Snow Therapy

March 12th, 2020

Woolly Mammoth

Another long distance phone call from a much warmer place came again today. Typically, I am asked, “What have you been up to?” My answer for the past 4 ½ months is snow, snow and more snow. The Labrador translation is snow therapy. We hike in it. We work in it. And, most importantly, we play in it. If Bailey could talk, she would surely agree that romping through the snowbanks is a wonderful way to pass the time. And that is exactly what the two of us did in the afternoon. The woolly mammoth jumped like a bunny after her favorite ball. Her antics soon had me grinning and laughing. Others passing by in their vehicles seemed to appreciate a rather large bunny hopping in the snow for all to see. While the muddy season is beginning for those dog owners living in warmer places, I am thankful to still see the crisp white snow and a much cleaner dog. Our time will come but, not today.

Ball Is Here Somewhere


Newf and her ball


My Ball

Looking For Woodland Critters

January 29th, 2020


Looking For Squirrels

Another day of venturing into Bailey’s favorite snowy playground.  Squirrels and rabbits occasionally make an appearance to keep a Newfoundland dog’s interest.  Their tracks taunt Bailey to submerge her prominent muzzle into the snow.  It doesn’t matter how cold the weather is out, Bailey seeks out their scents.  Of course, she can’t go far.  A couple of feet off the packed trail and Bailey sinks like rock thrown into water.  It’s a worry for me if Bailey were to get stuck.  I would have to go in and attempt a rescue.  Who would rescue me?  As luck would have it, Bailey was content to sit on the trail and wait longingly for a woodland critter to appear.

Snowy Muzzle

Just Another Snowstorm

April 18th, 2018

Spring Where Are You

Yesterday, our area was hit with another snowstorm. It was crippling enough to shut down the schools for the day.  The boys rejoiced until they realized that snow shovelling was the main activity for them.  My plans were also derailed as snow removal became the central activity of the day.  Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humour.  She teases us with glimpses of grass exposed as the snow melts.  Then, in just a few hours, any signs of spring are erased by newly formed blankets of falling snow.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our long winters to enjoy skiing, snowshoeing and trail hiking.  Even shovelling the white stuff is fine if it comes 5 cm at a time.  A couple of big dumps depositing over 25 cm can make one long for the spring weather enjoyed by southerners.  From the look of things outside, we will be waiting for a while.  Bailey loves her snowy wonderland.  As we shovel and haul the snow away, Bailey gleefully charges up the snow bank to retrieve her ball that one of us has thrown.  Queen BAfter several of these climbs, she is quite content to lie down and watch us work.  Bailey may belong to the working dog breed family but, her four humans are the “working dogs” today.  The exhausted troops were rewarded with homemade sourdough bread and tomato soup.  Evening plans to attend a volunteer appreciation function were cancelled.  I wasn’t fit to stay awake.  Bailey quite willingly joined me for a nap to regain our strength for the next snowstorm to roll in.

Calm Before The Storm

April 4th, 2018

Lots Of Play Space

By all accounts, a storm is coming soon to Labrador West.  It has left dumps of snow across Northern Ontario, moving through Quebec and arriving around midnight tonight.  My husband and boys are spending Spring Break in Quebec City with family while Bailey and I take care of the homestead here.  They experienced the snow blizzard there early today.  Staying in a hotel means no shovelling for them.  I won’t be so lucky if we get the predicted snowfall.  Waiting For Snow.pngTomorrow will be all about snow removal in the form of shovelling.  Knowing the cleared parts of the yard will once again be covered in white stuff, Bailey and I spent the afternoon playing in the open space around the house.  A pathway has been kept clear around the entire house due to the hard efforts of my husband.  Besides allowing the basement windows to be free of snow in case of fire, Bailey and I can practice our Rally-O techniques as we move around the outside of the house.  The snowbanks are over 6 feet high and act as a natural barrier between distractions and Bailey.  It may have been -36 degrees Celsuis on our walk this morning (-41 degrees Celsius if you count the windchill) but, the sky was blue and the sun shone down on us.  The air was invigorating.  It was quite pleasant as long as one was dressed for the weather.  We played with the ball.  Bailey fetched.  Then, the two of us wrestled with the ball.  A simple “Leave it” command and the ball was mine.  We soon collapsed down on the snow in need of a rest.  Time To Go In AlreadyLife won’t be so leisurely tomorrow.  While Bailey will be thrilled to see the white stuff, a morning of shovelling will definitely dampen my spirits.  Tonight, I plan to enjoy the calm before the storm.

