Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wild thing

Wild animal on the loose tonight. Sharp teeth like needles, black fur and crazy eyes. Completely uncontrollable. No stuffed animal, human foot or piece of furniture is safe. Seems to have taken a liking to our home. Can we tame him? Yet to be determined.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taking turns

No matter how many times I've seen it, I will never get used to walking into the bathroom only to see that it's already occupied. By my dogs. Nobody likes having to wait their turn for the bathroom, but being behind two dogs in line is even more exasperating. I did laugh this morning though. I waltzed into the bathroom to find Thatcher waiting patiently for Boden to finish sneaking a drink from the toilet. Such polite Newfies I've raised.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Boden walks Thatcher

Walking the dogs is now the morning task that takes me the longest. I used to take Thatcher for a mile long walk in the morning before work and in the evening after work. Now, it takes us the same time to walk half the distance with Boden. Walking an adult dog and a puppy at the same time takes skill, and lots of tripping and adjusting the leashes. It used to be easier just to keep Boden off-leash and let him follow us. But lately this backfires if there is any human life form in site, as he'll beeline directly to them. Regardless of if he has to cross a busy street to get to them. He obviously has no concept of stranger danger, or that cars can be dangerous. So although it's kind of a hassle, I now keep him leashed. This is how an average walk with Boden goes.

I put leashes on both dogs and leave the yard. Thatcher walks perfectly. Boden walks about 11 steps, then abruptly stops. So I give Boden's leash a little tug, trying to get him to move. He sits, plants his front paws and braces himself firmly. Throughout this little struggle, Thatcher gently moves forward, trying to keep the walk going. I give Boden's leash another little tug, and luckily I'm still the stronger one. Boden finally starts walking and we move along our merry way, with Boden whining in protest. Boden will finally stop whining once he realizes that it's not going to get him out of walking. So he instead directs his attention to attacking Thatcher's head repeatedly. If Thatcher ignores him, he decides to go to more extreme measures and grabs Thatcher's leash in his mouth. So for most of our walks, that's what we look like. Me walking Boden, Boden walking Thatcher.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So alike, and yet...

Getting to know Boden has confirmed that some qualities we love about Thatcher are just inherent to the Newfoundland breed, not necessarily traits unique to the individual dog. In other words, although we adore Thatcher, I'm starting to think that you just can't go wrong with a Newfie. Not to say Thatcher doesn't have his own personality, he certainly has his own little quirks. But we always wondered if he turned out so great because of how we raised him or because of his genes. Nature vs. nurture if you will. And while we'd love more than anything to take full credit for how he is, Newfoundlands are consistently sweet, loyal dogs across the board. 

Thatcher and Boden are hilariously alike in many ways. Yes, puppies tend to copy the adult dog. But some things started from day one. For example, drinking out of the toilet. Boden had to have learned that before living with us, because he started doing it the first day home. He is too little to drink out of it comfortably, so he literally places both paws inside the toilet bowl to brace himself. Which leads to example two, the obsession with water. Boden, like Thatcher, will passionately attempt to splash around in water at any given chance. His water dish is his mini-pool. It's a no-spill kind, so try as he might, he has a difficult time tipping it. We were hand washing one of our cars the other day, and Boden thought it was the most exciting activities ever. Unlike Thatcher though, he loves getting splashed with water, and will go right up to running water or sprinklers. And example three, a love for sticks. When I let the dogs out into the backyard, they will immediately lie down and start chewing sticks. They would be content to do this all day long. Our next door neighbor asked us the other day, "What's wrong with the dogs?". Puzzled, I asked her what she meant. Apparently, she was confused because she's never seen dogs so mellow.

And yet, Thatcher and Boden have some differences. Overall, Boden seems pretty fearless so far. He's cautious in new situations, but very outgoing. When I brought him to Petsmart for the first time, he wouldn't come in the automatic doors, they were way too scary. When I finally got him in the door, he was freaked out of the cold, slippery tile flooring. He did not think it was safe to walk on. But for the most part, he's really very brave. Loud noises, which Thatcher cannot bear, don't phase Boden at all. One of Thatcher's oldest nemeses, the vacuum cleaner, gets along just fine with Boden. Also, Boden loves being snuggled and held. Thatcher never did. The most major difference though, is that Boden wants to please us. He already comes when he's called. Despite hours and hours of work with Thatcher, he still does not come on command. He does come, eventually. But on his own time. The differences go on and on, but we love them both the same.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sunny, sleepy day

The weather is perfect. Sunny, breezy and 80 degrees. With winter looming in the next couple of months, I'm soaking in these days while I can. I spent the morning baking pumpkin muffins (completely from scratch, I might add) and picking up the house. Afterwards, I grab a hard cider and bring the dogs out to play in the backyard. Reluctant at first to leave the cool house, they both stumble down the steps and into the sunshine. They each meander over to the water bucket and rehydrate. Boden soaks his entire upper body and head. About a minute and a half later, they are both already lying in the shade under the back steps, dead to the world. Apparently, they are just way too exhausted to enjoy this lovely day. I mean, they did have a really rough day consisting of napping in the house, a brief morning walk, napping on the porch, running outside to go potty, napping in the house again, etc. And what might they be doing right now? Napping. Maybe I should have considered a more active breed of dog. I did manage to snap this quick photo of Boden in one of the few minutes he was actually awake today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brother bear

Boden bear is nine weeks and fitting right into the family. I can tell he's starting to love brother Thatcher more than mom and dad, but I saw that one coming. Since we brought him home, he's been sleeping upstairs with us. Last night though, Thatcher was downstairs when we went to bed, so Boden just cried until I brought him downstairs to join Thatcher. Of course, in the middle of the night when Thatcher assumed his usual sleeping position upstairs in the doorway of our bedroom, Boden got stuck alone downstairs. He doesn't do big flights of stairs yet. So I had to climb out of bed and run downstairs to get him. Then I got to listen to him bark at Thatcher whenever he woke up and got bored. I miss my sleep.

