Hunger Strike Ends

March 8th, 2018

Another Rejected Meal

Should we be rejoicing now that Bailey has eaten two meals per day for the last two days?  After days of no eating followed by a few nibbles of the new kibble, I think our stubborn girl has finally relented for good.  It is not because she’s particularly fond of the kibble.  I find it frustrating to have her turn away from this new upscale food at $100 for a 22 pound bag.  According to the pet store owner, dogs can’t get enough of it.  Our girl was certainly able to say “Nope”.  The hunger pains after numerous skipped meals must have tipped the scale.  Our sweetness is eating it.

Holding Out For A Plate Lick

The two of us compromised to get to this point. I began placing two bits of kibble in her mouth.  Then, she was prevented from spitting it out.  Each of us determined to outlast the other.  Bailey folded when the kibble became soggy and released its flavour.  The swallowed bits gave me hope.  I advanced to the next step of my plan.  I grabbed eight kibble pieces and held them in my hand.  Bailey sniffed and then with one slobbery swipe, they were gone.  I took another handful of kibble and positioned my hand over top of her food dish.  She moved cautiously forward before removing the kibble chunks and coating my hand with more slobber.  Normally, I would never think of hand feeding my dog.  Who wants to do that for the rest of the dog’s life?  Desperation calls for trying something different.  I removed my hand from the food dish.  Bailey magically began eating.  I tried this technique one more time before she was willing to just eat the kibble from the dish without any help from me.  Eating times have changed.  Bailey prefers to eat after her midday hike and then again, when she returns from the dinner hour walk.  I am not thrilled with chowing down kibble after exercise.  Bailey doesn’t seem to be bothered by the new meal time.  Now, it is my time to compromise.

Desperate For Food

This new limited diet will continue for the next 5 weeks to address possible food allergies. Bailey’s paws are slightly improved after being taken off her old kibble last week.  The ear infection is another thing.  The bacteria are still present in both ears but the right one is much worse.  The vet scheduled a culture sample to be taken on Monday  morning to determine what antibiotic will kill them.  Monday will be our fourth vet visit in less than a month.  It seems like we are bleeding out money at a quick rate.  Culture samples are done as a last result here in our remote Labrador community because they must be flown out for processing.  Cold weather creates transportation difficulties and makes the service more expensive.  Yet, our love for Bailey means redirecting more money towards getting her healthy.  Hopefully, this health crisis will be fixed in the near future.  Until then, our sweetness will continue to soak up the extra massages that are needed to get the medication down her ear canals.

Mona Lisa Newf

October 25th, 2017

Bailey Head Shot.jpg

It is funny how one discovers features on electronic devices.  Way back in the good old days before the internet, these items came with written manuals.  Nowadays, you are lucky to get a pamphlet explaining operational features because most manuals are found on-line.  I learn best when I see it in hardcopy rather than on a screen.  So, I never figured out how to use the special features on my digital camera.  What usually happens is that I have just taken a photo and suddenly a screen appears offering options.  I don’t have a clue as to what button was pressed.  On the viewer screen, the photo has been enhanced using techniques like fish bowl or paintbrush.  I sometimes like the effect and manage to save it, although I couldn’t tell you how.  As luck would have it, I snapped a recent photo of Bailey and the paintbrush option came up.  Bailey’s photo was transformed instantly into a watercolour portrait.  The reality is that she would never have posed long enough for me to paint her.  That’s assuming that I could paint and I can’t.  Technology offers hope to those of us who lack artistic talent.  This photo of our sweetness won’t adorn a big city gallery wall.  However, as a screen saver, she is greatly admired by her adoring fans.


The Mellow Yellow Lick

October 17th, 2017

Tongue Licking Good

The north is often associated with the call of the wild.  In our house, it is the “Call of the Butter Wrapper”.  Bailey can be in a deep sleep, more or less dead to the world, oblivious to anything going on around her.  Bailey Sleeping DeeplySuddenly, she bolts up at the sound of the wrapper being peeled off the butter block.  No matter how quiet that I try to be, her ears are genetically-trained to hone in on this noise.  Bailey is quick to make her way to the kitchen in the hopes of licking the wrapper clean before it is no longer available.  There was a time prior to Bailey’s arrival when I saved these butter wrappers by storing them in the freezer.  They accumulated faster than I could use them to grease baking pans.  Nowadays, the stash is non-existent due to Bailey’s insistence of licking them clean.