Business As Usual

January 2nd, 2018

Catching Snowflakes

A cold snap hit parts of Canada as the New Year approached.  I could not help wondering what the big fuss over these “cold temperatures” was about.  Here in Labrador, we survive under more frigid conditions.  The morning of Christmas Day, I awoke to -42 degrees Celsius outside.  Waiting For TreatsMy friend and I still went out with our dogs for not one but, two walks.  Our husbands took the two furry pals out for the evening stroll.  Bailey and her pal, Cas, were not in the least bit tempted to forfeit these outings.  In a few days, the temperatures were hovering in the minus twenty range.  It was quite pleasant if you were dressed warmly.  Watching the antics of Bailey and Cas as they played in the snow was enough of a distraction for us to forget about the cold.  I won’t pretend that the extreme cold here is better than the moderate climates enjoyed by southern Canadians.  The majority of us in the North embrace living life to the fullest even if it means putting up with cold.  We entertain ourselves through the long winter months by hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, skating and snowmobiling.  Newf Heaven

Dogs like Bailey and Cas encourage us to seek outdoor pursuits even in harsh temperatures.  In Labrador, it was business as usual.

Snow Queen


Granting A Newfie Wish

May 2nd, 2017

Snowflake WishingOur girl, Bailey, has been somewhat out of sorts as of late.  Every time that she ventures outside, the amount of snow on the ground has been shrinking.  The recent warming of temperatures has contributed to its disappearance.   I would not be surprised if Bailey has been wishing for more snow.  I don’t think there is a Newfoundland dog out there that does not love the white stuff.  Tonight, she received her wish from Mother Nature.  Exiting the garage, we were greeted by soft snowflakes floating down.  Bailey, who had been lethargic about street walking, suddenly was bursting with energy.  She had spring in her step.  Her head was high as she pranced across the field, through the parking lot, up the street to the snow-covered trail.  I think it’s her best look.  Snowflakes sprinkled randomly on her shiny black coat.  She plopped herself into a sit and seemed to savour the moment.  Bailey was in heaven.  I haven’t the heart to tell her that in a few weeks, the family will be leaving the north to travel to South Eastern Ontario.  There temperatures will be in the high twenties or thirties on the Celsius scale.  She pants at -2 degrees Celsius.  Thankfully, Bailey will have the benefit of being kept cool with air conditioning.  She has a reprieve from the heat for now.  The weather forecast says a couple more days of falling snow.  It won’t be too much snow.  Just enough for Bailey to know that wishes sometimes do come true.

Paw Relief

January 31st, 2017


A week before the holidays, I was cruising the recent posts of a Newfoundland Dog Facebook group that I had joined shortly after getting Bailey.  One of the members had shared a YouTube video on how to make natural paw wax for dogs.  It intrigued me. I had been giving some thought as to ways to protect Bailey’s paws from the build-up of small ice balls in between her feet pads.  Bailey is not the “bootie” kind of dog.  paws-in-need-of-balmThe instructions were simple – place the four ingredients in a pot and heat until melted then pour into containers.  The ingredients were natural – 3 ounces of bees wax plus 3 tablespoons each of the following; avocado oil, coconut oil and calendula oil.  None of these things were harmful to our sweetness.  This paw wax promised to moisturize, reduce inflammation and soothe while offering paw protection from salt, dirt and ice balls.  I was willing to give it a try and Bailey was the guinea pig.

Finding the 4 items in town was not possible.  Fortunately, my friend was out for the holidays in a bigger centre where these items were available.  She returned with the required stuff and the chemistry experiment began.  paw-balm-4-itemsMy husband and oldest son were easy to recruit into making it.  The hardest part was breaking off a 3 ounce chunk of wax from the 1 pound block.  After putting the four ingredients into the pot and turning the stove element onto medium heat, they patiently stirred waiting for everything to melt.  The kitchen smelt really good – like honey.  My guys were busy being the worker bees and I, the queen bee, kept checking on them.  They didn’t need me and I annoyed them.  I went in search of containers to hold the paw balm.  Mason jars seemed to be the perfect choice.  The hot oil would not melt the glass and I could easily extract the balm from the jar.  Finally, the paw balm was completely melted and ready to pour using a funnel.  It was split between two small jars.  One for my friend who did a super job of tracking down the organic ingredients and one for me.  The trusty labeller came out.  Now, all we had to do was to wait for the paw balm to solidify and cool.  I suggested putting it in the fridge.  But, my husband warned that it would be too hard to use.  I listened and waited.  It took about one hour.




It was time for the “guinea pig” to try out her paw balm.  Bailey knew something was different.  She saw her nightly spa towel was on laid out on the entry rug.  It was not night time.  With some prodding, she lay down on her side.  balm-massage-beginsI gently began taking small amounts of paw balm and rubbing it between her pads.  I moved from paw to paw until each one was well-covered.  The entire time, I felt the urge to sample it.  If I was feeling hungry from the smell of honey then Bailey was going to enjoy cleaning her paws.  So, did it work?  I think so.  She definitely does not lie down on the trail as often to pull ice balls off.  However, I need to get better at making sure each paw is adequately covered.  Bailey’s pads are less rough and the redness of the skin between her pads has disappeared.  After more applications, Bailey is starting to fully appreciate her paw balm rubs – closing her eyes and stretching each paw out in anticipation of the massage.  massage-relaxationI have raided her balm supply for my own personal use.  These days, the two of us smell like two black bears that have gobbled honey from a bee hive.


