Saturday, May 31, 2008

Louis Loves Lixit

Katie hasn't been using her Lixit much, but 4 month old Louis has discovered it. He is now a huge fan and makes sure to get a drink every time he goes outside.

Here is a link to the faucet extender we used.  You will need to purchase a short hose to go with it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Memorial Weekend Pictures

I just got these pictures today that were taken by our friend, BettyAnn, during our visit to Mom and John's house last weekend. Thanks so much BA!

Lean on Me

Louis looking at Katie like she has some funky breath

Sitting Straight...Finally!

Do you think Katie is happy at all?

Face Off

Glimpse of a Cute Newfie Puppy Tongue

Cute Newfie Puppy Behind with a Bonus of the Beautiful Big Sis

Louis Being a Very Good Boy During a Two Parent Shampoo

Clean Puppy and Gary Glowing with Love for His Baby Louis

Monday, May 26, 2008

Budding Water Dogs Face Dive for Hot Dogs

This afternoon we decided to try a water training tip from Nanook and Pooka's Blog. We threw a bunch of hot dog pieces into the kiddie pool so that Katie and Louis could get used to putting their faces under water. All four of us had a great time.

Part 1
In part one I am holding the pieces just under the water to get them used to the idea.

Part 2
They are starting to stick their faces completely under the water now.

Part 3
Now Katie is really getting the idea of diving for hot dogs.

Part 4
Last one...check out Louis' hair do when he turns toward the camera. It really cracks me up.

Sweet Sopping Wet Katie
"That was fun Mama, now we are ready for MORE hot dogs!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Water Fun Will Wear You Out

Gary, Katie, Louis and I spent part of Memorial Day Weekend with Mom, John and a couple of dear friends at M&J's house. We had a great time...lots of good conversation, delicious food and fun with our sweet Newfies.

First, they played in the sprinkler

Then Louis went for his first ever swim. He was a strong swimmer...and didn't seem nervous about it like Katie was her first time.

Afterwards he was quite worn out even though the whole swim only lasted for about sixty seconds. Our goal was just to give him a little bit of exposure, he seemed to like it at first but quickly tired. Gary carried him to the edge and placed him here. After a few minutes of rest he went off to romp with Katie.

Katie and Louis chillin' out

"Mama, I'm a sleepy puppy"

As usual, Katie is as close to her people as possible

Friday, May 23, 2008


BearBo used to be a pretty, plush, expensive Gund brand stuffed puppy dog that Mom got me for Christmas about 25 years ago. When Katie joined our family I decided to sacrifice my puppy toy for my new Newfie puppy. Now BearBo is a ratty toy that has been through the washing machine quite a few times.

Gary once asked me why the toy's name is BearBo when it isn't even a bear, but a stuffed dog. "Shouldn't it be DogBo" he asked, with a puzzled look on his face. I don't know why; that's just what his name is.

As a tiny pup, Katie loved to cuddle BearBo and seemed comforted by him. When Louis came along I decided that BearBo would be his special toy to be kept in his crate. For the past two months Louis has slept with and sometimes on top of BearBo and has been comforted by the cuddly friend that is covered in mine and Katie's scents. Yesterday when I turned my back for a minute Louis crept into his crate and came bouncing into the kitchen carrying BearBo in his mouth. When I say "bouncing" visualize a fifty pound puppy jumping several inches into the air with every other step. He was so proud of himself for nabbing the prize toy that he could not contain his joy. Louis bounced as fast as he could through the dog door to play with BearBo outside. I let Louis play with him for a few minutes before I whisked BearBo away to go back into his crate home. I didn't want BearBo to get torn up because none of us would get any sleep at night if Louis didn't have his special friend to cuddle.
Of course Katie had to get in on the BearBo action.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Springtime at the Happy Haus

Louis' First Walk in the Park Near Our House with Dad and Big Sister, Katie

Louis at 13 weeks old getting comfy in the Liriope.

The Little Prince in His Backyard (16 weeks old)

Our Little Boy is Growing So Fast

Louis will be 4 months old this Saturday. He currently weighs about 50 pounds. See how big he looks while cuddling up to his sister, Katie.

I can see a glimpse of his adult self in this picture.

Louis getting his nails dremmeled. He is so calm and well behaved during this procedure even though he is not too fond of it. He is such a extremely good really blows my mind how wonderful Louis is in every way. He is very smart, dashingly handsome, and supremely sweet. Louis fits into our family perfectly and brings Gary, Katie and I so much joy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Puppy School

Today was Louis' last day of his first session of puppy school. Below he is pictured with a couple of his classmates: Clancy the Irish Terrier and Gunner the Vizsla.

We had a great time socializing with the other puppies and their humans. Louis learned sit, down, stand, sit stay, down stay, come, loose healing, along with an introduction to some simple agility equipment. Most of all we had fun and set the stage for many future dog classes together.

