Tag Archives: Annie

Enjoying the peace and quiet

Poor Annie, this holiday season has been trying on her nerves.  She is very comfortable in our house when it’s just the four of us at home (myself, my husband, Maisie and Annie).  She’s gotten used to my daughter being around and genuinely loves her company but my son is another story.  Annie is very nervous around men, especially young men and unfortunately my son falls into that category.

This summer she never got used to him being around.  Part of the problem was that he is rarely alone, usually when he comes through the door he’s got someone with him so that magnifies Annie’s distress.  When he came home for Thanksgiving, she actually went downstairs and greeted him when he was watching TV. Hooray, she’s accepting him!  That lasted one day because the following morning he had a college teammate come and stay with us for the long weekend and once again that upset the apple cart.

When she hears a voice she doesn’t recognize, especially if it’s deep, she runs to her crate and starts barking.  If the boys are downstairs, she barks when she hears them coming up, or going through the front door, or rummaging through the refrigerator, or any other movement that might be happening.  If I approach her and soothe her she will stop, but with the constant coming and going she never really relaxed. They went back to school, but a couple of weeks later Thomas returned for Christmas break. Then my parents came.  I thought she would like my Dad, but she was so ruffled by all of the extra people that she never warmed up to my Dad or Mom, and she barked a lot. My parents left but Thomas was still around and then he had another college friend come for a visit which I think really sent her over the top.

The day after Thomas left I noticed Annie in a deep sleep.  She kept moving from room to room, spreading out and falling back to sleep. Somehow she knew the house was returning to her normal and she was so happy to finally relax.  She sprawled out in all of her favorite places and spent a lot less time in her crate.  He won’t be home again till May and we don’t have any other visitors on the schedule so hopefully we can all “reboot” and continue the work of gently introducing new people so that she won’t be so alarmed next time he comes home.  At least that’s my hope….img_4309



Christmas traditions

This is Bailey. She was my first Newf, a birthday gift from my husband after my youngest went to kindergarten (15 years ago). As time went on, it was evident that she wasn’t a typical Newf.  She was pushy, loud, stubborn, difficult to train unless food was involved and incredibly Alpha, only willing to submit to me.  I think she thought the kids were her puppies and sometimes she respected my husband but she was my dog and we had an incredible bond.IMG_2199

Bailey loved food. She was always hungry and she would do anything for food.  As a result, she was also always scavenging for food.  She got many sticks of butter,  all of us lost a birthday cake over the years, every Halloween she found candy remnants and each Christmas she would eat the ginger bread house.  The first year I had pushed the house to the edge of the table and she ate the back of the house so that it resembled a doll house with a full front facade and an open back.  The funny thing was that I’m not sure when she did it.  One day I noticed the back of the house was missing and I got a good laugh.  It wasn’t surprising that she did this considering she ate everything within reach and as a result this became one of our traditions. Christmas wasn’t finished until Bailey ate the ginger bread house.

As the years went on she would come and find me with the tell-tale signs of her mischief.  Her face would be all sticky and the hair around her neck would be stiff and sticking out in every direction.  She was giddy with her accomplishment and wanted to share her success with me.  As much as I wanted to curtail her scavenging, I couldn’t help but be entertained by her joy and satisfaction.

Bailey lived big and made her presence known at all times so it’s no wonder that the hole she left was wide and deep. She was bossing me around one day and the next day she was gone, I shouldn’t have been surprised because she lived life according to her own plan.  We brought Maisie home a week after we lost Bailey, my intention was that they would be together and Bailey could show her the way but that wasn’t the way it would be.  It’s probably best that’s how it worked out because Maisie would have been completely overwhelmed by Bailey.  Their personalities couldn’t be more different and Maisie is the least food motivated dog I’ve ever known.  She has never counter surfed and the ginger bread house is not a temptation so for the last three years that Christmas tradition has been put to rest.

So you guessed it, that leads us to Annie.  Maybe it’s a black Newfie thing, maybe it’s just a coincidence but once again we have a Newf who LOVES food.  Annie’s reasons are different from Bailey’s–Bailey got everything she ever wanted for her entire life, Annie was deprived of knowing all that could be available to her for most of her life–but her love of food is on par with Bailey’s.  So this Christmas I just knew that we would be able to experience some ginger bread house destruction.

