Juni Moon

Juni Moon

Many of you have emailed me asking how the Newf, left to me by my late friend Carole, is doing. You can read my tribute to Carole here. She came home with KBJ and me from Atlanta as Lucy, but Carole knew that I would change her name and why. Way back when, my late husband brought home a goose along with a baby goat. I knew the baby goat was coming, but not the goose. Of course he named that blasted bird Lucy Goosie.

This is a photo of my Dad’s sweet goose Mr. Mao. Lucy Goosie was the same breed.


From the beginning this adult bird was bonded to Phillip. He would sit on the back porch steps and Lucy would come running up to him, sit in front of him and as Phillip stroked her neck he would coo to Lucy like some lovesick fool “I love you Lucy bird”. She would close her eyes, and softly make this weird muffled sound that was clearly pure pleasure. It became a daily occurrence. Lucy tolerated the kids but hated me. Mutual. Every time I came out the back door, it came after me. If I was loading items into my car or the trunk, unawares, Lucy would rev up and attack me, aiming silently and achieving a bruising bite in either my butt or thigh or calf or ankle. And let me tell you, it hurt!!! We had a pair of mallards as pets given to me by our vet. They were as sweet as could be and even they kept a good distance from Lucy. Several months later I had had enough. I couldn’t even leave the house unless Phillip was around. Lucy had to go. I wasn’t asking for Lucy to become a roast for the dinner table, although I admit entertaining satisfaction with that idea, but she had to go, somewhere, anywhere.

So what does Phillip do? Under cover of night, we, yes we, put Lucy in the front seat of the car squawking like a mad woman, and head down the road to Colgate University to let Lucy join the swan and geese on the huge pond there. When we get there, he places Lucy in a huge burlap bag to keep Lucy quiet and heads towards the pond, which is right along the main road in the front of the campus. Under a shrub near the edge of the pond he opens the sack and that beast of a bird streaks straight out of the burlap sack and into the water. No sooner than that Lucy starts honking, and then the entire gaggle joins in. Phillip rushes back to the car and off we head home. We drove by the pond everyday and there Lucy was, happy as can be inserted in the middle of a peaceful kingdom of geese and swan. Then weeks later, there are babies!!! Lucy was Lucifer. There was no doubt these were “his” babies. And now you know why I couldn’t leave Lucy with her name. There are certain traumatic instances in one’s life that do not need a daily reminder!

So, that said, we tried different names, but none seemed to fit her, or ones that might have worked had already been used. I have always like the name Juni, from the book Tell Me You Love Me Juni Moon. She began to respond to the name when I threw it out there almost immediately so it stuck. The character in the book, Juni, is one of three totally different personalities, some would say oddballs, that decide to live together. There you go. Their interactions are touching, tender and funny. Enough of a similarity that we can all relate to.

Three different and distinct personalities. Whitley, Juni and Carter waiting for an after dinner treat. This was one week in.



After all the above, how is Juni doing? We had a rough start, she was unsettled, very single minded and the most food oriented dog I have ever had, Carter was terrified of her, and her arrival broke up the calm routine here. Juni, the Newf basically ignores Carter, or sometimes scares him intentionally by aiming a perfectly timed woof. You can almost see her delight when he jumps. She’s badddd.

Heh Mom, is it safe for me to come in?


 

Fortunately she is not a food thief, but food was and continues to be a motivating way to retrain her to some of the manners she had forgotten during the turmoil of Carole’s illness. She is a typical Newf, very large, over 150 lbs. and she would follow me everywhere with no respect for my space. It was like she had little body awareness and once in forward motion, she stayed in forward motion, gosh forbid I or anyone or anything else should be in the way. But she is doing much, much better. With terrible knees, I cannot afford to get sideswiped by this girl who from day one follows me everywhere, even room to room. She has quirks, like every person and dog. One of them is making sure I do not get out of her sight. So she has figured out that if she blocks the doorways, there is no way I will be able to get past her without her knowing it.

This is an almost 5 foot opening. If I have started to go around her, or step over her, thankfully she is very good about not bolting up and tripping me. She may look like she is asleep, but she will look at me with whale eyes as I pass by, and then she is up , ready to follow if need be.


