Tag Archives: Annie

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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Hooray for Annie!

Last month Annie had her 1 year check up with our vet.  As we sat there going over her history, her progress over the past year became so apparent.

While we were waiting to go into the exam room, Annie stood stiffly by my side and started to tremble.  I couldn’t help but remember our first occasion here.  She wasn’t leash trained, didn’t want to come in and my husband and I had to lift, push and pull with the aid of a lifting harness just to get her in and out of the car and into the office.  When it was time to leave, she refused to budge and we went through all of the same difficulties getting her back into the car and home again.

Since that day, we have had many appointments here to monitor her  conditions with her eyes, ears, skin and teeth.  She also had a cancer scare and surgery as well as a glucosamine overdose when she got into her beefy supplements.  Walking in with no hesitation and standing by my side with a little tremble is a huge improvement and really speaks to her bravery and progress over the past year.

Her dr. did have one concern, one of her blood levels has been consistently in the low normal range, but it dropped to below normal and she would like to monitor it monthly. Yesterday we went in for her blood work and a nail trim and once again she walked right in and even greeted the tech at the front desk. She stood by me with that little tremble again but was so good otherwise.  I just got the call that her blood level had jumped back up to right where it has been, still in the low normal range but that seems to be her normal so we will recheck again at her mid-year senior check-up.

In addition to being in really good health for an almost 11-year-old giant breed dog, she has lost 4 pounds.  She has a super sniffer and has found treats and food that I didn’t even know were left out, but I now sweep the area before I leave a room so that all temptation is removed and she has gotten her slim figure back.  Annie’s a tough, old girl. She’s a survivor and she seems to be sending me the signal that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.  And that is just fine with me!IMG_0236

 

Newf National

It’s that time of year again, the Newfoundland Club of America National Specialty. 

I have never registered or shown my dogs, and prior to adopting Annie, my only impressions of the show world were formed by the movie “Best in Show” which I found hilarious.

The NCA (Newfoundland Club of America) and the South Central Newfoundland Club were in charge of Annie’s rescue, and as a result of adopting Annie I have become acquainted with so many people who are passionate about this breed and they have shared their experience with me.

Last year at this time we had only had Annie for a couple of months and I was in frequent contact with her rescuers and fosters.  They were a great support for us as we were all getting used to each other. My Facebook feed started filling up with pictures from National, and all of these gorgeous dogs that looked to be having so much fun with their owners, and I began to appreciate how many people around the country are in love with this breed.  Up until then, I didn’t know many other Newfie owners. I was one of a few owners in my area and we (the dogs and I) would get a lot of attention when we were out and about because they are so big and unique.

As I started to learn more about the NCA (Newfoundland Club of America), what truly ethical breeding means, draft work, obedience, water work and therapy,  I began advanced obediance and therapy classes with Maisie.  Annie, she’s different and special and classes would not be right for her, but there is one activity that I want to do with her–the Rescue Parade.  When I saw that on the agenda last year I immediately set that as a goal for us for this year. Unfortunately, Newf National is in Oregon this year and that is simply too far away for us. The Rescue Parade is today at 3:00 in the main ring and I really wish we were there.  Next year it will be in Michigan, and while I have been very careful to keep my expectations in check because of her age, I am going to put it out there that I want us to be there next year.

Annie deserves to strut her stuff in front of all of those beautifully bred Newfoundlands.  She worked hard, producing hundreds of puppies in terrible conditions for most of her life.  Now it’s her time to enjoy life and I would love nothing more than to enter the “Rescue Ring” with her and shine the spotlight on her for others to see.  Annie turns 11 in June, that’s our next big day on the calendar, and then who knows, hopefully we will be on to Newf National 2018!

Annie’s final frontier

When Annie came home, she didn’t like doors, narrow hallways and small spaces. Over the past year she has overcome so many fears and she now walks freely through the house. She goes through doorways and hallways without hesitation but there was still one last threshold that she wouldn’t cross…my bathroom.

This is the same bathroom that Maisie has locked herself in, multiple times and maybe that contributes to her reticence.  The first time Maisie did this Annie alerted me in the most fantastic way. I was recently out-of-town for a few weeks and my husband came home a couple of times to Annie barking at him and then looking at the stairs with an expression that said “she’s done it again”, leaving him to go upstairs and release Maisie from her trap.

The other day I was brushing my teeth and Maisie was right at my feet.  I glanced over and saw Annie standing in the door way watching me and when I started talking to her she leaned in closer like she wanted to come in but was still unsure.  I took a gamble and grabbed a bag of treats and went back in the bathroom.  Annie loves treats and she immediately knew what I had in my hand.  Gradually she approached me, getting a treat with each step until she was completely in the room.  We stayed there for a few minutes and then she turned around and skittered out.IMG_0162

We’ve done this a couple of times and each time she comes in with less hesitation.  I don’t really like the dogs in the bathroom with me, it’s a tight squeeze and sometimes it’s just really nice to have some privacy, but Annie not wanting to come in because of fear was a different thing.  It’s just like the kitchen, I didn’t like having dogs underfoot until Annie wouldn’t come in, then it just seemed wrong to not have to lunge  over a big body while moving about. I want them to be free to make their choice about joining me, and then leave the room when I ask.

Yesterday while taking my shower, I left the door open in hopes that Annie might come in. I sensed her standing in the doorway and then I caught a glimpse of her walking all of the way in and sniffing around the sink, looking for that bag of treats.  She left and then returned a few minutes later and started barking at me to come out.  Was she ordering me to give her a treat?  I chose to ingnore the barking and she turned back around and plopped down outside the door and waited there for me. That’s so Annie, wanting to do something in her own time, with no one watching. It reminded me of when she was figuring out the stairs and the unknown frontier of the second floor.  I’m still amazed that Annie continues to make progress with us when she’s been with us for over a year.  This sweet, old girl deserves to be free of her past, and as long as she is willing, we will continue to navigate her path together.