Tag Archives: road trip

Nothin’ but Newf!

Have you ever wanted to see a Newfoundland Dog up close? How about 500?

Yes, you read that right, last week, almost 500 Newfoundlands and their owners gathered at the Newfoundland National Specialty in Frankenmuth, MI.

The National is a week-long celebration which is much more than a typical dog show. It includes working events such as carting, obedience and rally obedience. There are parades honoring living legends (Newfoundlands 10 years old and over) and rescues.  Special recognition is given the Top 20 conformation and Top 10 obedience dogs as well as to Versatile Newfoundlands, who have earned an AKC championship, an AKC obedience title, NCA water rescue dog title and NCA draft dog title. That’s just a few of the events on the weeklong agenda!

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Obedience and grooming were in the blue and white building, vendors were lined up in the big tent on the left and the main show ring was in front of the big white tent.

In short, it highlights the many different aspects that make the Newfoundland Dog so special.

This year I attended for the first time. Winn and I arrived Monday night and stayed through Thursday afternoon.  We were entered into two Rally Intermediate trials with the hope that she would get her title while we were there.  The requirements for the title are three qualifying legs under two different judges.  We earned the first two legs the previous weekend, so we just needed to do well in one of the two trials to accomplish our goal and we did! On Tuesday morning we scored a 93, got second place and earned the title.IMG_6746.jpgMy daughter met me up there to cheer me on and after getting our ribbons, she and I were able to wander around, enjoy many of the other activities and explore the cute town of Frankenmuth. The working events were scheduled at the beginning of the week and we watched friends in the obedience and rally rings and also observed the specialty carting event.IMG_3008IMG_3023We had a picnic lunch, went to Bronners the World’s Largest Christmas Store and got milkshakes and ice cream to celebrate our success in the ring.IMG_6773IMG_6818IMG_6809I don’t know a lot about conformation showing, but I really enjoyed watching the puppies in the ring.  Who doesn’t love watching puppies?

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6-9 mos. puppy dog Hotel California Tender Ebony
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6-9 month old puppy dogs
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6-9 mos. puppy dogs
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4-6 month old beginner puppy
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12-15 month old ThreePonds Boatswain
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9-12 month old Sugar-Mtn’s Pray For Peace

The planning and coordination that went into this big event was incredible and I was amazed by the spectacle of it all.  The amount of gear that gets hauled around for the show dogs is mind boggling.  When Winn and I go to a trial, I bring a soft crate, a chair and a bag with snacks, water and something to read.  That’s nothing compared to the crates, tables and grooming tools that accompany the conformation dogs.  There was a separate washing station set up near the hotel and then the dogs were moved into their reserved grooming spaces to be finished. Wire crates, which are very heavy, are used in the grooming area because they are more secure and frequently one owner is traveling with multiple dogs.  This ensures that they are safely secured while the attention may be on another dog.IMG_0688IMG_6880In between our trials, I walked around with Winn to chat with several of our friends who were there but I also found myself just watching it all in amazement.  I met some new people, stopped to watch some grooming in action and spent some time with this beautiful brown boy (who was at Westminster last year) and his owner.  There were very few brown Newfoundlands there and she sought us out and introduced herself.  She loved Winn and took us around the room to meet her friends and fellow brown Newfoundland lovers.

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GCH Royal Flush Davos of Bogmist nicknames Pupachoo, Chopsy  and Chop-Chop

I had such a good time on this trip and Winn was a terrific traveling companion.  She can still be a little shy when meeting new people so I passed treats to those who wanted to meet her and she figured out pretty quickly that meeting new people is tasty.  I made a funny observation while there: owners tended to offer the treats from their open hand under her chin; handlers held the treat between two fingers above her nose. The difference made me smile every time. IMG_6854 Winn was great in the hotel.  She figured out the elevator really quickly, knew right where our room was and loved to hang out on the balcony and watch everyone coming and going through the parking lot.  She ate well and slept hard. We did hear some barking from time to time, but she never made a peep.  She was the perfect hotel dog.IMG_3026IMG_3040On Thursday morning we met up with her breeder.  He and his wife arrived late the night before and this was the first time we had seen each other since pick up day when Winn was 10 weeks old. He was showing Winn’s big sister Bertie on Friday and he set up her crate next to Winn’s.  The two girls hung out together for a little while.  It was so nice to see him with Winn, she’s changed a lot over the past year!IMG_6879IMG_6900My only regret is that Annie wasn’t with us.  My primary interest in going to Newfoundland National was to march in the Rescue Parade with her and I figured if I was there with Annie, I might as well bring Winn along and we could participate in Rally.  I also knew that having Winn by her side would make Annie feel more comfortable.  It really hurt to be there without her, but I brought the honor flag I made at the Blogpaws conference and attached it to the bag that I carried around with us.  While Winn and I were competing, Annie was right there next to Winn’s crate.  It did bring a little comfort, feeling like she was there in spirit.  I never would have thought about going if it wasn’t for my desire to celebrate Annie and how special she was.IMG_3030.jpg

Tomorrow’s post is about Precious, the namesake of Annie’s rescue group. She was there, I spent a little time with her, and she marched in the Rescue Parade. She proudly represented the 43 other Newfoundlands that were rescued with her, many of whom are no longer with us.

 

 

Exploring K.C. with Maisie

Our agenda at the conference was jam packed the first day but on the second day we had a couple hours of free time and since it was a beautiful, sunny day Maisie and I struck out for a walk.IMG_2875One of the local bloggers had written a post with suggestions of other things to do and places to see while we were in Kansas City and I wanted to find one of the murals that she had featured.

It was a beautiful walk and we passed several fountains and a pretty outdoor plaza at Crown Center.  IMG_2826IMG_2869The mural was located in Union Hill, and boy oh boy, did we walk uphill to find it! I didn’t realize that Kansas City was so hilly and Maisie and I were both hot and thirsty by the time we got to the top and of course, I couldn’t find the mural.  It was getting close to the time for me to get back and change for dinner and the awards ceremony so we headed back toward the hotel.  Wouldn’t you know it, we turned a corner and there it was!IMG_2879

we are submitting this post to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

“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