John & Cathy Borklund-- Clifton, Virginia
It seems that dogs have always been a part of our family. We both grew up with them and we've always had several around the house while raising our own family. We had gotten our pets from breeders we found from ads in the paper and even "rescued" a couple from the local animal shelter. But last year, just before Christmas, we lost our second golden retriever, Sandy. Although we still had two pet dogs, losing Sandy was pretty devastating.

Cathy had often talked about getting a really big dog. She had read numbers of dog-breed books over the years and the "Gentle Giant" Newfoundland seemed the perfect choice. We knew we could never replace our goldens, but there was a hole in our family we needed to fill. So, we began making several phone calls to "newfy" breeders up and down the east coast and as far away as Michigan. We both were very impressed with how uniquely free and open Debbie was with information - what to look for and to look-out for, standards of the breed, temperment, and behavior. She was consistently frank and open with us. You could tell she knew what she was talking about and that maintaining the breed-standard and temperment, even for "just a pet", of the Newfoundland was critical to her.

We asked Debbie if we could come visit her and see the litter she had even though we knew there probably wasn't going to be one available for us in this litter. We were so impressed with her and Marv's home - plenty of land, professionally built kennels and grooming areas for the dogs - and NEWFS everywhere. I felt like one of those kids with the puppies in the old "Kodak Moments" TV commercials.

Most impressive of all was Debbie's dedication to and knowledge of the breed and genuine love for her dogs. It was so refreshing to find someone, like Debbie, who has an uncompromising standard for her dogs and is absolutely dedicated to their well-being and breeding. Even though we were only interested in a pet, we knew after our short visit that we could absolutely rely on the quality of the dog we hoped to be taking home with us someday. Cathy was so worried that we wouldn't be "picked"; that we wouldn't measure up to Debbie's standards of Newfie "parents." On the ride home she kept repeating, "I hardly even talked to her - all I did was play with the puppies."

Well, two Newfies later, Debbie is a trusted advisor and teacher for us and Koda and Mick. We count Debbie and Marv as our good friends and are so thankful for their trust, their help and their dedication. As for Koda and Mick, they have filled our lives.