Guinness and the Soap

Guinness the Soap Hound
Guinness the Soap Hound

Everyone loves a clean dog. Not many people enjoy the act of washing a dog, but they certainly enjoy the results. Imagine if you could teach a dog to bathe themselves. Sure they can give themselves a thorough tongue-bath, but that’s not what I mean. Imagine if you could get your dog to soap himself up, work up a good lather, then hose himself off. Heck, while we’re wishing, why not throw in a towel dry. Imagine seeing your dog walking into the bathroom with a bar of soap in his mouth and a towel thrown over his back.

These were the thoughts that ran through my head as I saw Lauren chasing Guinness out of the bathroom. Normally I would expect Annie to be causing trouble in the bathroom, so when I saw that it was Guinness, I had to look again. Mr. Guinness, resident good boy and zombie hunter extraordinaire, had tip-toed into the bathroom and pilfered a bar of soap from the tub. As I watched, he came trotting out of the bathroom, furiously chewing something as Lauren followed. He looked like a kid that had stuffed a candy bar into his mouth and was trying to swallow it before his mom could reach him.

She managed to grab him and then dug her her small hand into his enormous mouth as any mother would in order to get the illicit treat. Lauren then pulled out the remaining third of a well chewed bar of Ivory soap. The girls had just finished their showers, and I had opened the last pack that morning, so the bar was fresh and bubbly. His breath was fresh and bubbly too for the first time in months, which was nice, but not germane to the story at hand.

Lauren and I both stared at the soap remnant, then both looked at Guinness in unison. He was the good dog! Good dog’s don’t eat soap. He looked very pleased with himself and sat like a good boy expecting a treat. He then had the nerve to sniff Lauren’s hand to see if maybe she would return his pilfered snack. We told him No! and put the remains of the soap in the trash.

Guinness showed no signs of any distress over the next few days, which I guess is a testament to his constitution, or perhaps his size. Then again maybe he puked somewhere and it smells so nice we haven’t noticed yet. Lauren and I have been kind of afraid to go into the kid’s room lately. Maybe I’ll don my environmental suit and check it out. Then again maybe I’ll have the kids do it.

We now have to lock the bathroom door not only to hide the kitchen trash, but to hide the tasty soap. I’m sure that plenty of people lock their bathrooms to keep their dogs from drinking in the toilet, but to hide the soap? If there is a book entitled Problems that Normal People Have, I don’t think there’s a chapter regarding the need to hide the already locked kitchen trash can in the bathroom along with the soap. Experience has taught us that it’s hard to be normal with Newfies. Given the choice between the two though, I’ll take the Newfies every time.

Brave Guinness

Brave, Brave Guinness
Brave, Brave Guinness

There are two dogs currently in our lives; Annie, the mischievous brat who provides most of the comic relief, and Guinness, the mostly well-behaved man-dog of the house. Annie is a Landseer Newfoundland as evidenced by her black and white coat. Guinness is an all black Newfoundland with only a patch of white on his chest. Since Annie’s adventures are well documented, I thought I would take the time to share with you a tale of the mostly brave Guinness.

Guinness is a big boy that epitomizes the term barrel chested dog. He is the reigning king of dogs in our house, though he properly defers to humans of any age as he should. If there is one goal to which Guinness aspires, it is to be a good dog.

Guinness is four years of age as of this writing, and we are his third home. We are also his last home, since we love him and wouldn’t give him up for any reason short of aggression towards our children. For the record he has never shown any aggression towards anyone other than Annie, and Lord knows I can’t blame him for that. Annie needs someone to keep her in line, and Guinness is just the dog for the job. Sure we give her boundaries and try to keep her in line, but those rules are for human interactions. The job for which Guinness has been chosen is to teach Annie how to be a dog.

Guinness taught Annie how to bark. Actually I might have been OK with Annie missing that lesson, since we are now serenaded with rampant barking every night at around ten o’clock. Apparently the hoard of zombies that lives just outside our fence wakes up every night at ten o’clock, and only Annie can hear them. She sounds the alarm, Guinness runs down to support her, and they proceed to bark continuously until I call them in. Should the zombies somehow breach the perimeter and get into the house, at least I know that I’ll have enough warning to load the shotgun. That is assuming the shambling undead don’t trip over the dogs when they come in. Actually it’s the scary running zombies you have to worry about, but forgive me – I digress.

Guinness is the very image of masculine authority. He exudes an air of confidence and bravery that makes him look noble and proud. The image of stout nobility is an illusion however, as our brave Guinness is seemingly afraid of damn near everything except the as-yet unseen zombies in the woods. And Annie – he’s not afraid of Annie, though she did scare him once.

When we had Annie spayed, she came home feeling confused and sick from the anesthesia. We brought her into the bedroom so she could lay on the nice dog bed in there. Guinness came in to check on her, and very gently walked up to sniff her. It looked like he just wanted to make sure that she was alright. It was really very sweet. Annie though, was in no mood for any of his man-dog crap. She turned her head towards Guinness, raised her right lip to expose her teeth, and let out a menacing low growl.

