There is a stillness in the morning that provides a good opportunity for contemplative purposes.  Or, if you are a Newf, for a good extra nap.

I watched Jade as she laid in front of me, eyelids moving, lips occasionally quivering.  I study the beauty in these creatures unabashedly.  As she was lying on her side, her upper lip was draped across her mouth to below her lower lip with complete laxity, except for moments when a dream disturbed her stillness.  That beautiful deep black velvet would crinkle as her lip quivered, and occasionally a paw would move back and forth at her wrist.  At times when the dream is more involved, there will be vocalizations that are unclear for the flew that covers her mouth and the sleep state of her muscles.  An entertaining dream is good for all of us.

Each of my Newfs has had a different personality.  There are familial tendencies between those who have been related.  Jade is unique, in many ways, and in this way:  her lines are different from the others.  Many of her traits were unfamiliar.  One, for example, is her use of the “immovable object” routine.  I’ve seen Newfs use this when they don’t want to oblige a request, as if a child were saying “I can’t hear you.”  In Jade’s interpretation, this is a frequent choice, for any time.  She will appear unresponsive, except that her face is very expressive and responsive.  So, her eyebrows will move in response, and her eyes will follow you as you move around the room although her head doesn’t move.  She is big and soft, with a big, happy smile, and she may rise to a sit and reach her neck straight upward for a hug until the tip of her nose is vertical, but typically she listens and watches without moving.  This has become one of her endearing unique traits.

Another unique trait is her very “soft mouth”.  Newfs are supposed to have a “soft mouth”, but Jade is particularly sensitive.  To accept a treat from your hand, she positions the receiving point near the back of her tongue and she doesn’t close her teeth until your hand is safely out of the way.  This means that your hand enters a warm, wet dark chamber, much further into a dog’s mouth than primal comfort dictates.  It is mostly unavoidable that your hand can emerge without being fully wet, not just at your fingertips.  The rest of the Newfs accept treats politely at their front teeth.  It took a little longer for Jade to learn how to nibble corn off the cob, as she wanted to take it on the back of her tongue.  Because of the level of sensitivity of her mouth, the take-a-rope exercise in water training, which is difficult for some Newfs, was especially difficult for her.  Some of their uniqueness is the outcome of how they apply their paradigm of evaluation to what they experience.  There may be some of those choices that need to be reshaped to help them learn, but some become part of their uniqueness, their individuality.

The uniqueness in each Newf is what makes them shine, those traits that ensure they are unforgettable, so that once they are no longer here, your memory will be triggered by some unexpected thing, allowing you to think about them and enjoy the memory of that experience.  Each Newf is a rich experience.  Each Newf is a treasure.  The more you share time with them, the more you appreciate them.  As she approaches 7, Aukai’s Treasured Gem at Nitewater has created her own cache of memories that will be treasured for life, and I hope that cache has many more years to grow.

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