Mr. Beepers and the Fortress of Solitude

Mr. Guinness is a very brave boy. For example, he has scared off hundreds of very dangerous bicyclists from the road in front of our house. His fence is probably 150 feet from the road and the cyclists don’t even know they’re being barked at, let alone by whom. But he barks, and then they’re gone, so clearly he scared them away. For these and other acts of bravado, we award Guinness with constant commendations for bravery befitting a proper Newfoundland dog.

In other words, we tell him to shut up about thirty times a day. (more…)

Annie the Protector

My daughter, Colleen, got a tent for Christmas. I have no idea what a 10-year old needs with a tent, but who am I to argue with Santa?

After receiving her tent, Colleen waited patiently for summer. Actually, I may have misused the word “patiently” in that sentence. I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s how I would describe the six months between Christmas and the events in this story: (more…)

Guinness and the TPLO – Part IV

I am happy to report that Guinness is recovering nicely, though it has not been an easy proces. The past couple of weeks have been, shall we say, interesting. Between Guinness recovering, Christmas and New Years, a rapidly approaching deadline for the 2nd edition of Network Warrior, and me traveling for work, I am a tad, shall we say, burnt out. Going back to work almost felt like a vacation. Almost. (more…)

Guinness and the TPLO – Part III

The night of day three I got all his pills in him with the pill gun. He hated me for about a 1/2 hour, but he needed his meds dammit. I slept on the couch this time to let Lauren get some sleep. To be painfully accurate, I didn’t actually sleep so much as lay there for eight hours. At least he wasn’t lonely.

The next morning I think he figured out a way to scoop his tongue back into his throat and pull the pills out. What’s worse, every time he did that, he ruined three expensive antibiotic capsules. I think I need a horse pill gun. This would have been easier if they’d just given me a needle and syringe. (more…)

Guinness and the TPLO – Part II

Bringing Guinness to the Veterinary Hospital wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but it was still an emotional day. Guinness was excited to go for a ride in the car, and limped outside. He climbed up into the back seat of my car, eager for some window snorting. I won’t let him stick his head out the window, but I cracked it so he could enjoy the onslaught of smells from the road. Seeing as how all this transpired at 6:30am, I could not have cared less about the drool on my normally spotless windows. I am not a morning person, which also explains why I forgot my sunglasses. I did get to enjoy the sound of my retinas sizzling as I watched the sun rise directly over the highway for an hour. (more…)

Guinness and the TPLO – Part I

Guinness blew out both of his knees (one while on vacation running from a plastic goose), and he needs to get them fixed. As of today, Mr. Guinness has been scheduled for his first of two TPLO surgeries on this Wednesday, December 22, 2010.

TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (now you know why everyone refers to it by its initials). TPLO is a procedure used to help a dog deal with what is roughly analogous to a torn ACL in humans. When I look at Mr. Guinness as he struggles to get up and down the stairs, I can feel his pain. You see I completely ruined the ACL in my right knee some 15 years ago and had surgery to have it repaired. The difference is that he has ruined both legs, he needs the surgery more than I did, and he seems to be in more pain than I was. He has no idea what’s coming. It’s killing me though. (more…)

Please Don’t Buy a Newfoundland Dog

Every year hundreds of giant breed dogs are put up for adoption or worse, destroyed because someone fell in love with the fluffy little puppy and brought it home, only to be overwhelmed by slobber, food, vet bills, and the sheer size of their full grown dog. If you cannot make a commitment to this (or any) animal to keep it forever, then please don’t get one. Would you give up a son or daughter because they got too big? Certainly not. Anyone who thinks a Newfoundland is any less than a child doesn’t understand the breed. (more…)

Dog Dinner Détente

If Guinness has one fault, it’s that he can be a bit protective of his food. We’ve gone to great lengths to make him understand his place in the pack, so he has no problems with humans. The kids routinely feed him and put things in his bowl while he’s eating. They’ve taken thing from his bowl too, though they both know better. At least I thought they did. Some days I’m amazed my kids can remember to breathe on their own, but this is a story about dogs, so I’ll spare them further reflection on their continued absent-mindedness. (more…)

Guinness the Protector

Guinness in the Rain
Brave Guinness doesn’t like thunderstorms. I know that many dogs dislike thunder, but I find something funny about a 140 pound zombie hunter being afraid of loud noises.  Usually the big baby finds me and hides under my feet when the thunder starts. I guess I’m the alpha-male, so he knows I’ll protect him. On the night of this tale I was traveling, so Guinness was the resident alpha-male, though I don’t think he understood what responsibilities the title imparted. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – The End

On our last day of vacation, something miraculous happened. OK, perhaps it wasn’t the stuff of miracles, but given the week I’d had, it sure seemed that way.

You may remember from day one of our most restful and enjoyable of vacations, that Guinness has an extreme prejudice against two-wheeled vehicles of all kinds. As we drove along the New Hampshire highways, the first group of biker’s passed us. Like beaten prisoners we all flinched in preparation for the onslaught of barking and general carrying-on that always accompanied the drone of oncoming motorcycles. Only this time, nothing happened. (more…)