Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hip! Hip! Hooray!

We got great news in the mail yesterday from OFA, which stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Katie and Louie recently had their hips and elbows x-rayed and their patellas checked by a vet. The results were submitted to OFA where they were reviewed by three certified radiologists. The results were the same for both Newfs: elbows and patellas normal, hips GOOD!

After a dog turns two it's a good idea to get these checks done especially if the dog will be involved in weight bearing activities such as drafting like Katie and Louie are. We always thought Katie and Louie moved well and looked healthy, but it feels really good to have medical confirmation of this.

Nature and nurture both play a big role in breeding and raising healthy dogs. As always, we are extremely grateful to Katie and Louie's breeders, Bill and Bonnie Bennett, for their dedication to improving the Newfoundland breed. They provided the "nature" part of the equation by carefully screening their Newfs before breeding them. They also provided the "nurture" side of the equation for the critical first 10 weeks of the pups' lives. After that it was up to us to make sure we kept the rapidly growing puppies on non-slip surfaces to reduce the possibility of joint injury. We also made sure to limit the length of our walks, minimize their use of the stairs, prevent the pups from jumping out of the car or off the grooming table and feed the suppliments recommended by Bonnie & Bill. The group effort paid off! We feel so fortunate to have two healthy and extremely sweet Newfs in our family.

Katie takes a "nap" while she gets her x-rays.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Louie Lovin' On Little Dogs

Here are a few pictures of Louie at the recent dog show socializing with smaller dogs.
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He loves them so much and wants so badly for them to love him in return.
With dogs that are timid he instinctively gets down on the floor.
It's as if he is trying to make himself as small as possible so he won't be as intimidating.
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This sassy puppy girl wasn't a bit afraid of Louie,
so they just did the usual circle and sniff routine.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

School Days: Louie's Special Friend

During our recent visit to a local elementary school, we received an unexpected invitation to visit the special needs classroom. Several of the children there enjoyed getting to meet Louie, but there was one little boy in particular who had an instant and very strong bond with our Newf boy.

When "J" and Louie first met, J couldn't stop laughing at all of the kisses that Louie kept trying to give him. It drove the teacher crazy; she thought Louie's kisses were gross.
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But J disagreed with her. He seemed to think Louie's kisses were the best thing ever. In fact he repeatedly made kissy noises to encourage Louie's to show him even more Newfie love.
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J talked non-stop about Louie the whole time we were there.
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He got to hold Louie's leash
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And compare the size of Louie's feet with his hands.
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Louie made J extremely happy
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And Louie liked J too. Louie stayed by his side the whole visit and greatly preferred him over everyone else in the room.
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After we left the room one of the teachers told me that J rarely talks. Yet he talked the whole time we were there. They had never before heard him make noises either like the kissy noise and some other verbalizations he made to Louie.
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The power of Newfie Love is strong. Thanks Louie for sharing your love with J and everyone else you meet. We are so proud of you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

School Days: Katie The Teacher

Since the children we visited last week had never met Katie we decided to have a little lesson on how to introduce yourself to a dog you don't know.
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Before I brought Katie in the room the children learned these steps:

1) Ask the owner if the dog is friendly. If so, ask if you can you pet it?
(The kids added to ask your parents first which is an excellent point.)

2) Approach from the front so the dog can see you (never come up behind a stranger dog)

3) Approach slowly and quietly

4) Don't stare into the dog's eyes.

5) Hold your hand out to let the dog sniff it.

6) If dog calmly sniffs your hand pet it under the chin (not the top of the head)

I explained to the children that not all dogs are as tolerant as Louie (who is the most tolerant dog I have ever met). Some dogs won't allow their bodies to be touched all over and are afraid of loud noises and sudden movements. Katie is a pretty stable girl, but she can become frightened in chaotic situations. This made her a good dog to practice on.

When I brought Katie into the room the students did a wonderful job of introducing themselves to her one by one. They were all so polite and sweet; I was very impressed. Katie remained extremely calm and quickly became right at home in the classroom due to the lovely welcome she received. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the meet and greet session, but I was too busy supervising and making sure everyone remembered the steps.

Katie, Louie and I had such a great time and are looking forward to meeting Ms. L's next group of students in the fall.

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Katie showing off her pink bows and scarf to some of the girls in the class.

Friday, April 9, 2010

School Days: Louie the Smile Maker

Last Friday we made a field trip to a local elementary school. We went back to one of the classrooms Louie and I had visited during their annual reading day last November. All of the students remembered Louie and were super excited about getting to see him again. The teacher said they talk about him all the time.

Louie has such a wonderful temperament and great instinct about how to behave around children. Without being told he just plopped down on the floor and let the kids take turns surrounding him with lots of pets and love.
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Look how tenderly this little boy wipes the drool off of Louie's mouth. I didn't ask him to do that, he did that all on his own. Also, I just love the little girl's laughter in this picture.
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And here is another little boy taking care of Louie...so sweet.
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This is one of my favorite ever pictures. You can just see the love flowing both ways.
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Louie lovin' the ladies
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"Mama, this is so relaxing...I'm getting sleepy."
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"This is so nice. Can we do this every day?"
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rally Excellent Times Two

Last Sunday Louie earned his second Rally Obedience Excellent Leg. I finally got the video completed for both shows. You'll see that Louie got distracted a couple of times, but by some miracle I managed to get him back on track each time. He is such a good boy and he did his very best in an environment that was very challenging due to the warm temperature, a dumbbell being thrown in the next ring, another Newfie in the audience, his Dad in the audience, etc. We are thrilled with his Green qualifiying ribbon and his third place finish.

Louie's kennel is his calm place in the middle of the show chaos. Gary is in the rust colored shirt sitting next to Louie who is lying down in his crate. *
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Meeting Bayou (from a distance) the only other Newfoundland in attendance
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Louie doing the Honor exercise - he was grateful for the chance to rest during the down stay*
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Waiting for our ribbons
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Louie with his proud parents*
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Our friends Tracy and Luna*
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Congratulations Louie
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Louie with his ribbons and prizes from the weekend
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Our thanks to Tracy Hongyun Fu and Feng He for taking the pictures above marked with * and part of the video.
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