In Aug. 9 issue, Russell County NewsBy Derek AaronRussell County News EditorABOVE: Lengel, who moved here from northern Virginia eight years ago with her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Lengel, and two sons, Brent and Cal, said she and her dogs do a large portion of their therapy work in Somerset as part of the Lake Cumberland Kennel Club but that she also has done some work in this county as well, most notably at Fair Oaks Nursing Home in Jamestown.
One Russell County woman and her dogs are making people smile, but these dogs aren’t your average canines, they’re huge, thus making Ginny Lengel this week’s “Russell County Hero.”
Ginny, who lives with her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Lengel on a 30-acre farm in Russell County, owns TurfTide Newfoundlands, a kennel of five Newfoundlands: Jill, Addy, Duncan, Holly and Kramer.
These large dogs have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat. Males can weigh 130 to 150 pounds while females can weigh 120 to 140 pounds each.
“I have had Newfs for almost 20 years and am now showing them,” Lengel said.
“I do working activities with them as well.”
As a board member of the Lake Cumberland Kennel Club, Lengel also uses her dogs for uplifting visitations and therapy work at hospitals, libraries and nursing homes.
“Every year Holly and Duncan pull Santa in to the Bow Wow Holiday Festival at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset,” she said.
“It is on the first Sunday in December this year.”
Lengel, who moved here from northern Virginia eight years ago with her husband and two sons, Brent and Cal, said she and her dogs do a large portion of their therapy work in Somerset as part of the Lake Cumberland Kennel Club but that she also has done some work in this county as well.
“Love on a Leash is the name of the therapy program and it is based in Somerset but we’ve been down to Fair Oaks Nursing Home (in Jamestown) and we sometimes visit libraries as well,” she said.
Lengel said Holly, a certified therapy dog, is primarily focused on therapy work at this time. Holly has appeared on the cover of Kentucky Living for her work with children and cancer.
She said most people enjoyed the dogs wherever she takes them.
“I get different responses, ‘Are they bears?,’ ‘Do you need a license for them?,’” she joked.
She said, with the program, many dogs go into these places for therapy work.
“Some residents like the smaller dogs and some like the bigger dogs, you just have to gauge which one it is,” she said.
She said Newfs are very smart, thinking dogs so it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time to train them.
“But you have to be somebody that can handle them,” she said. “They are known for their gentle disposition, though.”
Lengel said Newfs shed tremendously and require regular grooming every few days.
“They’re definitely not for everybody,” she said.
“They’re not a breed that can be put in the back yard and chained; they have to be part of the family.”
She also noted the dogs also eat “a lot” and owning a dog like this takes a lot of responsibility.
“When they’re out in the kennel I’m usually with them,” she said.
“I work with them on obedience because I have to get obedience titles on all of them.”
Lengel’s kennel, which is both heated and air-conditioned, has indoor runs that are 6’X9’ while outdoor are 6’X24’.
The dogs also have access to a fenced 60’X60’ kennel yard. You rarely find the dogs there, however.
She said they are considered members of her family and are often lounging in the house, meandering on the grounds, or practicing their water skills in the pool.
The majority of Newfs are black, but like Lengel’s Duncan, some are considered landseer, or white and black. They can also be brown or grey.
Lengel said she was typically up by 5:30 a.m. to feed her dogs, whom all sleep in the house.
She also has two beagles and a terrier that stay inside as well. She said the typical Newf can eat up to 12 cups of dog food each day.
The dogs all get a chance each day to swim in the pool that the Lengels had primarily constructed for the dogs to train and swim in.
“If we got a show, then I’m grooming,” she said. “It takes about four hours to groom one of these dogs.”
She also has hopes for a litter of Newfs sometime in 2009. Until then, she will move forward with the five she has now.
Despite all the work that goes into owning TurfTide Newfoundland, Lengel said she has never been happier with her animals and will continue working with them all individually.
She said she hopes of attaining championship quality animals and hard-working therapy dogs as long as she is in the business.