Category Archives: Maisie

Does Maisie have medical alert skills?

The strangest thing happened the other night and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Every night I give Annie her eye drops.  She’s a heavy sleeper so I try to do this before she has started to wind down for the night but I don’t always remember to do so.  This was one of those times, so as she was snoring away in her crate I approached her and softly nudged her awake so that we could get it done and then go upstairs to bed.

I hold her chin in my hand, gently pry her eyelids open, because even if she is awake she will pretend she isn’t, and quickly squeeze the drops into each eye.

Just as I was trying to coax her upright to go upstairs she started making really strange sounds.  I thought she might throw up, but the noises she was making weren’t quite right. It seemed like she was gasping.  Did some of her saliva slide down her windpipe when she was getting her drops?  The episode passed pretty quickly but I had grabbed my car keys just in case she didn’t improve and we needed to run to the emergency vet.  With her, I have a tendency to immediately assume worst case scenario but fortunately that wasn’t necessary.

She was finally willing to stand up and leave her crate and then she let out a horrible sound.  She’s done this a handful of times since we’ve had her and I’ve nicknamed them her “old man noises”. It’s loud and guttural and I’ve never had another dog do such a thing.  She might be clearing her throat but whatever the reason it disturbs me every time and also sends me into fits of laughter.  It’s so unusual, and loud enough to send everyone else running with exclamations like “what was that” or “is everything OK” and there I will be, laughing uncontrollably!

So what does this have to do with Maisie? Well once Annie seemed to be back to normal we made our way upstairs for bed.  The dogs usually hop on our bed for 5 or 10 minutes and then get down and settle into their own.  My husband was already upstairs, fast asleep, so Annie and I attempted to quietly get in bed without disturbing him or Maisie.  Just when I was all settled Maisie started growling and then let out some deep barks and 5 seconds later Annie expelled another one of those horrible noises. My  husband woke up, muttering “what’s happening” and then Maisie started growling and barking again and sure enough, another horrific sound came out of Annie.  About 15 seconds later this routine happened again to which my husband is truly annoyed with Maisie and imploring me to get her to be quiet and of course I was laughing so hard I couldn’t talk.  This was not what he had in mind when he fell into his deep, snoring sleep 15 minutes earlier.

After the 3rd round, Annie let out one of her contented groans while stretching and immediately started snoring.  Maisie had exhausted herself with all of her outbursts and snuggled close to me, put her head on my chest and went to sleep and I just stayed still looking at the ceiling in the dark. What in the world just happened?  I have never heard Maisie growl before, I mean never and that bark was much deeper than her usual bark. I’ve heard it maybe once or twice when she’s been upset and protective. She was really worked up and it took a lot of soothing to get her calmed.  I don’t think she understood what had just happened either.  The only one who didn’t act like something was unusual was Annie, go figure!

I’ve added this post to the daily challenge of calm. It’s the opposite of calm but eventually we all did calm down and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Maisie’s country dream

We recently visited the family that fostered Annie after her rescue.  They live on a huge, beautiful piece of property that includes chickens, guinea hens and 5 Newfoundland dogs.

Maisie adapted very well to all of the open space and while she wasn’t successful in getting the other dogs to play with her she did discover a new love for chickens.

img_3021While Maisie is pretty comfortable being a city dog, it was really fun to see her flourish in the country.  She loved running free.  She stuck her nose up and sniffed the fresh air.  She raced through the tall grass and got wet with the morning dew.  And she made friends with a chicken.

If I ever doubted her gentleness, that was put to rest with this interaction.  She regularly chases bunnies and squirrels in our back yard.  I have seen her catch a bunny a couple of times, and she acts like she wants to hug them but they usually escape too quickly.  With this chicken, she was allowed her moment of affection.  She hugged it, rested her chin on her back, and carefully sniffed her all over.  Once she was done, the chicken hopped up and ran off.  It was a beautiful moment and Maisie was thrilled that she had made a new friend.img_3023

Real Neat Blog Award



A very big thank you to Xenia of  Whippets Wisdom for nominating us, it’s our first award!  She has a beautiful blog filled with photos and poetry dedicated to her two rescue whippets Elvor and Pearl. They go on great hiking adventures and the scenery is incredible.


Here are the rules for the Real Neat Blog Award:

  1. Post the Award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you and link to their blog.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like and link to their blog.
  5. Let them know you nominated them by leaving a comment on their blog.

