We love our pack of hounds’: Dog mum opens up on life with nine Newfoundlands
A full time dog mum has opened up on what life is like living with nine Newfoundlands.
The enormous dogs wear fancy dress and have even become celebrities after finding fame on the video sharing app TikTok.
Mackenzie Makatche, 30, even dresses up her dogs, branding them the ‘Newf Crew’.
Depending on the time of year, they’ll be kitted out in various costumes, including hats with bunny ears for Easter, heart-shaped sunglasses for Valentine’s Day and festive capes and hats for Christmas, TeamDogs reports.
The eldest of her dogs, Guinness Fynn, 11, first came to the family in 2010 when Mackenzie was leaving to study Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State University in Pennsylvania.
The family came to adopt Murphy, and then seven more after, before ending up with a pack of nine dogs: Guiness Fynn, 11, Murphy, 9, Storm, 6, Skyy, 6, Aisling, 5, Oliver, 5, Belle, 5, Duncan, 3, and Betty, 5 months.
Mackenzie, from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, USA, said: “We are dog mad – we love our pack of hounds.
“Dressing them up and posing them for photos is always so much fun – but not as easy as you might think.
“I have posted all of the pictures I’ve taken of them online and they’ve gained a real following. I love that others are loving my pups as much as I do – they don’t realise they’re A-listers. As long as they’re getting their favourite treats, belly rubs and a good walk – they’re happy – no divas here.”
Mackenzie and her family have always loved canines.
She said: “We’ve had eight Cavalier King Charles Spaniels over the years but my mum, Diedre, 58, and I both wanted a bigger dog – so we got Guinness as a puppy, the first one of the crew.
“Our second dog, Murphy, came along because my mum really wanted a boy and for my parents’ wedding anniversary, I convinced my dad, Wayne, 67, to get her that boy. My dad got cold feet right before so in the end my mum and I drove together and picked up Murphy from a breeder in November 2011.”
Mackenzie said it was never her plan to get nine dogs but it just spiralled after that.
She had Storm, delivered and named by her fiancé, TJ Czapp, 29, ER/trauma nurse.
Then she had Skyy, who was named after her mum’s favourite vodka, Aisling, Oliver and Belle.
“Duncan was the last dog my mum and I got together. My dad didn’t know and we kind of just stacked him in,” she said.
“My mum said to me: ‘Just act natural, pretend you are dog sitting.’ In a couple weeks my dad asked: ‘Where did this one come from?’”
In 2016, Mackenzie’s mum decided that she really wanted to train her dogs to deliver therapy, but she was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer later that year.
Mackenzie quit her job and became her mum’s carer and took her and the dogs to therapy training classes.
“It was 2018, a month after we got Duncan, my mum passed away. I continued taking him to training and it kind of gave me something to do,” she said.
“Going to training has been my way to work through the grief. Having all of these dogs definitely helped me stay connected with my mum and I want to help fulfil what she started.”
Mackenzie started dressing up her dogs to take photos in 2015. She put some T-shirts on them and took a picture on St Patrick’s Day, then the tradition began.
She has been selling calendars with these snaps and lots of people are now requesting postcards.
The dogs live in the family garage and have their own crates but they can be found around the house most of the time.
The latest addition to the pack joined them in June this year. She’s named Betty and is five months old.
Mackenzie said she is not looking to have more for a while.