Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Six

Once again the scary ball of fire hung in the sky, confusing those of us who had previously known only darkness and rain. First thing in the morning I took Guinness outside, but the moment I got him down the stairs, he tried to bolt for the van. Seeing as how I controlled his rear legs with the beach towel sling around his belly, he could steer but had little traction. He slowly pulled me to the van and then sat there, pawing at the door. The poor boy was done with New Hampshire. He just wanted to go back home where good dogs weren’t given away. He was breaking my heart. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Five

For the first time in nearly 600 years, it wasn’t raining when we woke up. The cool New Hampshire air gave way to warm New Hampshire air, while we all recoiled in fear from the scary new ball of fire floating in the sky. Our vacation of doom was coming to an end as the future promised three days of unrelenting sunshine, white puffy clouds and an endless supply of Whoopie Pies.

We decided that on this, the end of monsoon season, we would take advantage of our free tickets (thanks Grandma!), and take a ride on the M/S Mt. Washington, a large passenger ship that sails on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. This ship has been sailing in one form or another since 1872 when it was a side-wheeler paddle boat. For as long as I’ve been going to New Hampshire, I’ve been riding on the Mt. Washington, and given the fact that I collected coins during this country’s bicentennial celebrations, that’s a long time. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Four

On day four of our adventure, it rained. Again.

I once heard someone say that Irish people like the rain. I’m Irish, and when I was younger I did enjoy a long walk in the rain with my sweetie. But this rain was making my sweetie grumpy, and I’m here to tell you that this rain was not appreciated by anyone except the dogs, both of whom would have been perfectly happy sitting outside in the rain all day long.

Once again we could do nothing interesting outside, so we did what anyone in our situation would do: we went to Walmart. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Three

On our third day in New Hampshire, the sky finally cleared enough that we could venture outside without getting soaked. We took advantage of the opportunity and went to see the Castle in the Clouds. Once again we staggered ourselves so that the dogs wouldn’t figure out we were leaving them at Grandma’s. Once again, we proved ourselves smarter than our dogs, even if we weren’t yet smart enough to figure out a way to make Guinness eat. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Two

After the excitement of our arrival, we were prepared for anything on our first day of vacation. Well, anything except for continued rain. Naturally, it rained – a lot.

Miraculously, we were not abducted by aliens in the night. New Hampshire has a rich and storied history of alien abduction, and I imagine it’s because there no friggin’ cell, Internet or long distance phone service. The aliens know that you couldn’t even send a text message for help, so the deep woods make for ripe picking of human probing subjects. I credit the dogs with our lack of midnight probing that first night. The way I see it, even interstellar travellers would not want to deal with Annie nudging their arms, or tentacles, or whatever it is they use while operating the probulator. Annie got extra head pats from me that morning while I thanked her for keeping the pesky aliens at bay. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day One

Somehow, Lauren and I came to the conclusion that driving two giant dogs, two kids and ourselves almost 400 miles to visit my mother in New Hampshire was a good idea. My mother only knew of Annie through pictures and from the tales spun here in this very blog. As you might imagine, she was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but from my point of view, she had the easy job. She didn’t have to share a vehicle with three hundred pounds of dog, a family of four and all the luggage required for their seven day adventure. (more…)

Annie the Tribble

Annie is an affectionate dog, and by affectionate, I mean a pain in the ass.  Annie loves everyone. If you sit down, she will run up to you with her tail a-waggin’ then jam her head into your lap, looking up at you with those big brown why aren’t you petting me? eyes. Of course the eyes are just a distraction from the dripping wet drool-laden lips that just soaked your pants, but that’s all part of the game. You see, in the language of Newfoundland dogs, drool = love.

If, after a reasonably long time—say, one-third of a second—you haven’t begun to pet her, she will then take her pointy nose, jam it under your arm and flip your hand up on top of her head where it belongs. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll commence with the petting, or it will just get worse. Actually that’s not true; it always gets worse. (more…)

Annie and the Vacuum

The "I'm Smarter than You" Face
Annie hates the vacuum. She’s not like normal dogs, who dislike the sound of the vacuum. Oh no, our Annie couldn’t be so pedestrian. She isn’t even bothered by the sound of rolling thunder from the machine like so many other dogs. If you accidentally bump her with it while vacuuming, then she’ll leap up in surprise and go somewhere else, but that almost never happens. I suspect it almost never happens because I almost never vacuum, but that’s just a theory I’m working on. To date, there has been no conclusive evidence proving my involvement in Annie’s vacuum cleaner-related behaviors. (more…)

Annie, Babies and Fimbo

Our house is loaded with stuff. I like stuff, the kids like stuff, we all like stuff. This love of stuff has lead to a house filled with trinkets, toys, and other shiny items that we couldn’t resist. Every so often we purge some of the stuff, but no matter how often we do this, we seem to continuously find more stuff.

I blame myself, since I am the chief hoarder of stuff. From guitars to fountain pens to computers to Lego kits, I have some pretty fine stuff. Really though, when it comes right down to it, it’s all just stuff. That’s how Annie sees it all, I’m sure. Maybe she has different categories for our stuff. Perhaps Tasty, crunchy, soft and pointy might be some of her descriptions for our stuff. Maybe she sorts it by smell instead. In any event, she doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not all her stuff. (more…)

Annie and the Dog Catcher Man

Annie is a destroyer of toys. She has been known to tear the heart out of stuffed toys, pull the squeaker out of rubber toys, and has even destroyed a soccer ball or two. Annie isn’t a keepsake-toy kind of dog like Cozy was. Cozy loved her Kong more than life itself, and we have hundreds of pictures to prove it. Annie has no special toy like that, but prefers to play with whatever is at hand – preferably something that she shouldn’t have.

There is one toy that she hasn’t destroyed, and her apparent respect for the toy fascinates me. The toy in question has been given the clever name of The Dog Catcher Man. Why? Because it’s shaped like a little man and has the word “Dogcatcher” on the front. I told you it was a clever name.

The Dog Catcher Man is a rubber squeaky toy like you’d find in any pet shop. It’s not a robust toy, and it is no way special except that it was purchased some thirteen years ago. Why do we have a 13 year old dog toy? This toy is special; this was Cozy’s toy. (more…)