Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Win Some, You Lose Some

A fellow Newf owner, recently posted a video of her disqualification on a draft test. Her Newfie did all of the very complicated exercises except for failing one recall which is normally very easy for her. This Newf person commented that people are always so quick to brag when they succeed, but rarely talk about their failures. She was the inspiration for this post.

Yesterday, Katie and I went into the ring for the very first time ever to compete in Rally Novice A. I was very nervous and Katie was quite distracted. But for her first time I think Katie did great. She actually got second place with a score of 89. I can't believe she scored that high considering her turtle like pace.


There were 10 dogs total in our class. At least one did not qualify. Here we are about to get our ribbons. My brain was almost completely non-functional by this time, so I didn't even realize that we were in second place. I thought we were either third or fourth.
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Me, Katie and the judge. Katie was cracking me up when we were trying to take this picture. When I was trying to get her to sit on the stand she thought I wanted her to jump over it. I think she jumped over it three times before she finally got the message that I wanted her to sit and stay.
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Today, when I went to the ring to sign in I was filled with dread the moment I saw the course map. Our weakest exercise was the fourth sign. It's the one where your dog has to do four fronts in a row with an increasing number of steps back between each one. When we were warming up we practiced this and Katie did well, but as you will see in the video she was even more distracted in the ring than she was yesterday. There was just no way she was going to complete the exercise. My only regret is that due to my lack of knowledge as a newbie I made the decision to leave the ring after we failed our retry. I found out after the fact that we could have completed the course and possibly still qualified. Oh well, lots of lessons learned today and lots more practice ahead for me and Katie.


Me and my best, sweet Newfie girl back at the Happy Haus. I'm just as proud as ever of Katie. No matter how we do in the ring, Katie will always be my precious Newfie who brings me, Gary, Louis and so many others a lot of joy.
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Conformation Cuties

Louis right before his first appearance in the ring. He just turned 8 months old and is in that awkward phase of half puppy coat, half adult coat, but he still looks cute to his mama.
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My two favorite guys, Gary and 8 month old Louis', went in the conformation ring for the first time together this weekend. They both did great. The following videos were from Saturday. After a little practice they did even better on Sunday.


Johnny, Bayou Bear and Louis line up for judging


Celebrating two first place ribbons at home with some Newfie kisses
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Louis was the only Newfie in the 6-9 month class, so he got first place both days :-)
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Behind the Scenes at the Dog Show

A few of the interesting dogs we saw...

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Sights and Sounds in the Grooming Area


A short clip of some cute little dogs and one of Katie and Louis' breeders, Bonnie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Getting Ready

The four of us are getting ready for our first dog show this weekend. Gary and Louis will be showing in conformation. Katie and I will be showing in Rally Obedience. I don't think that Katie and I are quite ready, but no matter what happens it will at least be good practice.

Louis and I take a break from grooming for a quick cuddle.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Working Dog

Last Saturday Katie and I went on our first official therapy dog visit to Easter Seals. I was a bit nervous before we went. When I was trying to pinpoint the exact cause of my nervousness I realized that I did not completely trust Katie to behave properly since she can still, on rare occasions, be a bit wild at times. Just coming to that conclusion made me relax. I told myself to assume that Katie was going to be good and to just be ready to assist if she acted out. My faith in Katie was justified. I think because I was relaxed and because the other therapy dogs were relaxed, Katie was calm and was a sweet gentle giant like a Newfie should be. Two of the other therapy dogs were Yorkies who have each had over 250 visits. There was also a standard poodle, a regular poodle and a golden retriever...all very sweet dogs.

Katie was by far the youngest and least experienced, but she acted like a pro. One of the little girls took great delight in walking Katie up and down the hallways. Thankfully my friend had told me to bring an extra leash to attach to Katie so the children could hold one while I held the other. Katie's favorite person was a young man in a wheelchair. They took quite a liking to each other. I think Katie liked the fact that he actually enjoyed receiving kisses from her and even praised her for giving them. It was quite a contrast to the way most people react to a slimy Newf kiss.

We are looking forward to our future monthly visits at Easter Seals. We will also start volunteer work with Hospice in early November after I complete my Hospice volunteer training in October. Finally, our working dog has a real job. She decided to follow in her father's footsteps and become a therapist. I'm so proud of my sweet Katie.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New York, New York

The very best thing about New York is being with my Mom and Sister. The three of us could have fun together anywhere, but it is extra fun to be in a city with such a high energy level. Walking around the streets of New York with two of my best friends in the world, we can be as goofy as we want to be without anyone even batting a single eyelash. Compared to a man I saw walking the streets wearing only his boxers and a comb stuck in his hair - and seeming to be using the rain as his shower - we looked quite tame in comparison.
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This is Leah and Markus' old neighborhood. I say "old" because the day Mom and I left Leah began moving their belongings to a new 3 bedroom apartment about 8 blocks away. They were living in a charming 20'x20'x20' studio in a brownstone. Even though it was a tiny space the tall ceilings gave it a spacious feeling.
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This amazing chalk drawing was on a sidewalk that we passed by. It was beginning to rain, so soon this beautiful art would be gone...a good reminder of the transitory nature of our existence.
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After shopping we needed to recharge...Mom with her music and me with a sugar rush wrapped up as a decadent icing covered chocolate chip cookie cake.
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The Apple Store on 5th Avenue was a fun place to visit. I bought an extra set of headphones for my iPhone and an Apple salesperson swiped my credit card right on the floor and had the receipt emailed to me. How cool - no waiting in line! I love the way Apple continues to think outside the box.
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A glimpse of the Empire State Building
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The El Dorado where the music artist Moby used to live on the second floor.
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Central Park where we go for long walks with Bonnie the Catahoula Hound.
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As a birthday present Mom and Leah took me to see Xanadu, my first Broadway show. It had all the same music as the movie from the early 80's, but was more of a comedy. It was very well done and was a blast to see. Now if only I could get that song out of my head... "Xanadu...Xanaduuuuuu...now we are here...in Xanaduuuu...Xanadu, your neon lights will shine...for you Xanaduuuu". New York feels like Xanadu to me.

Scenes From the Subway

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Did you notice that Leah is wearing a different shirt under her sweater? She bought a new one while we were shopping.
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This band was great!! I love the sights and sounds in the subway stations.
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There were no seats available, so Mom loaned me her lap.
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Long Island Friends

Sunday afternoon we took the Long Island Railroad to visit my dear friend Lori, her husband Keith and daughter Shayna. Our families are using the same agency to adopt from China. We were also logged into the China program in the same month: July of 2006.

In this picture Keith is sporting a trendy bead headband courtesy of his lovely daughter :-)
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Me and Lori
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You can see that Shayna and Leah became fast friends
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Shayna was interested in Leah's camera, so Leah showed her how to use it. It was amazing how Shayna began taking pictures like a pro right away. She lined up a bunch of her toys on the floor and then lay down on the carpet on her stomach to get the picture at just the right angle. I loved watching the delight on her face as Leah showed her each of the pictures she took on the camera screen.
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This is one of the first pictures she took - pretty awesome for a 4 1/2 year old!
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I wish we lived closer so we could see Lori, Keith and Shayna more often. Seeing Shayna really helped to make our adoption seem more real. Someday the wait will end and Natalie will join our family. In the meantime, I'm so grateful to have the support of my family and fellow waiting mothers like Lori.
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