Category Archives: Family life

It’s Friyay!

We are so excited that the weekend is here!

Our girl is coming home for the weekend and she is bringing five friends for a sleep over.  We love our girl and her friends always give us lots of extra loving attention. YAY!

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Maisie loves to pose for selfies!
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Winn is always a kisser!

Winn has just finished her first heat. YAY!

Today we plan to go for a nice long walk, our first in over three weeks and tomorrow we will get back into the pool. It feels like ages since we’ve been swimming.  DOUBLE YAY!

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We might even get some special homemade treats since we are all so happy that we are able to resume our adventures.  YAY, YAY, YAY!IMG_6837What are your plans for the weekend? We hope you have some double yay moments too!

A Year in Review

Wow! What a year we have had!

Looking back,  there were so many fun times and new milestones.

In January, Maisie and I started down the path to become a certified therapy team.  Even though we had to put our training on hold a couple of times, she got her Canine Good Citizen title in June which was the first major step for us to accomplish before going on to therapy certification.281FA15F-6CC5-43FE-9683-C4C66A27AD1DAlso in January, I had my first conversation with Winn’s breeder and made the decision that we would open our home to a very special puppy.  Since my preference was for a brown girl, we had to wait until she was born to know for sure if there would be a puppy for us.

Pink girl was the first one born on March 6th and I waited with fingers crossed for several days before I was assured that there would be a brown girl for me.  Eight weeks later, on the day that I went with my husband and daughter to meet the litter I learned that pink girl would be mine and that was certainly one of the best days of the year!IMG_0639On May 13th, the day before Mother’s Day, we made our second trip to Wisconsin and brought Winn home.  It was a lovely day, a little emotional as she left her first home in order to join our family, but I hugged and snuggled her as we made our way back to Illinois.  We stopped for lunch and then pulled over for another potty break, found a nursery with gorgeous hanging baskets and we purchased some for our front porch.  All summer, as I sat on the porch and admired those baskets I would remember that happy day and how much fun it was bringing her home.

In June, we celebrated Annie’s 11th birthday!IMG_1803  It was also the one year anniversary of this blog.  I started the blog to tell Annie’s Story.  At that time I wanted to give it year and then reevaluate since I wasn’t sure what else I might include, how it would evolve, or even if I could continue to find things about which to write. While I’m still finding my “blogging voice”, I have discovered that I really enjoy the process and that there is always something that inspires a story.  We met with a professional photographer to document the time that we became a three dog family.  I wanted to do it while Winn was still small, she was already growing so fast! We got the most beautiful pictures out of that photo shoot and the perfect image for our main pageNewfGirlsWeb-28There was a flurry of activity over the summer.  We took Winn for her first road trip to Colorado.  This was where she developed her skill of getting into anything possible and she discovered her love of paint.

IMG_2444Winn graduated from puppy class and quickly advanced through multiple levels of training. IMG_2876Annie and I had a very special day when she got her new rabies certificate listing me as her owner.  We no longer had any reminder of her previous, difficult life.  That blog post was shared and viewed many times on Facebook and is my favorite one of the year.IMG_3198 (1)In the fall, I volunteered at several events for our local Newfoundland Club and learned so much about water and draft work as well as the test requirements to achieve those working titles.

All three were good sports when I dressed them up for Halloween.  With a nod to my New England roots, they were a fisherman with a fresh catch.  I wish I had a lobster trap or marker but they looked pretty cute.IMG_6703Time quickly passed with Thanksgiving and Christmas activities with friends and family.  IMG_6790It’s hard to believe that the year is coming to a close but I am very excited about all that we might do in the upcoming months.

I’m not one for resolutions, but I do have several goals set:

  1. For Maisie and I to complete our therapy team training and begin to do some volunteer work.
  2. For Winn and I to participate in obedience and working dog events and for her to get her Water Dog title this summer.
  3. For Annie and I to march in the Rescue Parade at Newfoundland National this spring.
  4. For me to become a better blogger and attend the Blogpaws conference to learn from other pet bloggers, meet some of the friends that we have made online, and get ideas on how to improve and develop our page.

Whew, that was lot so I guess all that is left to say is that we wish everyone a Happy New Year!

A Christmas break

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas or a Happy Chanukah and are looking forward to the New Year!

We’ve been a little quiet here on the blog. It’s been nice to take a break, enjoy family and friends, hibernate from the below zero windchill and be completely lazy!

