October 13th, 2015
Two Fridays ago, Bailey and I experienced “empty nest” syndrome. My husband was away at his Northern Quebec worksite and my two sons left on Friday morning for a weekend cadet camp. If you are a mother, you would understand what a three day break from motherhood means. I envisioned long soaks in the tub, eating what and when I wanted, playing my music without comments from the peanut gallery, completing a task without interruption and so on the list goes. I was ecstatic about my girls’ weekend with Bailey. Bailey had other thoughts. It started well, we dropped the boys off at the bus around 7:30 am. The luggage in the entry way did not seem to faze her. The boys clambered out of the van, excited to see their friends. Bailey soaked up their hugs with much enthusiasm before they scurried off. A quick wave from me and we were off to Tanya Lake for a morning walk. I think that the van tires might have squealed as we exited from the parking lot. We were free and the next three days were all ours. The boys are normally at school so, Bailey did not suspect that anything was different during the day. That is, she did not until 3:00 pm. I had gone down for an afternoon nap as did Bailey. Our usual 20 minute nap ended up being 90 minutes – no oven timer alarm today. It was heavenly! At 3 pm, Bailey must have sensed that I had overslept for our regular rendezvous with my older son’s bus. Hence, she did what any loyal Newfoundland puppy would do – a wet slobbery lick across my face. I woke up from a deep sleep, a little disoriented with a slimy film coating my cheek. I realized that she may have to go out for her afternoon business trip and willed myself off the couch. The two of us made it outside in time to see the bus go by without stopping and students from my younger son’s school walking home. Bailey was in a state.
Instead of walking to my younger son’s school to wait for him, I took her in the opposite direction. Bailey was not pleased as she tried to reverse around to go towards the school. She kept looking at me as if to say, “Have you lost your mind?” I took her on one of our favourite trails overlooking the nearby lakes. I had hoped to get Bailey’s mind off the boys. Sure she sniffed the moss and the tree branches lining the trail but I noticed that Bailey’s happy-go-lucky mood and constant tail wagging was dampened. I still pressed on with determination to enjoy my girls’ weekend. By dinner time, Bailey had realized that the boys were absent without leave – her leave anyway. Their dad and I were well-aware of their activities thanks to Facebook updates. She did a check of the bedrooms and the bathroom every 20 minutes. Returning back to living room, Bailey made her disappointment known by flopping down with a thud and a mournful little whine. I suspect that I made matters worse by deciding to go light on dinner which meant no plate lick for our always-hungry Newf. Another disappointment for her, no doubt.
The next day, things went much the same way. Three long walks, a trip to the dog park and lots of playtime in the backyard did nothing to alleviate Bailey’s mood. Mother’s guilt is a powerful weapon and Bailey knew it. We took a trip into town and I found myself in the pet aisle scanning for a toy to cheer her up. Mr. Chicken, a loud squeaky toy, seemed just what was needed. I usually shy away from such toys because of the noise factor learned after surviving two preschool toddlers enamoured with loud sounding toys in the early hours of the morning. But, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I drove home anticipating the excitement from Bailey over her new toy. Let’s just say that I was disappointed. Bailey did not want any part of Mr. Chicken – especially the squeaking one. Sunday came and Bailey finally ventured close enough to step on Mr. Chicken with her one paw. The numerous steps on it by a almost 100 pound puppy eventually spelled the death of Mr. Chicken’s voice. I guess silence is golden because Bailey tolerated the now mute Mr. Chicken and I secretly celebrated the end to the piercing squawks. Bailey kept of her vigilance for the boys whether or not she was inside or outside of the house. At 9 pm on Sunday night, her boys returned to home base after being AWOL. Commander Bailey was extremely relieved!
P.S. At 37 weeks, Bailey is now 43.6 kg or 96 pounds and 2 ounces. At 36 weeks, Bailey was 42.2 kg or 93 pounds and 1/2 ounce.