Tag Archives: Newfoundland Dog

Getting road trip ready

How should I restrain these big dogs in the car?

That’s a question that I have contemplated many times.  I have surveyed other Newfie owners, read multiple blogs, and scoured the internet for suggestions.

The overwhelming consensus is that most people keep their big dogs loose in the cargo area of their SUV’s.  We have done this for years, but I keep worrying about something happening and them getting hurt.

The ideal situation is a strong, reinforced crate in the back. Recently, I heard of someone that was in a terrible accident and her dog was saved by being in one of these crates.  The challenges are, 1. the options are very limited for giant dogs, 2. I need at least two if we are all traveling together and only one will fit in my cargo area and 3. they are incredibly expensive.

The one that I’ve considered is the Gunner Kennel .

I do have an extra wire crate and have used that on occasion when I’m transporting only one dog, but it just doesn’t seem sturdy enough. It’s not an issue of keeping them under control, they lie down and sleep as soon as we pull away from the house, I’m looking for a way to keep them from flying through the car.  I don’t think a wire crate would stand up to the pressure of a 100 plus pound dog suddenly hitting the sides and since I have the ability to “catastrophize”, would they get speared by a wire?

I’ve looked at many harnesses, but since my dogs don’t ride in the middle seat, I would have to figure out a different way to belt them.

We have an old jeep, our “beach buggy” that we used to take Maisie and Annie to the beach.  (It’s our 25 mph transport to and from the beach, 1 mile from our house.) We removed the back seat, found a bed that fit the area perfectly, attached leashes to the cross bar and then hooked into their harness to keep them restrained. (We also bought the Petloader steps  for Annie because she didn’t like using a ramp or being lifted).IMG_1258 (1)IMG_1351

I decided to try this option with Winn on our recent road trip to Ohio. I researched crash tested harnesses and the one I settled on was the Kurgo.  We found one for Maisie at an REI Garage Sale a couple of years ago and I was pleased that the Kurgo was still listed at the top of the review charts.  Maisie’s is too small for Winn (they are vastly different sizes) and since Winn needed her own anyway I purchased one for her and two seat belt straps with swivel attachments to secure them each to the tie downs in the back of the car.

IMG_6398
Maisie has a different model (green) but they both fit the chest nicely.
IMG_6399
They are clipped on their backs which also allows them to sit or lie down comfortably.

This solution worked very well for our long, highway drive.  Winn was able to change positions and if she needed a potty break, I could see her pop her head up to give me the signal. It was also very easy to load her into the car and then hook her up. While I hope we never have the opportunity to test it, I feel better knowing that if something terrible happens, they will stay in the relative safety of the cargo area.IMG_6261

We have several road trips coming up and I’m relieved that I’ve settled on a solution.  Maisie and I are going to Kansas City, MO for a blogging conference, Winn and I are going to Frankenmuth, MI for the Newfoundland National and all of us (I think) are going to Ontario, Canada for a Water Dog training seminar.  Now I can focus on writing about all of our adventures!

disclaimer: the links I have provided are non-sponsored, they are items that I have found   on my own for my personal use.

What’s in your grooming tool kit?

Winn and I went to a grooming seminar last weekend.  It was hosted by the people who have taught us so many things about this breed I love.  They fostered Annie and gave her the first taste of what her life should be.  We met when we went to their home to welcome Annie into our family and we immediately knew that we had made some new friends.  They have had Newfoundlands for as long as I have, but until I met them, I didn’t know about local breed clubs, water and draught work, and how to find an ethical breeder.

I went to learn more about how to care for Maisie and Winn’s coats and how to keep them looking good.  My biggest takeaway is that every dog is different.  Their coats are different, their shape is different, their needs are different and what works for one, might not work for another.  This was a huge relief because of my four female Newfs that I’ve had, each one is unique.  Bailey and Annie were both black and their hair was more coarse.  Bailey had a very think undercoat and Annie did not.  Maisie and Winn’s brown fur is less coarse, but Maisie’s is curlier, whispier and not nearly as thick as Winn’s.  My big challenge with Winn is that it takes 2 to 3 times longer to get her dry as compared to Maisie and Annie. She is also a wiggle worm and very restless and would rather be doing anything else than getting groomed.B37F77CF-8F8E-40FC-8D54-B2F16F157617Everyone there had their own grooming kit and their favorite items.  The fun part for me was checking them all out, talking about all of the different choices and trying out some new tools.IMG_2146IMG_2210  This is the amazing set up our friends have put together:IMG_2142IMG_2145I keep my tools in a tote bag, but I may need to graduate to something bigger pretty soon!IMG_6119My favorite tool has always been a grooming rake.  I bought a cheap one 15 years ago and it worked beautifully on Bailey.  I would brush her at night while watching tv, and she would snore through the process.  Eventually, a couple of the pins bent and started to snag and I have bought multiple rakes since then trying to find one that worked as well as that one.  Even though I no longer use that one, I still have it, comparing it to others while my search continues.IMG_6271

