Friday, August 19, 2011

Newf Evacuation

Right around bedtime last Friday night a big thunderstorm swept through the area. As we settled into bed there was an enormous booming noise and in the same moment our power went out.

Gary and I got out of bed and put batteries in Louie's emergency fans. Because Louie is about ten times more heat sensitive than Katie, we usually direct the fan air flow towards him. Katie was peacefully sleeping on the floor on my side of the bed without any fans while Louie was lying in front of his 2 medium sized and 1 small fan panting lightly. Admittedly, these fans are not very powerful but they are much better than no fans at all. However, Louie quickly became dissatisfied with the lack of air flow and started getting restless. Plus I think his body heats up the floor so he moves from place to place trying to find a cooler patch of hardwood to lie on. It was a terrible night for Gary and I because we had to listen to Louie shuffling around from place to place and he makes a lot of noise each time he plunks down on the floor. Everytime we would doze off for a few minutes we would be awakened by a high pitched little whine. Louie was definitely playing up his role as the baby of the family. I think Katie was the only one who managed to get any sleep that night.

The next morning the temperatures stayed down, so our house was reasonably cool. Louie was still dissatisfied, but he certainly wasn't in any danger of overheating. But by noon even Katie was panting a tiny bit. Gary had the great idea to ask Bonnie and Bill, Katie & Louie's breeders, if they would let our Newfs stay in their air-conditioned barn. We called them and they agreed that we could bring K&L over.

The set up at Wilbon's Newfoundlands is so nice. Usually the Newfs are paired up two to a run like Katie and Louie were that day. Inside the barn there is enough room for two Newfs to stretch out and enjoy the cool air conditioning and many fans that are scattered throughout the room. I'm sure Louie enjoyed that because it's cooler in the Newf barn than it normally is in our house. Each kennel has a dog door so the Newfs can go outside when ever they want. The runs are nice and long and when the weather is cool enough the Newfs love to race each other up and down the runs.

When I first arrived all of the Newfoundlands were snoozing away. One by one they slowly woke up and tails started wagging as they asked for some attention. I gave each one some love and then went back to the car to collect Gary, Katie and Louie. Although there were five intact males in the barn (including Louie) there was no growling - I don't imagine there are very many other dog breeds where this would be the case. Newfoundland dogs are generally just easy going. We are still cautious though and never allow Louie direct interaction with other intact male dogs.

Katie and Louie went into a run right across from their mutual father, Loki. We filled a giant bucket full of water for them and headed home.

We returned about 5 hours later and you can see Katie and Louie's reaction in the video below. I think they missed us a little bit; we missed them too. The house felt empty without them. 

Near the end of the video when Louie is facing right, the dog he is greeting is a big intact male. Notice that both dogs are wagging their tails very prominently to the right. From the NY Times article "If You Want to Know if Spot Loves You So, It's In His Tail", "When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left." The article discusses some interesting research about left brain vs. right brain asymmetry in dogs.

Many thanks to Bill and Bonnie for letting Katie and Louie visit their Newf barn and their wonderful Newfies.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Lovely New Newf Book

PhotobucketMeet Bernice. She is a big Newfoundland dog who often gets confused with a bear. Sounds familiar to us :)

I recently bought this book as a gift for Gary and Natalie. I know they will read and re-read this beautiful story together many times over the years. It's a perfect book for Natalie, who like Bernice, the Newfoundland dog in the story, may feel different at times from other children. It sends a positive message that being different is not just ok, but that it can really be quite wonderful! Gary loved the gift. He ooohhhhed and aaahhhed over the stunning watercolor art and was moved by the heartwarming story. A frequent line throughout the book "Oh my gosh, it's a bear" is one we have heard literally hundreds of times over the years when we take Katie and Louie out for walks. If you happen to read a copy I would love to know what you think of it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Final Countdown to Natalie

Way back on July 22, 2006, our dossier (a huge packet of information containing just about every detail of our lives) was recorded in China's adoption system. That date of 7/22/6 became our log in date, which is referred to in the China adoption world as LID. Your LID is what determines when you will be matched with your child. At the time we got our LID, China had just issued referrals of LIDs through 7/13/5. That means that there were 364 calendar days that had to be covered by China referrals from the time that we started in 2006 until later this year when we will receive our referral for Natalie.

I made a paperclip chain of 364 clips to represent each of these days that was between us and our daughter. I hung it over one of the doorways in Natalie's room and as you can see in the picture below, it was so long that it draped over the doorway twice!

Here is the chain today. There are just 9 paperclips remaining until the final clip is reached. It has taken over 5 years for us to get to this point.

To give you an idea of the history of the speed of referrals, here are the average number of calendar days covered each year since we started our adoption process.
2006 12 days/month
2007 8 days/month
2008 6 days/month
2009 3 days/month
2010 5 days/month
2011 ytd 6 days/month

For us this most likely means we will get our referral in the batch after next. Hopefully around the end of September we will get to see sweet Natalie's face for the first time, find out how old she is and where she is currently living in China. It has been the longest journey of my life, but I know Natalie will be worth every moment of waiting.

Soon this blog will shift from "All Newfoundlands all the time" to "Natalie and the Newfoundlands' Great Adventures". I'm getting so excited.

To tide you over until then, here is a video of two sweet Newfoundland dogs with an adorable 16 month old little girl. Too sweet...