Guinness did what any man would do when faced with a growling woman. He tucked his tail between his legs, backed out of the room, then turned and ran like Hell. We found him hiding behind the children, shaking like a teenage girl in a horror movie. If he had vocal chords I bet he would have screamed like one too. I guess he figured that two young girls could protect him from the snarling she-beast in the bedroom. Maybe he just wanted a human shield. It’s hard to read him when he’s shaking.

Guinness is also afraid of thunder, fireworks, the broom when it falls over, and anything else that makes a similar noise. We can’t fault him for fearing thunderous noises. He is just what hunters call gun shy. We all have our neuroses after all. In the grand scheme of things being afraid of loud noises is pretty insignificant compared to say, constantly stealing butter. Since his duties here preclude him from becoming a bird dog, I doubt that he’ll ever hear a gunshot. Unless of course the zombies somehow get into the house. At least I’ll know he will be safe when I’m busy fighting them off. He will be the one hiding behind the children.

Death of a Remote Control

Annie's Latest Hit - Side One
Annie's Latest Hit - Side One

This is a crime with only circumstantial evidence, a pretty clear motive, and two suspects.

Two dogs were left alone for most of the day. At the end of said day, one universal remote control lay in critical condition. The culprit? That’s open for discussion. Of the two suspects, Annie has the longer rap sheet. Guinness, the resident good dog, has not been known to chew anything except marrow bones. We try not to jump to conclusions though, since we’ve been wrong before.

We had gone into the city to see a museum with the kids, so we were gone almost nine hours. Remarkably, this was the only thing destroyed in the house while we were gone.  We’d not left them alone for so long before and expected destruction on a biblical scale upon our return. Idle paws are the devil’s playground as it were.

Of course the remote control’s death is my fault. I should have known better than to leave anything so deliciously tempting out in the open. I’d become complacent from leaving it out without incident for so long. This time though, the limits of Newfy boredom were tested – and surpassed. Alas, the remote control was within the newfound limits. The sad part (to me) is that I had just programmed it so that it operated all of our many devices just the way I liked. Such is life.

I supposed I should consider us lucky. This remote was only $40 or so. The $150 remote was safe in the drawer while the drama unfolded. I liked this one better though. We’re just happy that she whoever did this didn’t eat the batteries.

Ceramic Chew Toy
Hand Painted Ceramic Chew Toy

We later discovered further evidence of wrongdoing upstairs. As Lauren was making dinner, Colleen walked in asking, “Where do you want this?” She was holding Lauren’s hand made ceramic olive oil dispenser.

Colleen had found the dispenser on the living room couch. This was significant because we were all pretty certain that we had last seen it on the lazy Susan in the middle of the dining room table. Also significant was the fact that the jug was empty, where earlier in the day it had been at least partially full.

Forensics analysis seemed to indicate that Annie someone had carefully taken the jug from the center of the table, carefully carried it across first a tile and then a hardwood floor, then gently placed it on the couch. Annie Whoever it was  then gently chewed off the rubber stopper from the jug (apparently consuming the tasty rubber bits) and carefully consumed all the precious nectar contained therein. All without so much as a chip in the ceramic glaze.

There was no mess; no puddle of oil. There was no indication that there had been a crime aside from the misplaced decanter of oil. If Annie the perpetrator had been smart enough to put the jug back, we would have never known until we went to pour some sweet tasty oil. It might have been weeks before we would have discovered the empty container. Luckily, our dogs don’t have opposable thumbs or the common decency to clean up after themselves.


Annie Gets the Apples

Annie, unable to get into the cabinet since I welded it shut (with a plastic child-lock), decided to hunt elsewhere for snacks today. While I was out writing at an air-conditioned Starbucks, Lauren and the kids went to the lake to be with her sister and nephews. Annie, who apparently had not been sufficiently fed – or perhaps entertained – still needed her snacks. A girl’s got to eat after all.

Being at war with a hyperactive 100 pound juvenile ferret makes us do things that other people might find odd. For example whenever Lauren leaves the house, she puts the kitchen trash can in the bathroom, and the fruit bowl in the microwave. That may seem strange in your house, but I assure you that it is quite normal in our little corner of the Newfy asylum.

Upon Lauren’s return from the lake, she discovered Guinness happily munching on a peach pit. What the Hell? But the fruit bowl is… empty on the counter. It didn’t even look like it had been moved.

We’re still unsure about Guinness’ role in all of this. He was found with a peach pit, so he is at least an accessory to fruit theft, but it’s possible that he simply found it when everyone came upstairs. I think we might need to set up the old Newf-Cam again.

Today’s score from the monochromatic bandit was five apples and a peach. There were no remains to be identified from the apple family. The peach pit was given a proper burial… in the bathroom where the kitchen trash remains.


