Oh no, better call poison control!

Friday morning started out just like any other.  I woke up early with the sun, stumbled downstairs and fed the dogs while my coffee was brewing.  I love Fridays, I go into work 15 minutes later and I get off at 2:00 to start the weekend.  This was our last day with Abigail, we were helping her move into her new apartment on Saturday and she starts grad school on Monday.  I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with her and we were planning on family dinner that night since we wouldn’t all be together again until Thanksgiving.

We didn’t have too much more to do to get her ready, she had been gathering her things in the living room for the past couple of weeks so that all we had to do Sat. morning was load the rental van and hit the road.  She and I gathered her remaining odds and ends and then started the final task on our list, replacing the styrofoam beans in her bean bag chair. She’s had it since her freshman year and it’s been well-loved and used. I thought it would be a nice gesture to spruce it up for her time in grad school. This was a bit daunting, I broke the zipper on the cover trying to get to inner bag.  Oh well, deal with that later.  The bigger issue was emptying the flattened beans from the liner without making a huge mess.  We opted to do it outside, and managed to keep the beans contained. We laughed a lot but I was very flustered and hot because we were right in the line of the setting sun and it felt like it was 150 degrees at that moment. As we were finishing up,  Chris went to pick up the fresh pizzas that we were having for dinner and then Abigail and I walked to the store to pick up dessert.  I figured we would all be back around the same time and then we could enjoy the evening while we ate outside.

When Abigail and I returned, the evening took a turn.  Greeting us in the front hallway was a chewed open 2lb container of joint supplements, an open sleeve of cotton rounds (ear cleaning supplies) that had been strewn about and a discarded bag of dog treats.  In addition to being hot and bothered with the bean bag project I was also feeling emotional about saying goodbye again. Apparently in my distraction I left the door open IMG_2713to the food cabinet when I fed the dogs. We had been gone for a very short amount of time, but the damage done was great.  It took me a few minutes to gather my wits, read the warning label on the supplement container and make a call to the emergency vet.  I was referred to the ASPCA toxicology hotline and sat on hold fretting about the situation for about 10 minutes.  Chris was cooking dinner and the kids were sitting outside waiting for me to join them.  It was becoming clear that our family dinner plans were being altered!

Just as dinner was literally being put on the table, I was hanging up the phone with instructions on how to induce vomiting. (So appetizing for us all.) I would also need to keep them both moving until they emptied their stomachs. So….Chris helped me administer the potion and I started walking them up and down the alley.  Maisie was quick, and while I was ready to blame Annie for the whole episode it became obvious that Maisie was just as guilty.  She had ingested at least 13 supplements, her daily dose was 1 chew twice a day, thank goodness we were able to act quickly!  Annie was not so easy, we gave her another dose, continued walking for another 15 minutes and that still didn’t do the trick, so we headed to the ER. She needed to receive an injection that would take care of business.  Poor Annie.  She does not like going to the vet and at this point it was obvious that she felt lousy. I was assuming that she ingested at least 15 chews if not more. They took very good care of her and she surprised us all with only having 6 chews, it was such a huge relief. Maisie really was the trouble maker in this instance!

By 9:00 I was back home feeling terrible while sitting in the kitchen drinking a huge glass of wine and trying to salvage the remnants of our family night.  We all sat around the table, chuckling about the series of events and how I was able to get out of moving Abigail into her apartment.  The dogs were both fine but would need to see our vet in the morning for blood work as a precaution.  I really wasn’t looking for an excuse to stay home because I  did want to go and do the Mom things; putting sheets on the bed, making sure her bathroom was clean, stocking her fridge and pantry and giving her a final hug. Instead, I spent 2 hours at the vet and then went home and snuggled up with my furry girls and watched the Olympics.  Dad was in charge of the move-in and I’m sure they had a great time and lots of laughs.  Chris and Abigail have an amazing bond and the dogs gave them a gift of one more day for just the two of them.  Maybe that was their plan all along.

Waiting for the all clear from our veterinarian





Every Newfie party needs a Lab to keep the games going!

It’s official; I’ve crossed to the other side. Some of my friends are concerned; some just shake their head and wonder what has happened. It used to be easy to find common ground because it’s perfectly normal to have 2 kids, no matter their age. Now as I embrace the passing of time and each of the kids discovering their own exciting direction, it’s a little more difficult to find common ground since it is not very common to have two dogs the size of young adults.

For years, my primary source of preoccupation had been my kids. I drove carpools, volunteered in classrooms, organized team activities and celebrations and basically sacrificed the bulk of my free time to taking care of their needs. Those days are over! My children have both graduated high school and are well on their way of discovering the different paths of their future. It’s exciting, rewarding and a little bit sad to embrace the changes in our family dynamic but I can’t run away from the fact that my kids are out of the house for more months of the year than they are at home. Of course I still worry, a lot, but I can no longer fix their biggest concerns with a hug or kiss.  I’m here for them when they need me, but they are now in charge of their own happiness.  There has been a lot of stress and worry this year for each of them, but they have both managed it beautifully and I am so proud of them.

