April 19th, 2017
April 19th, 2017
February 14th, 2017
Happy Valentine’s Day! It is the day that we celebrate “love”. For my family, it is the celebration of our love for chocolate. The boys left with heart cookies covered with crushed cherry flavoured Jolly Ranchers and chocolate drizzled over top in their lunch bags. Did I really think that those cookies would survive the ride to school on the bus? I was doubtful given that I only lasted until the 9 am. I barely stuffed two of them down before Bailey caught on that something was up. She kept close watch afterwards in case what smelt so good suddenly appeared again.
By the afternoon, I was whipping up a batch of cheesecake brownies. Bailey moved herself into the kitchen. She looked up eagerly as I carried dirty bowls and utensils to the sink for washing. I felt a nudge on my leg and glanced down. A hopeful face peered back at me as if to say, “Don’t forget the dish lick!” I responded by telling her that chocolate was not allowed. Bailey was less than pleased when the anticipated lick failed to happen. I took pity on this moocher and thought a peanut butter and pumpkin dog treat would satisfy her. I got the feeling that Bailey was not impressed with the substitute. Once the oven was on with the brownies baking, Bailey sought refuge from the heat in the garage. She caught up on her missed morning napping. The boys arrived home to the smell of brownies waffling into the main entry area. A voice called out, “Something sure smells good.” Amazing how two boys and a dog suddenly appear out of thin air. Bailey watched as I sliced up the brownies and placed each serving into a bowl. She lay down on the kitchen floor as we enjoyed the decadent dessert. The dishes were whisked into the dishwasher. Bailey was definitely not feeling the love. She parked herself down in the entry way and gave a dejected look to me as I passed by.
I was drawn to her. My hands reached out to rub her favourite spots – under the chin and around the ears. The boys joined us. Bailey rolled over and waited as if to say, “Show me the love.” The boys and I massaged her entire body. The love flowed from us to her and her to us. With Bailey in our lives, love will always be there.
January 17th, 2017
A new year has arrived. And what better way to start it then by baking doggie treats for our sweetness, Bailey. I noticed the numerous containers holding pumpkin puree accumulating in the freezer from the last two years of buying the biggest pumpkins for the boys to carve. Our local motto of “Go Big or Go Home!” applies to pumpkins here. I have tried to convince the boys to share one to slowdown the growing stockpile to no avail. One can only eat so much pumpkin before becoming tired of it. If my freezer was ever going to be defrosted, I needed to reduce the supply.
Now, it was time for Bailey to have her turn. I found a dog cookie recipe on-line that only needed four ingredients – 500 ml pumpkin puree, 500g of flour, 3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and 2 beaten eggs. I substituted rice flour for grain flour because many Newfoundland dogs tend to do better on grain-free diets. Why tempt trouble if you can find a workable substitute? At the last minute, I decided to add 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley to aid in freshening our gal’s breath. I threw the 5 items into the mixer and in a couple of minutes, the dough was ready. A long time ago when we were waiting for a Newfoundland dog to join our family, I purchased a cookie cutter in the shape of a small bone. It sat in the back of my baking utensil draw waiting for the day that our dream dog arrived. She arrived. Twenty-three months later – sometimes the best ideas take that long to become reality, the cutter was hauled out and put into service. If I sound pleased, I was. How many times have you bought something only to never end up using it?
The recipe produced a lot of dough. With a small cookie cutter, it made a gigantic batch of treats. I stopped rolling dough when I had filled and baked four cookie sheets worth. My wrists were starting to feel achy. Seeing this huge amount, I progressed to making long dough strips and cutting them into ½ inch pieces for training treats. Bake at 350 degrees F until treats become slightly cracked and no longer soft. I think total cooking time was around 35 minutes but, it will depend upon treat size. Bailey was standing by in the hopes of becoming a product tester. I fed her and not one was rejected. I ended up freezing half of the dough for another time. Within an hour, I was finished. I packaged up two treat jars for a friend. The remaining treats were stored in labelled Mason jars and placed in the freezer for long-term keeping. I guess defrosting the freezer will have to wait awhile. Bailey loves her “new” favourite goodies made with lots of love.
September 15th, 2015
Several people have asked, “Where’s last week’s blog? It’s still in my head. You see, I was playing hooky on Tuesday. It was the last day of the summer holidays before the new school year started. I awoke with a To do List that seemed to be endless. But, I crawled out of bed resigned to get working on these tasks. Bailey convinced me otherwise. When I took her outside for the first business break of the morning, the sun was shining and the breeze felt warm. Bailey was giddy with excitement as she dodged from one spot to another. I silently thought how wonderful it would be to spend the day outside with her and the boys. The last few days had been rainy and cool. Then, I reminded myself of everything that needed to be done – darn that list. Another glance at Bailey and her carefree manner made me wish for a day off. Why not? So, Bailey and her pack, as we refer to ourselves, enjoyed the day to its fullest. She dug a huge hole at the sand pit. My oldest son and I watched with amazement as Bailey’s massive paws sprung into action. We took her for a swim at Jean Lake in the morning followed by an afternoon hike around Tanya Lake. Bailey was in seventh heaven especially after gobbling wild blueberries. We laughed and shared memories of our favourite Bailey moments. How quickly 7 months with our Newfoundland puppy has gone by.
