Matt and Zoe
The Gentle Giant
Zoe is a 145lb Newfoundland. Her birthday is August 23, 2013. She's my service dog for mobility, homeschooled from 8 weeks of age. She weighed about 15 lbs then, and 115 lbs by her first birthday! She was ready for service when she was about 18 months old, just needing some public access experience.
About that time, I wanted to do something humanitarian. It had been a few years since I was diagnosed with MS, and I was sick of my life revolving around me: doctors, therapy after therapy, literally relearning most everything. It was time, and with her help in rehabilitation, we decided to go all out to be a certified pet therapy team. I needed something that had nothing to do with 'me,' and she is simply too awesome to NOT share! She simply loves everyone, and everyone flips their lid when they see her, let alone pet her and spend time with her!
When she greets people, it's common and we all do it, often they exclaim 'oh, you must smell MY animals!' While she surely does, she doesn't care: her priority is you, in that moment. For her, providing smiles and joy is her favorite thing to do beyond ensuring that I'm taken care of.
Of course she's still a dog, though! She absolutely adores her older cattle dog sister; they run and play in her large back yard. ...that is, when she isn't cooling down with her belly on a tile floor, napping in front of an A/C vent:)
The quirkiest thing about her is how much she loves and prefers the smallest, daintiest toys! If she's told to go find a rope, she will dig and nose around in her toy box for the smallest little piece of rope toy she can find!
Newfoundlands are well known for their agility in swimming the cold North Atlantic on fishing boats (they swim with a modified breast stroke), but more so for their desire to take care of people, especially young people. They're nicknamed a 'nanny dog.' That's why she goes to the library at least once a week to encourage kids to read, by reading to her. She absolutely adores it!
She is happiest when she has a handful of kids all around her!