June 2nd, 2015
Last week, Bailey experienced her first introduction to water. I am not referring to the gallons of water that fell from the sky over the weekend and postponed our weekend project of building an outdoor fireplace area. The rain finally stopped once everyone returned to work or school. Not surprisingly, Bailey and her dog friends were the only ones who showed any enthusiasm in the continual downpour. I donned the usual rain attire and headed out behind her bounding newf torso with much less enthusiasm. Telling myself to “suck it up cupcake”, I took Bailey through numerous puddles as we toured the nearby playground, baseball field and wooded area. She had a blast and I clung to the thought of enjoying a well-earned cup of coffee upon getting back home.
However, the open water at Wabush’s Jean Lake in Western Labrador is a different story. Every morning when I get up, I sip my coffee while looking through our living room windows that overlook this lake. The status of Jean Lake is big news in our house. Once the ice begins to recede, spring is truly here and we know summer is not too far away. The fact that wet snow fell last week (dashing any hopes of an early spring) makes this status even more important. We noticed that the ice had melted from the shoreline so it was decided to go down to the lake and introduce Bailey to her heritage. Would she be one of those rare Newfoundland dogs that did not like water? Or, would she take to it naturally?
Bailey wasn’t sure at first what to make out of this rippling water as it lapped at the tips of her front paws. A strategically thrown stick coaxed her to venture in a bit further. The day was cold and the water was even colder. Bailey was not deterred in anyway until the water brushed up against her belly. Talk about a fast exit. Still, she went back in – careful not to go too deep. After a few minutes, Bailey was ready to tackle a portion of the trail that goes around the lake. When we returned after our walk, Bailey waddled without any hesitation into the water for the last time. This water adventure was a success.
I returned with her the next day. She practically dragged me into the lake. This time, Bailey needed no stick to encourage her to enter the water. She walked further along the boat launch ramp into deeper water. I was feeling the cold through my rubber boots but, Bailey did not seem bothered. We left the boat ramp and headed down to the pebbly shore. Again, Bailey required no encouragement to go in. She even ventured up to her belly. Suddenly, Bailey caught sight of her wet tail and decided to give chase. I was not quite prepared for this sudden action and barely caught myself as I stumbled downwards towards the cold water. Miraculously, I remained on my feet and avoided an unpleasant dip. Did I get wet? Thanks to Bailey shaking her fur to get dried, my pants were showered with water droplets. I learned just how much water a Newfoundland puppy’s fur could hold – a lot!
P.S. At 18 weeks, Bailey is now 22.7 kg or 50 pounds 1 ounce.