Saturday, December 12, 2009

Clean Freaks Beware

Someone recently sent me an email asking, "[I] was wondering if you could tell me just how much shedding they really do. Is vacuuming once a day sufficient?" I applaud this self proclaimed clean freak for asking me this because so many people don't do their research before bringing a dog of any breed into their home which is one big reason why our animal shelters are so full and so many dogs and cats end up being euthanized.

I have never been the best housekeeper in the world, but since the Newfs entered our lives I have become even more relaxed about our home's level of cleanliness. When trying to decide whether to spend my time playing/caring/working with Katie and Louie or cleaning the house which one do you think wins most of the time?

Here was my response...
If you vacuum your floors and brush your Newf for 10 minutes daily your floors should be 99.9% free of Newf hair. However, you will still likely find a bit of hair in the dishwasher, refrigerator, bathtub and any number of unlikely places. One good thing about Newf hair is that it does not stick to many fabrics. I rarely have to use a tape roller on my clothes. It does stick to eyeballs quite thoroughly, so I would try to avoid that unpleasant scenario.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't tell you this: in all honesty, the hair is the least part of the mess caused by a Newfoundland dog. In my opinion, hair is the second runner up. The first runner up is dirt. Newfs like to play outside (except for when they play inside and offer you suggestions on better ways to arrange the furniture). The dirt, pine needles and leaves that get stuck to their coat are of course tracked into the house. Pine needles and leaves are easily vacuumed up, so no big deal there. The dirt however will cling to their coat until they lean against a cabinet, refrigerator, door, wall, etc. where they will leave a thin coating of dirt behind. Some people blow their Newfs off with giant dryers like the one we have every time they come in the house to remove most of this, but I don't feel like doing that 6 times a day.

The winner of the anti-clean prize is the Newfie drool. It's worse than dirt because it's slimy, sticks to objects, dries into a hard crust and can be easily slung 10 feet through the air. So, it's possible, although rare in our home, for it to land on the ceiling. The drool is truly quite gross, but Newf owners seem to become immune to it very quickly. We almost forget about its existence and wipe the Newfs' mouths off many times a day with little conscious thought. When visitors come it's good to offer them a drool towel of their own. Drool does get on our clothes frequently, but a damp cloth easily removes it if the drool is fresh.

If all of this sounds unbearable then don't get a Newf. They are a high maintenance breed for more reasons than the fact that they are messy. Personally, I love the idea of a pristine home, but I love our Newfs SO much more. They are not for everyone, but they are the only breed we will ever have from now on. Louie and Katie bring us more joy and love than I thought possible. They are true gentle giants and share their love with us, each other and the world so freely. After watching the face of an almost completely paralyzed child light up as I helped her to pet Katie, hearing a dying Hospice patient tell me the kisses she received from Louie were the best in her life, seeing children's faces filled with joy while riding in a wagon pulled by Katie, hearing a class of second graders pronounce Louie the best visitor they'd ever had, and many other wonderful experiences I am AWED by these wonderful creatures. Their intelligence, compassion and soulfulness shines out of their eyes and into the hearts of those who meet them. I feel grateful for all that Katie and Louie have taught me and I feel lucky to be able to clean up their messes.


Remington said...

Like I tell people who get all freaked out about my Newfie....I would never own a dog that didn't drool or shed....
Really that doesn't bother me at all, I don't even think about it. I just love Newfoundlands because of who they are....the most gentle dogs I have ever known.

JackDaddy said...

You have my vote for homemaker of the year. Anyone who can clean house with 2 dogs is a winner in my book!

I think that's the first pictures I've seen where your puppies don't look spotless!

Life With Dogs said...

They are so very worth it...then again you knew that! :)