I think Louis' favorite part was the Salmon Cookies. I always use these in class because I can pop one in my mouth and bite off little pieces to feed Louis during the exercises. It allows my hands to be free and also keeps his attention on my face. A lot of people use beef or chicken, but since I am a pesco-vegetarian (meaning I eat fish, but no meat) I don't want either of those in my mouth. The salmon treats are so yummy that I sometimes nibble on them myself during class. (See recipe in entry below)

Katie and Louis the Newfies' Very Favorite Salmon Cookies

From the kitchens of Charity and other Newf-L members. These salmon cookies are Katie and Louis' favorite treat. They are pretty yummy for humans too. They are super easy to make:

5 organic eggs
2 cans of wild salmon, drained and rinsed to remove excess salt
4 cups of organic oatmeal

Mix the three items together and then press flat into a large cookie sheet with sides. Broil for 5-8 minutes until first side is golden brown, Remove from oven and score into quarters to make it easier to flip it over. Then broil the second side for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, then cut into little squares. Feed some to your dog ☺, put some in the fridge for the next few days, and freeze the rest.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Adoption Update & News Flash

This news flash will shock many of those who know us well: we have decided to change our daughter's name. When we made the decision to adopt in February of 2005 we chose the name Lily before we became familiar with the Chinese adoption community. We picked Lily because it is a beautiful name and because it is not super popular (ranked number 39 at the time according to the social security office; only one out of every 400 girls had this name) Now after meeting many other adoptive families in person and online I realize that Lily seems to be the absolute most popular name for little girls adopted from China. Because our intention was to give our daughter a name that wasn't one of the most commonly used names we have decided to change it. Also, since this adoption process has morphed into something completely different than we thought it would be, changing our daughter's name seems to fit right in with all of the other unexpected twists and turns.

Our sweet daughter's new name will be Natalie. This was on our short list of names to begin with and Gary and I both love it. It's going to take us awhile to get used to saying Natalie when referring to our daughter after calling her Lily for over 3 years, but it appears that we will have plenty of time to reset our brains to Natalie. Which brings me to part 2 of this adoption post...

As some of you know our LID (log in date) is July 22, 2006. Below is a history of the referrals issued by China since January of 2006. The 2006 numbers were already a decline from 2005 and as you can see 2007 and 2008 are even worse. This month only 3 days were covered by referrals. Next months referrals will begin with January 13, 2006... a little over 6 calendar months away from our LID, but if the current trend holds it will likely be 2 more years before we receive our referral for Natalie. We are fine with waiting as long we eventually get to bring our daughter home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Katie's New Toy

When I went to Petsmart to pick up a special ball for Gary and Louis to use for their fetch practice, I spotted this strange looking blue dog toy. For some reason Katie became quite enamored of it. As she held it in her mouth I thought her face regressed to looking like a cute 108 pound puppy :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing Possum

This morning right after I let Katie and Louis out to use their outdoor bathroom, I heard very loud, insistent barking from Katie. She only barks like that when something is amiss. I went to investigate and saw a dead baby possum lying on the ground under our Rose of Sharon bushes. I told the dogs to leave it and brought them inside the house. Then I put on a rubber glove and got some plastic bags so that I could pick the dead critter up and dispose of it. When I got to the spot where it had been all I saw was the ground. Then I glanced up into the Rose of Sharon and saw this:

Wow, he was a talented possum... he really looked dead. Now I have to go check the yard to make sure he's gone so that Katie and Louis can go back out.

Ok, he's gone, but Katie and Louis are having still having fun running around smelling his scent. They loved the morning excitement.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rally Trial Run

Tonight was Katie's last rally class. The teacher set up a novice rally course and scored us like we were in competition. Our teacher is an AKC registered Rally Judge, so she is very knowledgeable. To qualify you need a score of 70 - Katie and I scored a 93. In reality we have a lot more practicing ahead of us, but we are learning a lot and having a great time. The video was started about a quarter of the way into our run.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our Mother's Day

This weekend my sister, Leah, flew into my hometown from NYC. She and I drove about an hour and a half further south to a small town where my mom and stepfather live. We had a great Mother's Day weekend with the best mother on the planet :-) We had so much fun hanging out together and talking (what the three of us do best in each other's company), taking Leah's dog Bonnie for a nice long walk and cooking up a yummy vegetarian dinner. Then somehow Leah talked us into going to this little festival that the town has every year. I can't even remember what it was called, but we had a fun time walking around listening to the band play. Leah even twisted our arms ;-) and got us to share a plate of funnel cake with her. I rarely eat anything fried, but this was delicious and so worth it. Now that Leah lives so far away the three of us don't get to be together very often. Every moment we have together is a precious gift.

It was my first time as a Newf Mama to be away from my baby Louis. While I throughly enjoyed having 24 hours of not being responsible for anyone other than myself, I missed my little snugglebug. His Daddy took good care of him and Katie though...feeding, walking, playing with them and giving them lots of love. When I got home Sunday afternoon Louis was SO happy to see me. I sat down on the ground to be closer to him and he put his paws on my shoulders so he could reach my face to give me lots of sweet puppy kisses. My best girl Katie was also very happy to see me as she always is.

Me and My Mama

Mama's Girls

We Couldn't Resist the Funnel Cake

Me and My Sissy
Mama's Best Girl Kitty, Macy

Magnolia Blossom picked on our dog walk

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Said I Wasn't Going to Do This Again...

but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to try to get some more pictures of me holding Louis. I swear this is the last time though. My arms seriously about fell off after supporting his weight. I think my muscles will be sore tomorrow, but it was worth it. Just look at his precious face.