The questions are:

  1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
    Most come from the United States and Canada but we also have visitors from the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia.
  2. What is your favourite sport or exercise?
    I love to go for long walks with my dogs, that is my preferred exercise for my mind and body.  As a fan, my favorite sport to watch is my son playing college lacrosse but I also love college football (the band adds so much spirit) and baseball.  The Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs are the two teams that I follow. (Really hoping this is the year for the Cubs in the World Series!)
  3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?
    We adopted Annie in January and it’s been a long road to recovery.  She has been doing so well that we recently went to see her foster family and she had a wonderful visit with them.  She was confident, relaxed and happy to see them all.  She flopped down with each of their dogs like no time had passed at all and then happily jumped into our car when it was time to go home.  It was a big moment that we all enjoyed.
  4. What is your favourite quote?
    It’s hard to choose but I recently found this one:  Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.
    —Sidney Jeanne Seward
  5. What was your favourite class when still at school?
    British Literature, I just love all of those classic stories.
  6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
    I wish I had focused on historic preservation and architecture when I was in school,  I have slowly figured it out with trial and error and lots of independent reading as we have renovated our old houses.
  7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?
    I’m more of a listener than a performer.  I learned to play the clarinet in grade school but figured out pretty quickly that I preferred other people’s musical talents over my own.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

My Brown Newfies:  I have read this blog for years, long before I started my own.  She was one of my inspirations that maybe I could do this too.  You don’t have to be a Newfie owner or even a dog owner to appreciate her humorous and informative posts.

de Wets Wild:  I have always wanted to go to Africa and they post the most amazing and beautiful pictures of wild animals and their surroundings in South Africa.

The Swirling Dervish: We are big wine drinkers in our house and she writes about wine and regions all over the world.  It’s always interesting to read about what she is highlighting.

Under new management: A couple raising their kids while renovating their old house.  My husband and I have done this for years, and we are close to finishing so it’s fun for me to relive all the chaos, frustration and satisfaction of living in a renovation.

Harley, a puppy mill survivor:  The message is so important and they are highlighting and doing good work with efforts to end puppy mills.  The majority of puppy mill dogs are small and live their lives in filthy, small cages producing puppies for pet stores and on-line purchases. Harley’s story is an inspiration.

It’s crucial to raise awareness to this cause and  I have written Annie’s story so that people hopefully can understand what these dogs go through.  Whether the dogs are big or small, their fears and behaviors are similar. Like Harley, Annie lived in deplorable conditions with basically no health care and limited human contact and she is just now, at the end of her life, figuring out what it means to have a family to call her own.

If you choose not to accept this award, I understand.  I just want you to know that I appreciate your blogs and always look forward to new posts in my feed!



“Little Timmy fell down the well”

This week I had an actual Lassie moment.

On Tuesday, I was out of the house for a couple of hours and when I walked through the back door, neither dog was there to greet me.  Annie is usually there next to Maisie, but Maisie is always there and very often jumping up on the door so she can see me through the window as I approach.

I called out to them and then I heard the thunderous roar of aimg_2871 dog running down the stairs. Much to my surprise it was Annie who came skidding around the corner, charging right at me. She began barking and nearly took me out with swats to my ankles.  “You’re home, you’re home!”  Annie is not an excitable dog, so a greeting from her with this amount exuberance was highly unusual! I tried to calm her with gentle pats and soothing words as I waited for Maisie to come flying around the corner with a similar level of excitement.  After a few seconds, and no Maisie, I knew something was not right.

I called out for her, and as I began walking through the house, Annie was right by my side, pushing into my legs, seeming to guide me toward the stairs. I called for Maisie again and this time I heard a high pitched yip with a lot of scratching. As I started up the stairs, Annie barreled past me pushing me into the railing and raced to the top to wait for me and give me a couple of barks. “This way, this way!”

“this way!”

Once I was at the top, Annie ran down the hall and I could see that my bathroom door was closed and I could hear Maisie desperately barking and scratching at the door.

Annie ran to the door, barked a couple of times “hurry, hurry, she’s here” and watched me with such concern as I slowly opened the door.

“she’s in here!”

I didn’t want to hit Maisie with the door or run over her bandaged foot but when the door was open just a couple inches Maisie wedged herself through the opening and leapt out with the speed and energy of a tiger pouncing on her prey.  I quickly jumped out of the way, but Maisie was jumping on Annie, jumping on me, both were barking, trying to tell me about this terrible thing that happened.


Then they both turned, ran down the hallway, and side by side charged down the stairs faster than I’ve ever seen before. In a flurry of legs, tails and flying hair, I crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t get tangled up and roll down the stairs like a big, hairy  wagon wheel. I followed as quickly as I could to let them out since they both seemed desperate to get outside. They both ran outside, found spots in the middle of the yard and had what I assumed was a stress potty break.