Today was no different. I spent the latter part of the morning making pumpkin raisin muffins.  Butter was needed in the recipe.  So, out came the butter.  Bailey was sleeping belly up and barely on her blanket.  She was exhausted from her morning trail walk and romp in the snow with dog pal, Cas.  The crinkle of the wrapper awoke our butter enthusiast from her slumber.  By the time I had unwrapped it completely, Bailey was waiting with drool pooling on the floor.  I pulled down the dishwasher door and placed a towel in front of it to minimize the clean-up.  The Wrapper LickHer tongue darted out and within seconds, the wrapper was spotless.  Of course, I had the task of wiping the drool from her muzzle, ruff, and legs.  Bailey headed back to her still warm spot on the blanket and settled in for more Zzzs.Is There More

I have discovered only recently that Bailey’s mellow yellow passion extends beyond butter.  As I alluded to in the post, “Breathing Down My Neck”, Bailey was attracted to my face.  The source of her fascination was my new shea butter lip balm.  Since wearing it at the start of September, this balm has become somewhat of a challenge to keep Bailey’s tongue at arm’s length away.  The recent cold weather and snowfall has meant that I am applying the balm on my lips daily. I  am usually in close proximity to our “licky lips” newf – bending down to wipe her paws, putting on her collar and grooming her.  The opportunities to sneak a quick taste are numerous.  I have resigned myself to being slimed on some of these occasions.  I have no idea what these two butters have in common but, our gal clearly loves both of them.  I can’t help wonder if opening up a butter wrapper on the trail rather than blowing a whistle might elicit a faster response time to the “Come” command.  One of these days, I will have to put this idea to the test.



Picture Perfect

September 19th, 2017

Picture Perfect

In my head, it was the perfect place to take the perfect photo of Bailey and her human pack.  The execution of this plan was not so perfect.

Last month, we became official members of the North Western Ontario Regional Newfoundland Dog Club.  You may be wondering why at this point.  Labrador is a considerable distance from Thunder Bay where this club is located.  However, this situation will be changing for our family. Adam, head of the clan, accepted a position at a mine near Thunder Bay last November.  The boys, Bailey and I will follow once the house here is sold.  In the meantime, our family decided to join this club with the hopes of becoming “active members”.  Adam has already attended a BBQ social in August as well as the recent chiropractic therapy workshop.  He misses being around his sweetness.  Having an opportunity to hang with the other members and their giants is appreciated by him.

We are newbies to the club.  So, it did not come as a surprise to receive an invitation to submit a bit of a bio and a photo of the family for the seasonal newsletter, “Newfie Tales”.  The request sounded simple enough.  Sunday afternoon was sunny after a run of rainy days.  I wanted an outdoor shot highlighting our Labrador autumn.  My walking partner agreed to take the photo.  The family and Bailey loaded up in a very warm van and headed down to Jean Lake which is just below our house.  It is a favourite walking area for us.  We clambered out at the boathouse and made our way to the floating dock.  Bailey was panting at this point with drool starting to drip.  Rats! I forgot her drool rags.  A quick wipe with the backside of my coat sleeve did the trick.  I just needed to remember not to expose it when the picture was taken.  Bailey was not put off by the swaying of the dock, although I was.  The family got into position with Bailey front and centre.  It was at this point that I realized things were not going to go well.

Bailey was clearly hot and the water was looking inviting.  She was facing a huge, lake- sized water bowl.  With each passing minute, Bailey was getting more difficult to keep under control.  Our girl wanted to dip her paws.  I should have known that a black, long haired Newf would not enjoy sitting in the sun.  If that was not enough, my friend had brought her dog, Cas, and husband.  Bailey loves spending time with both of them.  They waited behind us – closer to shore.  Bailey kept trying to turn her head to see what they were doing.  Once Cas began calling to her, I  knew the photo shoot was doomed.  A series of snaps were taken before we decided to abandon looking into the sun.  The brightness of the sun caused the photos to be overexposed and, our eyes were half shut from squinting.  Hates Photo SessionWe moved to a new location which proved better with respect to the sun.  However, the dreary storage shed behind us spoiled any hope of showcasing how beautiful Labrador West is at this time of year.  We moved again.  Bailey wanted to bolt.  She was tired of the photo shoot.  Cameron tried to appear casual as he struggled to keep her still.  If I did not know better, the photos seem to show him throttling her.  By this time, the black flies had decided to join us.  Smiling casually while being devoured is an acting feat that I have never mastered.  Still, we persevered on to capture the “perfect” photo.  The fifteenth shot was deemed okay and we called it quits.  Perfect or not, we were done….


