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How do you say “That’s not for eating” in Newfoundlandish?

29 Jul

It’s funny when you have 4 dogs in your house and the smallest one is a Newfoundland. Or maybe funny isn’t the right word. I think “insane” might actually be the word I’m looking for here. Two of the dogs in question are mine (a smallish Saint Bernard & a largish Bernese Mountain Dog) and the other two (both Newfoundlands) belong to some friends who are out of town for the weekend. The smaller Newf has stayed with us before, but the big one is a Foster dog so he’s new to our house.

The foster Newf is almost as tall as our Bernese but heavier & with a head roughly the size of a watermelon. Because of the horrid condition of his coat when he was rescued, the Foster was given what one of my grooming customers likes to call “The Marine Look” (ie, shaved down to the fuzz). This will turn out to be a blessing later in this story.

Despite a few initial hiccups, everything went pretty well the first night. That is, until around 2 am when the foster dog barked and woke me up. I usually wake up around 1-2 am anyway due to some sort of undiagnosed sleep disorder, so this was no big deal. I assumed he just wanted to go outside to potty (that’s right, I said potty. Deal with it.) Like I said, no big deal. Until I tried to go back to sleep. That was when I realized a cricket was performing an obnoxiously loud rock concert directly outside my bedroom window. Obviously this was not the dog’s fault, but it certainly didn’t help my mood three hours later when the other Newf decided 5:30 AM was a good time for everyone to be awake.

Other Newf is a very sweet dog & I adore her, but she also drives me nuts sometimes. Sometimes she’s pretty chill and just likes to hang around our feet; this weekend is not one of those times. This weekend she’s sort of like a 3-yr-old human child who just consumed an entire 6-pack of Red Bull. We can’t keep a water dish out because she will try to swim in it & spill water everywhere, then she will try to swim in the water she’s spilled on the floor (I’m not exaggerating, she does this a lot – I even made a cartoon about it). She’s constantly underfoot, especially when we’re in the kitchen. If you open a cupboard or the fridge, she appears out of nowhere and sticks her head in it. And she can’t be trusted in the war zones of my children’s rooms – we simply have to keep a gate in the stairway to keep her from going up there. She’s into absolutely everything this weekend. If she could talk, I think she would be saying “OO WHAT’S THAT? IT LOOKS TASTY! CAN I HAVE IT?” All the time. Every 5 minutes I hear one of the kids groaning her name in exasperation. It’s like having a puppy in the house again. Every time she takes a nap we all breathe a collective sigh of relief (even the other dogs). The 3 other dogs all seem to be on their absolute best behavior, perhaps in an effort to set an example. I hope my two keep it up after the guests go home!

Saturday the four people in our house packed up for a nice bike ride to the YMCA. We only had 3 kennels so the plan was to put Foster Newf into our Berner’s kennel, Berner in our bedroom, the Saint in her own kennel, and other Newf in her camping kennel. However, the Berner went immediately into his kennel when I put the Saint away and refused to vacate his little cave. Foster Newf flopped down happily on the cool basement floor, so I decided he could stay there while we were gone. We hadn’t experienced any problems with him, so I assumed it would be fine.

You know that saying about assuming things? “To ASSUME makes an ass out of you and encourages a dog to roll around in the litterbox and eat cat poop.” Oh that isn’t how that saying goes? Well it should be. Anyway, as you can probably imagine, he smelled absolutely horrible so it was obvious a bath was necessary. I didn’t really feel like hauling him all the way to the grooming shop where I work, so I thought maybe I could just give him a quick wash with the hose in the backyard. After all, everyone knows Newfs LOVE water.

Washing a Newfoundland in your backyard is a lot like washing a car in your driveway. Except the car doesn’t want to be washed so it’s driving away from you and/or turning in circles the whole time. And occasionally shaking itself and getting you all wet. And by “occasionally” what I mean is “constantly.” This is where I was thankful for his recent haircut so I didn’t have to worry about how to get his fur dry. On reflection, I probably should have just taken him to the shop after all.

Don’t get me wrong, this weekend has been fun, but I will be glad to only have two dogs again tomorrow. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go chase the dogs around the yard in an effort to burn off all their energy so we can all take a nap.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Family Life, Schadenfreude for you

 

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