Happy Friday! Today's friends come all the way from Cape Town, South Africa! I'd like to introduce you to Nandi Williams and her two beautiful boys Rollie (left) and Bentley (right). You may know this wonderful pack as @nandiappleby on Instagram, but now we have a chance to get to know these three much better! Starting with the fact that Nandi is an incredibly talented illustrator and luckily you can find her work at Society 6, (Ok, I have to admit the first thing I did was scan for a print of Newfies) and you can also find her at her website, Tumblr, and check out her blog! Let's get to know how Rollie and Bentley became the dog loves of her life:
Rollie is going to be 12 in April, and he’s had the most wonderfully charmed and adventurous life. I was pretty young when he came in to our lives, and even before that, I knew exactly what it was going to be like to have him. I remember about 5 years before he was born, drawing silly comics of Rollie (he already had a name), under the bed, sitting in a tent, in a hot air balloon, etc. I figured it would persuade my dad to let us have one. He’d had a dog-love-of-his-life and I suppose he didn’t want us to deal with any heart break. So when he kept saying no, my mom finally brought Rollie home on father’s day, and I have a memory of my dad standing at the top of the stairs, giving us the ultimate ultimatum – it’s me or the dog. Dude, sweet bundle of newfie puppy-ness or grumpy dad who makes us turn off the light and eat broccoli?! He did secretly love Rolls though, especially when he discovered that he could take him to the pub and the girls would flock.
Rollie saved me through my teenage rebellion too. He was the perfect drawing buddy. We’d sit on the bench together at the park whenever I ran away. I’d draw, or take photos, and he’d watch the swans. He’d listen to me waffle on about how the world should really be (teenage artist!) and eventually I decided he was a Buddhist. He’d wag his tail whenever I said, ‘To be at one with yourself, you must be at one with the universe.’ Sometimes he’d jump into strangers cars on the way home, and we’d have to take a trip around the block, or he’d pop into the bank, all on his own, and swipe piles of paper off the counters with his tail. I took him everywhere with me, especially to after school activities, sometimes even to watch my sister’s school plays (he’d steal the show), and in our small English village, everyone knew him.
We decided on Bentley when Rollie was about 6 or 7, but we’d already moved to South Africa, and there aren’t very many breeders here. The only one within 6 hours of where we live, actually contacted us, because she’d heard about Rollie’s regal English genes and she was hoping to breed him. We’d considered it and decided not to, but Bentley is actually related – a second cousin. Rollie was 10 by the time Bentley was finally born (we do a lot of waiting for the perfect dog) and we’d forgotten about all the puppy terror. I thought that he’d be more or less exactly like Rollie, who is calm and wise and thoughtful, but Bentley was a loon from the second we got him.
Bentley (18 months now) is the polar opposite to Rollie. He’s silly, impulsive and loud! He talks all the time, barks at leaves, and his deviated septum means his snoring is off the charts. Like sleeping next to a tractor. Where Rollie always takes a perfect photo, Bentley is always funny. He’s beautiful, of course, because I don’t know any newfs who aren’t, but he’s far more ridiculous than Rollie ever was. They’re both very different, but they do share the same sweetness, generosity with their toys, food and cuddles. And they adore each other, above everyone else. Whenever one of them goes out, there’s always a huge welcome waiting from the other. They sleep together, eat together and at least 50% of the time that they’re awake, they’re kissing and holding paws.
The feedback from Instagram has been lovely. Especially coming from our small English village where no one knew what a newf was, to moving to South Africa, where people honestly believe that they’re black lions. Up until I joined Instagram, it almost felt like we were the only people out there with a newfie. I’d never really drawn them, except doodles in notebooks, until this year, really. I’d been searching for the thing that would set me apart as an artist, as a designer, but now I think it’d been under my nose this entire time. I’ve been spending more and more time with them, outside, taking photos of them for my feed and the contrast between feverishly trying to conquer the world with my work, and appreciating the simple things, like they do, has been an eye opener. I simply don’t see how you can get a giant marshmallow dog and not fall in love.
Well, we second that and luckily Nandi has two marshmallows to keep her company! I'd like to send a special thanks to Nandi for sending me all the wonderful pictures, and the bonus is that now I can see Nandi and the boys on YouTube also!!
(all images belong to Nandi Williams, all rights reserved)