We received so many beautiful cards from friends (this year there were more dogs on our Christmas card tree than people) and we loved looking at all of them. We were in a couple of Christmas card exchanges which certainly added to the joy and we look forward to following the antics of many new friends this year.IMG_5034This year, our Christmas card photo shoot was a little easier despite adding an enthusiastic, very large puppy to the mix. I had my trusty assistant who helped with keeping their attention, positioning and hats.  Annie is doing a much better job at staying, or she is just more able to tune out my crazy ideas, and Maisie and Winn were terrific!

We managed to get a pretty good shot with all three of them and this is the one we chose for our card.IMG_6790I couldn’t resist these close-ups of each of them.

Next week, we will start to think about getting back to our normal routines which include training, swim lessons, pampering Annie, and sneaking Maisie away for one on one time. Winn and I have several big events planned in January and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  (I don’t want to jinx anything so details will be coming).

Most importantly, we are really looking forward to bringing in the New Year. This year had a lot of ups and downs and I am hoping for a much more even keel 2018!

Winn’s week of firsts

We have had a lot of activity lately.

We started with a walk in the woods on Thanksgiving morning. Maisie and Annie immediately knew where we were, but Winn was beside herself with excitement.  She and I walk a lot and we have spent countless hours in training classes.  She has always walked perfectly on leash but suddenly she was pulling me harder than any dog has ever pulled me.  She had never done this before and I was amazed by her strength!

Stupidly, I had left my treat bag sitting on the kitchen counter so I had to resort to verbal commands and redirection to get her under control. It took a while, too long really, and my hand was raw from the leash but eventually we reached an agreement and we were able to walk along the path and enjoy a beautiful day.  We were stopped numerous times by people who wanted to meet the girls. Three Newfoundlands is a bit of a spectacle but I’m alway happy to answer questions about my favorite breed and I was so impressed with Winn as she sat by my side while we talked.  IMG_4658

Our next adventure took place at a doggie pool. We frequently go to the dog beach in town but it is very shallow so they don’t end up doing a lot of swimming.  Winn has been swimming a couple of times, but typically they all just romp and play in the shallow water while chasing toys and each other.

After taking some time to figure out the ramp to enter and exit the water, Winn enthusiastically took off.  She loved it! She’s a strong swimmer and her form was perfect. I was surprised that Maisie was the one who was nervous and wasn’t as confident in the water. Hopefully next time she will enjoy it more.

Notice how Winn is perfectly horizontal using her front and back legs and her tail to guide her around and change direction. She’s a natural!

Our final excursion was to a Christmas party for our local Newfoundland Club.  I debated  taking all three, Annie gets nervous in new situations and with strangers and sometimes Winn picks up on Annie’s nervousness and she gets nervous too.

They all had so much fun! We stayed toward the back of the room so that they could all get comfortable and Maisie and Winn kept creeping closer to the front so that they could see the other dogs and meet their owners. Annie plopped down next to me, joined the chorus of  barkers and stopped to meet and greet some people on our way out. What a great way to kick off the holiday season!

Heartache

Part of being a pet owner is turning your heart over to your furry friend, knowing that it will break when you have to say goodbye.  There is never enough time with our pets, and very often, when the dull ache in our chest and the tears are still fresh, we do it all over again.  We are willing to put our hearts on the line because we know it is worth it. The joy, the mischief, the mess and everything in between are rewarded with powerful, unconditional love.

We’ve made many friends through social media and even though we’ve never met, we’ve gotten very attached to our doggy friends.  We share our stories, our triumphs, our funny moments and our sad moments.  This year, as our circle has expanded, so has our heartache as we learn of the losses.  Some lived nice long lives and some didn’t get that chance,  but we miss seeing the antics of Winston, Charlie, Lenny, Larry, Stella, Sirius, Kipper, Atia, Cash, Peggy and so many others.

Recently, it feels like I’ve given condolences over and over.  It’s so hard, it’s always too soon, but certainly, the hardest are the ones that leave unexpectedly when they are still young.  One day they are healthy and present and the next they are gone.  In the last few months this has happened to three special Newfies that I knew and loved.  It hurts, it hurts a lot and probably always will.  Iggy, we still look for you on the beach.  Rio, you were Annie’s very best boyfriend and a huge force in her recovery.  Arleen, you are irreplaceable, but the gift of your beauty, temperament and spirit lives on. We would give anything for more time with all of you.

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getting ready for her draft test, photo by her best friend