Last January, after Thomas returned to college we adopted Annie. She needed a lot of attention and it took a tremendous amount of time and patience to gain her trust. She had come from a terrible situation and before her rescue she didn’t have any reason to know that she could have a positive experience with her owner. I dedicated all of my extra time to her and I found patience that I never knew I had. Slowly, she began to trust me and we began to form the type of bond that I think she craved all of her life. The fact that she needed so much of my time easily allowed me to refocus my attention from my kids to her rehabilitation. Once again, I was able to fix a concern with a hug and kiss and she has changed so much. I have filled my need to nurture by helping this sweet dog. So that leads to the change in my priorities. Of course my kids are still the most important people in my life, but they aren’t here every day and it is appropriate for all of us to embrace the change in our relationship. So now, I focus a lot of my attention on my dogs and I love it!

Last week we went to our first Newfie party and had a wonderful time. I’ve connected with a group of Newfoundland owners in the Chicago area and they get together every now and then. On this day, a facility was reserved that had a pool for the dogs and a large play area. It was so fun to see all of these large dogs playing together and to be a part of a group of owners who don’t think I’m nuts for having these 2 huge dogs in my life. Everyone there loves the breed, isn’t fazed by flying drool or a smear on the leg after being nuzzled by a big head. I’m always so sensitive to the feelings of my friends when they come to my house and in this group there was no need to apologize for anything that some people might find to be a nuisance. It was such a relief to just enjoy the gorgeous dogs around me. I wasn’t worrying about anyone else and I had such a great time. I look forward to the next meet-up!

17. In the kitchen with Annie part 2


I’m starting with a bold statement: all Newfies love the kitchen. It’s probably safe to state that all dogs love the kitchen. For years I have depended on doing lunges over my dogs as a primary form of exercise, so when Annie showed no interest in joining us in the kitchen I was completely dumbfounded. On one hand, it was nice to only have to navigate around one dog in the kitchen, but it just didn’t seem right that she would rather choose the safety of her crate over being in the general vicinity of random tidbits raining down from above.

It was a very slow process, but after several months, she was realizing that rewards were frequent when she was near the kitchen. She was now wandering freely into the kitchen whenever one of us was in there and was actually becoming a little pushy when she felt it was time for me to share something with her. I think she liked bulldozing her way through whatever was in her way whether it is human, Maisie or the kitchen stool. She was ready for a bite of whatever we were preparing, and she’d like it now please! Since we are still abiding by the rule of Annie gets whatever Annie wants, I usually am persuaded by her sweet face looking up at me but I am learning to say no when I need to.

On July 5th, we were all getting back into our normal routines after the long holiday weekend. In our house we start celebrating on the 3rd because that is my husband’s birthday and then it just carries into the 4th with more things on the grill, more cake, more fireworks, ect, ect. This year it was truly a long weekend because the 4th was on a Monday, so on Tuesday I was staggering through the kitchen in a bit of a blur when I stopped myself mid-stride. I had just lunged over Maisie on my way to the refrigerator and was in the middle of another lunge when I looked down and I was standing over Annie!

It was such a normal thing, I’ve been doing this for years, but this was the first time Annie had parked herself in the middle of the floor and forced me into a second lunge! I shrieked and my husband and daughter looked at me like I was insane. There I was standing over Annie yelling “Newfie lunge, Newfie lunge”! I know it sounds mad, but I wanted to note the day because this is the most normal dog behavior I know and Annie had finally figured it out. This was the day I’ve been waiting for and there were many times that I doubted this would ever happen. I now have 2 kitchen dogs and things are back to normal with my double Newfie lunge workout. No more excuses, surely now I can drop the extra pounds I’ve put on over the last several months…


Dear Annie,


It’s been 6 months since you became a part of our family so to celebrate, I’ve created a Letterman style top 10 list of my favorite moments with you.

  1. The look on your face when you gave Maisie her first and only correction and that tuft of brown fur sticking out of your mouth.
  1. Those crazy old man noises you make, I still don’t know what they mean.
  1. The way you put your face across my laptop when you want my undivided attention.
  1. Finding my favorite pair of gloves in the back of your crate that you swiped off of the counter.
  1. When you finally decided to sit on command.
  1. It took weeks for you to take treats from my hand so when you came into the kitchen for the first time and licked the food off of my hands, my heart was glowing.
  1. The morning you woke me up by snuffling in my face. It was so out of character for you that it took me a good minute to realize it was you and not Maisie!
  1. When you finally forced me into a Newfie Lunge.
  1. The first time you greeted me at the back door.

And my #1 favorite moment with you is: When you give me a good morning howl!

Shared Journeys


a shared life with our very large dogs

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