July 5th, 2016
Summer began with our first road trip since bringing Bailey home. Until then, van trips for Bailey had been usually short ones to familiar places around town. This trip was going to be much longer – 1700 km to Peterborough, Ontario and back again. Excitement was high as we anticipated attending a beginner carting seminar offered by the South Eastern Ontario Region – Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada. We had become members during our search for a Newfoundland dog breeder. Fortunately, our path crossed with a breeder who was a founding member of the SEOR – NDCC. She enthusiastically told us about the club’s courses in carting, water rescue and agility. My husband and I were intrigued at the thought of introducing our future Newfoundland puppy to these activities. When I explained that our family did not live in the region, this breeder still felt we could benefit from becoming members. She was right. We left her place with a stack of Gentle Giant Newsletter issues describing courses and social events that club members can participate in. The newsletter arrived each season showcasing the activities of members and their dogs as well as detailing course offerings. The entire family would read the newsletter from front to cover. It helped us learn more about this working dog breed. Once we brought Bailey home, the family eagerly waited for her to become old enough for carting – the minimum age is 1 year and leash trained. The time had come and we were fully loaded for the long trip. Or, were we?
We discovered that “sinful” snacks were lacking as I had only packed the “healthy” ones. Bailey and I remained in the van while the other three members ran into the grocery store to search for less nutritional options. I called out, “Don’t forget caramel popcorn!” After all, I was sharing the back van bench (I am still recovering from knee surgery) with my youngest son who had planned to watch all 6 seasons of “Clone Wars”. Fruit and nuts were not going to cut it. The gang returned with their ill-gotten gains and we were off. Bailey passed her time partaking in a few activities such as mooching for snacks (She loves caramel popcorn), sleeping and sightseeing. Surprising enough, she settled into the new hotel each night with little fuss – parking herself in front of the air conditioning unit within minutes of entering the room.
The boys spent the week in Quebec City keeping their Aunt busy with activities and depleting her food supplies. Adam and I continued on with Bailey in tow.
We took a short detour to Caramor Newfoundland Dogs, near Perth, where Bailey had been born. It was an opportunity to show her to Linda MacDonald, her breeder. I was interested to see Linda’s other dogs and hoped Bailey would positively interact with them. Navy, Linda’s oldest gal and my favourite, was good natured enough not to be bothered by Bailey’s attempts to dominate. Adam and I definitely saw a different side to our girl. Stella, a 10 month old Newfoundland puppy, kept chasing Bailey around one of the fenced in open areas. She was being pesky much like Bailey is at home with other dogs. Bailey was clearly determined to avoid Stella and the warmer temperatures were not helping her mood. She drank lots of water making me wonder if it meant a number of business trips during the night were to be expected. Willow, Bailey’s mother, is a leggy, energetic Landseer. After much vocalizing, she was let out of the house to meet Bailey. The two of them did not hit it off and were soon separated. However, our visit with Linda was enjoyable. We had the treat of seeing two puppies interacting with one another – one was 3 months and the other was 4 months. I laughed as they each pulled the other pup’s ear at the same time and tumbled onto the ground. Ike, Bailey’s sire, could be heard in the background but, as an intact male, he was not invited to our reunion party. The afternoon flew by quickly and before we knew it, the time had come to hit the road. To Peterborough or bust!
The three of us arrived in Peterborough to much hotter weather than Labrador West. Bailey was not enjoying the heat and showed little enthusiasm for exercise. What had we got ourselves into? The carting course was outside for the entire weekend. The good news was that Bailey had not yet gone into heat. The carting seminar would be starting the following day. We unpacked, spread out Bailey’s floor blankets and ate dinner. Bailey stretched out for her nightly spa treatment and fell asleep soon afterwards. Adam and I were not far behind her. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post about Bailey transforming from family pet into a “real” working dog.