Everything else has been going smoothly though. Letting them outside and inside is a breeze, Boden just shadows everything Thatcher does. Now if only his bladder will grow so I don't have to clean up accidents every twelve minutes. I taught him "sit" this week. Well, I can't take full credit for it. He literally picked it up after the first time. He's so smart, it's kind of alarming. I'm planning on picking up some training treats and working on a few more commands this weekend. I also foresee a trip to the dog park in the near future. We haven't brought Boden to any water source yet, so I'm curious to see what he thinks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Warrior puppy


Thatcher and Boden are starting to become buddies. Woke up at 5:30am to the sound of Boden barking incessantly. I peel myself out of bed, stepping in a potty accident in the process, and stumble down the stairs in search of the dogs. I find them in the kitchen in the middle of a stare-down. Boden is trying his hardest to get Thatcher to play.

We are quickly learning that Boden has a very confident personality. He does not back down from Thatcher, but instead barks and growls playfully back. I've been watching them wrestle around the house for the past two hours, wondering if our house will be able to sustain the beating of two full-grown Newfies romping around and crashing into furniture. Time will tell. In the meantime, it's comical to watch our little 20lb ball of fluff run around chasing Thatcher. We always assumed that Thatcher will be the dominant one, but we did not expect to get such a brave puppy. This little guy is going to give us, and Thatcher, a run for our money.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bringing Boden home

It's official. We are the proud owners of two drooly giants. On Saturday, we drove up north to pick up our new boy, Boden. We were again reminded of how tiny Thatcher is when we met Boden's Newfoundland parents, Buddy and Shelby. Shelby is a gorgeous black beauty, and Buddy quite literally looks like a brown bear. Magnificent. We were told that Boden will likely grow to be somewhere between his parents' weight, hitting around 170 to 200 pounds. Yikes. We also were lucky enough to meet the other Newfies there, three lovely females (of course, all bigger than Thatcher). It made me want her life. A house full of Newfies in the country. Only I don't think I would be able to give up the puppies each time.

Car ride home
On the way home, Boden refused to sit in the freshly cleaned backseat with his bear and blanket. Instead, he snuggled up front on my lap the entire way. This is a change for us. Thatcher never ever cuddled when he was a baby, but Boden likes nothing more than to be close to us. So far, he sleeps with us on our bed at night. His favorite place to lie is above my head, against the open window sill. Accidentally fell down the crack between the head of the bed and the window a couple of times, but I peeled him out. He's a complete sweetheart. And his goofy side is starting to come out as he gets more comfortable with his new home and family. Now we just need Thatcher to come around.

He isn't mean or anything, just really stand-offish with the puppy. And extremely jealous when he notices us giving Boden any form of attention. It will just take a little bit of getting used to. They're working on learning to interact with each other. So far, their "playing" consists mainly of Boden running up to Thatcher, Thatcher getting worried that Boden might steal his toy or bone, Thatcher growling and turning around to give Boden the cold shoulder, and Boden running clumsily back to mom or dad. Boden is starting to stand his ground and be a little more outgoing towards Thatcher. This morning he was trying to get Thatcher to play. Thatcher growled, so Boden barked back and just kept barking at him. It's so funny watching them. Sometimes they act so much like actual children, I would give anything to know what their thought process is like.

Today is the first day Boden will be human-free for a few hours while we're at work. I felt so horrible leaving him. Since we got him, he starts crying if there is no person in sight. I've been worrying so much since I left, I feel like a parent of a real newborn baby. Puppies are probably one of the best ways to prepare for a baby. Just as needy and vulnerable, only benefit is that you can leave them home alone. Not that it makes you feel any better about leaving them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eleven seconds flat

Eleven seconds. That's how long it takes Thatcher to chew the plastic cap off a water bottle, including the little plastic ring around the top too. I can't remember exactly when or why he developed this obsession, but no water bottle in his path is safe. Even full water bottles better watch their back. Tonight I was sipping out of my bottle of sparkling water when I realized Thatcher was sitting directly in front of me staring expectantly. You'd think it was prime rib or something. But no, our dog is cheap to please. We've gotten in the habit of tossing him our empty bottles when we're finished. He dutifully chews the cap and ring off, then looks around for another. Doesn't chew the actual plastic bottle, doesn't eat any of the plastic at all. It just really bothers him when the plastic cap is left on. Of course, this means that our entire house is always littered with little plastic caps that I have to constantly run around cleaning up. Yet another one of the endless perks of owning a dog. Between caps, and the tufts of fur covering any floor surface, and the crusty drool marks on most walls, not to mention his dozens of half-chewed bones and toys with missing limbs, it is near impossible to keep a house with a Newfy in it perfectly clean. And here we are about to double our mess by adding another Newfy to the family. I don't know where my sanity went.

We're leaving Saturday morning to meet and bring home our little guy. They live about three hours away, so we'll be up and on the road bright and early. After waiting for about six months, it's so strange that we'll have him here in less than two days. We haven't even gotten anything ready yet, so I guess Petsmart will be one of his first fieldtrips. Yet to determine how Thatcher is going to react when he learns that he has to share his parents with a brother from now on. Let the puppy days begin!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A special love for anything that rolls

I have to share one last video of Thatcher's baby days. His love of balls clearly started very early on in life. At first, he was slightly afraid of them, which probably explains why he now destroys them all.