CH Wilbon's Rider On The Storm - Tempest June 19, 1998 - October 29, 2008
Tempest was Katie's Grandmother and Louis' Greatgrandmother. She was a very special Newfie with the most beautiful face and wisest eyes that I have ever seen. Dearest Tempest we will miss seeing your sweet face during our visits to Bonnie and Bill.
Tonight Natalie received a very special gift from Louanne, one of my dearest friends. Louanne handmade this beautiful quilt for our daughter. She gave it to me under the condition that it must be used and not preserved as a relic for eternity. So, before Natalie comes home to sleep under, play with and drag it around the house I wanted to take some pictures of this gorgeous creation in its original state. I know that Natalie will always cherish this quilt even after it has been heavily used.
When we went to the show in Hot Springs a month ago I was incredibly nervous. My main goal for our second show this past weekend was to stay calm. At the show I spent some time watching other people go ahead of me and saw lots of people making mistakes. These were people in the excellent class - years of training ahead of me and Katie. I wasn't glad they made mistakes, but I did feel a lot of admiration for the way they continued on no matter what happened. I started feeling at peace and I was able to stay relatively calm the whole time. It also helped a lot that Gary, Bill and Bonnie (our breeders), Pat (our rally teacher), and some of my friends were there. I got a lot of encouragement and helpful tips.
Sunday Katie got her second Rally Novice leg. When we first went in the ring we started off great until Katie saw the judge. She decided to be her usual friendly self and tried to go say hi to him. Yikes! We totally screwed up the next station, but after that I was able to get her pretty much back on track and we managed to qualify. I was thrilled that we got our second leg and so glad we got some more ring experience.
...being a Newfie show puppy. This past weekend my Mama and Daddy took me to another Dog Show. I competed again in conformation so I had to spend a lot of my free time last week getting prettied up (yes, boy dogs can be pretty and I'm proud of it :-) I was pampered like I was at a spa. Dad took pictures of most everything that was done to me except for when Mama dremmeled my nails. Which by the way, I enjoy because she feeds me little pieces of organic baby carrots the whole time. When Katie and I see the dremmel come out we follow Mama around until she picks one of us to go first. If we are good and don't get in the way Mama sometimes will give us a carrot while we wait our turn.
Line Combing - Mama spent at least 5 hours going over my coat with a fine tooth comb to remove most of my dead puppy undercoat...not all at one time though. I got several nights of combing. Mama lets me lay on the floor for most of it. It feels so relaxing to be gently combed that I get sleepy and limp like a rag doll. I'll let Mama do anything to me when I'm in my grooming daze.
Quick Brush - The night of my bath Mama gave me a quick brushing first to make sure there weren't any tangles.
Wet Down Cycle - Trying to get water down to my skin through all my Newfie hair is a challenge.
Wash Cycle - I love this part because Mama and Daddy both give me a great massage with our Kong Zoom Grooms as they work the shampoo into my coat.
Rinse cycle - This is my least favorite part of the whole beauty routine. It just takes too long to get all the shampoo out. Mama rinses me way longer than necessary because she doesn't want any shampoo irritating my highly sensitive skin. She buys special expensive shampoo just for me that is supposed to soothe my skin and keep me from itching as much.
Spin cycle - After all the rinsing was FINALLY done we went for a walk to let me shake off some of the excess water before we started the dry cycle. I like to get a little crazy when my bath is done, so the walk gives me a chance to work off some energy too.
Dry cycle - They used two dryers at once to dry me in record time.
Final Brushing - OK Mom! Enough is enough!! It must be nap time by now.
I was groomed one more time at the show by my other Mama, Bonnie. She was my first human mama and picked me out of the litter when I was only 4 weeks old as the pup that my forever Mama and Daddy would want to be part of their family. She must be really smart because my Mama did pick me and I am so happy living with her, my awesome Dad and Katie, the best big sister a puppy could ever dream of. Anyway, back to the end of this grooming story... Bonnie fluffed my coat and made me shiny all over, even on my nose. I heard people saying something about me looking like a gorilla right now because of some stage I am going through. Hey, that sounds cool to me. Gorillas are big and I want to be big like my heroes: a Newf named Cowboy and my Newf Dad, Loki.
