Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Smart Dog

I know lately my blog and a lot of my conversations seem to be “all Katie, all the time”, but when you share your life with an animal that is as sweet, beautiful and smart as Katie you just can’t help yourself. Plus she is playing a critical role in helping me to keep my sanity during this increasingly long wait for Natalie. Also, since Natalie will be an only child Katie and Newfie #2 (to be introduced at an unknown time in the future) are going to have to act as her siblings. It should be an interesting childhood for Natalie. I can just see Natalie now riding in a little red wagon being pulled by Katie or Newf2. We will all have a blast together. But I digress from the main story...

The latest act of Katie’s brilliance occurred yesterday when she and I were hanging out in Natalie’s room. All of the sudden Katie let out a huge bark in the direction of one of the walls. Then she stood at attention staring intently at something. I looked around to try to figure out what caused her to bark (she only barks about once every other day, so there is usually a good reason for it). The only thing I could see that was unusual was the red dog pictured above that I had placed on the shelf that morning. I thought surely she didn’t possibly notice that new dog I put on a shelf about six feet off the floor, but I didn’t see anything else out of the ordinary. I took the red dog off the shelf and showed it to Katie. She took a step backwards and barked at it. So, sure enough, it was the red dog that she noticed as being different. Has she memorized every decoration and object in this house? I am just astounded by her observational skills. I showed Katie the dog and told her to “Check It”. This is a command we learned in puppy school that Katie came to understand as “even though I’m scared of this thing mama says check it, so that means it’s not going to hurt me”. After she gave it a good sniff she decided it would make a good toy, and I had to tell her that it was my toy. Sorry Charlie, go play with one of the thirty toys that are yours :-) Maybe it was a scheme she was plotting all along to get a new toy. If so, she didn’t outsmart me THIS time, but who knows what the future holds.

Monday, October 29, 2007

First Birthday of our First Newf

One year ago today our precious Katie was born. I was able to visit Katie's mom, Berta, a couple of times before she gave birth and saw Katie for the first time when she was one week old. I visited the litter about once a week until Katie was old enough to come home at about 10 weeks. Katie was always easy to spot in the pile of ten black puppies because of her pretty little white foot. I thought she was so cute and I really wanted her from the beginning. However, I kept reminding myself that I wasn't looking for the cutest puppy; I was looking for the one with the best personality. When the pups were 6 weeks old I was finally allowed to hold them. When Miss Katie was in my arms for the first time something inside me melted. She truly felt like my dog. Each time I would visit she would spend more time with me than any of the other pups. I think she was picking me as much as I was picking her. To me, she seemed to be the sweetest one in the litter. So, in the end we got the sweetest AND the cutest one :-)

My husband, Gary, thought I was a little bit insane when I told him last summer that I wanted to get a Newfoundland. Now, he jokingly takes credit for the idea and always brags about what a great job he did in picking Katie out. Katie has even won over the heart of our 14 1/2 year old Siberian Husky, Scarlett, who at first didn't have any appreciation for the crazy puppy we brought into HER house. Dearest Katie has become our pride and joy. Gary and I are so grateful for her presence in our lives. Our deepest thanks to the Bennetts for entrusting us with this wonderful girl.

Tonight Katie celebrated with a fish snack, lots of extra love and her own special princess birthday hat.
Happy Birthday Dearest Katie! Here’s to Many, Many More Together!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Albert Pike & Little Missouri Falls Hike

Gary, Katie and I had a wonderful time Saturday on a day-trip to Southwest Arkansas. It was a perfect October day. Katie got her first taste of being a superstar. Everywhere we went her admirers flocked around her asking the usual questions: What kind of dog is she? Is she a Saint Bernard??Huh? How big will she get? How much does she eat? What made you pick out this breed? The answer to the last question is that I wanted to get the sweetest dog possible and I knew that Newfs were known for their sweet temperments. And, it sure is true with Katie!! She is such a happy, precious girl and is glad to soak up all of the affection that people want to give her while Mom and Dad get grilled by her fan club.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And the Winner is...Wilbon’s Katie Scarlett O’Hara

Tonight 11 month old Katie completed her basic obedience training. For the last class we had dog olympics. There were four events: heeling with auto-sits, sit stays, down stays and recalls. Katie won the GOLD in the first two events: heeling and the sit stay. I was so proud. I was just as proud when she won a bronze in the down stay. I was further away from her than I ever had been and she held the down stay without moving for several minutes. She even stayed when the teacher bounced toys right in front of her with me far away. Finally she couldn’t take it any more, and wanted to be with her mama. The gold and silver winners broke less than 5 seconds after her, so it was close. For the last event she did a beautiful recall complete with the cutest little bounce into a sit. Her sit was a little crooked so she didn’t win a medal. I thought she should have won a special award just for being so darn cute :-) Katie and I both had a total blast through out the 8 week course. We trained all of the other students in the class on the importance of carrying a drool rag. Everyone loved Katie even with her slime.

Now Katie and I are off to seek new adventures in the sub-novice class.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Katie and Gary Doing Yoga

Last night Gary and I both decided to skip our respective yoga classes and practice together at home. Miss Katie plopped down on my mat and seemed to be mirroring her dad in extended child’s pose. She ended up spending most of the class lying in that little strip of space right between our mats.

Whenever we do yoga Katie always goes into Lily’s room, grabs a few toys out of her toy box and brings them into the room where we are practicing. Every time we bend down into a forward fold we pet her as our arms are coming down. She loves the whole routine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Weekend Full of My Favorite Things

This last weekend was so much fun. Some of my favorite things in the world are my mother, children and dogs and this weekend was full of all three. My mother stayed with us for the entire weekend which is a rare, and very special, occurrence.

Friday night we got to see my cousin Marilyn, who I always called Aunt Marilyn as a child because she is close to my mom in age. It was wonderful to see her; she is such a lovely woman.

Saturday, Mom and I volunteered to help at our local FCC (Families with Children from China) Moon Festival. We ran the temporary tattoo booth. It was really good for both of us to get to spend some time around all of the precious Chinese children. Mom has been excited about our adoption from day 1 back in Feb of 2005, but seeing all of those children had an impact on her. Now she is more ready than ever for her granddaughter to come home. She was so cute pointing out one child after another saying how beautiful and sweet they were and wondering what Lily will look like. Seeing those children just makes it all seem more real to me. Someday Lily will be home and we will be going to the Moon Festival, Chinese New Year and playdates with her.

Sunday, we drove to Hot Springs, AR and went to our first dog show. Katie's breeders were showing a couple of their Newfs and let us come through the back door to keep them company during their preparations. I was the official spray bottle, treat and drool rag carrier :-) The two Newfs they had there were such sweetie pies. It was fun to get to see the show and the behind the scenes preparations.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Natalie’s First Gifts

My cousin Marilyn brought Natalie her first gifts when she came to visit this weekend. I can’t wait to dress Natalie in the clothes and put her into the incredibly soft jacket with the cute little ears on the hood. I really like the diaper bag too... pink and brown are some of my favorite colors.