Its’ a tough adjustment time when you lose someone, for the other Newfs as well as for us.  They are all individuals and don’t react in the same way.  Banner, who is usually high-tilt, sometimes spinning off her axis, has been progressively quieter since her four rounds of treatment for the TPLO infection.  But she was beginning to re-emerge during this trip, back to her more typical self, including back-talk.  Once Jade was gone, she went back into a quiet state that I can only describe as depression, and for an ordinarily exuberant young Newf, that is hard to see.  She walked to work with me one day, but didn’t want to stay.  She turned around and pointed at the door, showing me that she wanted to go back home.  She also used to love “go places” (in a vehicle), but was a lot less stimulated about this now.  (See the “Moving Windows” story)

We took her out a few times just to try to cheer her up.  We bought ice cream.  We shared burger treats.  However, she remained out of sorts for a long time.  This past weekend, she began perking up again.  I took her to town for a walk last Saturday, and she enjoyed that.  Still, she didn’t want to get into the van to leave the next time.  The cooling system in this van isn’t as good as the last one, but that one didn’t begin to cool quickly either, and the ride to the park takes only a few minutes.  We both need the physical conditioning, even though she can’t walk very far yet, so I’m making this a daily practice.  And, she seems to be turning the corner.  Yesterday she was a lot more enthusiastic again.  She watched me carefully to ensure that we were walking together, as partners, looking up and smiling.  Most walks with Banner are on-leash training sessions where she takes one or two steps and is back to “speeding in a no-passing zone”.  She bark-argued a couple of times and bark-shouted her enthusiasm a couple of times.  Today, I made a burger stop first, and on the way to the park, she couldn’t have cared less about the smell of the burger, with treats to follow.  She was mesmerized.  She looked out the side windows of the van and vocalized her excitement, a crying sound that almost sounds like she is having pain, but the only pain is the pain of her containment at watching activity through the windows and not being able to rush into the middle of it.  When we got to the park, she got her treat, then I opened the door.  This van is still new, and the dog containment panels have not been installed yet.  (And using the ex pen was worthless.)  So when the door is opened, you have to be prepared to catch a 106 lb. flying Newf in mid-air as she launches out.  Of course, it would be the same whether it was opening the van’s side door or opening the containment door.  She is one of those that, when you release her confinement, you count out loud, “1 . . . 2 . . . 3”, and you must be prepared to catch on “2”, or  “1”.  The counting is to help her with self-restraint, a routine to teach her to wait long enough for you to prepare.

Banner is full of enthusiasm, usually.  She is related to Banker and Parker.  Her great-grandfather, on her mom’s side and her dad’s, was Banker’s sire.  Broker passed on his intelligence, energy, enthusiasm and humor to most of his offspring.  Banker was quite a bit softer, but Banner has a lot of similar personality traits, and for that I’m grateful.  Banker was equally enthusiastic about going for rides and taking walks, as was Parker.

She is back to passing frequently, to which I stop and back up a few steps if needed, while she re-collects herself and spins backward into position.  And sometimes she complains about it.  But she is clearly energized and happy, enthusiastic about going for walks.  This was something I enjoyed about the boys (Banker and Parker).  There are also clues at home that she is recovering.  She is more tuned-in still, but sometimes doesn’t respond immediately when a scent has caught her attention.  This is ordinary for Banner, so it is good to see her regaining interest and confidence.  The world shakes when you lose a loved one.  Our loved one was quiet, but with a big presence, leaving equally a large void in her absence.  It’s taking us both a while to get back up to speed, but it’s nice to have a buddy to help you through the process.

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