Category Archives: dogs

The oldest and the youngest

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how everybody is getting along and I can easily say that they are all getting along very well.

I never really thought about or wished for a 3 dog household. Last October, we were visiting friends with a new litter and I was clear with everyone around me that we are a 2 dog family and didn’t have room for another.  So what changed? In the back of my mind I know Annie is a senior and won’t be with us for a long, long time but I don’t want to predict when that might happen so I just thought seize the day, go with what feels right.

I considered all of the changes that I could think of but my biggest worry wasn’t about logistics (3 crates in one room is A LOT), increased food and care costs or the extra hair and muddy footprints. I was most worried about Annie and how she would respond.  I don’t want her to think we are replacing her or that it’s OK for her to start to slow down.  I have always felt that Charlie stopped fighting once he saw that we would be taken care of by Maisie. I’m still shocked that he curled up by my feet and then took his last breath. He was so quiet about it but seemed to be at peace.

Annie has changed so much over the past year and a half.  She is much more confident, very affectionate and is so devoted to my husband and me.  She and Maisie are good friends but Annie still doesn’t play with her.  Annie will chase me in the yard and give me a little body slam which will get Maisie very excited.  When Maisie tries to join us, on very rare occasions (usually when it’s very cold outside which makes them both more frisky) Annie might give her 20-30 seconds of play but then it always ends with Annie walking away and giving Maisie a scolding if she doesn’t back off.

When we arrived home with Winn, we stayed outside in the yard for introductions. Annie and Maisie were both curious and so, so gentle.  Winn was a bit overwhelmed and stayed between my feet as she took in her new surroundings and these two girls.  They both gave her some sniffs and then Annie strolled away, keeping a good distance for the rest of the day.  Maisie was more persistent and Winn was very clear with her about appropriate boundaries. It was pretty much what I expected from all of them but it didn’t take very long for them to adjust, settle down and accept each other.IMG_0814

It has been so fun watching Winn explore our house and yard and find her favorite spots.  She has discovered the tiny bathroom and likes the feel of the cool tile on her belly and the cast iron tub on her back.  She loves toys and will rummage through the toy basket when she’s ready for a new one.  She’s a crate hopper, she rolls around in all the crates but seems to like Annie’s best.  Once she has pulled out a toy, she will frequently drag it into Annie’s crate. Annie doesn’t play with toys but once Winn leaves her crate Annie will quickly go in and flop down without regard to any toy that may have been left behind. Winn enjoys being outside, both in our back yard and on our front porch and like every Newfie I know, she LOVES the water bowl.

The most heartwarming part of all of this has been watching Annie and Winn.  Annie really loves her!  She actually play bowed to Winn on day 2 and since then I have watched them playing together several times each day and of course she is so incredibly gentle.  Annie plays in very short bursts but to see her initiate play and willingly engage with Winn is wonderful, it’s a new behavior that we really have never seen out of her.  My husband thinks that for Annie, Winn is the puppy that she got to keep.  She gets to love her, play with her and show her the ways of our house and she isn’t a product of Annie’s mothering days which were filled with so much hardship.  I’m just relieved to see Annie so happy.

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Welcome home baby Winn!

This last weekend was a joyous one.  Very early Saturday morning we began the journey to bring this sweet girl into our family.

We made it to our destination a little early and were rewarded with meeting the whole litter as they returned from getting their cardiac clearances.  They were a wiggly, fluffy  pile on this last day as a group. It was hard to tell where one stopped and the other started.

We helped transfer them all to their pen and then started the process of taking ownership of this special puppy.  It was a little emotional for all of us.  This was a big day full of changes and adjustments but I was so happy.

I did not make this decision lightly and had found this breeder about a year ago.  Adopting Annie had opened my eyes to the abuses of a careless breeder and I quickly learned about the differences in breeder techniques and how to find one that is ethical and doing it for the love of the breed and to support breed standards and health.

After a lot of behind the scenes research, which included referring to the NCA website and following their recommendations, talking to other Newfie owners and seeing a different breeders’ litter I decided I wanted to contact this breeder to start the next step of finding the right puppy.  Just as I needed to be comfortable with him, he also needed to be comfortable with me.  He would want to know what kind of home we had, what type of owner I am and how this puppy would be treated.  I would need his approval.

Annie has surprised me.  Once I figured out how old she was, I realized our time together would probably be shorter than I originally hoped.  Currently she shows no signs of decline, but with these big dogs I have learned that things can change pretty quickly so it seemed like the right time to start the process.

I took a leap and made the first contact in January.  I wanted to introduce myself and find out what his letter plans were for the year. I was hoping for late summer/early fall but he had just bred his girl. If she was pregnant she would be due in March and then she would retire.  His next litter wouldn’t be for 2 years because he would wait for his other girl to mature. I thought about it for about 2 seconds, and then decided I still wanted to pursue a puppy from this breeder, at this time if possible.  He couldn’t promise me anything.  There were other people ahead of me that had interest in this litter and he would have no way of knowing if there would be one for me until after they were born.

I’ve learned that if you wait for the perfect moment to do something, you might not recognize that moment when it appears.  There are always reasons and excuses to put something off, but I decided to seize this opportunity and felt like the positives outweighed the negatives.

I am so glad I made that decision that day. I was still hurting from the loss of my best friend.  She died Thanksgiving weekend, 3 weeks after receiving a Leukemia diagnosis.  On Jan. 2nd, my dad was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and I spent about 3 weeks in February with him while he went through radiation therapy but at the end of March, he took a turn and I rushed back to his side and stayed there until he passed away 4 days later.

I had hoped to bring the puppy for a visit at the end of May when my dad was supposed to have a scan to determine the success of his treatment. As I sat by his side, I shared pictures and updates with him as they came in from her breeder, and told him I would be naming her after the lake in New Hampshire that we both loved so much. My dad wasn’t able to talk, but I could read his face and knew that he was happy for me.  There is no way I could have known on that January day all that would transpire over the next several months, but having this sweet, fluffy puppy in my arms brings me the joy that I’ve recently been searching for.

This is Winn.  Her name is inspired by years of wonderful memories spent at my parents lake house and riding in my dad’s boat on Lake Winnipesaukee.  She is 10 weeks old and she makes our pack complete!IMG_0923

Unravel

I guess the daily prompt is as good a place to start as any.  I’ve dropped out of the blogging world, and quite frankly all of my normal routines because of a tragedy that has unravelled everything.

I have written about this before, going through the day, facing average triumphs, aggravations and light moments when a phone call suddenly turns the world upside-down.  I am now facing the task of figuring out how to get through the day when there is a gigantic hole in my heart that used to be filled by someone so very dear to me.

I’m sure the time will come when I will be ready to write about the details.  For now, sitting down, savoring a well made latte and trying to write again is about as much as I can do.

via Daily Prompt: Unravel

Cee’s black and white photo challenge: public transportation

Saturday was a beautiful Spring day in Chicago, 65 degrees, a perfect day for a boat ride. Oh right, it’s January which is typically the coldest month of the year in these parts. Maisie and I headed out for our walk and naturally went searching for boats.  Unfortunately, all the racks were empty, stored for the winter.img_4346We did find this boat, dedicated to moving small children.img_4357On our way home we saw this train heading into the city.  It was packed with women wearing pink hats.img_4361This empty one was headed north, out of the city.img_4366This is for Cee’s black and white challenge. Maisie and I were out looking for some fun on this beautiful, balmy January day.