Inconvenient Sundays

August 15th, 2017

Scrubbing Bailey’s kennel floor on my knees, I ask myself, “Why Sundays?”  After all, is this not the day of rest?  The morning had started out so well.  The perfect cup of coffee savoured as I read my latest mystery novel.  Finally, it was 6:15 am and I was ready to wake my sweetness up from her sound sleep for the morning trail walk.  I whipped the garage door open only to be hit with a repugnant odour.  I remembered that smell from a Sunday not that long ago.

It was Father’s Day – June 18th.  It was a jam-packed day.  I had the task of getting my youngest son to the Iron City 2017 Duathlon in the morning.  My other son and I were slated to man one of the water stations as volunteers.  My husband would be at the start/finish line supporting his son and ensuring there were no equipment failures.  I rose early to ease into the day and planned to take Bailey out for a trail walk before returning home for the well-earned second cup of java.  The rest of the family would get up around 8:30 am for a leisurely breakfast of waffles and wild blueberry sauce before packing up.  It was a superb plan until I opened the garage door.

Bailey was sitting as tight as a Newf could in the corner of her kennel pen.  The smell of diarrhea permeated the area.  Having raised two boys, I instantly knew what was in store for me.  I reluctantly looked in. It was bad scene – an explosion of poop.  What an introduction into experiencing Bailey’s first bout of diarrhea!  I marvelled that Bailey managed to avoid getting any of the offending material on herself.  No encouragement was required for Bailey to exit the kennel.  She needed her walk and I was motivated to delay the nasty clean-up.  I thought about waking up my husband and saying Happy Father’s Day before springing the task of poop removal on him.  But, I was kind.  I decided to take this one for the team.

Off the two of us went to join our trail partners.  I envied my walking partner who would be soon enjoying her second cup of coffee.  Bailey and I returned.  It was still there.  Bailey plopped herself down as far away as she possibly could.  She fell asleep quickly after a night of very little sleep.  I scooped the offending puddle with plastic grocery bags.  I decided to share the fun and woke my sleep-loving husband.  He collected the cleaning items and I began the task of  disinfecting the kennel and its sides.  The homemade waffles and sauce were scrapped as my husband took over cooking duties.  The boys were somewhat disappointed when they sat down to a breakfast of oatmeal porridge and fruit.  Outside, the rain was pouring down.

I thought how living with children and pets often means dealing with unpleasant situations at the most inconvenient times.  Our family was less than 72 hours away from leaving on our 6,000 km road trip and Bailey was coming with us.  A dog with loose stools in a van was a terrifying thought.  I suspected that the lake water drank by Bailey on a walk around Jean Lake, the previous day,  was the likely source of her discomfort.  Two hours later, Bailey was washed and her kennel was spotless.  We decided that my husband would stay home to make sure that Bailey was okay.  Personally, I think he was relieved not to be standing in the rain at the race.  After a day of no food and lots of rest, Bailey showed some improvement.  She made short work of the rice and chicken on Monday.  Bailey was back eating her regular food by the next day.

Here I am – Déjà vu!  The clean-up went quicker this time.  Thanks in part due to it being less explosive and I found better ways to tackle the mess.  On Saturday, Bailey had been wading in the lake as a break from backpacking and managed to gulp down enough water to set her bowels off again.  It took Bailey until Sunday afternoon to clear her system followed by 24 hours without food.  As if today, things are back to normal for her.  She’ll only be drinking her packed water until summer is over.  The calamity has passed for our sweetness.  The good news is that I not only cleaned Bailey’s kennel but, tackled the rest of the garage – a job that I had been procrastinating on doing for weeks.


