Oh my! Our big lug, Chance the Landseer Newf, is 7 years old today! His full name is Tallpines Come By Chance, but his daddy, Boo, comes from Bydand Newfs. I remember when he was nothing but a big ball of fluff that we found on our doorstep one day, with his breeder. Even at 8 weeks old, he was already 18lbs. Although the big ball of fluff stage didn’t last very long, he very quickly became an integral part of our family.
We got Chance when Ben was only 8 years old. That was a very tough age for us all, as Ben was still in the thick of his therapy and working on many issues, mainly his hyperactivity and aggression. We had researched getting him a guide dog that was specially trained to work with autistic children, but there were several issues with that. First, it would take about two years. Second, the dog would only be allowed to bond with Ben, the rest of the family would have to keep their distance. I didn’t see that as a possibility for us, having two other children, maybe that would work for an only child but it just wouldn’t happen in our family of animal lovers. During my research though, I came across the Newfoundland breed, and the more I read, the more I was convinced that it was exactly what we wanted, and what Ben needed.
Newfs are well known for their protective instinct towards children. They were initially bred as water rescue dogs for the boats coming off the ocean in Newfoundland, and those instincts run deep. Even while he was still a puppy, Chance’s instincts towards Ben were obvious. We always knew where we could find him, usually at Ben’s feet, or somewhere close by. To this day Chance will not go for a walk without Benjamin, he will literally park his butt on the sidewalk and will not move. If you’ve ever tried to move a 150lb dog that doesn’t want to go, you know that you just turn around and go home. He is not happy in the house unless he knows where Ben is, and when we are out on a walk he is directly beside Ben at all times. On nights like Halloween, he will sit with me at the end of the walkway but his eyes are glued to Ben the entire time he walks to the door and back, when he does get back he gets a sniff to be sure he’s ok then we’re off again. Even at the dog park, off leash, he still stays by Ben’s side. He takes his job very seriously.
What floored me even more though was how Ben responded to Chance. Being different isn’t easy, and Ben has never had a whole bunch of friends. What he did have though was a dog who loved him unconditionally, despite his differences, or maybe even more so because of them. He always knew that when he had a bad day his best friend would be waiting for him by the door with a big sloppy kiss. Ben is so very proud of his dog, he will tell anyone who will listen all about him, and how much Chance ‘likes’ him. When I really think about their lives together it makes me teary eyed. He’s a very special dog, for a very special boy.
The idea that he is turning 7 scares me senseless. Unforunately, the bigger the dog, the shorter their expected life spans. As a giant breed, he has an ‘expected’ 8 year life span. I have to just keep reminding myself that Chance will no doubt live long beyond that as he is as spry now, as he was when he was a puppy. He has no hip problems, a healthy heart, and is in great shape for any dog much less an almost senior citizen. Chance’s Daddy is now past his tenth birthday, he comes from great, healthy lines, so thankfully I think we have lots of time with our boy. As much as he loves Ben he’s also a big Momma’s boy, and I don’t know what I’d do without him!
So here’s great big birthday wishes for the most special dog on the planet! As an ode to Chance I’m sharing some of my favorite shots of him over the years. Click any of the pictures to see a larger version.
The pics won’t line up right with the captions so from left to right:
-Zack & Chance after a dip in the lake, time for a new piggy!
-Chance goes pretty much wherever we do, this is Chelsea and Chance during a hike.
-The colder it is, the more Chance loves it. He gets super excited when he see’s it’s snowing.
-I know he needs a good brush out, but this one shows his personality so well that it’s always been one of my fav’s.