Today, I, Louis the 8 month old Newfie puppy, graduated from Basic Obedience. For the last day of class we had super fun Dog Olympics. There were four events: Heeling, Sit Stay, Recall and Down Stay. There were 14 dogs in my class including a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Labrador, Schnauzer, Golden Retriever, Irish Terrier, Standard Poodle, Rat Terrier, Pekinese, 2 Australian Shepherds and a few mixed breeds. There were some smart and talented dogs in my class - most of them were older than me.
The first event was Heeling. If it had been just regular heeling I would have won the Gold for sure. My attention is really good. I look at Mama 99% of the time (no lie) and I sit immediately whenever she stops walking without being signaled in any way. Also, I can do about turns really tight and super fast. But unfortunately, we were supposed to be having "fun" and it was a game of musical cones instead of a test of heeling skill. We lasted until the 9th round, but suddenly we were left without a cone to sit beside so we were out of the game without a medal.
The second event was the Sit Stay. This one was skill only...no games here, thank goodness. I sat forever as my mama continued to move farther and farther away from me. We were so focused on the exercise that we didn't even notice the other dogs quietly leaving the ring after they had broken the stay. The teacher was yelling random commands like "Come" and "Down" to try to confuse us, but I didn't fall for those tricks. Finally there was only one other dog left. The teacher clapped his hands really loud and the other dog immediately jumped to his feet. I didn't budge because Mama had told me to stay. After that Mama walked to me, released me and gave me a chunk of hot dog. She was saying something about me winning the Gold and being so proud, but I was just thinking how about some more of that yummy food.
The third event was the Recall. We had to stay at one end of the room with the teacher while our people walked about 80 feet away. Mama and I were first up. When she called me I ran as fast as I could to her. When I got close she told me to sit and I sat perfectly straight in front of her. Then she gave me the around signal and I trotted behind her and sat very straight beside her. Then I got my delicious hot dog. I'll do this all day long for food...plus it is pretty fun. The teacher announced to the class "There's your competition" after we did our run. And it turns out that I had the best run of all the dogs. I won Gold again!
The fourth event was the Down Stay. It was basically a repeat of the sit stay with lots more distractions. I was very, very good and stayed until all the other dogs broke their stays. I didn't budge until Mama released me. So, I won Gold AGAIN!!! More importantly, I got a big chunk of hot dog for that.
Me, the triple gold medalist, Wilbon's What a Wonderful World (I look a little bit sleepy because I just put a lot of energy into winning these shiny medals)
I humbly accept my gold medals ;-)
Now not so humbly I will tell you all the truth. I beat Katie's record. She got two golds and one bronze when she went through this. The teacher asked Mama to remind him what Katie had won. Then the teacher (who only has male dogs) said "Well you know Boys Rule." Mama says they don't though, so I guess I'd better listen to her. After all she is the one who trained me and gives me all those yummy pieces of hot dog.
Katie and Louis, the Newfies hanging out on a peaceful day at the Happy Haus. I love how their heads move in unison at the beginning and how cheerful Katie looks when she sees her Dad at the upstairs window.
Thursday night Katie and I made our first Nursing Home visit and it went very well. Katie was beautifully behaved and mostly well received by the patients and the staff. There were a few patients who were not the least bit interested in visiting with us and a few who were just a little bit afraid. I tried to give everyone plenty of space and only approached those who seemed receptive. When I asked one woman who was in a wheelchair if she would like to pet Katie, she shook her head as her eyes widened a bit. "I'm too afraid to pet her," she admitted, "but I sure do like to look at her."
Another woman stopped her wheelchair in the hallway when she saw our group of three people and four dogs coming her way. She began telling us about how much she had loved her own little dog long ago. My companion offered up her little Yorkie to sit in the lady's lap. The lady said, "Give me a kiss" and little Randy the Yorkie happily obliged. After she returned Randy to his owner she turned her attention to Katie and again asked for a kiss. I was a bit concerned about what she would think once the reality of Katie's giant drooly tongue touched her face, but her face lit up with total delight as Katie gave her a few sweet kisses.
My human companions have been coming to this nursing home for years with their dogs so they know which rooms contain the real dog lovers. When we entered the room of their dogs' greatest fan it was obvious that she was expecting us. She said something like "There are my friends. I saved my Cheerios for you". She was introduced to Katie who she liked instantly. We stayed about 15 minutes. As we were leaving she said "I love you Randy, Bonnie and of course Traveler." Then she turned to Katie and said "And I love you too Katie". She turned to me "Will you come again?" Yes, we most definitely will.
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"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.