Joseph G. -- California
In 1994 (if memory serves), I bought a black Newfoundland puppy from you when you were living in Newtown, PA. I think it was a May litter for a July delivery. She lived with me throughout several moves before we finally settled in Southern California. I named her Tate which means wind in the Lakota language. She lived with me for almost 13 glorious years before dying of cancer approximately 2 months ago. I know we are lucky to have had a Newfie who lived for almost 13 years. To be honest, I cannot stop thinking about her. When I come home, I feel like I hear her gentle footsteps walking on our wood floor.

I have a million stories and I won't bore you with all the details. She protected my then 4 year old daughter when a German Shephard charged at her. One day my young daughter was hiking up a muddy/snowy hill and began to slide uncontrollably down the hill. Tate began to bark and took off up the hill. She positioned herself beneath my daughter so she wouldn't slide any farther. I think her favorite place in the entire world was the walkway in Venice Beach, CA along the beach. There would be thousands of people just strolling along the walkway and she knew that if she just stayed there, she would get fifty hands petting her. The actor, Wesley Snipes even offered to buy her from me one day in Venice and he told me to name my price. There was not a price for what Tate meant to me. Interestingly, she was not fond of water. She never swam. I think it was my fault because when she was a puppy and I was living in New Jersey, I took her for a walk along the beach on a stormy day and I think the sound of the waves and wind scared her.

My wife and I are contemplating another dog. My wife is terrified at the prospect of getting another Newfie as she feels she would be replacing Tate forever so she would like to get a Lab. Initially I agreed but am now being drawn back to Newfoundlands. The best way I can describe a Newfie to a non-Newfie owner is that they just take over your life in the most unassuming way.

Just before my dog got sick, my wife and I were arguing over several things for a stretch of a few weeks. Then, Tate got sick and within two months had died. She had the cancer before but I believe it spread in her body more quickly. Later, my wife told me that she had read an old tale that dogs absorb the bad energy in a family as if to say, "let me internalize the bad energy in this house to free you of it." Now, after her death, I can't stop thinking about that. I honestly hope that is not true.

I guess I now realize why I am writing to you. It is just to say thank you for providing my family with a dear friend and companion whom we will never forget. A part of my heart died on January 4th when she passed away. I only hope it is with her.