Selfie with a new­fie by Nor­man B. Isaac

Animal Scene - - CONTENTS - Text and il­lus­tra­tion by NOR­MAN B. ISAAC

The great Amer­i­can au­thor ex­tols the virtues of a New­found­land dubbed as the “gen­tle gi­ant”. Reu Rivera is one lucky guy who owns a New­found­land. “I named it Kobe af­ter Kobe Bryant. I’m an avid fan of this bas­ket­ball leg­end,” he ex­plains. Reu is one of the many dog lovers in the Pet Party at SM Ba­coor, ac­tu­ally a friend of the event or­ga­nizer. ! " # ! $ % pos­ter­ity.

It is so gen­tle even kids pat it and stroke its thick and straight black coat. “It is safe for chil­dren,” says the 36-year-old en­tre­pre­neur who is into com­puter busi­ness. But he cau­tions that though New­found­lands are child-friendly, small kids can get ac­ci­den­tally leaned on and knocked down.

“I adopted Kobe from a dog breeder friend. Nor­mally it will fetch like R130,000 for a puppy,” he says. Kobe is just one year and four months. New­found­land dogs can weigh up to 143 pounds or more in full ma­tu­rity. The largest on record weighed 260 pounds and mea­sured over 6 feet from nose to tail, rank­ing it among the largest of dog breeds. Its life span is from eight to ten years. It shares many char­ac­ter­is­tics of moun­tain dog breeds, such as the Great Pyre­nees.

Kobe’s fore­fa­thers can be traced to the Do­min­ion of New­found­land, now part of Canada, where ! as work­ing dogs, ! haul­ing carts and other equip­ment. New­found­lands are also called Newfs or ' * % known for their gi­ant size, in­tel­li­gence, tremen­dous strength, calm dis­po­si­tions, and loy­alty.

Noth­ing beats these won­der­ful dogs as they ex­cel at wa­ter res­cue and life­sav­ing be­cause of their mus­cu­lar build, thick dou­ble coat, webbed feet, and in­nate swim­ming abil­i­ties. Their ex­tremely large bones give it mass, while its mus­cu­la­ture gives it the power it needs to take rough ocean waves and pow­er­ful tides. These dogs have huge lung ca­pac­ity for swim­ming ex­tremely long dis­tances and a thick, oily, and wa­ter­proof dou­ble coat which pro­tects them from the chilly icy wa­ters. In the wa­ter, the dog’s mas­sive paws give it max­i­mum propul­sion. In­ter­est­ingly, the swim­ming stroke is not an or­di­nary dog pad­dle. Un­like other dogs, the New­found­land moves its limbs in a down-out mo­tion giv­ing more power to ev­ery stroke, ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia.

As proof of this amaz­ing aqua-dog’s abil­ity at wa­ter res­cue, a his­tor­i­cal anec­dote from Wikipedia tells of an un­named New­found­land cred­ited for sav­ing Napoleon Bon­a­parte in 1815. Dur­ing his fa­mous es­cape from ex­ile on the is­land of Elba, rough seas knocked Napoleon over­board. + jumped into the sea and ' / un­til he could reach safety.

“Cu­ri­ously, Kobe sel­dom barks and can­not be a guard dog. It’s not ter­ri­to­rial. Yes, it’s not cheap to main­tain Kobe, with the usual ex­penses for dog food, vi­ta­mins, vet vis­its, etc. It likes to stay in our air­con­di­tioned room.

“Kobe is a hearty eater, which is nor­mal for a big dog. He just won a prize in the eat­ing con­test por­tion,” Reu laughs. He con­tin­ues, “I have three English bull­dogs but Kobe is quite spe­cial. I’m %$ $ #! 7 can’t ap­pre­ci­ate them. There’s no bonding un­like with dogs, es­pe­cially with a New­found­land like Kobe.”

“Ac­tu­ally, when I got Kobe, its coat was un­even but now it’s grow­ing beau­ti­fully. The dou­ble coat makes the dog hard to groom and also causes a lot ! 7 #! though. It still has this fear of peo­ple and it eas­ily pan­ics when star­tled,” he says.

Ac­cord­ing to Your­pure­bred­, the Breed Stan­dard of the US says that, “Sweet­ness of tem­per­a­ment is the hall­mark of the New­found­land; this is the most im­por­tant sin­gle char­ac­ter­is­tic of the # 9 * % #% Kobe, the gen­tle gi­ant as it struts on the stage with its proud owner amid the ad­mir­ing au­di­ence.

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