Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh, January

Since I was just talking about Boden's favorite game (keepaway) in my last post, I thought I should share the video I managed to catch of it this morning. It was freezing and snowing and dreary outside, so it's not the highest quality video, but Boden has a long stick in his mouth. Hence, the gleeful prancing around the snow. He found this stick and ran around with it our entire time we were at the fields today. Sometimes, he carries the sticks he finds all the way home. And better yet, he occasionally manages to sneak them into the house without us noticing. I won't realize this until later, when I find a trail of shredded wood leading to a certain sleeping, "innocent" puppy. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


Boden is always so proud of himself when he finds a treasure before Thatcher does. These "treasures" can be anything really, a dead mouse (luckily this has only happened once so far), a long-lost bone, a piece of food someone dropped in the snow, or in this case a simple chunk of wood. Wood and sticks are his favorite, and he'll happily prance around all of us in circles when he finds a good one. Thatcher, of course, has picked up on the game. In typical big brother fashion, he's learned to pretend he's not interested in whatever Boden has. Boden, seeing he can't get a reaction out of Thatcher, will end up getting bored and will drop the object. This is Thatcher's cue to swoop in and steal it. We watch countless variations of this game on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. It never gets old.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Seeing double

As Boden grows, the differences between he and Thatcher shrink. It's getting easier to mistake one for the other at first glance. I mean, when you accidentally stumble over a huge black lump that is monopolizing an entire hallway, doorway or entryway, it's hard to distinguish which Newfie was the culprit. Although their faces are quite different and Boden is still at least 30lbs shy of Thatcher, people are starting to get the boys mixed up fairly often. I guess to most people, a big black dog is a big black dog. When we visited family the other day and walked into the house, I heard someone repeat a few times (upon being greeted by the dogs), "Which one is the little one? Which one is the baby?". 

Obviously, we see them every day and don't struggle quite as much. But I have really been noticing just how alike they are becoming. Not only in appearance, which is inevitable considering they are of the same breed, but in personality. Boden mimics Thatcher. Some of the characteristics they both display are inherent to the Newfie breed, but some quirks are just random. For example, Thatcher has always done this weird thing where he licks the air repeatedly when you pat his butt. When you stop patting, he whines a little and wags his tail slightly, as if to tell you to keep patting. There is no way to teach this, and I have absolutely no idea why Thatcher licks the air. But Boden does now does the exact same thing. It's uncanny.

When we were up north this past weekend, I went for a morning walk with the boys to catch the sunrise. I might add that the temperature was below zero that day; we experienced a high of zero degrees. So I bundled up and ventured out into the bitterly cold but beautifully still morning. I brought my camera along and snapped a few photos before my fingers went numb - which took about 6 minutes. I finally got a chance to browse through the photos tonight and was amazed at how identical the Newfies looked in so many of the shots. I almost thought I was seeing double.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Crammed in the car

The Newfies love car rides, but we definitely need to invest in a larger vehicle. Unless they are sitting up and looking out of the window, squeezing into the backseat of our car requires Thatcher and Boden to basically lie on top of each other. Surprisingly, they are great sports about it and generally nap the whole time. On our last trip to visit family, a three hour roadtrip, I glanced into the backseat and had to smile. Boden was sleeping with his arm around Thatcher. We've started researching larger vehicles, because once Boden is full size, fitting all four of us into a car will be near impossible.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Night owl

Boden sleeping. A sight that is rare these days.

Boden has turned into a little monster at night. He wanders up and down the stairs clunking bones and toys around, looking for trouble. I don't know what's gotten in to him, but I feel like the parent of a newborn baby. Every couple of hours, he'll come over to my side of the bed and shove his face in mine to wake me up. When he's certain I'm awake, he'll hop up part way onto the bed to be pet for a few minutes. Sometimes he has a toy in his mouth, sometimes not. The first few times he did this, I assumed he was trying to tell me he had to go potty. So I begrudgingly trudged down the stairs to let him out, only to discover he just wants to play and has absolutely no need or desire to go potty.

Well last night, I let the dogs out at 11pm for the last time. After I climbed back into bed, I heard him banging around in the living room downstairs. Really loudly. I figured he was probably just dragging around a bone or knocking something over, so I tried to fall back asleep. The loud thumping continued for awhile, then stopped. Just as I was starting to drift off again, the noise started. I decided to go check on him downstairs and at least make sure no one was breaking into our house or anything. I get out of bed and accidentally step on Thatcher, who's sleeping on the floor next to me. I walk downstairs and into the living room, and Boden is nowhere to be seen. Then I hear the thumping again. I stand there, puzzled, until I realize he has accidentally shut himself in the bathroom. Not the first time this has happened, I might add.

