Finally, that thing is good for something!

Since we brought our little boy home from the hospital 7 1/2 months ago Newport has been surprisingly good with him. Never showing aggression, never (intentionally) stepping on him and, drum roll please…never chewing on his toys! Yes that’s right, our wonderful, very special, dog figured out, on his own, how to decipher his toys from the baby’s. There was a day when it was thought his toys = shoes, hands-free phone devices, garbage and human hands (occasionally human hands are still thrown into the mix) so the fact that there is no confusion between baby toys and doggy toys is a big deal. He’s been good with the baby but he has also clearly been jealous of the attention. Come into our house and try to say “hi” to the baby before the dog – how dare you! Newport will refuse to allow that kind of behavior. I’m just warning you. So imagine his relief when he discovered that this little thing that was stealing all of the attention actually wanted to play with him. Play! Play! Play! And imagine mom & dad’s joy when we discovered that Newport could be entertained by the baby and the baby could be entertained by Newport. We’re not quite to the point of leaving him alone with Newp while we head out for date night but we’re getting there. Kidding.

I finally caught one of their play sessions on video the other day. Although this is an every day occurance it is difficult to catch live because both of them love the camera. It’s all play until one of them spots a camera on them and then all attention is focused on investigating what that thing is that mom is holding. “Can we chew on it?” “Can we bang it against something to see what sound it makes?” “Can we just carry it around in our mouths?”

Disclaimer #1: I learned the hard way a couple weeks ago that people are very opinionated about walkers. Your opinions are your opinions and you are more than welcome to keep them to yourself. We love the walker, Brayden loves the walker and Newport obviously loves the walker. Judge my parenting if you must.

Disclaimer #2: Read above to verify that Newport has never shown aggression towards Brayden and, although it may look like it from this angle, he is only chewing on his toy and not on Brayden’s hands. I keep a close eye on them during play time and we are safe and sound. Newp just loves giving Brayden lots of kisses. Again, judge if you must.



Yesterday was Bath Day.

And wash the floors on my hands and knees day. It was a big day. So Newport celebrated.

By digging a hole in our yard, of course. It’s been raining here for three days straight which is actually wonderful because it’s not snow. In fact, the rain has melted all of the snow. So now our yard is soaking wet with three days of rain and a winter’s worth of melted snow. And in the wood chips under one of our lilac bushes there is obviously a pepperoni coated rawhide the size of our Chevy Traverse and Newport is determined to uncover the entire thing. He wasn’t interested in it until it rained, the snow melted, he finally got a bath and I finally washed my floors (and shook out the rugs but those are just details). Seize the moment, Newp!

So Scott grumbled about “my stupid dog” and rinsed him off in the kitchen sink this afternoon.

And then after dinner when I was putting the baby to bed he came upstairs and gave me the look. And the look said, “NOT. IT.”

It was my turn. Back in the sink. How does one get a dog to understand that if he wants to dig he will then go in the sink? I have no answer, but I did have a solution.

Ha ha Newp, try to get around this barrier!

It’s 30 degrees out at 8:00p.m. and I’m hauling out my gardening gates to barricade my backyard in an attempt to keep my dog from digging up nothing. Oh Newport…I get so annoyed. But then I look at that little face and I swear I can hear you saying, “Mom, live a little! Life is short! Let’s run around outside in the rain and roll around in the grass and dig holes in the dirt! What’s one more bath and a quick wipe of the floor?” Read all of my previous blogs and it’ll be quite obvious this isn’t actually going on in that little brain of his but nonetheless it’s a good lesson. Life is short and there are days when I just need to take a deep breath, relax, enjoy and follow the lead of my “take life by the horns” and “fly by the seat of your pants” puppy.  Thanks Newp.



Tennis Ball = Decoy

Newport loves to play with his toys. Not by himself, no, he is a very needy pup. In his perfect world he would come up to one of us with a toy in his mouth and we would instantly begin to chase after him. First we’d run to the living room, then we’d do a lap around the dining room table and then we’d wrestle him on the living room floor. Over and over and over and over again.

