bare feet had felt the sand.

We decided that it was far past time to take our water-loving dogs to see the ocean. We had talked about it forever, but somehow life had gotten in the way and it had never happened. While taking two huge dogs to the beach was difficult enough, we were now faced with the prospect of bringing two huge dogs and two small children to the beach. We figured it was never going to get any easier, so we loaded everyone into the Outback and trucked on down the shore. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 41. Cozy gets Spayed

Putting our fears aside, and having had enough of Cozy being in heat twice a year, we decided to do the right thing and schedule Cozy for surgery to be spayed. This seemed simple enough; drop her off, wait a few hours, then pick her up. We had read that Newfoundlands might not need as much anesthesia as other dogs, and that we should use a vet with a lot of experience with the breed. We decided that instead of using Dr. Fritz, we would use the vet group that our breeder used, which happened to be staffed entirely by women. Being the pig man that I am, I of course assumed a veterinary office staffed with supermodels all wearing French maid and nurse’s outfits. I’m not sure where the French maid thing fit in, but we pig-men are  not really a complicated bunch. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 40. Daisy’s Bloody Nose

With my life as an international drug smuggler behind me, I spent most of my nights studying for my next try at the CCIE exam. On one such night the kids had been put to bed and the dogs were eating their dinner upstairs. I could always tell when they were eating because the hardwood floor was directly above my office, and since Cozy’s eating had never been a gentle affair, the large stainless steel bowl would rattle and scrape against the floor while she devoured her food. Daisy was more demure when she ate, having no doubt been schooled in the art of fine dining. While dinner was loud, it was brief, so the distraction never lasted long. This time though, the sounds of Cozy eating were interrupted when Lauren called me with that it’s an emergency tone. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 39. The Smuggler’s Blues

In order to further my career as a networking consultant, I was attempting to pursue a certification called the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE). This advanced test was given in only three locations in North America at the time, one of which was Halifax, Nova Scotia. After months of intense studying, I booked my travel plans and set off to take the eight-hour test in Canada.

I flew into Halifax and after departing the plane went to wait for my bags at the luggage carousel. I always kept my laptop backpack with me, and I had put it on the floor next to me while I stood and waited for the flashing lights and klaxons to announce that our baggage was soon to be delivered.

Bored, I watched the people around me and noticed a dog being trained by someone in a police-type uniform. This happy puppy was running through the baggage claim area with abandon, chasing something being thrown by the uniformed man with a gun. The dog, a golden retriever that looked to be about a year old and full of life, was chasing a small red Kong just like Cozy’s. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 38. The Ringing of the Bells

Imagine a bitterly cold January day in New Jersey. The temperature is -10°F, there is a cold wind blowing, and the frozen snow outside makes the yard look like a bleached out version of the Sahara. The environment is downright hostile, and is fit for neither man nor beast. This tale takes place on just such a night, and the story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed because no one involved can even pretend to be innocent, though the only crime committed was that of murdering my patience.

Inside, there was a fire smoldering in the fireplace. Darkness had fallen, and everyone else was in bed while I worked in the office doing whatever the hell it is I do in there all night long. Cozy was lying contentedly in the the adjacent Family room.

Or so I thought. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 37. 2001

With two small children in the house, our priorities had shifted and the dogs seemed to become part of the backdrop. They were still a major part of our family, but they were no longer the primary focus in our lives. It was almost as if they had previously been the stars of the show but had lost their parts to the pretty new girls.

Looking back at my archive of photos and videos, before Meghan and Colleen most of the pictures were of the dogs. Starting in 2001, when we had two children to care for, very few of the memories recorded focused on the dogs. To anthropomorphize a bit, I’m tempted to think that this made the dogs sad, though I think they embraced their new roles in our growing family with typical Newfy aplomb.  (more…)

Cozy Tales: 36. Colleen

March 16, 2001 was a beautiful clear March morning in northern New Jersey, or at least it was once the sun came up. March 16th was a special day, and this is how the events of that special day unfolded to the best of my recollection.

3:00 a.m. Lauren woke up to go to the bathroom. Being very pregnant, this was not unusual, but this time she told me that she thought her water had broken, but she wasn’t really sure. When Meghan was born there was no question when the water broke as it was an event unto itself. Being tired and unsure Lauren went back to bed while thinking that she was having mild contractions. I went back to sleep thankful that nothing was expected of me except more sleep.

5:00 a.m. I got a nudge from Lauren asking, “Where is the stopwatch? (more…)

Cozy Tales: 35. Meghan Learns to Stand

Babies have no preconceived notions of what they should or shouldn’t use for leverage while learning to stand. Coffee tables, legs, couches, tripods with expensive cameras attached or even the nice furry coats of big dogs are fair game. Meghan learned to stand with help from all of the aforementioned items, but she also pulled herself up with something better: Cozy’s face.

Since Cozy was always around me, she often ended up in the same room as Meghan. On hot days, when Cozy’s tongue would be hanging out of the side of her mouth, Meghan would grab for it, but Cozy would usually slurp it back into her mouth to get it away from those grippy little fingers. Meghan was persistent though, and she really wanted to stand. If the tongue was out of reach, Meghan would try and grab a lip, or perhaps some loose skin around Cozy’s face. Whiskers were also in danger, but grabbing was one thing; it was the pulling that was a problem. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 34. The Canoe

My wife’s brother’s wife’s parents (my brother in-law’s in-laws) owned a nice chunk of property about 10 miles from ours. Though we enjoy our two acres, they had over 30, including their very own sizable lake. We had a standing invitation to bring the dogs to enjoy the lake, which we did from time to time.

Cozy’s favorite pasttime was saving sticks thrown into the water. The ones that were lost were quickly forgotten like last year’s iPhone, causing me to wonder at the veracity of all those stories of Newfs saving people. (more…)