This is Cedar at Turkey Run on a long hike! He loved this day, hiking through the forest and climbing up the paths through the hills.
This weeks Pet of the Week is Blossom Hill’s Northern White Cedar or Cedar for short. The above photo is Cedar posing with his mom, Elizabeth Seward, who together enthusiastically share their story.
I think we should start off with how my mom came about preparing for my joining her as part of the clan. It wasn’t until recently that I learned not all of my canine friends have the same start to life as I did, in fact some of them had a really rough go of it. I’ll let mom take it from here.
“The first thing we did was research the breed, and I mean research. We read up on the history, what they were originally bred for, their temperaments, etc. That process took us several months because we wanted to be sure that we wanted a Swissy. Most of our resources told us all of the difficult things about having them, which was helpful in our decision making. For example, it is not uncommon for a six month old Swissy to not be reliable in the house – they take a very long time to potty train. Cedar was no exception and we were really glad that we were prepared for this.
Next and through our research we came across the breed’s national club. Luckily, they had a list of questions on their website to ask prospective breeders and tips for finding a good one. We went through all of the questions, which were extensive. They covered common medical problems in the breed and how to tell if the breeder’s line has those associated with it, and other important questions to ask. We wrote them all down and asked them during our interview process.
The most helpful thing though, was once we had spoken with a breeder (but before we had signed any paperwork or even verbally agreed to purchase a puppy), she recommended that we go spend some time with our local breed club (going to weight pulls, shows, pack hikes, etc) to get to know the dogs. We hung out with our local breed club, minus a dog for almost a year while we waited for Cedar to be conceived. During that time we got to meet the stud dog (sweet as pie) that Cedar was to be bred from, and several of his full brothers and sisters from a previous breeding. We got to meet puppies, several of his mother’s sisters, and learn what it is really like to be around these giant dogs. That time spent with the club was irreplaceable because now that our little puppy is heavier that I am, we feel prepared for how to deal with him and help him succeed. We thought about him getting big and didn’t just see these cute little puppies and forget about what they grow into.
Best of all, we got to talk to the Swissys’ guardians, all of who spoke incredibly highly about the breeder we chose. They sang her praises, and now we do too. One of the things that really sealed the deal was that we were interviewed very carefully. We had to fill out several pages of paperwork and answer lots of questions about where we would train, who our vet would be, what we would do with Cedar when we weren’t home, etc. We knew that she cared a lot about her dogs and who they were going to. Another thing that really stood out to us, was that it is in our contract that if we ever do not want Cedar anymore, she takes him back no questions asked. When he was born we went down to her home and spent the night playing with the puppies. We saw where they lived and how they were raised. She said that the puppies were getting a lot of visitors, which helped us feel that they would be well socialized to dogs, humans, household noises, etc when he came home. She told us she would always be available to answer questions (which has been true) no matter how silly they might seem.” ~Elizabeth Seward
My mom’s a pretty smart lady, her and dad, David Duke and my other guardian, Karen Brown, understood the dangers of backyard breeders and commercial puppy mills and wanted to steer clear of them. They did their homework and my canine mom’s breeder did hers, together they ensured I was born into a safe, healthy environment and will live my life with guardian to provide a forever home.
Dog Age: 1 year 3 months
Dog Breed: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
15 Questions with a Dog You Should Know and Are Going to LOVE…Cedar Seward
If I spoke my voice would sound like a gangly teenage boy and the first thing I would say is: “Why’m I so big?”
Cedar hanging out in the rose garden
1. How I picked my family:
Betsy and Dave came to see me and my four sisters when I was 5 weeks old. They seemed really excited to see me and they both promised to love me for forever. My mommy told me that they waited almost a full year for me to come into the world, so I know they thought long and hard about me before I was even born! Mommy says they looked for the perfect breeder who would raise us right and make sure that we were healthy and friendly!
Cedar trying out weight pulling on an empty cart. His first time in a harness!