I open the door and let him out of the prison he created. He sprints into the living room happily, and I see his cheeks are bursting because he has something in his mouth. I reach out to grab him , and he dances away playfully, clearly proud of himself and whatever's hiding in those jowls. We've caught him running around with toothpaste and shower gel (separate occasions) before, so I wanted to make sure whatever he had in his mouth wasn't going to harm  him. I finally catch him, only to discover it's just the empty cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper. I throw it back in the bathroom garbage, shut the bathroom door, and head back to bed. He was already attempting to wake me up again about an hour later. I should have just left him in the bathroom, then maybe I would have gotten a full night's sleep for once.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tasmanian Devils

Boden's little digging-through-the-bathroom-garbage incident the other night did not hold a candle to what I came home to yesterday. I can't prove it was Boden, but I'm fairly confident he was the ringleader. The entire house (all three floors) were such a disaster, I didn't even have time to document it all with photographs. The funniest part is that the dogs were home alone for one hour total the entire day. J left for work at 3pm, and I was home by 4pm. It makes me laugh, thinking of how fast the dogs must have worked to cause that much damage in just one hour. It's actually impressive. Here's how my night went.

I arrived home and immediately switched to snow boots to take the dogs for a walk while it was still light out. We tromped, through drizzling rain, to the park up the street and I let the dogs run in the fields for a while. We got back home, and as I began taking off my boots I noticed Thatcher was acting kind of strange. He sat unmoving in the kitchen and seemed frozen in place. I walk into the living room to find torn apart books littering the carpet. I scolded the dogs and told them they were naughty, then cleaned up the mess. But even once the mess was cleaned up, Thatcher still looked worried, which was unusual. I headed upstairs and immediately found out why Thatcher was being so weird. 

The entire hallway, bedroom, guest bedroom and bathroom floors were covered in shredded remnants of tissues, leftover Christmas gift bags, magazines and bathroom trash. I immediately called the dogs upstairs, and at first they wouldn't even come. I could see them waiting at the bottom of the stairway, hiding in the shadows. I called them again, and they slowly tiptoed up the stairs, trying to avoid my angry glare. I had to pull out my camera and snap a few shots before I scolded them. They are pretty easy to punish, and are much harder on themselves than I am on them. All I usually do is say, "Thatcher, what is this? That is so naughty," in a stern voice (trying to keep from smiling), and both of the dogs drop to the ground apologetically, wagging their tails meekly. They acted sad until the mess was completely cleaned up, then it was out of sight, out of mind. They're good at pretending to be sorry at least, what more could I ask of them.

During scolding
During scolding
During scolding
After scolding. No remorse :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

1. When did you begin your blog? 
 I'm pretty brand new to blogging. I launched this blog at the beginning of summer 2012. So I've been up and running for about 7-8 months. 

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog? 
My blog really just began as a hobby. My original intent was just to document daily life with my two Newfies. They add so much humor and joy to my life, I felt the need to share it with others. I've tried blogging in the past, but have never had that inspiration to keep me writing until my dogs came along.   

3. Is your current purpose the same? 
Basically. My purpose is still to capture my life (that revolves largely around my dogs) in words and photographs. 

4. How often do you post? 
I try to post at least 3 times a week. Sometimes I fail, depending on how busy of a week it was.   

5. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? 
Definitely as the spirit moves me! I do not publish on a schedule, because every week tends to vary so much. I'm still in the process of finding some semblance of a posting routine, but in the meantime, I write when an idea pops into my mind.    

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your  tips for staying on top of it all. 
Writing a post and editing (most of the) photos for it usually takes a minimum of an hour. So all in all, I spend about 3-5 hours per week working on my blog. I'd love to spend more time visiting other blogs, but right now can only manage a couple of hours a week. I definitely enjoy seeing how others are doing it and gathering inspiration from them. 

I really don't have any tips for staying on top of blogging, because I'm kind of terrible at it. There are days when I have some form of writer's block and can't think of a single interesting thing to write about. Then there are days when several ideas form at once. I try to remember to stay present in the moment as much as possible, rather than constantly brainstorming for blog ideas or worrying that I haven't posted anything in a couple of days. And ideas usually flow once I've stepped away from technology and gone on an adventure with my Newfies. 

