February 26th, 2020
It’s funny after 5 years of living with Bailey that I only now learn about her loud snoring. Last week, my youngest son complained at breakfast that he had been kept up through the night by Bailey. A shared wall exists between his bedroom and the front entry room. Bailey prefers to lie alongside this wall with the metal door stop pressing into her back. It seems that Bailey, exhausted by two hikes on snow-covered trails followed by long naps in between, falls into a very deep sleep at night. Her snores vibrate her body which in turn vibrates the wall. My son’s headboard leans against this wall and it vibrates with each loud snore. Between the wall and headboard vibrations combined with Bailey’s noisy snorts, Cameron has not been getting enough sleep. When he first mentioned it, I stared at him in disbelief. To me, her soft, gentle snores lull me to sleep for an afternoon nap. How could her loud snoring escape my notice? I have an earlier bedtime than the big girl. My mornings begin at 5 am, sometimes earlier if I am clock watching, and I reach the pumpkin hour at 9 pm. My lights are out at 9:30 pm which is when Bailey goes for her last business walk of the day with my husband. My bedroom is far enough away that I hear nothing from nocturnal stirrings of a Newfoundland dog. Usually, Cameron is also fast asleep before she breaks into the vibrating wall routine. A few late nights spent reading a book meant trying to sleep after Bailey was well on her way to orchestrating a symphony of loud snores. I suggested ear plugs to no avail. His solution was just to go to bed earlier than her. Our girl had found a way to convince the teenager in the house not to stay up late. In my mind, these are good vibrations.
February 26th, 2019
It’s true that my teenage son still enjoys the childhood pursuit of dress-up. Today, our Newfoundland dog was the recipient of his efforts. My son had been sent to retrieve Bailey from her garage kennel where she was finishing her dinner. Upon entering the house, he decided that the towel used to wipe her big paws was better suited to being a shawl. Drawn by his laughter, I peeked into the entry way to find Bailey sitting with the towel wrapped around her head and shoulders. Her beggar in disguise attire was accompanied with a look that suggested “Treats for the Hungry”. I joined in the laughter which soon attracted the attention of my husband. The three of us shared a few thoughts as to who Bailey resembled resulting in more chuckles. Some thoughts are not for public consumption. Bailey, being a good sport, took all the attention in stride and sat waiting for her paw wipe. Once the laughter had subsided, our beggar girl was ready for a treat.
June 13th, 2017
The end of the school year is almost here. But, Bailey’s boys must first get through a week of final exams that started on Monday. Test anxiety can be a little much for even the most studious students. Bailey is quite willing to offer her “study buddy” services to alleviate such stress. She offers a few options. Clearly, one of Bailey’s favourites is sprawling on her backside – tummy side up – in the hopes that a needy student will stumble upon her and feel compelled to vigorously rub a neglected belly. I have walked by on numerous occasions to observe my newf spread eagle with a kneeing son running his fingers through her thick undercoat. Bailey is obviously enjoying every minute given the happy grunts radiating out of her mouth. Her “study buddy” is also benefiting from this symbiotic relationship. I see the stress disappear as his face lights up with a smile.
Bailey also provides comedic relief to loosen the tension in household. She is still wearing her special panties in the aftermath of the dreaded UTI (urinary tract infection) because Bailey truly enjoys wearing them. I haven’t the heart to put them away yet. That being said, my sons crack up with laughter at the sight of Bailey prancing through the house once she gets them on after being outside. She has a number of laughter producing antics such as whipping her “Stuffie” bear back and forth with enough force to make a loud thud as it comes in contact with the side of her head. The boys can’t stop themselves from chuckling. I have come to realize that dogs are natural clowns.
Sometimes, Bailey’s presence is all that is needed. She is really good natured about the boys using her as a pillow to prop themselves against as they study. The warmth radiating from her belly has a calming effect much like a mug of hot chocolate does after a cold ski outside. With the stress greatly reduced, my sons can give their complete attention to studying for the next exam. Listening is another tactic of Bailey’s. She is content to sit or lie down while one of her boys talks to her. A nuzzle against the hand encourages her “study buddy” to continue. My sons do not have to worry about Bailey interrupting. She has all the time in the world for her guys. High school finals are unavoidable. However, having a Newfoundland dog as your own personal “study buddy” can improve your mood.
March 22nd, 2016
Today’s post is written by a guest blogger, my 12 year old son. Last week, he was given an essay to write about a “turning point” event that changed his life. Cameron decided to write about the impact of having Bailey. As an adult, you sometimes forget how an animal can shape a young person’s life. I remembered the pets that I grew up with and the lessons that they taught me. Some of these lessons were serious in nature like letting go when their time had come or taking care of their needs even when you do not feel up for it (like rowing ashore from the cruiser to take the dog for the first business duty of the day). I experienced unconditional acceptance from every single cat and dog that entered my life. As I watch Bailey interact with my boys, I know her presence in their lives will have far reaching effects beyond her life with us. Now, I hand over the writing to my son who demonstrates everyday that he is a wonderful dog owner. Bailey could not have a better playmate.
Keeping Up With Bailey
By Cameron Salomon de Friedberg
Like many children, I was living a life with little exercise. It was a life that centred on technology such as playing computer games and watching television. My parents really had a difficult time to get me outside to be active. My life changed when Bailey, a Newfoundland puppy, entered my life at 10 weeks of age. I suddenly found my days becoming more active as Bailey grew.
