It’s been eight years since our family dog Newfie, and my first fur child passed away. It’s been eight years, that Newfie’s ashes have been waiting in a cremation baggy. My first thought when I heard about a friend, getting their dog cremated was “that sounds ridiculous.” Then I got the call, from my mom. I’ll never forget the day I heard he passed away, June 4th, 2009. I told my mom I wanted him cremated, I made plans on sending Newfie home.
The cremation at the time, cost me several hundreds of dollars. After all Newfie was a very large dog, but I knew that I wanted to do something special. I didn’t want him to just be buried in the ground, somewhere I would never be able to visit. I had made plans on sending Newfie home, the plan was to scatter his ashes somewhere beautiful and peaceful.
Newfie was a black and white, Landseer Newfoundlander. Newfie was one of the greatest dogs, that I could ever ask for. We got him when, he was only four months old. I’ll never forget the moment I met him, everyone thought he was a drooly ugly dog. From the start though, I was in love. I always thought he was the cutest dog ever, watching him run around the yard he made it look like he was bouncing. It didn’t take him long, to become an important part of the family and my best friend.
He spent most of his life living, in small towns and on an acreage. He always had lots of space to run and roam around, and throughout the years we had several pets. However I always had a soft spot for Newfie, despite being a large dog he was never vicious. He wouldn’t even hurt a fly, he was a father figure to our other pets. You could always find him, cuddled up with the dogs and even the cats on the porch.
We owned chickens at one point, and I remember when he first chased them around the yard. We thought at first, he was going to attack them. Instead once he caught them, he’d keep them in-between his paws and lick them.
Over the years my sister, my brother, my mom and I moved to the city. It was an adjustment for Newfie, he wasn’t able to roam around like he used to. He was confined to a large backyard, not such a bad deal.
Newfie was getting up there in age, he was a senior dog by now. He started to get ear, and eye infections more frequently. Newfie was a trooper, he was never fond of the medication but he let us give it to him anyways. One day I felt really bad he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved and was used to.
I had just had my first baby, and she was taking up a lot of our time. He was spending less time going for walks, and more time in the backyard. Occasionally he would get out, and the neighbors would phone saying he was running into mailboxes.
I could tell that he was aging, and I didn’t want him to spend his last years unhappy in a backyard. So I made the decision to have him go stay, on an acreage a few hours away with a family member. I frequently went to visit him, and he was always so happy when we came to visit. He was able to roam and run around, going where ever he wanted without a leash.
It was only a few months, after I had decided to let him to go stay at the acreage that he passed away. My mom said she found him underneath a tree, she thought he was asleep but he had passed away. I believe it was because his stomach had flipped, which is another common thing that happens in large breeds.
I remember us taking him to the vets, so that they could cremate him. His body was rock hard, it was numbing feeling. I find peace in knowing, that he spent his last few months free. It saddens me that I wasn’t able to be there for him, but knowing he wasn’t tied to a leash in a small yard helps a little.
Over the years I’ve moved many times, and I’ve brought along Newfie’s ashes with me. I thought about keeping them, and buying an urn. I fought myself internally, back and forth about keeping or scattering his ashes. Neither decision felt right, and it wasn’t until my birthday that I made the decision. I decided to make peace, with the idea of letting Newfie’s ashes go.
I made plans for us to go, a few days after my birthday. I wanted to scatter his ashes, somewhere beautiful that I could visit often. Somewhere I knew he would enjoy if he, was still alive. I couldn’t think of a better place, to let his soul rest. I’m only sorry it took me this long to, emotionally let him go. Parting with Newfie’s ashes, was extremely emotional. Although I think that he probably enjoys it more in Banff, then being stuck in a cremation baggy on my bookshelf.He lived a full life a little over 9 years, in human years and about 68 in dog years. That’s actually really good, for a large dog breed. He was truly a gentle giant, and he’s missed every single day. There isn’t a single dog in this world, that could ever replace Newfie. I’m happy I was able to grow up, and spend my teen years with him around. Until we meet again, I’m hoping he’s at rainbow bridge playing with the other dogs.After I had finished scattering Newfie’s ashes, we decided to go out to eat at the Keg. In our family eating after, a funeral is a way of celebrating the person’s life. So I wanted to make today a special day, a remembrance and a celebration of Newfie’s life.My plan for the future is to come back, every few months to Banff for the day. So that I can visit Newfie’s scatter spots, with the kids then go out for supper. I think it would be a really nice way, to keep him in my thoughts. Also I think it would be a great way, to spend the day away with the kids.