The To Do List will always be there. As I glance down at the list, I see that the inside painting will have to wait for another year. I may have time to complete the touch-ups on the outside doors before winter sets in. The deck and stairs will also have to be built next year. Bailey can’t do stairs anyway so it is not like we were in any hurry. Do I regret not getting these tasks done? Not really because the time was spent with Bailey. She is no longer the hesitant puppy dipping her paw in the water. Bailey just darts in to retrieve the current favourite stick. She walks further with each passing day. Grooming sessions are more involved as puppy fur is being replaced by her adult fur. Our sweetness is like a tasty piece of fruit. You can’t help yourself from going back for one more taste. However, in Bailey’s case, it is one more belly rub. Her puppyhood will come to an end before we know it. Taking a day off or a summer for that matter to frolic with Bailey in the sunshine of the Big Land is worth it.
P.S. At 33 weeks, Bailey is now 40.7 kg or 89 pounds 9 ounces. At 32 weeks, Bailey was 39.7 kg or 87 pounds 8 ounces.
Bailey and I awoke to a Tuesday that was wet and cloudy. It did not look like an afternoon hike around Jean Lake followed by a swim would happen. Although we did manage to squeeze a 45 minute walk in without so much as a sprinkle, it was the only one. The poor weather seemed to sap our desire to actively play. What does one do on such a day in the afternoon? I decided to take a page from Bailey’s book on how to spend that time – Take a moment or a couple of hours to relax. Bailey is really good at getting some extra shut-eye. I thought of that saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie” as I grabbed a book and lay out on the couch with Bailey alongside. After a couple of pages, I joined Bailey in the world of peaceful sleep. The sound of the bread machine starting jarred me from my bliss awhile later. I moved onto the carpet and lay down beside Bailey. She happily exposed her belly to me and stretched out her front legs. I caught the hint. Sometimes I can be slow to understand but not about belly rub. She was very appreciative about my efforts. I was treated to her grunts and nose nuzzles. I kept rubbing until I heard long drawn out snores. Slowly, I began to move away in the hope of reaching the coffeemaker for another cup of java without waking her. Bailey foiled that plan as she sensed an opportunity to mooch a tidbit of food. She trailed behind me, dripping drool across the flooring. Once fed (yes, I was weak), Bailey spread out on the tiled flooring. Our informal way of measuring her is to count the number of tiles that she occupies. She takes up almost 8 tiles – four more than when she first arrived. Our girl is growing up.
I decided to go back to the living room and lay out on the carpet. Bailey wandered back to investigate what I was doing. She often gets excited when I am looking up at her rather than the other way around. It is not something that I do frequently. When I do, I gain a different perspective of Bailey. I know her nose is big but, from this view, it looked even bigger. It did not take long before her tongue was busy licking my face as Bailey started to get more into the groove of things. Those pearly white adult teeth are massive compared to her baby ones that have been falling out. I also noticed her gigantic paws pack a lot of weight after she accidently stepped on my stomach. Once the drool started, I knew the time had come to call it quits. The afternoon was not a bust. We spent a fun time with one another despite the drizzling rain outside. From that perspective, our day was looking up.
P.S. At 25 weeks, Bailey is now 33.7 kg or 74 pounds 5 ounces.
July 7th, 2015
Life is usually not perfect. I learned that experiencing a perfect month, week or even a day is not likely to happen. So, when everything falls flawlessly in place, one appreciates it. Bailey and I had such a moment. The morning began in the normal fashion. That was until we clamoured outside for our first walk of the day in the early hours. At 16 degrees Celsius, the temperature was not too hot or cold – just right for a stroll. Temperature plays a big part on Bailey’s mood. There was no glare from the sun which was hidden behind cloud cover. A warm breeze greeted us with the promise that no bug spray was necessary. I suspected that Bailey was relieved not to be squirted with her special insect repellent.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, Bailey was motivated to get her business over with. Her timing was perfect as I was able to bag and dispose of it with relative ease – a dumpster was nearby. Most mornings, Bailey spends a considerable amount of time looking for that “perfect spot” which is usually not close to any public garbage can. When this happens, I find myself carrying the bag until we arrive back home. There’s a lot of stuff in that bag and it emits a very fragrant odor. In the warmer weather, it can get quite ripe. Her walk can often be a two bagger one. Fortunately for me, today’s walk did not involve a large volume and disposal was quick.
We settled upon a comfortable pace and proceeded through the nearby playground. Bailey ignored the temptation to gobble the rocks hidden in the grass. I was treated to a litter free walk which meant not having to pry pieces of garbage out of Bailey’s mouth. Old discarded chewing gum is one of her favourite contraband items. Most mornings, I stoop down to collect litter left on the ground. No bug spray needed and now, no trash strewn around to pick up. The walk was becoming more enjoyable.
The two of us made our to the adjacent baseball field and completed a circuit to close the gates. Once that was done, Bailey sat and waited while I walked across the field to the other side. I blew the silent whistle and she charged quickly towards me. Watching Bailey thunder closer and closer can be scary as she is not always the best about putting on the brakes. Today, she stopped in front of me with space to spare. Bailey resumed her sitting position in anticipation of the cheese treat. The second and third times went equally well. I was pleased. More importantly, Bailey was happy that I was pleased.
We began to head back towards home. The street was quiet except for the sound of my footsteps, Bailey’s panting and the rustling tree leaves from the wind. I smiled at seeing the breeze ripple through her fur. I noticed that her puppy fur was starting to give way to patches of shiny adult fur. I wondered where the time had gone. I glanced around to observe the chirping birds and the flowering gardens without any thoughts of the upcoming busy day ahead. Occasionally, I would notice Bailey looking up at me. She would softly nuzzle my hand when our eyes met. Everything was right with our world. I realized that Bailey was heeling without any need of correction. She was not straining on the leash. Instead, we were in sync as we sauntered side by side down the street – the perfect partnership between owner and dog.
P.S. At 23 weeks, Bailey is now 31.2 kg or 68 pounds 11 ounces.