Making the house is a big production, and my husband and daughter have always been in charge.  They decide on the design, make plans and templates then make the dough (dog safe of course), roll it out and cut it into shapes to make the house.  Once decorated it becomes the centerpiece on our dining room table.  Traditionally, it stays there until it gets destroyed and then it gets thrown out.

This year we seemed to run out of time but I was insistent that we (my husband and daughter) must make the house to give Annie the opportunity to revive the tradition. On Christmas Eve my husband and I went shopping to get supplies.  He was stressed out about the number of things that needed to be done that day–grocery shopping, cookie baking, ginger bread house, church, dinner and assembling Christmas Day breakfast casseroles.  I was completely calm (unusual for me) because I knew it would all work out.  It’s Christmas, no need to stress!  While roaming the aisles of Target he came up with the brilliant idea of using pretzel rods and frosting to make log cabin houses which proved to be much quicker and really cute and different.img_3818

Congratulations Annie! She did it and somehow knew which one was hers.  She destroyed the house with the A on it and left the other one untouched.  She ate some of the walls which were pretzels but she devoured the roof which was made of Nilla Wafers.  She chose a time when my husband and I were in another room and then she came and found us, her face all shiny and sticky with crumbs mixed in her whiskers and then she settled into her bed and began licking her legs and feet clean of all frosting remnants.  We both smiled, the tradition was back and Annie was so proud of herself.

P.S. The big reward for Miss Frosting Face was a bath the next day.dd4694da-1be5-4520-9ab9-55ef52ce9e16

Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

A new horizon for Annie this year is learning to love winter. 2 years ago Annie and 43 other Newfoundlands were surrendered to rescue at the peak of brutal winter conditions in the midwest.  They were living outdoors with no heated shelter, no fresh water and minimal food.  For Annie and the others, winter was something to be survived, snow was the only thing available to quench her thirst.  She now has dry-eye which requires twice daily drops for the rest of her life as a result of being so dehydrated at the time of her rescue.

That first winter after her rescue, she learned to appreciate a warm place to sleep, fresh water, regular feedings and was exposed to kind, loving, constant attention for the first time.  She had difficulty trusting that it would last and she protected herself from becoming too attached to this new place.  Last winter we adopted her and that transition was very difficult for her.  She was taken from the only nice place she had known and was terrified about what that would mean for her future.  It was cold and snowy when we brought her home and she didn’t like going outside.  She hated going outside after dark and I would walk along beside her in our yard while she searched for a place to go potty.  I think she feared she would be left outside again and always ran quickly to the door once her business was done.

Typically when the temperature drops the energy level of a Newfie spikes.  Maisie has always loved the snow and we have a hard time getting her to come inside.  She loves to run in it, stick her nose in it and lie in it.  After the first snowfall this year, Annie actually showed a little excitement.  She is now confident in her home with us and no longer has to worry about surviving the winter! She doesn’t play with Maisie very often and she usually makes efforts to get away from her as quickly as possible.  This week we got a few inches of snow and for the first time ever, Annie initiated play with Maisie.  She was actually running and jumping in the snow! Her new horizon is loving winter, loving life!


Our Christmas photoshoot

It seems like such a good idea but getting the perfect shot of one dog is difficult, two dogs is nearly impossible.  Maisie will sit and stay, but she pouts.  She doesn’t want to be fussed with and doesn’t like new things.  Annie now knows how to sit on command, but she won’t stay.  I have to keep my hand on her and then quickly pull away before she gets up and walks towards me.  I love that she wants to be right next to me but it makes taking a good picture really difficult!  I have had to sit down in front of her and then try to pull my legs in and lean as far back as possible to take her picture before she decides she must be closer and I end up with her standing over me and breathing in my face.  Trying to get one good picture for our Christmas card has been a challenge, but the outtakes have proven to be just as fun and actually show their personalities pretty accurately.  Enjoy!

The wrangling:

Unhappy face:

Sweet face:

Maisie decided to wear her wreath like a tutu:img_3853

Giving me attitude:

About ready to give up and splice two together

These are fun but still not THE one:

It’s not perfect, but this one might be the one, I’ll decide tomorrow. It’s not fussy and just seems more natural.  After all, they are dogs who love the snow and they both look happy!img_3585