2. When I grow up I want to:
Go to work with Betsy and Dave to help people feel better and learn about all the hope and joy life has to offer! I have an endless amount of bounding joy so I think I can really help people learn to see things through my eyes.
Cedar out for a boat ride on Big Glen!
3. My best friend is: My Swissters!
My three sister Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs who I get to stay with sometimes – they’re the best and I love them so much! But I also love to run around with Twinkle and stare at her because she’s so pretty! One time she was over at my house and all I could do was pant at her and stare because she was just soooo pretty….
Cedar at four weeks licking milk off his sister
4. If you asked my family they would say I am: A teenage boy who loooooves the lady dogs and thinks people are the greatest buddies in the entire universe. If you’re a person, Cedar is your best friend. No exceptions!
Cedar at 9 weeks, about to go home with us!
5. My nickname is:
Cedar Pants, Bubba-Roo, Lil Bud
Cedar at Glen Lake settling in for a night of snuggles!
6. I look really cute when I:
Rest my face on the bed in the morning for the A.M. snuggles and scratches.
Cedar snuggled in for the afternoon!
7. The biggest mess I ever made was:
I felt really really sick and had liquid diarrhea all the way from our bedroom to the back door. Whoops. Mom and dad had to clean it up for about four hours. They weren’t mad at me, but I still felt awful.
Cedar running down the pier with his friend Wally!
8. The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to:
When I was four months old I went on my first Pack Hike with our dog club, and we were camping out, so I came over to the table where the people were and there were these big red strawberries. I snuck one and it was delicious! I was a little thing then (only about 60 pounds – about half the size I am now) so no one minded too much.
Cedar’s first fishing trip
9. The one time I was a hero was:
When mommy and daddy were playing out in the deep water on a boogie-board and daddy kept trying to tip it over so mommy would fall in. I heard her screaming, and even though I thought they were playing, I started barking and swimming out to them to save her.
Cedar at his first swimming lesson
10. The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: I get to see other dogs and I get lots of love and attention from everyone there! I love all the teachers, they always have yummy treats for me! In puppy kindergarten I remember when we got puppy play time I just wanted to snuggle the kids and other people there!
Cedar Tidbits: Classes attended/attending: Puppy Kindergarten, Manners and Self Control, CLASS BA, CLASS MA, CLASS PHD, and drop ins in Manners and Self Control
Cedar settling down in the snow after a long game of fetch!
11. I am really good at:
Snuggling and securing the perimeter! I always know where everyone is.
Cedar at SwissAthalon in Ohio after the confirmation class. What a great weekend!
12. I am sometimes afraid of:
Going into a really big group of dogs. When our club has parties, sometimes there are 20 dogs there and when I walk in, sometimes I put my tail between my legs until I sniff everyone. Then it’s time for super play!
Cedar on his first canoe trip down a river in Indiana!
13. The one thing I can’t resist is:
Going outside! What do you mean I can’t go out every time you open the door????! 😦
Cedar after earning his CLASS PhD
Cedar TidBits: Titles I have earned: AKC STAR PUPPY, CGC, CLASS BA, MA, & PHD, Pet Partners Therapy Dog
14. I think my siblings/parents (canine/human) are:
Mom is super strict and likes me to be very well-behaved, but she’s a good snuggler and always sits on the floor with me since I can’t sit on the couch. Dad is great to play with, he’s more fun then mom, and he lets me be a big ole silly dog more. My Swissters are the best! There are THREE of them, so I never run out of playmates!
Cedar cooling off after a long swim
15. My toughest challenge so far has been:
Learning to ignore other dogs.
New Year’s hike on Alligator Hill
Cedar Tidbits: Cedar goes to confirmation shows every month or so, and loves to be admired for his handsomeness! He is preparing to participate in pack hikes, where he will carry 25% of his body weight in a pack and hike for ten miles in order to earn a pack hike title! He’ll also try his hand at weight pulling with the big dogs once he turns 18 months, and looks forward to learning agility and formal obedience in the next year! In a few weeks, we’re going to a herding clinic too! One day I hope I can compete in drafting, but first I have to get my obedience rock solid!
