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In The Company of Newfies by Rhoda Lerman


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Description l Chapter One l Publisher's Note l Critic Reviews l Reader Reviews


"Extraordinary...exceptional...unusually lyrical writing, observations beautifully expressed...(a) truly unique voice. Now the best news: In the Company of Newfies is, indeed, being republished. A true collector's item."

- George Berger, Publisher, AKC Gazette


"In The Hidden Life of Dogs Elizabeth Marshall Thomas asked what dogs want.   Rhoda Lerman has come up with a different answer.  I love both books because the authors have so much in common."

- Jeffrey Mousaleff Masson author of When Elephants Weep; The Emotional Life of Animals , Los Angeles Times

"This is a book that you can read and share with your dogs.  You can share it with your husband too, although  he may not be as much fun."

-          Rita Mae Brown author of Rubyfruit Jungle

"Tender and elegantly written account of a relationship between humans and animals.   Lerman has captured that sweet relationship with her gift for words."

-          Alix Madrigal, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle

"Will surely touch a chord with dog lovers."

-          Booklist

From BARK Magazine - Winter 2003
First published in 1996, In the Company of Newfies, Rhoda Lerman’s heartrending and visceral tale of raising Newfoundlands, wasn’t reprinted by its original publisher when the initial run sold out. The book’s fans, dog lovers of all stripes, were outraged…and desperate. When Rhoda Lerman and her husband, Bob, discovered that devotees were paying up to $895 for a first-edition copy of her book on eBay, they took matters into their own hands. In the Company of Newfies is now reprinted under the Lermans’ Blue Heaven imprint, and is in no danger of becoming unavailable.

In the Company of Newfies is a love letter to her dog children, following a narrative line from the birth of beloved bitch Molly’s litter to the death of her cherished first Newfy, Ben. Lerman is a writer of intense passion and depth who discovered Newfoundlands relatively late in life. Her fate was sealed, though, at first glance: “I saw one and I knew, I just knew I must have one of these incredible dogs,” she says.

The key strength of her book is that Rhoda Lerman is in frank awe of the nobility of the creatures she has chosen to share her life and home with. In her book, Lerman is not reluctant to ascribe super-canine attributes to her creatures: they talk to her, she listens; she helps heal their wounds, they absorb the radiation from her cancer treatment. Lerman captures the joy of the sensual intimacy of the human-dog bond as the luminous, precious phenomenon dog lovers know so well, though all the while acknowledging dogs’ quiescent longing for the wild.
- Laura Vogel

From Love of Animals newsletter - November/December 2003
You don’t have to live with a Newfoundland to enjoy this beautiful book. The cover alone stopped me dead in my tracks as I passed it in the Earth Animal book section one day. We all know that there are no coincidences in life nor accidents. Author Rhoda Lerman shares how a casual decision to purchase a Newfie pup rocked her world. Lerman’s special bonding for her first Newfoundland facilitated a decision to become a breeder and author eager to share her experiences of the profound bond between a human and her dog and dog family. If you purchase this book as a gift, I forewarn you, enclose a package of tissues as well and be sure to add one to your own library. In the Company of Newfies might become your all-time favorite dog book!
- Susan Goldstein

From Best Friends Magazine - January/February 2004
Canines, too, can teach us much about traveling through life, as Rhoda Lerman explains in In the Company of Newfies. I have to confess up front that because of my inclination for adopting homeless and mixed breed dogs, I almost passed up this book about the author’s Newfoundlands and her kennel. Such personal prejudice aside, I found Lerman’s tale of life with her canine soul mates to be a moving account of love, loyalty, and moving through loss — life skills we can all learn from the creatures who share our lives and hearts.
- Sally Rosenthal

From Modern Dog - Winter 2003/04
Writer Rhoda Lerman writes passionately about owning, breeding, and beginning to show her Newfoundland dogs. Clearly smitten by her subject (“What kind of creature is this that he envelops me with his earth genius to protect me?”), her depiction of her “motherhood” experiences with new puppies in a home breeding situation is quite emotional. The book contains many colorful anecdotes and observations recounted in flowing prose. (This book is) not so much about dogs as about the author’s experiences and her responses to them. “Pippa is the only dog I’ve had that looks to the sky. I have come across her in the woods, sitting beneath a tall white pine, looking high up into its branches. The others might run around a tree that holds a cheeky squirrel or a dangerous raccoon, but they don’t look up. It is as if Pippa has been born with a set of experiences my other dogs don’t carry.” Newfie fans will enjoy this book.
- Christine Adkins

From Chicagoland Tails - Spring 2005
Rhoda Lerman describes her life with Newfoundlands in intimate detail and through all stages. Her book reads like a personal diary and provides insight into the behavior and thought processes of her dogs. She loves all of her dogs, but when she writes about Ben, clearly her favorite, it is both touching and funny. Ben considered Lerman to be his true equal and seemed to communicate with her at a highly advanced level. The two were inseparable soul mates. This is a remarkable account of a family of dogs, their guardian, and the spiritual connection between them.
- Judy Parker

From Fido Friendly - Summer 2004

Chronicling one year in the life of author Rhoda Lerman and her Newfoundlands, In the Company of Newfies encompasses much more than the every day basics in the life of a dog owner. Beyond stories of mass-feedings and walks (she has eight Newfies), the book offers a fascinating peek into the intensity of dog breeding. Even for experienced breeders, the story of Molly and her litter of five puppies is sure to be intriguing as Lerman details the surprisingly volatile beginnings of life experienced by one of the world’s largest and most powerful of breeds of dog.

Known for their affinity to humans, their heroism in rescuing seamen, and their ability to pull up to 3,000 pounds, the strong Newfoundlands’ first weeks are a fragile balance between life and death. Lerman’s dramatic account of the puppies’ birth and tumultuous first days, where their lives hang in the balance, is nerve-wracking. Lerman does not hide her turbulent emotions as she writes about this litter of pups. Her prose is passionate, and her words often philosophical as she takes the reader through her stream-of–consciousness pondering about the wonder of life.

The book transitions, with a reader’s sigh of relief, to where the puppies finally pass the point of concern, but not without one tragedy and one near tragedy, and the tone then changes to Lerman’s analytical inspection of each pup’s development. Woven through this next phase of the book Lerman tells the story of each of her adult Newfies. The stories are as complex as that of any human relationship, and she does a fine job explaining the individual bond she shares with each of the dogs through funny and touching anecdotes. Although Lerman shows her dogs competitively, the book exposes her secret home life with these prize-winning champions to be one where rules and obedience are not top priorities.

Spoiling her pack is a common occurrence, and she offers a charming theory on dog-spoilers when she writes, “In the shady world of human-animal, it means someone who is ready to communicate, to listen, to love.” For the reader who has other dogs but has never known a Newfie, to one who lives with them, Lerman’s book is interesting on many levels. Her knowledge of the breed offers an insight into what she describes as their lifetime habit of “mapping” everything they encounter: locations, scents, events, trails and people. Lerman also writes about the reality of living with large dogs, let alone numerous large dogs, and the trials and tribulations of a multi-dog household. She has a keen sense of the ever-shifting balance in a real dog pack and the melding of humans into that pack.

As the human pack leader, Lerman shares her mistakes, heartaches and trials in attending to the individual needs of each of her dogs. Her writing is elegant and reflective, and the book will resound with familiarity for people who have more than one dog, as it will surprise people of one-dog households with an amazing look at how dogs raise each other.

- Claudine Randazzo


Description l Excerpt l Publisher's Note l Critic Reviews l Reader Reviews

For more information, contact:
Robert Lerman
607 648-6199