In The Company of Newfies by Rhoda Lerman
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THE CRITICS HAVE SAID
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."
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
From BARK Magazine -
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
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
- Susan Goldstein
From Best Friends Magazine -
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
- Sally Rosenthal
From Modern Dog -
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
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