I wasn’t gone that long! Annie never runs more than 2 or 3 steps so watching this level of excitement continue with the two of them had me laughing out loud.  Maisie proceeded to run circles around Annie, then run to me and then back again to Annie.  At this point, it was clear they both needed to calm down so I took them inside and got them to settle by my feet.  As they both were snoring, I had visions of them each lying down on either side of the door snorting at each other through the crack at the bottom, until Annie heard me coming and could run for help.  Oh to be a fly on the wall!

Becoming sisters

Recently someone asked me what the major differences were between Maisie and Annie. It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and figure out where to begin.

When we brought Annie home, the contrast between the two dogs was shocking. We’ve had Maisie from the time that she was a puppy. She has always been treated with love and affection. In her mind, everyone is her friend. She loves meeting people and other dogs. She loves to play. She has baskets of toys, and plays with her toys on her own and when she needs to burn some energy. She is a bundle of joy and fun. She is always excited about every new adventure and has nothing to fear.

Annie was the complete opposite. Prior to her rescue she didn’t know that people weren’t to fear. She was trying to figure out if she was safe in our house. She wouldn’t even take treats from our hands. Protecting herself was her top priority and it took her a while to learn to trust our kind overtures. She showed no interest in toys and she did not want to play with Maisie.   Maisie is very good about reading human cues, but not so good at understanding dog cues. I was not surprised when I heard a scuffle on Annie’s third day with us. Annie came skittering around the corner and went straight into her crate. She was hanging her head and when I approached her to let her know she wasn’t in trouble, she had a big tuft of brown fur sticking out of her mouth. I chuckled to myself, Maisie was fine, they were just setting boundaries with each other, and it might take a couple hints for Maisie to understand the boundaries. I gave Annie a few pats, took the fur out of her mouth and watched her expressionless eyes as she pulled herself into her protective barrier and settled into her bed. It broke my heart that she was so guarded, but I just knew that I could get her to relax by giving her time and patience.

It took several days, but Annie started to understand that this was her house as well as Maisie’s. Annie tried to keep her distance with Maisie, and Maisie continued to try to get close and get her to play. Even though Annie seemed annoyed by this, she never gave Maisie another “correction.” Over time she started to warm up to Maisie and she would come out of her crate and lay on the floor when Maisie was doing the same thing. In the beginning, she would lie far from Maisie, but slowly they started lying more close together. It’s taken a while, but now they are always in the same room with each other and they lie very close together when they sleep. They also follow each other around the house, and Annie takes great comfort in having Maisie with her when we leave the house so I know they have bonded.

Annie is now so comfortable in the house that she spends very little time in her crate. She prefers to be on the cool tile or spread out on the floor. She is always close by and very often is a tripping hazard. I love that she wants to be close to us and that she will come searching for me if I’ve left the room.

Their body types are as different as their personalities. Maisie is slightly undersized and is very light-footed. I call her Tiptoe because of the way she walks. She holds her head high and puffs her chest out when she prances around, looking more like a pony than a dog. Annie is very stocky and long. She’s shorter than Maisie but she has very broad shoulders and hips which give her a bigger appearance. Her head is a little small for her body and she holds it low, between her shoulders. She has huge flat feet and they point inward when she walks which causes her shoulders to roll along with her hips. She truly has the look of a black bear when she’s walking around the yard.

Maisie likes to push on Annie to get her to play and she’ll wrap her neck over Annie’s. Annie will usually try to change directions to get away from Maisie but recently, she’s learned she can give a good shoulder check to get her to move. Annie will also use her strength to push Maisie away when she is getting attention from me. Annie now wants as much attention as possible and she just shoves her way in so she can be closest. Every now and then she’ll give Maisie a check out of the blue, which Maisie interprets as an invitation to play. I can’t tell if Annie is trying to play, or is being a pushy big sister but it’s fun to see them engage more frequently with each other, and Maisie not being the only one to initiate an interaction.

Annie still doesn’t show any interest in toys but she did do a funny thing one day. Around 8:00 every night, Maisie has her crazy time. She will grab one of her favorite, noisiest toys and start running circles in the house while squeaking the toy as much as possible. She usually does this when we’ve settled in to watch TV, so the volume gets turned up, Maisie races around, skidding out, changing direction and being very distracting for 5-10 minutes. Annie usually is starting her after-dinner snooze so when this starts she typically gets up and goes to her crate to get out of the way. One morning, green dragon was lying by Annie’s crate after it had been discarded the night before. Annie stood over it, then pounced and grabbed it and took it to the back of her crate. It’s the only time she has pounced much less grabbed a toy and it made me smile because she was showing a hint of mischief by stealing Maisie’s favorite toy. Maybe she was trying to hide it in order to have a more peaceful evening that night, but I really think she was trying to show Maisie who’s the boss.