Almost Two

January 24th, 2017


Tomorrow, our girl will officially be an adult Newfoundland dog.  She turns 2 years old and puppyhood becomes part of her past.  Although the time has gone by quickly, our lives have been filled with interesting experiences and lessons since Bailey’s arrival in the Big Land.  Just like a new baby changes your life, Bailey has certainly impacted ours.  Every family member participates in her daily schedule – the feedings, the walks, the business pick-ups, the rubs and the playtimes.  She is loved and valued.  And Bailey is well aware of it.  We don’t own her, she owns us – at least, our hearts.  Is the work of training done now that she has moved into the adult life stage?


Hell no!  Just last week, Bailey and I were hiking with a friend and her dog on the snow covered trails.  The dogs were off leash and focused on chasing one another around.  We were entering into a large open space when the dogs caught sight of two toy dogs about 150 metres away.  Cas, the other dog, ran over to them.  Bailey was near enough to us that we managed to get her on leash.  We called Cas who ignored us for a few minutes before starting back our way.  I wondered aloud, “Where’s the owner?”  Suddenly, an elderly woman appeared around the bend.  Bailey also took notice of her.  In seconds, I found myself face planted and dragged through the snow as Bailey tried to greet the newcomer.  With my friend attempting to help me up, we temporarily gained control of our Walmart greeter.  Bailey took both of us by surprise with another burst of effort and I found myself, once again, face down in the snow.  I rose up covered in snow and reined Bailey in.  drag-youNot surprisingly, I decided to cut our hike short and return home.  My pride and body wounded.  Bailey forgave me for not letting her thunder down to spread her love to a new person. The adventures will continue…..



November 1st, 2016

zoned-outThese last three days have been rest, rest and more rest for our sweetness, Bailey.  No playdates with puppy Cas.  No walks.  No games with “Stuffie”.  Simply put, she was to move as little as possible.  Why?  Bailey had a very active Saturday.  The two of us took an extended early morning walk in the freshly fallen snow.  It was peaceful and quiet.  We returned home to start the day.  Bailey happily slept while I made zucchini loaves.  The snowy outdoors called to us again.  After lunch, we joined Cas and his owner for a hike on the nature trail across from our house.  Only a portion of the trail had been packed down by snowmobiles.  It was hard work moving down the trail for both humans and dogs.  Cas, a perfect agility candidate, sprang over the snowbanks while Bailey bulldozed through them.  The two pals chased one another in amongst the trees providing much entertainment for their humans.  The four of us were tired when we returned.  Bailey had another nap – a pick-me-up as I like to call it.  I wasn’t so lucky and headed into town to get some last minute shopping items.

A couple of hours later, my youngest son went with Bailey to the backyard for the first game of “King of the Snowhill” this winter.  It is a game that involves a considerable amount of lying down in the snow.  Bailey was keen to play the game and made some great tackles to throw Cam off his claim of the hill.  Who won?  I can’t say.  They trooped in for dinner and Bailey inhaled hers.  By 6 pm, we were off to the ball field for one last play romp with Cas.  A few times, Bailey found herself lying with her feet in the air and Cas on top.  Snow covered both of them.  They appeared to be having a wonderful time.   Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  We said our good byes and headed home for the nightly grooming session.  Bailey snored and stretched through the entire process.  She moved to her special blanket afterwards and spent the remainder of the evening sleeping.  It was not until bedtime that we noticed Bailey favouring her front right leg.  After we checked her over and found nothing apparently wrong, she limped outside to do her business.  We settled her as comfortable as possible in the garage kennel.  After a Saturday of frolicking in the powdery snow, we hoped that her leg was achy from having been so active.  I did not sleep very well unlike Bailey.

The morning came and the limp remained.  It did lessen as the day progressed which we took as a encouraging sign.  Still, Bailey was restricted in her movements.  We helped her get up and lifted her down the two stairs to get outside.  By Monday, Bailey was getting a little bored with the napping and tried to get a throwing game going with “Stuffie”.  “Stuffie” was removed from circulation and only appeared at naptime.  Bailey also showed more interest in going for walks.  After finishing her business, she seemed puzzled that we were heading back home.  Bailey would give a slight pull on her leash to let us know that she wanted to keep going rather than turn around towards the house.  Orders were orders and back we went.  A call to the vet reinforced the idea of rest.  We agreed to bring her in if the limping did not improve by Wednesday.  Today is Tuesday and Bailey shows no sign of a limp.  She whipped past me without any hesitation to get to her food dish at the start of the day.  I guess bobbing for pear chunks in her water bowl does not seem so boring after all.  I am hopeful that by Friday, we can resume our daily walks.  We’ll just have to make sure that Bailey doesn’t overdo it.  Until then, Bailey can only rest and soak up lots of rubs.