Loose Women: Nadia discusses dog's kennel cough experience
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Dog groomer and breeder, Emma Bone and her husband Mark, 40, live on a farm in Northumberland where they look after their fluffy brood. But their gang doesn’t just stop at their beloved pooches, the couple are also parents to three sons Wade, 10, Tate, four, and Zach, one.
Emma, who has a YouTube channel called Living With Big Dogs, said: “It’s hard to explain what it’s like from an outside perspective because it’s so normal for us.
“People probably think we’re crazy. We probably are. But it’s the lifestyle we chose and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The family recently appeared on the Channel 4 documentary Big Dog Britain – but their numbers have grown since filming as they now have eight canines.
They are seven-year-old Granny Bay, Moonie, six, Dom, Flute and Roo, all aged four, Monroe, three, Tuppence, two, and six-month-old Kit. They also have two Chow Chows and two Sphynx cats.
Emma fell in love with Newfies at the age of around 12, when she saw a couple behind an iron gate and thought they looked like “huge great teddy bears.
It wasn’t until she got her first house and had her eldest son that she decided she wanted a dog of her own.
She said: “I researched the breed and realised they’re absolutely amazing with children. I was keen on that, as I had a two-year-old.
“I love their wonderful, gentle temperament, their presence. They’re fun, they’re quirky. You can do stuff with them, like go swimming as they love the water.”
The couple then got their first Newfoundland, Dexter, nine years ago.
Emma said: “He had been quite badly bred and suffered with multiple health issues.
“That took me to where I am now, a breeder.”
Emma learned as much as she could about the breed, which led to her showing, exhibiting and handling her dogs at Championship show level and eventually breeding her own dogs.
For nearly five years
Emma is one of just a few licensed Newfie breeders in the UK and has been breeding Newfoundlands for nearly five years under the name Newfangled Newfoundlands.
“Newfoundlands are prone to joint issues and heart problems so we extensively test our breeding dogs. We only breed from dogs that pass the health tests,” said Emma. “We don’t sell to just anybody. We like to have a relationship. We really care about the dogs.”
Three years ago the family moved from Sunderland to their current home – around half an hour outside Hexham, within a national park to give their dogs more space.
They have a couple of acres of land where they can exercise the dogs. There’s a stream running through the bottom of their garden and a paddock which has access to the River Tyne.
Emma said: “They like anywhere that’s cool. They’re a big, double-coated breed and they don’t do well in the heat.
“The dogs absolutely love to swim, we ran into a fisherman a couple of weeks ago – I think he got a shock!”
Emma said: “Obviously it’s a lot of dog. Every Newfoundland owner has a dog van. Our van is off-road at the minute so we’re folding the seats down in the car when we haven’t got the kids or shopping in the back. We could probably fit five dogs in the van but we wouldn’t be able to fit them all into it.”
The adult dogs are happy with an hour of exercise a day – and the puppies need less.
She said: “They’re quite a lazy breed so after their exercise they plonk themselves down and we navigate around them, wherever they’ve chosen to lie.”
Feeding the clan of dogs also doesn’t come cheap, with dinnertime costing an estimated £500 a month to feed.
They eat the appropriate kibble for their life stage, with the puppies and senior dogs having different diets to the rest.
Emma said: “Newfoundlands are notorious for gaining weight quite easily, so you have to be really careful.
“The slobber even gets on the ceiling. They shake and the hair sticks to that; it’s like glue. The dust in their coats gets around the house. Washing down cupboards, mopping the walls, you name it – it’s a full-time job.”
Emma’s dog grooming business Bellingham Dog Spa also helps out keeping all their four-legged family members well presented.
Emma said: “Newfies aren’t the kind of dog you can leave so our lifestyle revolves around the dogs. There’s always someone here with them.”
When asked if Newfoundlands are a breed she would recommend, she said: “People need to do their research. A lot of people will buy a car and put in tons of research, and then they’ll go online and buy the next available puppy.
“People need to put in the same level of research – in my eyes, a puppy is a hell of a lot more important than a car.”
Despite her love for the huge dogs, Emma said they have agreed to only stick with eight Newfies in their home. She said: “I think we’re at capacity now. We haven’t got any more floor space.”
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