Cedar at his first show!
My favorite quote is: BA-ROOOO! I hear my brothers and sisters say it all the time!
My favorite playtime activity: Keep away! I love to grab a toy and make people or dogs chase me for it!
My favorite canine book is: Unlikely Friendships, it’s a book about rare animal friendships, like a Cheetah and a cow! I think it would be nice to be friends with a cow. I’ve been to a barn a few times and those huge horses are pretty scary, so maybe cows would be better friends for me.
My favorite canine movie is: Lady and the Tramp – Lady is so pretty and I lurve her!
My favorite treat: Cheeze its! I love them so much and get super excited when mom or dad brings the box out to snack on them, because I know if I look up at them with my sweet Swissy eyes then they’ll give me one.
My favorite toy: I like to rip apart and destroy most toys, but I have let my one special stuffed pig live. He doesn’t have a tail anymore, but I still love him. He goes everywhere with me – mom and dad always bring him with when I go visit friends or when we go on vacation.
My favorite television show is: Anything with pretty girls on it! I love the girls. But when I first came home, my mom took puppy maternity leave and we sat and snuggled and watched The Office for my first few days home, so that show makes me feel warm and happy!
My favorite season of the year is: Winter! I’m built for winter (my feet are actually webbed for snow!) and I love to run around in the deep snow and bury my face in it and eat it and chase snowballs, fall asleep in snow piles. Sometimes we go up to really remote regions of northern Michigan and in the winter there’s no one around so I can go off leash and hike through the woods with mom and dad.
My favorite trip was when we went to: Glen Lake! I learned how to swim and got to spend almost all day lounging around with mom and dad and paw-paw and there were so many people around who liked to give me love and take me on long hikes in the woods! The more people the better! Mom and dad even took me out on boat rides and let me go on fishing trips with them!
My favorite place to sleep is: At the bottom of the stairs near the front door – so I know where everyone is and I can warn my family about anyone trying to come into the house!
My favorite holiday is: Christmas because everyone comes over to the house and I get to lick and snuggle all of them. I love people more than anything in the entire world!
Now let’s toss it back to my mom to finish up. Remember if you plan on purchasing your canine companion from a breeder, do your research! A true breeder will not have puppies in stock like stuffed toys at the toy store, they will have LOTS of questions for YOU, they will care more for the integrity and well-being of their mama dog, the breed itself then the almighty dollar. We are not products, we don’t come with bar-codes. Save. Love. Care. Be your dogs Guardian.
Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family:
Cedar came into our lives at just the right time. He strengthened our bond with family, helped us enjoy the outdoors more than ever before, and reminds us daily about how simple and joyful life can be if we let it. Cedar taught me personal lessons about letting go, being present, and believing that everything is an opportunity for growth and change. Cedar joining our family is one of the best things that has ever happened to our clan, and we couldn’t imagine a day without him. He’s truly changed our hearts and lives, and continues to impact our psychological, physical, social, and spiritual well-being each day. Thank you Cedar, you can’t imagine how much we love you and how much you’ve changed our lives.
How/Why the dog’s name was chosen:
Cedar’s name was originally supposed to be Banjo – but when we went to go see him at 5 weeks, he was so serious we thought he deserved a less silly name. We picked Cedar because he was supposed to grow up big and strong and enjoy the north woods. Our breeder names all of her male dogs after trees, and all of her females after flowers. After some research, we thought Northern White Cedar would be a fitting name. As it turns out he’s plenty silly though!
What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog from your class time at Narnia?
At Narnia we learned how to make training a fun bonding exercise for us and Cedar. We learned to make training as awesome as possible so that Cedar enjoys it and associates it with love and treat showers. We also learned how to help Cedar with his self-control, which has been very helpful! With the assistance of Narnia trainers, Cedar is now a Registered Therapy Animal! Thanks Narnia!
Thank you to Cedar and Elizabeth Seward for their participation in this weeks interview. Best of luck to Cedar in all of his endeavors!