That's No Black Bear - It's Just Duffy
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Holstein cow!
No, it’s just Duffy the Newfoundland.
Whenever I hop out of my car at my parents’ house, I usually see this 120-pound Mack truck of a dog running toward me at full Clydesdale gallop. Two-foot tongue hanging out the side, jowls flying.
I instinctively brace for impact, but the Duff has learned that trying to hurl his delicate frame into my arms isn’t such a good idea. Instead of jumping on top of me, he now flops over onto his back and sticks his black and white spotted legs in the air.
Duffy has been with us for over a year now, which is hard to believe. As some readers probably remember, Ben the golden retriever died last January, six months shy of his 15th birthday. After a satisfactory month of mourning, I began scouring the Internet for a suitable new addition to the family.
Though my mother was hoping for a smaller dog like our mutt, Deacon, I had a secret agenda. I had always wanted a gigantic dog. Ben was about 85 pounds — pretty big for a golden, but not big enough for me.
After scrolling through Petfinder.com for a few minutes, I found exactly what I was looking for. Down at Solutions for Animals, a wonderful rescue shelter in Raeford, was Duffy, who was at that time 8 months old. Mom immediately resisted, but after some cajoling, I got her to agree to drive down there and take a look.
Any reservations she had melted away when Duffy lumbered out the door of the shelter and immediately leaned against her legs for some attention. About three weeks later, he moved in with us.
My enormous friend has come a long way in a relatively short time. At first, he was uncomfortable walking outside because of the wind and that terrifying umbrella on the back patio. He also glued himself to my mom, never leaving her side.
The shadowing thing hasn’t really changed, but I’m proud to report that Duffy is doing great. After several sessions of school, he has passed the Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International programs. We’re hoping to get him involved in some of the outstanding programs in the community that allow dogs to make a difference in people’s lives.
I hate to brag, but he’s built an impressive resumé that includes skills such as “sit,” “leave it” and “shake.” He taught himself how to open the back door, and slowly but surely, we’re teaching him to close it.
This is in contrast to his adoptive brother, Deacon, who chose the JYD lifestyle — chasing vermin and regarding commands as mere suggestions. As you can imagine, Deacon wears the pants in that relationship despite the the 90-pound weight difference.
In his spare time, Duffy enjoys going on walks and visiting the dog park, The Pilot, Petsmart and Lowe’s. This past Monday, he came out to the airport to watch me take off on my latest flying lesson. Even from the air, I could clearly make out his gigantic black frame on the ground.
We were fortunate to find a dog like Duffy so soon after losing Ben. But the good news is, there are lots of dogs and cats like him in the area, just waiting for good homes.
I don’t stand on my soapbox often, but please consider adopting a rescue the next time you’re looking for a new friend. There are so many animals out there with Duffy’s potential if they are given the chance.
Even if you’re not looking for another pet, think about contributing to Solutions for Animals or any of the rescue groups in the area that work so hard to provide good homes for these guys. It’s sickening to think what could happen to pets like Duffy if organizations like that didn’t exist.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on Duffy’s career as it takes off. (Like the consummate professional he is, he needs a photo ID before he can start working.)
In the meantime, I’ll try to avoid getting run over.
Contact John Krahnert III at email@example.com.
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