Me and My Teddy Bear, Louis

Me and My Best Sweet Girl, Katie

Both of My Cuties :-)

Saturday morning update: Louis weighed 43.6 lbs at the vet's office this morning. That's not really very heavy... I'm just a wimp. My right arm is very sore, but I think I'll live :-)

Btw, Katie weighed in at 108.8 - down a little over a pound from last time. If she loses about 2 more pounds her weight will be perfect.

Welcome Home Mama

Gary made this sweet video of Katie and Louis greeting me when I came home from work today. What a nice start to our weekend together!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Our New Neighbors

Two miniature dachshunds recently moved into the house & yard next door. Here are Katie and Louis with them on the first day that the four of them met. Only one of the tiny dogs was brave enough to come up to the fence, and he acted like he wanted to attack them through the fence. He was not going to back down even though Katie weighs at least 12 times more than he does. He is starting to chill a little now though... he's already getting used to the Newfs and figuring out they are not so bad :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday in the Happy Haus Yard

Sunday I let the dogs play in the upper part of the yard. I don't want Louis to go up and down the stairs while he is in his rapid growth phase, so normally this part of the yard is gated off. Since they only get to go into this part of the yard when supervised they think it is a special treat. I don't know why YouTube wouldn't let me upload this... sorry if the blogger playback is choppy. I am being stubborn and posting this even though it is not cooperating.

Irises in our backyard

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My Last Time to Hold Louis

Louis weighs over 40 pounds now which is about my lifting limit. I was bending backwards while Gary took these pictures trying to hold my hefty little puppy. I'll just have to hold him in my lap while sitting on the floor from now on.

Kisses for Mama

Me and My Sweet Little Louis

"I'm bored with this photo shoot; it's time to go play"

My Two Favorite Guys

Who Ends Up with the Prize Stick?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Puppy Socialization Ideas

When some people hear that they need to socialize their puppy they think it means introducing the puppy to other people and dogs. Socialization definitely includes that, but it also includes giving the puppy an idea of how the world works and feels. What do different surfaces feel like under their feet, how do different textured items feel in their mouth, what kinds of sounds does the world make, etc.

Little Louie is now 14 weeks old. For the first three weeks that he was home we tried to cram in as many experiences as possible since the critical socialization phase for a dog is from 8 to 12 weeks old. During this period their puppy brains are like little sponges capable of soaking up vast quantities of information and stimulation. If exposed to potentially frightening things in a safe, healthy way during this period a puppy can learn not to be fearful.

Of course we are still working on socializing Louie... that really never stops, but we did manage to cover most of the items in the list below before he turned 12 weeks old. I believe it is critical to lay a diverse foundation so that your puppy will grow up to be confident and open to new situations. It seems like with each dog I have I do a little bit better on this. I did a pretty good job with Katie, but failed to give her enough exposure to children and to some of the other items listed below. I thought since she met over a hundred adults during this period that children wouldn't be a problem... I was wrong. It's more challenging to overcome "issues" with an adult dog than it is with a puppy. Katie is doing fabulously now, but it has taken a lot of extra time and effort to help her over some hurdles that could have easily been avoided in the first place.

In case there are any current puppy owners or future puppy owners reading this, I thought I would post the list that was so helpful to me when Louie came along. We got it from our sweet puppy school teacher. It is adapted from "The Puppy's Rule of 12" by Margaret Hughes of Positive Paws Dog Training.

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared!

By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:

Experienced different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc......

Played with different objects: fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper, cardboard, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.......

Experienced different locations: front yard, other people’s homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, veterinarian (just to say hi, no vaccinations), grooming salon (just to say hi), etc....

Met and played with many new people (outside of family): include children, adults (mostly men), elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc….

Exposed to different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy’s comfort level -we don’t want the puppy scared): garage door, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums, lawnmowers, dog dryer etc…

Exposed to fast moving objects (don’t allow to chase): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, squirrels, cats, horses running, etc…

Experienced different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock underneath), jump over a broom, climb over a log, etc....

Handled by owner (& family) at least once a day: hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner’s legs, hold head, clean ears, introduce gentle tooth brushing, touch in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask veterinarian), hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, bath, gentle grooming, etc…

Eaten from different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, Kong, Treatball, spoon fed etc......

Eaten in different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella, etc....

Played with many different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as possible.

Left alone safely, away from family & other animals (5-45 minutes) at least once a day.

Experienced a leash and collar 12 different times in 12 different locations.

If your puppy is over 12 weeks start right away with this socialization guide. Better late than can still have a very positive impact on the adult dog your puppy will soon become.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike

When Katie, Louis and I got back from our trip to the park this evening they paused at the top of the stairs. I told them to "wait" and grabbed my camera to get this shot:

When I downloaded the camera memory onto my computer I found this similar picture that had been taken two hours earlier by Gary when he got home from work. Katie has her eyes closed, but it's still a good picture. Look how tall 3 month old Louis is getting.