Saturday, December 7, 2013

Katie the Newf: Protector and Transporter

In the two years that Natalie has lived at The Happy Haus I have watched her relationships with the Newfs evolve.  Louie took to Natalie immediately and they quickly developed a very sweet bond.  Katie, on the other hand, was quite wary of Natalie and therefore needed to be watched at all times when the two girls were in the same room.  After about a year I began to feel more comfortable with their interaction as Natalie matured and learned more about manners around doggies.  About 18 months after Natalie came home I no longer had any concerns about the two girls being together.  However, I always felt like Katie simply felt neutral about Natalie…that she didn't care if Natalie was part of our family or not.

A few days ago I was walking Katie while pushing Natalie in her stroller.  We were almost home when suddenly a familiar Boston Terrier started running towards us.  Katie had an encounter with this dog back in 2007 when she was about 10 months old.   As she did previously, Katie acted nonchalant when the dog approached.  She didn't bark, move a muscle or seem to be on alert at all.  The dog's owner quickly followed.  Natalie asked if she could pet the dog.  I asked if the dog likes people - especially children.  We were assured that it did and the owner picked it up so that Natalie could reach its head to pet it.  The Boston Terrier acted very friendly, so I was surprised when Katie dropped her indifferent attitude and at lightening speed threw herself between Natalie and the other dog and pinned the dog to the ground.  At the time I didn't realize that Katie was protecting "her" Natalie.  I was just concerned about the fate of the little dog, but other than having a back covered with Newf drool it was completely unharmed.  Katie's intention was not to harm or she easily could have done so.  Her intention was to remove a possible threat to her girl.

Whenever Natalie expresses fear about the evil sea witch from "The Little Mermaid" or the mean man from "Beauty & the Beast" coming to get her I always explain that lots of people work to keep her safe.  I tell her that her teachers will keep her safe at school and when she is at home Katie, Louie and I will keep her safe.  I always believed this to be true of the Newfs after reading so many stories about Newfoundland dogs putting themselves between their humans and danger.  Seeing Katie's protective nature in action warmed my heart.

Unlike her brother Louie, who is not a fan of draft work, Katie also enjoys pulling Natalie around in her cart.