Monday, October 29, 2012

Bath time

On Saturday we brought the Newfies to one of our favorite local parks. It used to have these gigantic mounds of dirt and gravel that we would climb with Thatcher, but all of the mounds have now been leveled into one huge open space. Because of the rain we had a few days ago, it is basically a field of mud and puddles. So naturally, the Newfies were in heaven. They tromped around chasing each other and sticks, then we walked down the the lake shore. Thatcher could hardly contain his excitement as he raced down to the water and waited for us to throw a stick for him. Usually once he's in the water, it's difficult getting him out. And this lake stays shallow for a long ways, so he would wade about 50 yards out and still be able to touch. Thatch probably got double the exercise, because fetching sticks meant hopping across the water instead of swimming. Boden, on the other hand, hasn't gotten the chance to swim very many times, so he's still a little cautious. He wanted to join Thatcher so badly, but wasn't brave enough to go deeper than his knees. So he ended up following Thatcher from the shore. When Thatcher would chase a stick, Boden would run in the same direction as fast as he could. If Thatcher actually brought a stick all the way to the shore, Boden would scoop it up and take off running, trying to get Thatcher to chase him.

Fun at the park means two very dirty, wet dogs. Once Thatcher is dry, you can brush out any sand or dirt pretty easily. Boden is another story. His soft, fine fur is like a cobweb and everything gets stuck in it. At one point, he climbed up to lie on the bed next to me. When he left, there was a pile of sand in his spot. That's when I knew a bath was necessary. I was a little nervous to give him one, but it went pretty smoothly. One of our bathrooms has a shower with a sliding door, so it's easy to keep the dogs contained in the tub. I got the shampoo and apple cider vinegar rinse ready, then called Boden into the bathroom. Instead of Boden, Thatcher came running in and jumped right into the tub, which is ironic because he despises baths. So I finally get Thatcher out and Boden in and started working. Portable shower heads are a must when bathing big dogs; they make the process so much quicker. It only took about 10 minutes to bathe Boden bear. When I finished, I opened the shower door to grab a towel and saw that Thatcher had been lying about an inch from the bathtub the whole time, sympathizing with Boden. I dried Boden off the best I could, carried him over to the couch, and he instantly fell asleep and didn't move for an hour. Baths exhaust him. Thatcher walked over to Boden with a concerned expression, gave him a kiss on the nose, then laid on the floor beneath him. Such a rough life they have.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time for a king size?

I came to a realization this morning while I was getting ready for work. It may be time to consider a bigger bed. The Newfies tend to take it over any chance they get.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Forty pounder

Boden and I ventured to the vet this morning. I thought the appointment was at 8am, so I pretty much just woke up, swigged a cup of coffee, let the dogs out to use the bathroom, then jumped in the car with Boden. After rushing to get there in time, we walk in only to discover that the appointment isn't until 9am. Boden was acting really nervous, whining and frantically pacing around me in circles, so we just got back into the car and drove home. I had time to give him and Thatch a walk, have another cup of coffee, then run out the door again. 

He was a trooper though, and didn't even flinch when he got his shots. He absolutely adores all of the reception ladies and vet techs. They were all shocked at how much he's already grown. The last time they saw him, three weeks ago, he weighed in at 29lbs. Now he's just over 40lbs. I've really taken note of his size difference when I go to give him a boost onto the couch or our bed. He still hasn't found enough coordination to hop onto furniture, so he will just stand with his front paws up, waiting for you to lift his back end up. Hopefully he figures out how to work his muscles before he gets a whole lot bigger. Sometimes he refuses to get out of the car. The 1.5 foot drop to the ground is just way too dangerous, so I'm forced to lift him out. That's when I really feel those extra pounds.

Later today, the dogs got a nice treat - our nieces and nephew stopped over to visit. The littlest one, who is 3 years old, referred to Boden as "Cottonball." I kept hearing, "Come here, Cottonball. Here, Cottonball," and would look over to see Boden attacking the kids with kisses. All of them kept bringing toys outside just for Boden, but of course Thatcher would not allow himself to be overlooked and would confiscate any toy Boden even glanced at. They had lots of fun, and it was a win-win for all of the human adults. The kids were tuckered out for the car ride home, and the dogs napped the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Poor Wubba lost his head

Thatcher finally got groomed by a professional. We dropped off a very scraggly Newfie this morning and a few hours later picked up a clean, soft, respectable-looking Newfie. Amazing how much of a difference a bath, blow-dry and hair trim can do. He also got sent home with a sparkly Halloween theme bandana, so I'm pretty psyched about that. Love bandanas. Not only because they look cute, but when you have a drooly dog, it's a really convenient way to swipe a drool glob before it gets you. We try and keep a bandana on his neck anytime he's going to be around a group of people. Less hassle and fewer grossed-out strangers. But we really ought to take him to the groomer more, it's just one of those things we always put off. Not to mention he only stays clean for a couple of hours on average, before he's rolling around in the grass or dripping toilet wet with water all over his chest. 

I bought my Newfies a new toy this weekend - a Wubba dressed as a witch. We have a regular blue canvas Wubba that the dogs have had for a few months. It's pretty durable, it squeaks and it has a bunch of legs/arms for the dogs to pull on. So I was really excited to show the dogs this new witch Wubba when I got home. I brought them outside into the backyard and showed it to Thatcher. He gingerly took it from my hand and pranced around the yard proudly with it. The moment Boden noticed and grabbed one the of limbs sticking out of Thatcher's mouth, I swear I blinked and it was shredded. The yard looked like an early snowstorm hit. Stuffing covered the entire ground. I am still in awe that that small toy could hold so much stuffing. Apparently the witch hat compromised the sturdiness; once the hat was torn off, it left a hole in the top of the head.