Well it’s not (always) Newport’s world. So in an attempt to make it so, he will oftentimes continue to come up to each of us (if one says no there’s always hope for the other!) with a toy in his mouth and if we ignore him he’ll go back to his basket, pick a new toy and run up to us completely re-energized with the possibility of play time. This will continue with every toy in his basket, his anticipation growing and growing because he knows that clearly we are just waiting for THE toy. The one we simply cannot turn down. There aren’t a ton of options so he knows it won’t be long before he’ll come up with the irresistible, left-over remnants of what was once a stuffed Mr. Bug, Mr.Cow, Mr.Hippo, Mr.Crabs or a tennis ball. And, I must admit, he’s right. There is a time limit on how long you can look into those big, brown eyes overflowing with excitement and see that tiny, little tail ferociously wagging back and forth before, if nothing else, you at least give in to a little game of tug-of-war.

(Excuse me while I go figure out why I hear 4 little paws and the jingle of a collar upstairs in our bedroom…)

Oh – guess he was just getting comfortable on the window sill.

Who needs a doggy bed - or a floor.

So anyway, last night I was feeding the baby at the table and Scott was preparing his own dinner in the kitchen. His plate of turkey sat waiting on the counter while his rice finished cooking on the stove. Newport had been begging to be chased around the house with his tennis ball and since Minute Rice does actually take a few minutes, Scott gave in and ran. There they went around and around and then, like he often does, Scott hid around the corner and waited for Newp to find him so they could continue running. I’m real excited about giving Brayden pears for the first time so I pay no attention until I hear Scott whistling for Newport. He never gives away his hiding spot. “What’s going on?” “Why is Newport not looking for Scott?”

Oh. Because he’s got both front paws up on the kitchen counter and his tongue is frantically reaching for as much of the turkey as he can shove in before he goes after that tennis ball again. This dog loves to play. But do you know what he loves more? Apparently, turkey. I’m not dumb enough to believe that dogs actually have a real intelligent thought process about most things, but I am telling you he sent Scott running with that tennis ball and as soon as he was out of sight he made a dash at that turkey. It was planned out ahead of time. He thought this through and damn-it, he executed it flawlessly.

I imagine this is what I’ll feel like at some point when Brayden is a teenager. On one hand you’re mad as hell, on the other hand you’re thinking, “huh. Not bad, Newp. Not bad.”

Room for 3.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving last year my mom and I packed up the car and headed East to “God’s Country” as my step-dad calls it. The rest of us call it Ohio. Ohio was the current home of my sweet, little 5lb Wheaten Terrier who we excitedly scooped up and drove back home. At that point I was certain about a couple of things. One was that we would work tirelessly at successfully training this dog to be perfectly behaved and obedient. He would know several unique, “show-and-tell” type tricks and he would listen to everything Scott and I told him without question. The other thing I was certain of was that this dog, under no circumstances, would ever sleep in our bed.

He knows “come.” He stays when there’s a treat involved. And sit = plop all the way down on the floor with a loud thud.

And, as I sit here typing in bed, I am trying to straighten out my legs but the 35lb puppy sprawled out at the end of the bed is creating quite the road block. We started out great. He slept like a baby (literally waking up once or twice a night to go outside) in his little blue kennel on the top of a night stand for the first few weeks.  When he grew we moved him into a bigger kennel that sat on the floor next to our bed. Then those puppy dog eyes started getting brighter and we’d let him out so he could jump on our bed when we got up in the morning. Eventually, I just figured it couldn’t hurt to leave his kennel door open just to see what happens. Let him explore a little, see where he ended up. Turns out he loves the rug in front of our shower. And in the summer he loves the vent on our bathroom floor. But mostly, he loves our bed.

Then the kennel got moved to the basement – it really was an eye sore in the bedroom. And now we make room for 3. It’s ridiculous really and I am fully aware of this. My husband gets to bed first and, without fail, Newport is laying on my side with his head on my pillow every night when I come to bed. And once he hits the bed at night he is completely worthless. Like he forgets how to move every muscle in his body. No amount of nudging or kicking or pushing phases him. I have to lean over and pick up 35 lifeless pounds and plop them at the end of the bed. Then I get in and put everything I have into pulling on the covers so I get enough to reach over my shoulders. Every night it’s the same routine:

Me: Ugh, Newpooooort (in a very whiny tone)

Scott: Good boy Newp, lay on mom’s side.

(He jumps down to go get a drink of water)

Me & Scott: Yes! Yes! Quick, claim your space! Ahhhh freedom!

