Thank you all for your compliments on my new wheel. I'm very happy with it. As for Sophie, she is indeed a Newfoundland. They are large working dogs, bred for fishing, water rescue, and as draft animals. They have webbed feet and coats that keep their skin dry even after hours in the water, which keeps them from getting cold while swimming. Females are usually between 100-130 pounds, while males (which look strikingly like black bears) can reach nearly 200 pounds. Sophie is very tall for a female, but lean. Most Newfies are bulkier looking.
But I'll bet you'd like to hear how the spinning is going. Learning to spin is a lot like learning to drive a car. It looks pretty easy to begin with. Lots of people do it. You read the book, you listen to the teacher. Seems straightforward enough. You put the key in the ignition...and suddenly it's like you have twelve hands and feet and they're all doing different things at the same time and you can't possibly keep track of all of them at once. There's a lot of stalling, some backing up, some restarting, and maybe a few moments of panic. And there seem to be a lot of people yelling at you and telling you what to do. At least with spinning, you don't have to worry about killing anyone while you're learning to tell up from down. (Except maybe family members who hang over you, pointing out that your roving is twisting up, your hands are moving too slow, and "that doesn't look much like yarn".)
I did manage to spin two bobbins of lumpy, overtwisted, totally unusable singles, which I then plied into one bobbin of even lumpier, overtwisted, totally unusable super bulky two-ply not-yarn. But I still consider it a success, since there was noticeable improvement over my first attempt.
I hope the learning curve for this activity is steep. I'd hate to spend the next year turning lovely roving into really ugly hamster bedding.