Having a puppy reminds me of the years when my kids were little and we counted their age progression in months. 3 mos., 8 mos., 17 mos., etc.
Winn turned 9 mos. this week and as fun as is to watch her grow and change, I am also reminded that Annie continues to age as well. She has a few more grey hairs on her muzzle and is having a slow recovery from recent oral surgery. Aside from those two reminders, she still acts like the Annie that I know.
Every morning she runs to the back door with an urgency and expression that says, “outta my way, I gotta pee!” and I smile as I watch her quickly go down the stairs and run around the yard looking for the perfect spot to relieve herself.
She sleeps a lot and I love watching her snuggle up in her bed as she snores away the afternoon. When she is waking up, she will rub her face and head all over her bed, groan, snort, and roll around.
Her stomach is her time clock. She gets restless and lets me know with an elbow nudge, a bark or a stare when she thinks I should be in kitchen preparing her meal. Currently, she’s on multiple, small meals which suits her just fine. I think she takes great pleasure in getting fed more times than other two! (Of course they get a little smackerel while she’s occupied with her bowl.)
Since it is recommended that senior dogs get twice yearly health checks, I think it’s only fair that they should have twice yearly birthday celebrations. Yesterday Annie turned 11 1/2!
I decided not to put on birthday hats, instead I tied a big red ribbon on each of them. I froze some vanilla yogurt in my cupcake mold and brought them out after dinner. They were a big hit! It was such an easy treat to create, and they loved it. They knew something good was coming their way when the camera came out and after they each had one, they chased me into the kitchen for seconds.
We love you Annie, you make every day a wonderful day. We will plan a HUGE celebration for your 12th birthday in June!
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.
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!
One year ago my best friend passed away. The last time I walked through these woods, I was with Maisie and Annie and she and I had just finished a phone call. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know that I would never see or talk to her again. I haven’t been back to these woods since then because they remind me of her.
Today I went back. It was time to see this beautiful place again. This time with Maisie, Annie and Winn. My daughter also came with me and as we walked I was able to breathe the air, smell the leaves and think of my friend and enjoy this place once again.
I’m so thankful for this transformation in my heart. The passage of time helps, but being with my three dogs and my lovely daughter made it easier to venture in and embrace the natural beauty that surrounded us.
Enjoy other pictures of transformation here.
Annie’s had a rough go lately.
It started about 4 weeks ago, she suddenly was reluctant to go up and down the stairs. A couple of nights she refused altogether and one night she chose to make her way upstairs in the dark well after we had all gone to sleep. We found her curled up outside our bedroom door the next morning and it broke my heart.
She wasn’t showing signs of joint pain so my best guess was that her nails were too long and the stairs felt slippery, and/or her vision was getting worse. It had been a while since her last nail trim because she had been so nervous at her last vet visit I decided to cancel her nail trim. We both braved another vet visit, got her vision checked (she probably does see shadows in her peripheral vision) and her nails trimmed and that seemed to help even though she was still anxious and would attempt the stairs 4 or 5 times before finally charging all the way up.
About a week later, she woke me up with her usual nudge and bark. When I turned on the light she looked like she had a ping-pong ball tucked into her jowl. Shit. I have always worried about her teeth and it appeared she had an abscess, so off to the vet we went. Again, she was incredibly stressed and I had to coax her along as we navigated several stops and starts before I could get her in the exam room.
Sure enough, she needed to have two teeth surgically removed. Her surgery day was the third trip to the vet in 3 weeks and she was not happy about it. She completely put on the brakes and would NOT go through the door leading to the procedure rooms. She’s 115 lbs. and when she decides she’s not going somewhere she means it! I had to lift her back-end and straddle her as we made our way into the hospital area. I don’t usually go back there but the tech that came out to assist us was a male and I just said flat-out, “this is going to make it worse”. Everyone there knows her well and he quickly retreated so that Annie wouldn’t see him as I got her where she needed to be and her regular tech ran forward to greet us and take over for me. She just knew that something big was about to happen.
After her surgery, which took longer that expected–each tooth had 4 roots rather than 3, she refused to go to the recovery room which is further back in the hospital. She would only go forward, towards the exit door. There is an office right there so they set up a bed and that’s where she recovered, getting lots of one on one attention from all of the doctors when they were in between patients. Thank goodness she has doctors that are willing to make special accommodations!
Once I got her back home, she slowly started to show improvement. It took a couple of days for her recover from the anesthesia, and she was on painkillers for few more days but her overall mood was so much better.
In the middle of all of this, I’ve been helping my mom move into her new condo and have moved several furniture pieces that don’t fit in her place into my house. One piece is a steamer trunk that we placed in the front hall by the stairs until we figured out where to put it. A few days ago I pushed it further away from the stairs and that night Annie went upstairs with no hesitation. OMG, I should have known! Annie doesn’t like narrow spaces or new doorways. I had just created a narrow space where there wasn’t one and that was the reason she suddenly wouldn’t go upstairs. Ugh, I feel terrible.
Over the past several days, she’s had trouble keeping her food down. She has a two week post surgery follow-up scheduled and I really don’t want traumatize her again by dragging her in for another appointment in addition to that. She has no other symptoms of distress. Her mood is better than ever, her energy level is back to normal, she is drinking water and her stool is fine. I stopped her painkillers, started feeding her 4 times a day with small meals of Prescription Digestive Care food (still softened as directed for her post oral surgery care), added probiotics because she was also on high powered antibiotics. I consulted with her dr. and she agreed with my treatment and also suggested an antacid to add to her food. If anything changes or gets worse she wants to see us immediately. This regimen seems to be helping, each day her food goes down a little easier so I am hopeful that she will be completely better in a few more days.
Poor Annie, she’s fragile but she’s such a trooper and once again she has shown me that she’s not going to let this get her down. She just would like it if we never went back to the vet again!