Tea Newf


August 8th, 2017

Bailey Mom & Flies

With cooler temperatures and no sign of the yet to materialize thunderstorm, Bailey and I headed out to Jean Lake for an afternoon of collecting Labrador tea leaves (also called Ledum groenlandicum which is a shrub that flowers from late May to mid-July).  The plants grow abundantly in the forest around Labrador West without any human care.  All that we have to do is be patient until the leaves are ready for harvesting.  The leaves are picked, washed and dried before being stored away for the winter months.  It is the North’s version of herbal tea.  The leaves can be used to make a tea that is rich with vitamin C.  Faced with the harsh weather here, I relish warming myself up with a mug of seeped Labrador tea leaves throughout the winter.  I can close my eyes and its smoky aroma reminds me of hiking off the trail in search of unblemished leaves.  This harvest, I have a helper.  Bailey & Her LoadBailey would be hauling our gear as well as the collected leaves.  She must know that hauling is what Newfoundland dogs were bred for.  The sight of her harness brings on an instant tail wag.  I have become more skilled at putting the harness on her over the last few weeks.  I carefully balance the load consisting of water bottles, drinking bowl, bug spray for the two of us, collection bags and camera.  Then, we are off. Bailey ignores another dog and owner coming towards us.  She plods ahead, focused on her work.  Within 10 minutes of leaving home, we are strolling down the trail in search of “perfect” tea leaves.  I have learned not to pick from plants too close to the trail.  Local dog traffic on the trail means these plants are likely to have been specially fertilized.

Crop of Tea Leaves

Bingo, I spot a mother lode of vibrant, dark green leafed plants.  They are setback from the trail.  Bailey responds immediately to the command, “Whoa” and remains stationary while I root in the backpack for one of the collection bags.  Bailey Patiently WaitingI begin picking.  I soon realize that Bailey is no longer standing on the trail.  She has followed behind me – curious to see what I am doing.  Perhaps, Bailey remembers me picking berries and is hopeful that a tasty treat might come her way.  One sniff of the Labrador tea leaves and Bailey’s hopes were dashed.  The leaves were not appealing to a Newfoundland dog unlike berries.  The forest was peaceful.  A bird would chirp every so often but, Bailey and I were on our own.  That is, if one does not count the hundreds of black flies swarming us.  We continued for a while before moving back to the trail in search of other picking spots.  I reflected on the fact that my father’s paternal side also had picked Labrador tea out west and sold the dried tea leaves to men headed for British Columbia’s Gold Rush.  It must be in the genes.  The only difference is that I had a Newfoundland dog assisting me.

I Have Your Back

Occasionally, I would take a break for water.  Bailey seemed to understand guzzling the water in her bowl resulted in the backpacks getting lighter.  A couple of places on the trail allowed Bailey to wade into the lake.  Can I Go In The LakeI always took off the backpacks before she entered. It was a precaution.  One cannot always tell how far out a Newfoundland dog will go.  Not all of the items in the backpacks would fare well if submerged in water like the camera.  When the bags were filled, we made our way home.  Bailey made quite an impression on two preteen girls who wanted to know what she was carrying.  Working or not, Bailey earned the ear scratches that the girls gave her.  Bailey promptly plopped herself down onto the cool concrete in the garage for a late afternoon siesta and it was tea time for me.

Washed & Ready To Ddry


The Dog Cave

August 1st, 2017

Bailey and I have found refuge from black flies and warm temperatures in the garage.  It stopped being my husband’s “man cave” as of the beginning of July.  Instead, the garage has been transformed into Bailey’s own private paradise of cool concrete, a big bucket of refreshing water that is continually replenished, an assortment of balls as well as pull toys, and a supply of tantalizing treats.  No bug spray or air conditioning is needed.  But, what is paradise without a friend to share in its offerings.  Bailey and her fur buddy, Cas, have a short walk together every afternoon followed by a garage play date.  The two pals would happily skip the walk and go directly to the garage if it were not for their owners.  Once there though, Bailey and Cas can barely tolerate standing still while their leashes and collars are removed.  Then, the real fun begins.

Between Friends

Waiting To Be Pounced OnThey chase one another around the confined space while tugging on each other’s fur, tails, ears and droopy jowls in Bailey’s case.  The two of them frequently run in a circular pattern as they hold on dearly to the body part of the other one.  Before long, one of them is rolling on the floor while the other climbs aboard (that would be Cas) or looms over top (this one would be Bailey).  Cas has never been intimidated by Bailey’s large size.  He uses his front paws like a light weight boxer against his heavier opponent.  Cas is quicker and uses his speed to full advantage.  When Bailey is on the ground with four paws flailing in the air, he manages to straddle her chest.  Big TeethCas has developed a technique that allows him to pin Bailey down by placing his front legs on both sides of her head.  Then, the weight of his body on her chest immobilizes Bailey.  She tries her best to squirm out from under him, getting frustrated in the process.  Eventually, Bailey does escape.  It is Cas who becomes the hunted.  Bailey directs him with her huge paws until she succeeds at flipping him onto his back.  She likes to grab him by his fur and drag him around.  Cas will give a little whine when Bailey gets carried away.  I think she believes Cas is a real living “Stuffie” that can be shaken.  Water Bowl PalsAnyway, my friend and I remind her to play gently.  If necessary, both of them are given a rest as they quench their thirst at the water bowl.

