Tag Archives: road trip

“On the road again”

“I just can’t wait to get on the road again”

Maisie and I are hitting the road on Wednesday.  We are driving from Chicago to Kansas City, MO for a blogging conference.  I’ve never been to Kansas City and I’m looking forward to exploring a new place.
I'm Going to BlogPaws 2018! Join me!

Initially, I was super excited about going to a conference to learn some tips to become a better blogger, I even included it in my year-end wrap up as one of my goals in the New Year.  Then I got nervous about doing something like this entirely on my own, not knowing anyone there except Maisie (she will be my partner and companion).

I bought my ticket in December, before Annie left us, but since she has been gone I’ve had such a hard time writing and figuring out what the future of the blog should be.  Even though she was not always featured in a blog post, she inspired me and was always nearby when I was writing.  I miss her presence in so many ways and have begun to have doubts that I will continue to write.

So….after several discussions with family and friends, I started to look at the experience with two different outcomes: either I will come home energized and motivated with new ideas or it will help me make the decision that it’s time to let it go.

Once I reached the conclusion that I still really wanted to go, no matter how I felt by the end of the conference, I started paying attention to the daily countdown notifications and blog posts about the conference and pet friendly things to do in Kansas City.  My excitement is building again.  The support and information that continues to flow, especially focusing on conference newbies like me has boosted my confidence.   Combine that with my recent mood lift from my vacation and I already feel like I still have things to share about my life with my big, sweet girls!

After deciding on and testing a restraint system for the car with Winn on our road trip to Ohio,  I’ve been focusing on what else I need to do to get ready.  After a lot of procrastination, I designed some business cards and starting making a packing list. I discovered years ago when traveling with the kids, if I started a packing list a week before we left, I would be able to jot things down and start making piles as I thought of them rather than trying to remember everything as I was rushing around the night before, throwing everything into the suitcases.

For Maisie:

  • Bowls-collapsable and full size
  • Food and supplements (7 meals)
  • cooler/ice for fresh food
  • water
  • treats
  • clean up supplies: paper towels, wipes, poop bags
  • wheelie cart and bungies
  • brush
  • bed and toys
  • leash and traffic lead
  • immunization records
  •  car first aid kit

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  • Tuesday bath and groom

For me:

  • business cards/holder
  • notebook, folder and pens
  • laptop/ipad
  • charging cords
  • camera
  • picture of Annie for memorial project
  • car snacks
  • water bottle
  • clothes/cosmetics/meds for 3 days

Similar to when I traveled with toddlers, Maisie’s list is longer than mine proving that I’m most comfortable when I am well prepared for the “kids” needs.

I’m using this image for the background of my business cards, my information will be printed in a contrast color on the upper left corner.IMG_6349

Please wish us luck, I plan to share our experience on the blog when I return but if you want to keep track of us while we are there, our instagram will be filled with lots of shots Thursday and Friday!

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.

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Maisie has a different model (green) but they both fit the chest nicely.
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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!

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All clean and brushed out before we left home.
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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.

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Before
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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

 

Mini road trip

Recently we loaded Maisie and Winn into the car and went on a quick road trip.  We were off to visit our daughter who lives about 3 hours away.

It’s pretty obvious that Maisie considers Abigail to be her favorite person on earth.  It is always so fun to see their reunions, and this time was no different.  Winn loves everybody and responded to Maisie’s energy by wiggling and squeaking while showering Abigail with kisses.  A two Newfie welcome can be a pretty overwhelming affair!

We all walked to a little brew pub for lunch and I was so impressed with Winn.  She walked calmly and confidently through crowds while staying in a perfect heel.  All of our training time really paid off!

We sat down at a big picnic table and our waitress brought a large water bowl for the girls.  Maisie loves to sit and watch the people walk by on the sidewalk, but Winn quietly settled right beside me, looked around a bit and ignored the other dog that was barking at us from a table near by.  Eventually she crawled under the table and rested her head so that she could see all of the other patio diners.IMG_4227IMG_4250We tend to get a lot of attention when we are out with the dogs, their size makes it impossible to remain unnoticed and most people haven’t seen a brown Newfoundland so we get a lot of questions about their breed.  This usually includes:  “What do they weigh?”, “How much do they eat?”,  “Do they come with a saddle?”, and my least favorite  “Do they shed?”.  Yes they shed, Newfoundlands shed!  Most dogs shed! There are a few breeds that don’t, but there seems to be an increased assumption that one should have a dog that doesn’t shed.

After lunch we walked back to her house, left the dogs with two of her friends and went to a movie. When we returned, we took the girls out again, stopped and got some ice cream and relaxed by the shores of a nearby lake.  As soon as we were close to the water, Maisie and Winn both wanted to wander in, but they stayed close by and immediately came when called when they strayed too far away.  I was so proud of both of them, they were so well-behaved!IMG_4247IMG_4245IMG_4236It was a lovely day spent with our daughter in the town that she loves and has decided to make her home.  It’s close enough that we headed back home as the sun was setting and Maisie and Winn slept the whole way after having such a fun-filled day of activity!IMG_4229

 

Winn’s fist road trip (in pictures)

IMG_2351Iowa has really beautiful rest stops.

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, NE.

First time staying in a hotel.

IMG_2429Loving the rural setting among the corn fields.

We visited old friends and found the Richthofen Castle in Denver, built by the uncle and godfather of “The Red Barron”.  It is alleged to be haunted due to an onsite TB sanitarium and a sensational murder in 1911.

IMG_2575Winn had her first patio dining experience.

We did a little shopping and were mesmerized by all of the western style boots.

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She was very patient in between stops,

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and sat up periodically to gaze out of the window.

IMG_2578Our final check out before heading home, we are all ready to sleep in our own beds!

Next up: The purpose of our road trip and painting with a puppy.