I had some charming pictures of the kids that I was going to post for today's entry, but then I got the email from my mother that said she had to put Kodi to sleep this weekend. Kodi was a Newfoundland that we were given when his breeder was in a difficult situation. It's a long story, and I won't provide the gory details here. She needed to find good homes in a short period of time, and thought of us because we have had a very long relationship with her and her kennel.
Kodi's death represents the end of an era for our family. See, we've always had Newfoundlands, or at least for the past 35 years. My grandparents started with a Newf-mix before I was born, then mom and I joined the Newf-group, and even the Husband and I had one. [Madchen, Sherman, Fagin, Ursa, Kuma, Baron, Kisha, Shawnee, Lena, Kodi] There were times when I would take four of them for a walk at the same time. That generated some stares for passers-by.....
When the Husband and I agreed to take Kodi, my mother had two newfs already, one of whom she had also been given by the breeder. If she hadn't already had two, I'm sure she would have been the breeder's first choice. Anyway, in 2002, we took in Kodi as a third dog, basically sight unseen. We went to the breeder's to meet him while we were in Wyoming, and took him primarily due to her circumstances and my bleeding heart.
Kodi was "special." He had earned his championship, and really did exhibit very good physical characteristics of the breed. He was one of the breeder's special house-dogs, but all he had ever known was the show ring. At age 5, already middle-aged for a newf, he was the dog-ification of the "model" stereotype. We're pretty sure there was not much more in his mind than looking pretty and having people clap for him. Honestly, I have never met a more vacuous dog. He was super sweet, very friendly, great dog in general, but just no personality whatsoever. I don't even think the term "dumb" applied to him. There just really wasn't much there behind those sweet dark brown eyes.
Several things happened that led to Kodi going to my mom's. First, mom lost Shawnee-pup, the very first dog we got from this breeder. Even at Shawnee's age, she was still a puppy at heart, essentially everything that Kodi wasn't. In order to provide company for Lena, she went to the pound to adopt a newf or pyrenees mix. She came home with Shilo, the "little yellow dog." Shilo didn't last very long. She was a wild thing, escaping, chewing up the house, high energy. Very sweet, but very high maintenance. Shilo went back to the pound.
In May, 2004, I was preparing to defend my Ph.D. dissertation, when Kodi and our dane Micaela ran into each other (we don't know what really happened), and Caela ended up succumbing to a gradual paralysis. We spent a week hauling her to the vet for x-rays, tests, anything, but she kept getting worse until she even started refusing food. She was completely paralyzed, 10 years old, could not even eliminate on her own, and just told us it was time.
For a variety of reasons, including the brutal summers, Kodi went to live with my mom that November, even though she had re-rescued Shilo from the pound. Shilo actually kind of taught Kodi how to play a little, something he never did with us (I still blame the heat and humidity of summer for part of his utter passivity). When mom lost Lena earlier this year, Kodi was still there to provide companionship to Shilo.
It will be strange not to have any newfs in the family anymore. The Husband and I are convereted to Great Danes, and mom feels that she is at an age and physical condition where medium-sized dogs are more appropriate. So Kodi, the newf with a big heart and no brain, is truly the end of 35 years of newfs.