I spend every day playing outside with Bailey. I never have to look far for a playmate. Bailey is always eager and available for outdoor fun. We have different games that the two of us enjoy playing. For instance, she carries her red rubber chew toy and tries to get me to chase her. Our backyard has several snow banks that I climb up and down while trying to get Bailey’s chew toy away from her. I think that the snow banks are like a gym stair climber. My legs get a real workout. Bailey has lots of energy and never tires of this game. When I finally fall down tired on the snow, she waddles over to me and bumps me with the toy to get another game started. I do not want to disappoint her. So, we begin the game again. My stamina has increased from the start of the winter. Technology never had this effect on me.
Since her arrival, I now join my parents on nature hikes with Bailey. We have discovered new trails which Bailey has shown us. I never knew about the trail system between our house on Cabot Drive and the Wabush cemetery. Our family took one of these trails with Bailey on the Thanksgiving weekend. We climbed up a high rocky hill. At the top, we stopped to admire the wonderful view of the surrounding wilderness. I never knew that Wabush had so many lakes. I have seen beautiful sunrises while walking with Bailey and my mother around Jean Lake in the early mornings during the summer. In the past, I would have still been sleeping in bed. Hiking is pleasurable when you have an energetic furry companion.
I enjoy walking to school because Bailey comes along with me. I met new friends who came over to meet Bailey and ended up getting to know me. Some of these kids will wait for us so they can stroll to school with Bailey and me. I could take the bus. However, spending time with Bailey brightens up my day and puts me in a positive mood for school.
My life has been changed for the better because of my Newfoundland puppy. I go outdoors more often. I exercise more frequently and for longer periods. I do not get tired as easily as I did before. I have lost weight and gained muscle. I have found new places to explore with Bailey. I am more social with other people and my family. Technology still has a place in my life. But, thanks to Bailey, technology plays a much smaller role in my new active lifestyle. She is my own personal trainer. Bailey encourages me with lots of licks and friendly nudges against my legs. I am grateful that she came into my life when I needed her.
January 12th, 2016
Our household has been overtaken by teenagers. My husband and I are now outnumbered by no less than three of them. Bailey joined this exclusive hormone driven youth club when she came into heat for the first time in December. Truthfully, my youngest son is still only 12 years old until March. He just hit puberty early – about a year ago. He sprouted to become the second tallest in the household (pushing me into third place) and is closing in on the top position held by my husband. Although Bailey’s heat has ended, certain behaviours emerged during her cycle. They do not appear to be going away. A week ago, Bailey acted differently when I went to arouse her at 5 am. Early morning is when she goes outside with me to do the first business of the day. In the past, Bailey would be already sitting or standing with her tail wagging before I had touched the knob of the door leading to the entry room. Bailey sleeps in this area during the winter. Her acute hearing used to prevent me from sneaking past her to do other things while she remained sleeping. I could not get my outer gear on fast enough before Bailey would be ringing the bell impatiently. I had just taken her manner of springing off the floor to greet me as the norm.
Nowadays, she does her best to ignore, just like our sons do, my commands to rise and shine. Like my other sleep-loving teens, Bailey has developed her own arsenal of passive aggressive tactics. Bailey will remain lying on the floor sleeping or pretending to do so. Neither the squeaks from the entry room glass door being pushed open nor the closet doors being pushed back elicit any movement from Bailey. She “appears” dead to the world. I am tempted to begin my early morning chores. What’s stopping me? The sleeping fur mass called “Our Sweetness”. She will pick that moment when I am not around to decide she needs to go outside immediately. After 7 ½ hours of sleep, Bailey’s ability to hold on until I can get fully dressed wanes with each passing moment. I have unwittingly learned that Newfoundland puppies hold a lot of liquid. Since I am not the risk-taker of the family and clean-up usually falls on my shoulders, preventive measures are in order. That means Bailey must go outside on a set schedule. I trudge on with the task of getting dressed while calling for Bailey to shake a leg. Even if she attempted to do so would be encouraging. I catch sight of an eye opening slightly. I turned more towards her and it suddenly shut. Bailey gives off a deep snore. I am beginning to suspect she is faking it. Then, like a choreographed dance move, Bailey sighs and flips herself over to her other side exerting only minimal effort. Her back is now towards me. She lazily stretches her legs and paws out before resuming her nap. It is at this point I inform her that such tactics will not work on me. I have already become immune from similar experiences with my other two teens. She is not stirred by my attempts to make her feel guilty. After all, I am only multi-layering myself in clothes and overheating while doing it for her benefit. I would be happy to sip a hot cup of java as I ease into my morning. I remind her that duty comes first and we must be disciplined!
I slip my feet into my boots. With that, I announce we are ready to go out. Upon seeing that I have not taken ANY of her obvious hints and that I am determined to go out, Bailey slowly, reluctantly, and theatrically struggles to get up. Yes, I feel guilty even if Bailey does not. She looked so comfortable and content. Do I sound a little envious?
Just the other day, she refined her tactics and lay directly across the door effectively blocking me from getting to my winter gear. Fortunately, the ceramic tiles offer little sliding resistance to fur. I was able to start pushing her aside with the door. Upon seeing that her latest strategy had not worked, she relented and moved slightly to let me in. She didn’t get up though. That would have been too much effort! If this situation continues, I may have to resort to my ultimate weapon. After all, the smell of frying bacon and fresh waffles hot off the grill always manages to rouse my boys. I have six more years to go with my boys as teenagers. The silver lining in Bailey’s case is she will be through this stage much sooner.