The Just Love Project 018: These Bears Will Be Bears

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“Just have fun and love your dog. They’ll show you who they are.”

For Ashley Gaer, it’s simple but important advice that she offers to any first-time dog owner.

Ashley shares her home with her husband, Andrew, and two Newfoundlands, Cass & Elmore. Together, their everyday adventures delight thousands on Instagram as @TheLoganSquareBears.

Newfoundlands are known for their affectionate, loyal, and laid-back personalities. Cass & Elmore certainly both fit the gentle giant reputation, but they bring their own flare to it.  

Elmore (left) & Cass (right)

Cass is six years-old and lives life by a simple motto:

“Everything is the best,” Ashley says. “Whether we’re going to the vet, spending the day at my office, or doing a therapy sessions – it doesn’t matter. Everything is the greatest thing he could do.”

Cass has never met a day he didn’t love or a human he didn’t want to befriend. Elmore, two, shares a similar warmth and enthusiasm but of a different kind. Ashley often jokes that Cass is a human in a dog’s body. Elmore? Not so much.

“He’s very dog – in the best way possible,” Ashley says. “He’s a goofy, goofy amazing dog.”

Elmore loves tiny dogs. Particularly a neighboring Shitzu named Robbie, whom Elmore adores, despite having only met beyond the fence they share once . He loves winning staring contests with Ashley’s friends. He loves proving that neighborhood stick-hunting is, in fact, an art form.  

With everything Elmore does, whether he’s in the dog show ring or just lounging around the house, it’s as if he knows it will make his humans laugh. And, it does.

“He’s the funniest dog I’ve ever met,” Ashley says.

It’s Elmore being Elmore. He likes the spotlight; to take the lead, and drive the conversation.

Cass, on the other hand, prefers the listening end. Cass works as a therapy dog, paying weekly visits to foster homes, assisted-living residences, and VA centers.

The kids that Cass sees typically have undergone some sort of trauma. They teach and practice tricks with Cass to build confidence and problem-solving skills. They play together. They sit, smile, and slobber around. Simply put, Cass’ job is to be whatever the kids need. Cass is very good at his job.    

Cass sporting his therapy vest

“They feed off of each other. Sometimes the kids will be super wired so he’ll be super calm. Or, they’ll come in and be a little down, and he’ll goof it up a little. He just knows what to do.”

Like any brothers ought to, Cass & Elmore may differ in elements of their personality, but they get along famously. They get groomed together. They frolic in the snow and get dressed up together. They’re even starting to share in a Newfie activity that’s as engrained as it gets: water-rescue.

Elmore (left) & Cass (right)

“We wanted to start training them just to see how it sent,” Ashley remembers. “All it took was one ‘fake-drowning’ exercise, and we had to hold them back from darting into the water. They knew exactly what to do.”

No matter what that day’s version might look like, Ashley insists the magic of Cass & Elmore started with following their lead.

Elmore’s love of play and humor comes absolutely naturally. Cass’ ability to listen, understand, and connect was instinctual before it was ever instructed. But, that’s how some of the most valuable skills are. They aren’t exactly taught. Like a glorious three-foot  tree branch on the sidewalk, they’re discovered, taken ahold of, and proudly put on display for the world to see.

Cass & Elmore’s (and Ashley & Andrew’s) story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at ILuvMutts@MuttJackson.com – we’d love to hear from you!