Me and Ben, Phoebe and Judah

Photos courtesy of Ben Falik

Greetings, Michiganders and Michigeese! Ben has been pretty sleep deprived lately — can’t imagine why — so I am here in shed, lending a paw to share some good newf.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rushmore and I am a dog. Now I know what you’re thinking: Dogs are unreliable narrators, least of all 10-week-old puppies.

Well, I have Disney+ and it seems to me that animals, insects, toys — even brave little toasters — have more emotional intelligence than those adolescent humans who are always manipulating their adults with shenanigans and hijinks.

Excuse me for a moment. I just discovered the presence of a foreign object narrowly out of reach and I am confident that I can catch it if I just rotate my entire body at increasing speeds.

Where was I? Like you probably, I am originally from Eden.

Eden, South Dakota — hence the name Rushmore — is home to 93 humans, which must make it a major population center. I have four sisters and three  brothers, one of whom is headed to Alaska for some superior sunbathing.

I flew here from Fargo via Minneapolis last month. If you think the seats in coach are bad, try riding under the plane! (Delta, not Spirit Airlines. No one deserves Spirit Airlines.)

Contrary to popular belief, I am not from Newfoundland myself, though I hear it’s lovely this time of year. I am, of course, proud to follow in a long lineage of gentle giants. My mom is Bydand’s Eliza Dolittle of Briarwood and my dad — he of blessed memory and liquid nitrogen 300° below — was Sir Robin Hood of Briarwood. You can sniff up my whole family tree if you’re into Newfish Geography.

Maybe you heard the news recently about my long-lost cousin Dogor. Sad story — he was about my age when he got trapped in some ice. Bear in mind, this was 18,000 years ago in Siberia, so his invisible fence was a crevasse.

Speaking of bears, I am not a bear. But I play one on TV. I currently weigh 23 pounds and enjoy being cuddled like a 23-pound human baby. This will become increasingly difficult once I am 150 pounds.

Again, not a black bear, though that’s not far off the 190 lb. average of ursus americanus in California. (California is just past South Dakota according to a map on the cover of the New Yorker magazine.)

Ben tips the scale somewhere in between and similarly thrives on food scraps and tummy rubs.

You may be wondering, do I like you? I do not like you. I love you. You are so good. Yes, you are. Who’s so good? That’s right. Yes it is. According to the journal Science, you and I both experience an increase in oxytocin when we lock eyes. Oxytocin — as you know yes you do — is a hormone that plays an important role in social bonding, so please look up from your phone unless you are using it to take a video of me eating your sandal.

Unlike all other dogs, I am the best. Virtually every human I have encountered in my many weeks has corroborated this, at a proximity that allows me to lick their faces. Face licks are the canine equivalent of notarizing.

So it’s official, the best — with the possible exception of Lola, the lady newf (don’t like the B-word) who lived here before me and did outstanding work training this family. See you on the rainbow bridge, Lola!

I recently had a procedure done on my widdle eye wids and have been wearing an Elizabethan Collar since. That’s the official name. If you insist on calling it a cone of shame, then shame on you! And don’t pretend that you haven’t had work done on your eyes. The girl person made herself one to wear in solidarity — a kind gesture, but a little too Handmaid’s Tale for my tastes.

I may not know much yet — like what could possibly be better than investigating these piles of leaves at 4:30 in the morning — but I know a few things:

First, I have up to 300 million olfactory receptors. All mine! How crazy is that? Truth be told, though, if I sniff your butt, it’s not because the part of my brain devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times greater than yours, but because I think it is hilarious.

Second, we are going to be best friends. All of us. The bestest. Since there are many of you and I have a strict regimen of napping in doorways at inopportune times, it may be hard for us to spend lots of quality time together. So you can keep up with me on Instagram: @rushmorethenewf.

Third, there are a lot of very good dogs who aren’t as lucky as me, so Ben is going to donate a dollar to Detroit Dog Rescue in honor of every #newffriend I make online this week.

Smell ya later!



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