Written 5/29/09

Today, in addition to being Friday (Celebration of the start of the weekend,) was Take Your Dog to Work Day, per the Office Manager, sometimes known as Big, Black & Fuzzy.  So, I packed the items necessary for all three of us and put on leashes and collars.  I laid the leashes across their backs to collect the bag and keys, then reached for – where was Parker?  Have I ever mentioned that Jade has a bit of an oral fixation.  For those of you who have seen her at shows, this doesn’t bear explanation, but for the rest of you, Jade thinks of life as a full-mouth-contact sport.  She hasn’t yet learned the fine art of nose-bumping, she puts her whole mouth on you, fully open, when she wants to get your attention.  Most Newf puppies have some form of this – they experience the world through their mouth.  Parker likes to taste things, and clean things with his tongue (why did I ever think I needed a housekeeper? <g>)  He loves to carry, so when he was young, he often had a toy in his mouth, and outside he had a stick (cats usually move too fast.)  Banker was a big-time groomer, of everyone, including cats.  Other Newfs have done this too, which of course, made it a little less pleasant to pet a cat at our house at those times.  Tongue sensation may be second only to olfactory senses in terms of Newfoundland fascination.  I think we need to clarify this to novices.  It’s not just that they slobber, but this is the particular part of their body with which they want to make contact with you.  <g>  As they grow up, they learn to be a little more reserved about this.  It seems to subside at about the same rate that chewing does.  But when the puppy in them, or when a humorous streak or the loving or nurturing side of an adult comes out, so does the tongue.

Jade is growing up, as this is unavoidable with all puppies.  She has begun to demonstrate nurturing instincts on Parker, who is fully relieved that when her face comes toward him it is less often that his ears are her tug-of-war targets.

I looked around for a moment, puzzled, and found Parker in the living room with a quizzical look on his face.  It was odd that he had walked away while I was collecting things to walk out the back door, but I realized quickly that Jade had taken Parker by the leash into the living room.  Jade isn’t much of a carrier, but she loves to play tug-of-war, and when she wants to do this on the spur of a moment, and the leash is on with me at the other end, it is a good substitute, in her opinion.  I know better than to encourage this, so have not done that; this is her own drive, and it has been hard to curb.  She is a Newf, and of course, life is supposed to be about having fun.  It is one of the qualities that we enjoy about them.

I collected the dogs and off we went, door locked behind me.  Oh, wait, I forgot a laptop.  This is like practicing for showing in Brace.  We circled, went back in and picked up the laptop, THEN proceeded to work.  On the way, I decided to post a story to the Newf discussion list, but First Things come First, and the Master Office Manager and his Apprentice needed fresh water, and I needed a Dr. Pepper.  After arrangements were made, the thermostat was lowered and all were settled in, I went to my desk to discover that my docking station was empty.  Oh, yeah, I took that one home last night too.

After another trip back to the house, I thought I was ready to begin.  But the Apprentice gave me that look, you know, the one that says “Aren’t you forgetting something?”  (Who, me!?)  <g>  Oh, Cookies!  Cookies are for good puppies, and good puppies get cookies after breakfast, after dinner and at various spontaneous moments throughout the day, for good behavior, a presentation of a stack (in hopes I would notice,) when someone is in a dull mood, or for most any other decent reason or just because.  But, the ones that come after breakfast and after dinner are routinely timed (expected.)  A good Newf is there to make sure that we don’t forget, and they can communicate this in one of several ways.  Parker will spin around and place himself outside the kitchen doorway (he used to cheat and put his toes on the threshold when he was young) because this is the line drawn in the sand for when he is underfoot in the kitchen while we are trying to cook (and it is a small kitchen.)  Jade will look at me mystified, with disbelief, at how I could forget such an important thing.  Either of them may stand and point at the Cookie Cupboard, or collapse into bag of bones with a heavy sigh, as if someone had suddenly let all the air out.  If you notice a more subtle sign and ask them what they want, they WILL tell you.  Jade may shake her head and dance backward a few steps.  Parker will give you the sudden full-eye-contact inquiry to see if you really got it, then blast if you don’t get up and move fast enough.  (He’s otherwise a very polite fellow.  <g>)  Either one of them may go to the Cookie Cupboard and bark loudly.

So, as you can see, Cookies are very important to a good Newf.

As I hung the leashes on the coat rack, I noticed Jade looking at me with a curious fear of disappointment.  (and the thought of disappointing a good Newf is pretty painful)  Oh, yeah!  Cookies!  I packed bananas, but forgot to take cookies!  Forgetting the laptop, or two, is one thing, but HOW could I forget the cookies?!  (I’ve seen that look on a Newf face before when after going out to take care of business and coming back too quickly, I asked if he forgot to poop.  He gave the “Oh, yeah!” expression, then ran back out to the potty yard.)

Fortunately, I keep cookies packed in the dog bag, and occasionally have them in Ziplocs in the van, and I usually keep them in that nice new bag that I got from Target (one that is made for baby stuff that hangs over the back of a headrest or folds into a tote) and, to be sure that I have bait for class, I keep a box of small Milkbones near where the leashes hang.  So, I was pretty sure I could remedy the situation quickly.  However, we’ve been doing a lot of traveling with Newfs in the past couple of months.  My stores were empty except for the box of small Milkbones, but that took care of the issue.

Now I can write my story!  Oh, yeah, I had better use that laptop for it’s intended purposes too.  <g>

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