Recently, the two of them have discovered the joy of playing tug-a-war with Bailey’s rope toy.  It was designed and made by my eldest son using knots learned at sea cadets.  A monkey knot creates a ball at one end and the other end has a handle to pull on.  The two ends are linked by a series of cobra knots.  Not A ChanceBailey prefers the ball to hold onto while Cas likes the handle.  Now, it is Cas who gets frustrated when he cannot pull Bailey towards him.  His only hope is to wait until she is readjusting her grip and pull when the rope slackens.  The winner struts around the garage while whipping the rope back and forth.  They keep us amused with their antics.  These afternoons in the garage have become our sanctuary from the black flies and hot, humid temperatures.  Every pooch needs a dog cave to share with their pals.

A New Tactic


A Working Gal

July 25th, 2017

Today, Bailey became an official working dog.  She hauled her own water bottles and bug spray in a specially-designed backpack for Newfoundland dogs.  When Bailey attended the beginner carting course offered by the South Eastern Ontario Regional Newfoundland Dog Club in June 2016, we placed an order for a customized harness to be made by Allan Maniate.  He is also belongs to our club, instructs most of the club’s courses while running a dog equipment business on the side.  The harness would allow  Bailey to safely and comfortably participate in draft activities.  Should she grow, the harness can be adjusted within a certain range.  Oh, how I wish that my own clothes offered this option.  I Am A Working GalAnyway, the harness is made of sheepskin and leather to withstand the strain of a hardworking Newf.  The harness allows Bailey to pull sleds, wagons or carts tailored to the size of a Newf.  Our original intent was to train Bailey to use a sled.  After all, Labrador is under snow 7 months of the year.  However, we decided to purchase a backpack for her that would attach to the modified harness.  Bailey and I hike frequently.  I was getting tired of being the one to carry everything.  Bailey needed to embrace her drafting heritage.

The night before the Rally-O seminar, the reason for travelling down to Peterborough, Bailey received her final fitting.  My husband and I were shown by Allan on how to place it on her and fasten the buckles up.  I learned that it is not as easy as my husband made it seem at last year’s carting course.  Allan explained the technique of keeping one hand behind the strap to keep Bailey’s long guard hairs from becoming tangled up.  The other hand had to pull the other strap under the belly of our black beastie.  You need really good arm muscles as I found out.  Eventually, I managed to get the straps done up.  Whew!  Then, Allan informed me that I should tighten the strap up one more notch.  Draft animals including dogs have a habit of puffing out their chests to keep the strap loose.  I tugged until I had added another hole on the strap.  Bailey was now cinched in.  We received a refresher course on carting and I sustained a few bruises from the cart’s poles hitting the sides of my knees.  Bailey was not the only one requiring more practice.  At the close of this learning session, we inquired about getting a backpack.  Fortunately, Allan had one on hand.  He was willing to make the customized leather strap needed to tether the backpack to the harness before the next day’s course.  Sure enough, the backpack was waiting for me.

My Bags Are PackedSince arriving back in Labrador West, I have slowly re-introduced Bailey to the harness.  She and I practiced getting it on her.  Once that part was mastered, I led her around the property to get her comfortable with wearing the harness.  Next, we moved to having her carry an empty backpack.  Bailey had to realize that she was wider than without the packs.  At first, she hit the door frame to the garage or me as she tried to perform our tight heel position.  Bailey seemed confused with the fact that her clearance parameters had shrunk.  I remained persistent and patient.  Bailey waddled around the yard with the empty backpacks.  She made progress very quickly that I began increasing her weight load.  First, she carried empty water bottles followed by half full ones.  Things were going so well that I thought today was a good day to try carrying a full load.