I mean, really? A few nights ago I was laying on my side, facing the middle of the bed and Newport jumped up and laid right behind me. He must have had 6 inches tops that he maneuvered into and then he laid his adorable, little head with those precious, big puppy dog eyes on my shoulder and you know what I did? I moved over. I MOVED OVER. For my dog. I rearranged so my dog, who was never going to sleep in my bed, could have more space.

Before you get a puppy you sneer at people (at least I did) who are so head-over-heels in love with their dogs that they treat them as an equal part of the family. You think there’s just no way you’d ever be one of those people who let their dog up on the couch, give them scraps off their dinner plate and buy economy sized bags of rawhides just to watch their dog’s eyes light up. Then you get one of your own and, before you know it, you’ve got a partner on your lap during all  of your favorite TV shows, you never go anywhere without a passenger in your car (usually with his head out the window) and, at night when you go to bed, you’re making room for 3.

Don’t ever accept candy from a stranger.

And for goodness sakes kids, don’t ever accept an offer to get into someone’s rusty, old conversion van!

Fair enough. So…does the same rule apply when a man in a big, white conversion van pulls over and wants to give your dog a Milkbone? I mean really, what’s a girl to do? They don’t have these same sort of warnings for dogs. Here’s what I’ve been warned about since getting a puppy – don’t let him eat chocolate (as if I’d ever share?). But no one has ever told me to keep an eye out for men in conversion vans with Milkbones.

Here we are – me, Brayden and Newport – out for a walk around the neighborhood just minding our own business when this man in a white van slows down in the middle of the street, rolls down his window, sticks his head out and says, “does your dog like Milkbones?” I felt trapped right there and then. Has anyone ever heard of a dog who doesn’t? I mean would the scary man in the van even belive me if I said, “No, he’s not really a fan of anything except the dry dog food he eats 3 times a day, every single day of the year. Hates trying anything new.”

Meanwhile Newport is licking his lips and drooling at my side as if he somehow knows exactly why this man has interrupted our walk.

My first bit of “mama bear-ness” kicked in immediately but, sorry Newport, it was because of Brayden. I was trying to figure out how to protect my 5 week old if this man tried to lure us into the van with candy or ice cream. There’s no time to be rational in these situations, really. I figured Newport might be able to hold his own. He wouldn’t have been happy in the van. It didn’t have windows and was, therefore, lacking a place for him to stick his head out into the breeze.

But anyway, I had to answer the man’s question – “does your dog like Milkbones?”

“Yes.” I said yes. He really does like Milkbones. “Oh my God,” I thought, “this will make a great blog post. I hope it’s not poisonous.”

Before and After (the dog park)

It was a beautiful day and sure to be a beautiful evening so I talked Scott into a trip to the dog park with Newport. Newport was already having a fantastic day. We were one car ride and one trip to the bank (free Milkbone!) down so I figured we’d top it off with a dog park play date. We have a dog park about a mile from our house and, for the most part, it’s a great park. The only down side is that it’s surrounded by marsh so if you happen to get one curious dog you can pretty much kiss your hopes of a clean car ride home goodbye. However, in my optimistic state, I knew tonight would be perfectly fine as we’ve had record heat and no rain for a while. So off we went! And then, we came home. . .

Do we have to go home already?

 Did anyone hear about the Brew City Flood? You Tube it. Sure enough it hasn’t all dried up yet and a Chocolate Lab figured he’d take a dip. Newp’s not much of a leader, more of the follower type…

So here’s the plan. Scott takes Newport across the street to the creek to try to get him to go swimming in some actual water before getting back into the car. I drive to the other end of the path to pick them both up. Turns out Newport isn’t interested in going swimming on his own so he refuses to enter the water.

Plan B. We take the blanket we keep in the car (good thinkin’ Nemecs) and wrap him up real tight and then Scott holds him like a baby (good practice) for the drive home. Next ,we plop him in the backyard where I can hose him down before bringing him to the bathtub. This is a fabulous plan, Newport always loves the hose and thinks it’s great fun to get sprayed and to try to drink the water etc. etc.

Hmmm, wouldn’t you know it, he wasn’t interested in the hose tonight at all. Know what he was interested in? Our wood chips.

 What better way to get all that sticky mud off of you than to roll around in more dirt, right? Fabulous Newport. Now where’s that blanket again…somehow this mess needs to get up to the bathtub.

Life is Sooooooo Rough…