Our Daily Routine – The “N” in Newf is not for “Normal”
One morning, while sitting at the computer, working on this story, Rimshot & Molly were lying outside in the sun. Rim barked to come in and when I opened the door this old guy (11 years old) charged through the door to the box where we have all the stuffed toys, grabbed a couple of them in his mouth and ran all around the house, room to room, barking a muffled bark while holding these two stuffed animals in his mouth. I was going to take Molly to dog therapy that day but with all this energy, this old fellow should be there. Was so good to see him like that.
Most people rely on their alarm clock to wake up each morning, and then have to fight the snooze button to actually get out of bed. In our house we have no need for such devices. We have the four legged variety of alarm clocks, and we have four of those. The ‘waking up’ routine usually starts around seven each morning, when I wake up to a presence on the bed. It is most often a heavy weight on my legs, which if left unattended would most certainly cut off all blood supply to my feet. This would be Annie, curled up at the foot of the bed, but with the front part of her body draped over my legs. At the same time I feel this hot moist breath on my face and upon opening my eyes, I find myself inches away from this large panting beast. This would be Seven, lying at the head of the bed with her head on the pillow staring at me waiting for me to wake up.
Now the secret is to remain as calm as possible until I am ready to extricate myself from these two. If I give any indication that I am awake, then I am shocked by Molly rushing to the bedside and burying her head under the blankets and enthusiastically licking everything within reach. This would be followed by Rimshot, either excitedly barking from the living room telling me to get up or charging into the bedroom and also burying his head (and cold nose) into my back. Rarely do I slowly and pleasantly wake up to face the day.
Once I step out of bed, the challenge is to make it out of the bedroom without tripping over these milling giant dogs who are more interested in head rubs and scratches than anything else. Following this excitement, I let them all outside to do the morning “business.” They all go down the ramp which leads off the deck, in single file, Rimshot bringing up the rear. His role apparently is to follow each member of his harem and ensure that he pees in exactly the same spot that each one of them does. This keeps him busy for quite a while. Then they all meander back to the deck and collapse outside the patio door for their naps. Meanwhile, I am now wide awake and wondering just who actually is the ‘boss’ in this house.
Somewhere there is a human trying to sleep
Only good dreams can come from this
The dogs spend most of the day intently watching every move I make as I move around the house. They are looking for the slightest indication that I am about to put on a jacket or boots. This action is immediately construed as confirmation that we are going out, and results in pandemonium. So it is imperative that I watch my every move as I go about my daily activities.
We have one of those portable air conditioners in the living room and one more in the bedroom. These are a necessity with Newfs in the house. Often on a hot humid summer day we will notice it becoming increasingly warm and humid in the living room.The reason is that we often have three of the four Newfs crowded around the cool air outlet, blocking it from the room ..
When, in fact, I actually have to go somewhere, I take the four of them with me if at all possible. On the way home, most often we will stop at a wooded area close by and spend some time wandering the fields and woods. If I am unable to take them with me, then it is a major operation for me to get out the door without a dog. They have become used to the phrase “I’ll be back in a minute” and when they hear that, they usually calm down because they know they are not going with me. They will lie around the door with that mournful look on their face that says they are the most ill treated creatures in the world.
If they don’t go with me in the car (actually, with four Newfs that must read “van”), then I take them for walks during the day. I have tried a few times to take the four at once but as one would imagine, that can be a disaster of tangled leashes and a frustrated human. So I will take two at a time. Now this can be a traumatic event for the two who are left behind. The way I choose who goes and who stays is generally by opening the patio door about two feet and whichever two of the four get out first are the ones who get to go. If I look back to the house as I am walking away there are always two big black heads silhouetted in the dining room window watching every step I take. When I return 20 to 30 minutes later, these same two heads are still there waiting. This process is reversed when I switch to take the other two.
The day progresses with one of the four barking to go out every 20 or 30 minutes. Then of course each one has to come back in again. Trying to sit quietly and read a book for a while is virtually impossible. In the summer or on the more pleasant winter days, three of the four spend most of the time outside. Seven is the exception. She loves being inside, lying in front of the fire as cozy as possible. Also, being our current ‘Velcro’ Newf, she always wants to be wherever I am.
We find that we really do not have to have clocks or watches around the house to know when it is 3:45 pm. Fifteen minutes before dog dinner time, and wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we will be suddenly surrounded by four panting, pacing Newfs, all looking for their dinner. After they have eaten and performed their after dinner routine, the next “big event” of the day is Ingrid’s arrival home from work. This important time is signalled by Molly, Seven and Annie gathering at the gate, sitting side by side and staring at the driveway. As each car comes around the bend in the road, three heads seem to stand up and take notice, but settle down as the car passes by the house. This is repeated with every car that comes into sight until Ingrid turns into the driveway. Once again pandemonium ensues by welcoming the final family member safely back into the fold.
Our evenings are usually spent quietly with four huge bodies spread out on the floor like so many bear skin rugs. The only way we know that we have these four giants in the house is having to get up periodically to let one or more of them outside, then minutes later, back inside. We are most thankful to have a TV remote and a satellite receiver which allows us to pause live TV. When living with four Newfoundland dogs in the house, these are essential tools. Typically, a two hour movie takes about 3 hours to watch. We have become accustomed to the following: Five minutes after the start of the movie, a dog will bark at the door to go out. Pause. Back to the movie. Then another will notice that someone is outside and want to go out also. Pause. Back to the movie. A few minutes later Rimshot wanders out from his back room nap, notices that two dogs are missing. Pause. Back to the movie. Next is for one of the outside dogs to bark to come in. Another pause. Back to the movie. This little routine is repeated many times during the “two”? hour movie, and is a normal occurrence. Add to this the many times one of the dogs will walk into the living room, stop and sit directly in front of the TV, completely obliterating the screen. Pause – wait until he/she moves on.
The bedtime routine is the same every night. The last trip outside is made about 11PM, followed by the nightly treat. This is Rimshot’s cue to head for the back bedroom. When we make our appearance, followed by Seven, Annieand Molly, Rimshot immediately heads for the dining room where he will spend the night. The three girls have their specific spots on the floor to sleep. One important fact that must be mentioned here is that most Newfs snore. And they snore loudly. Most could win snoring contests with the loudest human snorer. We have family and friends who can rattle the windows with their snoring, but can still be outdone by a Newf. However it is quite interesting that we find it almost impossible to sleep with a human snoring on the other side of the bedroom wall but three or four Newfs shaking the floor is akin to having a glass of warm milk before bedtime.
Waiting at the door for mom to come home This is a crowded living room
Every 10 year old deserves a birthday party (Rim)
A crowded day at the beach
Everyone in his place at mealtime
Waiting at the gate for Mom to come home
If I could only get them to pick up a shovel
Or a rake !
Molly & Ingrid
Looks like we have our “Ducks in a row”