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? 
Since I am new to blogging, I haven't been measuring success in any formal way (comments, traffic, etc.). I don't have millions of people trafficking the blog, so I just consider myself successful when I am able to keep posting interesting stories regularly - which can be a challenge in itself. 

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How do you keep inspiration flowing? Some days I feel like I've already written about every topic possible. How do you get past that block? I'd like to keep this a fun hobby, rather than it turn into an obligation or a chore. 

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013? 
My main goal is keep sharing stories. I want my blog to remain a relaxing hobby, rather than become a chore. So I'd like to remember not to worry or obsess, or compare my writing to others, etc. My goal is to live in the moment and soak in the time I get to spend with the dogs, then write about it later. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Never be late

Just when you think you can trust them. This happens. Then you realize you're the dumb one for trusting dogs with garbage. That's down at their level. Out in the open. 

Since getting Boden, we've had to keep bathroom garbage cans on top of the back of the toilet, because he would constantly tip them over and play with the trash. I stopped doing this recently because we hadn't had any terrible instances of him shredding things for a while. I got home later than normal tonight, and the dogs were so crazy with excitement that I forced myself to bundle up and take them for a night walk. I fed them and played with them after the walk, then tromped upstairs to take a shower and get ready for bed. As I turned the hallway light on, I noticed a piece of trash on the ground. Then another. As I stepped further down the hallway, there was an actual trail of trash leading into the bathroom. I turned on the bathroom light, and to my delight, found that the dogs had gotten back at me for getting home late. With the parents away, the dogs will play. Needless to say, trash will be going back up. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Growing pains

Yesterday we went to Petsmart to pick up dog food. While we were there, we weighed both of the boys. Boden's in great shape and growing like a weed; just shy of 6-months-old, he has surpassed 80 lbs. I was a little nervous to weigh Thatcher, but knew it must be done. He weighed in at 126 lbs, about 10 lbs more than he was at his last vet visit in August. The vet had emphasized clearly several times - do not let Thatcher gain any more weight. His build is more on the slender size for a Newfie, and at 116 lbs, the vet was starting to feel a little bit of fat over his ribs. So in a nutshell, we've totally failed as parents the last few months. Thatcher took the opportunity of having a new brother as a means to eat double the amount of food he was supposed to. And we utterly failed in preventing this. Large breed dogs are prone to a plethora of diseases as they age, particularly bone and joint problems. So obesity is a major concern and we're kicking it into gear. We started Thatch on a large breed weight management dog food a couple of weeks ago, and we're trying to sneak in some extra exercise whenever possible. Time to slim our chunky boy back down. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Boden has an affinity for stuffed animals. He likes to cuddle with them, carry them around, shake them vigorously and wave them in Thatcher's face. All night tonight, he has been prancing around the house with his yellow fuzzy bear. He's been bringing it over to Thatcher and swinging it around, tempting Thatcher to try and steal it. Most stuffed animals have a tragic fate once Thatcher takes the bait. The subject of a game of tug-o-war, their limbs are usually torn apart and their bodies de-stuffed. Our living room often looks like a teddy bear graveyard. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New day, new year

If we didn't know it was New Year's, it'd be easy to mistake today as just another Tuesday. Another day, another week, another year. Since today is a day of resolutions, Thatcher and Boden would like to share theirs.

Thatcher's goal, similar to millions of humans' goals today, is to shed the extra pounds he has put on this year - particularly since Boden joined our family. He has promised to try his hardest to stop gobbling up all of Boden's puppy food, and to be content with his own (now weight management) food. He has also promised to try to remember that he doesn't need to hoard all of the bones and rawhides in the house. Hiding them in plain sight does not keep Boden from finding them anyways.

Boden's goal is to learn to listen better. He has promised that when we call his name, he will try to come right away, instead of looking at or running over to Thatcher. He has also promised to try to control his bladder once and for all. Although he rarely gets scolded anymore for the occasional accidents he still has overnight, mom and dad do not like stepping in puddles in the morning. Since he holds his bladder perfectly when we are gone for work during the day, he thinks it's reasonable that we expect him to do the same overnight. We have high hopes for this goal.

Here's to another great year with our Newfies, who make us smile at least once every day.