The session was led by an experienced Newfoundland groomer.  She enthusiastically shared her wisdom and tips on washing and drying, brushing out and trimming both for a pet Newfoundland and the polished look of a show Newfoundland.  We talked at length about shampoos, conditioners, sprays, brushes, combs, rakes, and scissors, scissors, scissors.  She demonstrated trimming on one of our friend’s dogs. She would show us how to do an area and then walk around the room and help each of us individually before moving on to demonstrate another area.  There was a good mix of dogs there of different ages with different grooming needs and I learned so much, not only trimming Winn, but observing other owners working on their dogs as well.IMG_215829064461_1399729936840073_6507868451321644101_oIMG_2179I’m comfortable giving ear and paw trims to keep a neat appearance, but what I really needed help with was what to do with her lion’s mane and her leg feathers.  Winn’s adult coat is continuing to come in and I haven’t done anything other than bathing and brushing her regularly. The biggest change occurred with her neck trim.  Suddenly, she looked smaller and in better proportion without all of her crazy fluff around her head!

IMG_6127
All clean and brushed out before we left home.
IMG_6191
Her neck is more defined and her linebacker shoulders have been reduced. Now she can show off her beautiful face.

Overall, I didn’t take too much off of her and was able to give her a cleaner look.  Winn has limited patience so we took lots of breaks but she let me know when she had enough!IMG_6199I could certainly keep going with the blending shears, but she looks pretty and now I’m more confident about how to tackle those bigger areas.

IMG_6155
Before
IMG_2393
After: Her neck, chest and belly are still fluffy but less scraggly.  I love her tail plume and only shaped the tip a tiny bit.

When the session was over, several of us sat around the dinner table, drinking, eating and web surfing for scissors, rakes and products with credits cards ready to go! I ordered a new rake (I’ve got high hopes that this one might be THE one), a leave in conditioner which will hopefully add more moisture to Maisie’s coat, a detangling spray and another pair of shears.

I left feeling accomplished and with so much more knowledge.  I now know I need to clean my brushes more frequently and oil my scissors after each use. I can dry blow them outside to keep them clean in between baths and control the shedding.  Spayed girls have a different coat texture from non-spayed girls. Dogs, just like humans, come in all shapes and sizes and each have different grooming issues.  The rake that works well for Maisie doesn’t work well on Winn, and that’s OK!IMG_2324

 

Two years ago…

I met Annie and we brought her home to be a part of our family.

At the time, it was clear that she was nervous, scared, withdrawn, suspicious and very reluctant to come with us.  I understood that she had been through more than any dog should, but I didn’t fully grasp the depth of her trauma.IMG_0837I knew in my heart that we were meant to be together, and I was willing to give her the time and patience that she would need to feel comfortable in our home, but after a few weeks with very little change, I began to suspect that she would never let herself bond with us.

But then she did!

Very slowly, she started coming towards me voluntarily.  She’d follow me, join me in another room, greet me at the door, plop her head on my laptop and nudge my elbow for an ear rub.  All such normal behaviors for a dog, but major signs from her that she was beginning to trust us.IMG_2462I learned so much from her about resilience and forgiveness. Her demons never fully left her, but she was able push them aside and allow herself to learn about a new way to live.

I learned so much about myself.  I never knew that I had the level of patience that was needed to make her feel comfortable. I never knew that I could feel so much empathy. I never knew that I could be so dedicated and committed to doing whatever necessary to help her heal.

And it was all so worth it!

She was a remarkable dog. So sweet, so loving, so gentle.img_2913 She loved to eat. She’d come running when she heard sounds in the kitchen. She made so many discoveries and never turned down a taste of whatever we gave her.img_2870 She loved to walk along the beside me. At the beach, we would walk up and down the water line while Maisie and then Winn ran around, played and splashed with other dogs and each other. I was never worried about her being off leash, she never left my side when we were out.IMG_0332She loved to sleep. She would nuzzle up in her crate along the bumper of her bed, rubbing her face and letting out little sighs.  That was the first bed she ever had, in her whole life, and she loved it so much. She fell asleep for the final time in that bed and it went with her.  It seemed right that she should have her beloved bed for eternity. img_2888Last year, I wrote a special post for Annie’s gotcha day. I was so happy that we had made it to the one year mark.  A couple of months ago I was fully confident that we would have at least another year with her.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the stars, but the time we had together was so amazing.  I treasured every day with her, and every milestone was celebrated.  I really feel that she gave me more than I gave her.  I’m a better person for having her in my life and our relationship will continue to shape my relationships with my other dogs. Annie was very, very special and I’m so honored that she chose to love me and trust me and that I was able to show her that life could be good.  She was so happy, even in her final moments.  She kissed me goodbye and I knew that she was content and that she left this world feeling safe and loved.

Happy Gotcha Day Annie! I wish you were still here but you will always be in my heart and be remembered on this day that changed our lives, January 31st.