Bailey wagged her tail as I brought the harness out.  That is a good sign, I thought to myself.  I fumbled a bit with the straps but, got them done up.  The backpack was attached to her harness followed by loading an identical, full water bottle on each side.  The bug spray went in next as did my camera.  She owed me one for all those months of carrying drool rags, poop bags and treats.  I felt free for the first time in a very long time.  It was the same feeling that I had when the boys were big enough to carry their own stuff.  I was liberated from being a pack mule.  The day had come for Bailey to venture off the property in working mode.  The two of us and our friends headed down to Jean Lake to hike around it.  The morning was cool enough and the black flies seemed less bothersome.  The trees offered some shade from the heat of the sun.  At first, she wanted to play with her husky/lab friend, Cas.  I reminded her that she was working and all thoughts of play disappeared.  Bailey strutted like a pro.  We took water breaks along the way.  Sometimes, they involved wading into the lake for a quick drink and paw cooling.  I decided to remove the backpack when Bailey wanted to enter into the lake.  Other times, she happily drank the bottled water which magically lessened her load.  Her working attire attracted some attention but, not enough for Bailey to lose focus of the task at hand.  Our working gal earned a well-deserved afternoon siesta and a couple of high valued treats at the conclusion of the hike.



The Unexpected Souvenir

July 11th, 2017

Bailey & Donna at Terry Fox Monument in Thunder Bay2

Home at last.  My annual escape to civilization has come to an end as of last Thursday.  But, it was quite a vacation – 16 days and 6,000 kilometres.  We celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday in Thunder Bay, Ontario after stopping in Quebec City, Montreal, Cornwall, Peterborough and Sault Saint Marie.  Bailey joined us on this epic journey as she and I participated in a Rally-O course offered by the South Eastern Ontario Regional Newfoundland Dog Club.  I was planning on writing about the course until tonight’s grooming session revealed an unexpected souvenir.  Be forewarned, the photos are graphic.  Stomach-turners for people like me.

I was just finishing up with my sweetness when I decided to have one more run of the rake through her ruff underneath the left ear.  Something caught my eye and I bent down for a closer look. At first I thought it was a piece of wood in the shape of a corn kernel that Bailey must have got lodged in her fur on one of today’s hikes.  Nope…  For a second, I imagined it was the start of a tumour.  It moved.  Without thinking, I pulled the insect off.  Blood gushed out of a bubbled up piece of angry red skin.  I was trying my best to keep my recently eaten dinner down. All of us bring back souvenirs to remember our travels.  I just wasn’t expecting Bailey to have her own “special” one.  My suspicions suggested it was a tick.  Labrador is still considered to be a tick free zone.  Bailey’s passenger must have hopped aboard somewhere on our trip as we marvelled at the beautiful landscapes.  Thankfully, our gal had received a preventative treatment for ticks and other unwanted critters before we left.  Her next one is due in two days.  I retrieved a baggie from the kitchen and used the comb to flick the bug into the bag.  Captured & JailedOn further examination, the bug was tan in colour and the size of my middle finger nail.  Was it a tick?  I decided the situation required a second opinion. I called my hiking partner who lives around the corner and explained my predicament.  Her husband and she arrived quickly with IPad in tow.  Despite Bailey’s overly enthusiastic greeting, we managed to settle her down enough to examine the wound site.  The mystery bug was confirmed to be a tick.

While waiting for them to arrive, I pulled out the new shaver that I had bought for Bailey’s paws.  I managed to put aside my queasiness.  Then, I removed some of the fur surrounding the wound bulbous to not only get a better look at it but, to find it.  The Wound SiteEven with it shaved, it took a few minutes for me to locate it again.  It was not surprising that Bailey’s long guard hair and thick undercoat provided the perfect cover for the tick.  I scrounged around for my magnifying glass and took a more detailed look.  This tick was the first one that I had seen in real life.  Hopefully, it is the last time.  Bailey would have to go to the vet tomorrow to make sure that she was alright.  I realized that she had been tousling with her best bud, Cas, on numerous occasions since getting home on Thursday.  He was going to have to be thoroughly examined as well.  My friends left knowing what my cheerful news meant for them and Cas – an extended grooming session and possible tick prevention treatment.  Bailey, her souvenir and I have date with the veterinarian in the very near future and a second tick prevention treatment in two days.  We avoided several tourist traps on our road trip hawking over-priced souvenirs.  Who knew that Mother Nature had her own souvenir trap waiting for us?


Study Buddy

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.

Study BuddiesSometimes, 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.