It's so completely random, the toys that live and the toys that die. Rubber toys seem to be the safest. We have a rubber chicken, giraffe and flamingo that have all been around for months and months. Stuffed lion, who is a mix between a stuffed animal and a bean bag, has survived two years - even with a hole in the top of his head and stuffing sticking out. How do they choose which toys are allowed to live another day? I'll never understand. Thatch and Boden did enjoy playing with the leftover half of the witch Wubba this afternoon. So at least it lasted a solid two days.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Morning at the park

Walked to the park with the dogs this morning. While I froze in the brisk 30 degrees, they frolicked around the baseball and soccer fields without a care in the world. They love running after tennis balls and playing keep-away from each other. When I play fetch with them, I have to make them take turns, otherwise Thatcher dominates that ball and doesn't let it out of his grasp. I first throw the ball as far as I can for Thatcher and let him bring it back. Then I hold his collar and roll the ball about half that distance for Boden to go chase. Boden picked up on fetching really quickly and usually brings the ball back perfectly. Except when he knows Thatcher is waiting for it. In that case, he'll dance around Thatcher, taunting him with the ball. I'm surprised at how well Boden is able to hold onto the ball, before Thatcher flat out tackles him to the ground to take it back. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Messes, messes everywhere

My plan of baby-gating the shoe room failed. Although Boden cannot even climb onto our bed or the couch, he is apparently agile enough to jump over the baby gate, which is even taller than both aforementioned pieces of furniture. His motivation: the kitchen garbage can. If he can sniff even the tiniest hint of food in the garbage can, his main objective becomes getting to that food despite all risk. The first time I caught him, he was inside of the garbage can. He had knocked it over and crawled into it, and was munching delightedly on some dinner scraps. First, I whipped out my camera to quickly record the action. Then I tried to scold him. He looked so confused as to why I was sounding angry. Like he could not understand what was naughty about forging through the garbage can.

He has this thing when he gets in trouble. He doesn't ever seem remorseful or guilty, he just seems puzzled. I don't think he fully recognizes yet that "no" and "naughty" are negative words. Just looks at me like, "Mom, what's wrong with you? Why does your voice sound louder than normal?" Thatcher is the exact opposite and always has been. When he does something wrong, he punishes himself more than we do. All I ever do to scold Thatcher is say, "Thatcher, that is so naughty." He does the rest. He will literally grovel at your feet and make you feel like the guilty one for scolding him. There have been rare occasions when he gets sick and throws up or has a potty accident in the house, and my heart almost breaks for him because he seems so distraught. He does not like letting his mom and dad down, and he has the saddest facial expression a dog can possibly have. The other day I came into the bathroom to find the toilet paper roll shredded. I knew it was Boden, so I called him into the bathroom to tell him that was naughty. Thatcher, ever the masochist, brought himself into it and sat right next to Boden while I scolded him. Good big brother.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twelve weeks

12 weeks today!
Boden is 12 weeks old today, and just over 30 lbs. I've really been noticing how much taller he is lately. He can now see out of the window in the backseat of the car without propping himself up on Thatcher's back. He can also drink out of the water tub in the backyard without having to stand on his makeshift step-stool (two pieces of wood stacked next to it). I swear it was just the other day that he fell into that water tub. The water level was at about half, so he had to really stand on his tip toes and lean in to take a drink. I happen to be watching as he tipped just a little too far in, lost his balance and dropped into the tub. He was so confused he started thrashing around frantically, so I had to run over and rescue him. Also, he has mastered stairs. Runs up and down them like a champ.

He's really becoming a little spitfire though. Poor Thatcher is never left alone for long. Just like us humans, he loses a lot of sleep due to Boden's new-found mischievous side. It's become a morning tradition for the three of us. I will wake up, or be woken up by one or both of the dogs, go downstairs and let them outside. Come back in and grab a cup of coffee. They will then commence their routine wrestling match. It mostly consists of them growling and mimicking each other's weird sounds. Otherwise, it's Thatcher on the offense, knocking Boden over every chance he gets. Boden, on the contrary, prefers a hit and run strategy. He'll run out and strike at Thatcher, then run and slide under the ottoman (which he just barely still fits under). As I write this, Boden is barking at Thatcher, taunting him to play. A wrestling match has begun.

 Throughout the roughhousing, many toys end up with missing limbs. We have dozens of dog toys littered all around our house, yet Boden prefers the items he isn't supposed to have, namely shoes. I remember losing several pairs of shoes to Thatcher, but I fear Boden is going to be much worse if we aren't careful. Most days when I get home, I find a shoe that was in the bedroom upstairs has made its way to the kitchen. Or a shoe that was in the back entryway has wandered to the upstairs hallway. So far, no terrible chew marks. But I'm starting to be aware.The entry way / shoe room is now safely guarded by a baby gate. Hopefully Boden doesn't learn to climb over it any time soon, I'd like to get past this puppy stage without compromising all my pairs of heels that I've finally started building back up since Thatcher's puppy days.

The moments I love the most with both dogs are those random little times they want to snuggle. Boden will walk over flop into my lap, or wait to be lifted up onto the couch with me. Thatcher's always been the same. Some mornings I'll wake up to him lying right next to me on the bed, quietly watching the squirrels out the window while he waits for me to wake up. Or I'll be working on a computer, and Thatch will climb right up onto the couch and rest his head in my lap. These are the moments that always make my heart melt. Right now is not one of those moments. Thatcher and Boden are lying on the floor right beneath my legs, staring at eachother and barking for no reason in the world. My legs keep getting lifted up by Thatcher's back, as he tries to reach Boden who keeps hiding under them.