Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Very Newfie Christmas

by Louie the Newfie...

Before we could begin our very Merry Newfie Christmas we had to wait FOREVER for Mama and Daddy to load the car. Here I was thinking "Let's get this show on the road already!"
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Finally, after being crammed into our car for two and a half hours, we managed to dodge all of the flooded roads and got to Grandma and Papa John's house just in time for the humans to have Christmas dinner. As usual, Katie found a place under the table near Daddy's feet.
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After dinner came my favorite part of the day... Prezzies!!! I got so much cool stuff: this stuffed frog that makes a really cool ribbet noise, my football made out our favorite tennis ball material, a can of sardines, and a deer antler to munch on.
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Katie decided to model Auntie Leah's scarf. I don't know why...must be a girly thing.
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I could stare out of the front door for hours and just watch the world go by.
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Hey Sissy, come hang out with me and see how cool this is.
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That's better... things are always more fun when Sissy is around.
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Later that day we took a long walkie in the neighborhood and visited a local cemetary where they have this old statue in honor of Confederate soliders.
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Daddy, Mama, and Auntie Leah like history and Katie & I like Walkies so everyone was happy.
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We hope you all had a Very Newfie (or some other kind of awesome) Christmas!
xoxo and Love, Louie
p.s. Katie sends lots of love too

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Flood of 2009

On Christmas Day, Gary, Leah, Katie, Louie, myself, our luggage, dog gear and our wrapped Christmas presents all crammed into my Toyota RAV4 to make the trek to my Mom and Stepfather's house. Katie managed to lie down in a tiny space between the luggage and the wall of the vehicle, but Louie couldn't find a place to settle down. He ended up sitting on top of Katie almost the entire trip. Thankfully, she didn't seem to mind at all :-)
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Along the way we saw the results of the 5 inches of rain we received right before Christmas.
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2009 has turned out to be the wettest year EVER on record for the state of Arkansas!Photobucket

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When we were 10 miles away from our destination we found that the road was completely flooded. It was also officially closed although some people were still trying to cross it. We saw a minivan that had been swept off the road into even deeper water, and we felt it would be wisest to turn around and take an alternate route. It took us an extra half hour, but we were glad to arrive safely and just in time for Christmas dinner.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Katie's Moment in the Holiday Spotlight

Katie's picture was recently chosen for a post on one of my favorite websites, Care2.com. This website is dedicated to ideas for living a life that is healthy for us as individuals and for our planet. Click here to see Katie in all her glory.

Louie, Katie, Gary and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Newfs in Toyland

I love these pictures that Gary took of Louie. His face is so full of expression.
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This is Louie's EVIL EYE look which is really just his serious toy chewing look. Louie doesn't have a mean bone in his body. We have never heard him growl.
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Nummie, Nummie, I love this toy!
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By the time he got done with the blue toy he had it decapitated. Thankfully, Louie never tries to eat the stuffing or cloth. He just likes to make a big mess for me to clean up.
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Katie gets in on the action in the second half of this video.


After all that playing Louie needed a nap on the Newf bed.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Love Letters for Louie

When Mama and I went to see the kids at school recently for Reading Day I knew the kids liked me because they petted me and gave me lots of complements. But WOW!...they must have liked me even more than I knew. Lookie what I got in the mail from them.
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Look at this cool picture they made for us (note: children's names are blurred out)
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We were so excited to get these awesome handmade cards. Now Katie is saying she wants to meet these wonderful kiddos. I told Mama she better not think of leaving me home next time. My fans need to see me and I need to see them. You see, they are not the only ones who fell in love; I did too. xoxoxo Louie

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Clean Freaks Beware

Someone recently sent me an email asking, "[I] was wondering if you could tell me just how much shedding they really do. Is vacuuming once a day sufficient?" I applaud this self proclaimed clean freak for asking me this because so many people don't do their research before bringing a dog of any breed into their home which is one big reason why our animal shelters are so full and so many dogs and cats end up being euthanized.
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I have never been the best housekeeper in the world, but since the Newfs entered our lives I have become even more relaxed about our home's level of cleanliness. When trying to decide whether to spend my time playing/caring/working with Katie and Louie or cleaning the house which one do you think wins most of the time?