Annie and the Mashed Potatos

Would you trust this face?
Would you trust this face?

Today, as usual, I spent some time at my local  Starbucks to enjoy a tripple espresso con-panna and to write. While I enjoy writing at home, the distractions are many. Between children, dogs and the ubiquitous toys of my many hobbies, I simply cannot focus on what I’m writing long enough to finish a complete thought. Why as I was trying to write the last sentence my eight year old walked in to tell me about the latest development in her Wii game. Of course she isn’t to blame for my short attention span, but I digress.

At any rate, today after writing about my Cozy, I came home to an empty house and two happy dogs. After petting them I walked upstairs to discover what looked like snow all over the floor. Since it’s August, I cleverly deduced that it couldn’t be snow, and as I got closer I noticed a destroyed box of mashed potato mix. I also found popcorn, some wrappers and a bra. I’m not sure how the bra was related to the mess, but it caught my attention none-the-less since being a man, I am helpless in the presence of a bra to do anything but stare.

I knew at once that Annie had been here. Who else would have caused such wanton destruction of foodstuffs? Certainly not Guinness. Annie was the puppy in the house, and though now over a year old, was still the prime suspect in this crime. She had a known history of plundering food stores. She had previously been found guilty of eating whole avocados and bananas right from the counter. Turning to look, I saw that Annie had come up to the landing and was sitting there looking at me with her head hung low. She exuded guilt. I gave her my best disapproving voice, Annie what have you done. Her head hung even lower.

When Lauren and the kids got home, and I came in from mowing, I commented on how Annie needs a hobby, and how we need child locks again. It was a happy day when we finally removed all the child locks. Years of fancy finger work to open the cabinets and drawers were finally behind us. That is, until now.

Guinness, who loves Lauren most, was sitting by her enjoying the cool breeze from the open sliding door. The screen, long since destroyed by Annie leaned uselessly against the outside wall. As I leaned down to pat Guinness’ head, I moved in close to tell him what a good boy he was. That’s when I noticed little flecks on his nose – little flecks of mashed potato mix.

It would seem that there’s more to this crime than I first expected. I think a full inquiry is in order.


Grimace and the Smoke Detector

Original Newf-Net Post:

I’m sitting in the home office working, when I hear “beep”. A short while later “Beep”. Hmm.. something needs new batteries.

“Beep” then the sound of thundering hooves down the stairs. In roars Grimace with a look of Oh CRAP on his face. He pushed by me, and proceeds to curl up under my desk, leaving no room for me.

Seems the smoke detector not only beeps, it says “Low battery” out loud in a scary man voice. Seems also that Grimace had tried to get in the shower with Lauren before he come seeking solace in my cave.

Such a brave boy.

He did not leave from under my desk for a good 45 minutes.

…and yes, I still call him Grimace. They wouldn’t let me change Annie’s name, I’m not changing his.Besides. He likes it.

Now he’s associated Lauren taking a shower with the smoke detector going off, so he runs and hides with me in the office until the shower is done.


Grimace is Home!

Original Newf-Net Post (By Lauren) here:

Our big boy Grimace (possible name change to Guinness) came home on Thursday. (see NJ Newf on Petfinder in the rescue section). He looked sad and confused when his foster family left and sniffed at the door wondering where they went. This boy was only in his foster home for 2 weeks, after spending his first 3.5 years with what was supposed to be his forever home.

We were warned he might not eat, not take treats, etc. After about an hour of he and Annie playing outside we came in and it was lunchtime. I generally give Annie a lunchtime ‘treat’, (a few smelts or some cottage cheese, green beans, etc). I grabbed a few frozen smelts and gave Annie one, gave Grimace one and he gobbled it down. He ate the next 2 as well.

He ate all of his dinner with no problem as well. I’ve gotten a little undercoat off of him and taken care of a couple mats, I just don’t want to overwhelm him. He seemed fine with what I was doing.

Annie is still such a baby and loves to play. It’s as though this boy hasn’t played in a while but she is reminding him how to do so. They have chased in the yard, nibbled on each others ears and backs, and kicked around the soccer ball.

Annie, now 8 months also wants and demands to be the center of attention..much like our youngest daughter. 🙂 Annie seems to constantly approach him like ‘wanna play? huh, huh, wanna play’? When he appears to have enough I try to give him a break. He seems very patient.

He doesn’t appear great on the leash but right now our driveway and front are still a sheet of ice from the last storm. We’re working on that, I think he just needs some reminders. He also needs to be reminded to be gentle when taking treats. We won’t let the kids give him treats until we can be sure he’s gentle.

He’s really an awesome boy. Very sweet, a very square head, very broad, and very loose drooley lips. I think he beats our Cozy in drooling.

I’ll just post a couple pix since GAD is the official photographer of the house.

Welcome to your new forever home big guy!