December 6th, 2016
Last week was an unusual week. We had the pleasure of billeting a young man from the provincial cross-country ski team that was training at our local ski club for 7 days. He had stayed two years ago with us when we shared our living space with an 18 year old cat. Bailey was going to make a bigger impression on him than our senior cat did. My sons kept in touch with him since this first visit. The boys had told him about our new furry addition and he had followed Bailey’s antics on the blog. We expected Bailey to be very excited to see him as she often is greeting guests in our home.
Monday night came and the reaction from Bailey was not what any of us anticipated. Upon entering into the house, the newcomer was subjected to Bailey woofing loudly – definitely not friendly sounding. Her woofs are usually restricted to one or two rather than a string of them. I wondered if Bailey was ever going to stop. She did by following up this performance with a low growl-like rumble. It was a new side to Bailey that I had never seen before. Bailey was not being very welcoming to our guest who took it in good stride. The only positive thing was that she still wagged her tail. It was going to be a long week.
To further confuse things, our guest was named Daley which sounded similar to Bailey. A number of times, I caught myself calling Daley Bailey and Bailey Daley. If I was confused, Bailey was even more so. Could life get any more complicated? The first night, Bailey continued to woof and growl at Daley. I am sure he was relieved to learn that Bailey did not go downstairs. It was a safe refuge for him and more importantly, the location of the fooseball table. Bailey was not too pleased that her boys were hanging out more downstairs with the stranger. She would lie at the top of the stairs, listen to their shouts of glee from scoring at fooseball and respond with a string of woofs. Should they come storming up the stairs, Bailey would emit her growl. The boys and I moved Bailey away from Daley to allow him to get by. It made for a tense atmosphere. Bailey finally settled down in the evening when the boys headed out to cadets and Daley joined the team for an evening of bowling. Bailey enjoyed her nightly walk followed by grooming. They returned and Bailey resumed her barking until she was kennelled for the night. Peace at last.
The next morning, Bailey was back to her old self. She came into the house, waited for her towel dry, sniffed her stuffie bear and made her way to the food dish. Life was normal again. At precisely 6:45 am, the door to Cam’s room opened. Bailey dashed down to greet her Cam. Most mornings, Bailey nudges the door back and saunters alongside his bed until she reaches his face. The kisses begin at this point. However, Cam had given up his bedroom to our guest and slept elsewhere. Bailey certainly wasn’t expecting Daley or his luggage blocking her path. The barking resumed. I hurried over to make sure that Daley wasn`t being held hostage. He was understanding and did not react in any way to antagonize our sweetness.
We tried different things such as having Daley give one of Bailey`s favourite treats to her. She took the treat but, immediately started woofing again. I tried to distract her without much success. I finally resorted to sending Bailey for a timeout in her kennel pen located within our attached garage. Separation from the pack seemed to help. She woofed less upon her return to the pack. By Wednesday night, Bailey seemed more accepting of our guest. The growling seized and the barking became less frequent. I gave a sigh of relief as Bailey approached Daley in a friendly manner – tail thumping the wall as she circled around him enthusiastically. Our sweetness had returned in full Newfie glory with drool hanging from her mouth. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Bailey had slimed his backside. Still, I am left wondering what other shades of Bailey might be revealed in time.