Here was my response...
If you vacuum your floors and brush your Newf for 10 minutes daily your floors should be 99.9% free of Newf hair. However, you will still likely find a bit of hair in the dishwasher, refrigerator, bathtub and any number of unlikely places. One good thing about Newf hair is that it does not stick to many fabrics. I rarely have to use a tape roller on my clothes. It does stick to eyeballs quite thoroughly, so I would try to avoid that unpleasant scenario.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't tell you this: in all honesty, the hair is the least part of the mess caused by a Newfoundland dog. In my opinion, hair is the second runner up. The first runner up is dirt. Newfs like to play outside (except for when they play inside and offer you suggestions on better ways to arrange the furniture). The dirt, pine needles and leaves that get stuck to their coat are of course tracked into the house. Pine needles and leaves are easily vacuumed up, so no big deal there. The dirt however will cling to their coat until they lean against a cabinet, refrigerator, door, wall, etc. where they will leave a thin coating of dirt behind. Some people blow their Newfs off with giant dryers like the one we have every time they come in the house to remove most of this, but I don't feel like doing that 6 times a day.
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The winner of the anti-clean prize is the Newfie drool. It's worse than dirt because it's slimy, sticks to objects, dries into a hard crust and can be easily slung 10 feet through the air. So, it's possible, although rare in our home, for it to land on the ceiling. The drool is truly quite gross, but Newf owners seem to become immune to it very quickly. We almost forget about its existence and wipe the Newfs' mouths off many times a day with little conscious thought. When visitors come it's good to offer them a drool towel of their own. Drool does get on our clothes frequently, but a damp cloth easily removes it if the drool is fresh.
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If all of this sounds unbearable then don't get a Newf. They are a high maintenance breed for more reasons than the fact that they are messy. Personally, I love the idea of a pristine home, but I love our Newfs SO much more. They are not for everyone, but they are the only breed we will ever have from now on. Louie and Katie bring us more joy and love than I thought possible. They are true gentle giants and share their love with us, each other and the world so freely. After watching the face of an almost completely paralyzed child light up as I helped her to pet Katie, hearing a dying Hospice patient tell me the kisses she received from Louie were the best in her life, seeing children's faces filled with joy while riding in a wagon pulled by Katie, hearing a class of second graders pronounce Louie the best visitor they'd ever had, and many other wonderful experiences I am AWED by these wonderful creatures. Their intelligence, compassion and soulfulness shines out of their eyes and into the hearts of those who meet them. I feel grateful for all that Katie and Louie have taught me and I feel lucky to be able to clean up their messes.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sleigh Ride Southern Style

Since we rarely get snow in Arkansas we had to improvise with a Newfie wagon ride for our friends Evelina, Riley, Raeghan and Rachael. Katie and I had a great time with the kids and with their Mom, Charlotte who filmed the video I used in this little movie.

Evelina and Katie
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Riley, Raeghan, Rachael and Katie
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Charity with Katie the Newfie Reindeer
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seven Hollows Hike

Last Saturday Gary, Leah, Katie, Louie and I drove to Petit Jean State Park to hike the Seven Hollows Trail. As we were driving along the top of the mountain we noticed some people dressed in costumes with lots of old timey tents and tepees set up in the background. We found out it was a pioneer days celebration and we decided to check it out before our hike. There were so many fascinating things to see. I wish I had gotten some photos, but Gary and I were bombarded the entire time we were there with questions about Katie and Louie. The double trouble team was extraordinarily well behaved considering they had not yet had a walk. They graciously allowed people to fawn all over them and even showed off a few of their tricks. After visiting with lots of people we jumped back in the car for the short drive to our trailhead.

Katie is ready to go!
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Katie and Louie have been training with their backpacks for a month now. This was their first time to use them on a real hike. With proper conditioning dogs are supposed to be able to carry up to 30% of their body weight which would be 37 pounds for Louie and 33 pounds for Katie. We won't ever ask our Newfs to carry that much weight. We just want them to carry a little water, dog treats and a few drool towels. For this hike Louie carried 10 pounds and Katie carried 7. (I did get Katie's pack properly balanced before we got too far down the trail.)
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Gary, Leah & the Newfs pose in front of a BIG boulder
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Katie carried her pack the whole 4 1/2 miles without even noticing that she had it on. Louie only carried his 1/3 of the way before we decided to put his pack into Gary's backpack. Louie is conditioned to easily carry 10 pounds, but we were worried that he might get too hot with it on the whole way. The temperature was unseasonably warm at 65 degrees and Louie is very heat sensitive. Louie stayed cool by jumping into the streams along the trail. It reminded me of the Siberians, Lincoln and Scarlett, who always used to do that.
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One of my favorite places on earth is this natural stone bridge. We had a nice meditation and snack here. The Newfs got a good rest although Louie protested a bit because he wanted to keep hiking until he couldn't go any longer. Maybe that fired up enthusiasm is what made him so hot.
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Impressive U shaped flooger by Katie
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Katie Sue heads down the trail
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At the halfway point we hiked into this little box canyon. During the wet season there is a waterfall here. It was barely running last Saturday, but it still made a pleasant sound as it echoed off the rocks.
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Me & my Sissy
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We hiked the last mile and a half of the trail during twilight. We barely made it back to the car before dark because of all of the dawdling we did along the trail. It was a beautiful day spent with four of my very best friends. Life is good :-)

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