Whitley & now Juni between the island and the wall cabinets. This is the space I have to walk to to get to the table. Whitley has always watched me cook meals, but left me space or automatically moved if I said move. Now that she is sick, I don’t ask her to, but I do Juni. My request fall on deaf ears. Oh yeah, she can hear. Say the word treat or eat, and she is up in a flash.


OK, so now we have this Newf, Juni to be exact, that a few weeks into living with us kept us up for two nights barking and trying to get thru the gate that keeps her and Carter & Whitley in the great room at night. The barking all night began out of the blue really, because she was fine sleeping with C&W in the great room from the first day we brought her home following Carole’s memorial service. Every time she barked, I got up out of bed, went in and let her outside and then back in again. We did this all night for two nights, and I began to think that maybe she had a UTI or something else going on, except she was fine during the day when she had the run of the house. We told her to get on her bed, be quiet, and gave her her stuffy. We could not figure out what triggered this change of behavior, until the next night.

I am not going to stay on my bed, but I’ll keep my stuffy.


  After dinner that night, we saw her and Carter trying to insistently sniff and get to something under the large glass topped library table that sits against the wall, and under the TV mantel. KBJ thought it was a toy so squatted down to retrieve whatever the two dogs were looking for. I was at the kitchen sink rinsing dinner dishes when I hear “oh crap”. Well take that literally. KBJ’s next words sent me into high pitched screeching, “it’s snake poop, but don’t worry, I already got the snake out of the house earlier”. By then I was crazy hysterical. I could feel the hair on my head coming to attention. I am terrified of snakes!!! Before my shaking voice could no longer speak a word, I managed  “if you got it out of the house already, why did you even tell me any of this”???? By now I am totally freaked. “Well, remember before dinner I was going downstairs to spray the spot where we had cleared a few dead mice out from inside the wall? (another story)? As I was going down the stairs, a 3 ft. black snake was under the small table on the landing half way down the stairs.” Mind you, I was in the kitchen so it was just 15-20 feet from where I was calmly cooking totally unawares. He calmly left to grab a storage container of which one just happened to be at the top of the stairs, to put the snake in, and I was again blissfully unaware, not seeing any of this, when then he gathered that snake, put it in the container, and carried it outside and further down our road to let it loose in the park. KBJ did not let out a peep, even when he discovered it. Now, that’s coolness taken to another level.

    I asked him why he even bothered to tell me anything, knowing that I would be like totally freaked, like, forever now? He said “I thought I needed to share with you”. I screamed, “no you don’t” !!!  So I was foolish enough to then ask “why didn’t you just pick up the snake poop, dispose of it and say it was nothing but a stuffed dog toy or yuh, a dust bunnie, you know the kind of inanimate wildlife I like to see in the house”? “Well, I wanted to share the experience”. Really? Knowing what my gut reaction would be? He responded, “well now we have our first real Juni story”. Thank you sir.
    So anyway, the gist of this story is that Juni was barking because that snake had obviously been in the house and in the great room somewhere for the last two nights and she wanted out of that room. Now Newfs are noted for being rescue dogs and heroic and all that, right? The Newfoundland Club of America even gives awards for that. Well, my 154 lb Juni is an apparently “get me the heck outta here” kinda dog. Yes, a milquetoast, namby-pamby and yes, we have now bonded over our fear of snakes. W&C slept blissfully thru it all, but I think because Newfs have a scent ability pretty close to a Bloodhound, she knew way more than they did. Of course, what also freaked me out was that we were sitting in that room watching TV on one of those evenings. Yes, sister dog, we are now as tight as a june bug on a flower over this little episode. And to think we refer to Carter as “Whimpy”. He sees a frog and jumps 3 feet in the air to avoid it.

I am not going back in that great room. You can’t make me. I am too brave! KBJ actually tried to lift and carry her!


    So the next night, things were finally back to normal for the dogs, Juni slept through the night, snoring and dead to the world. Yes, she slept straight thru the night, and I had nightmares. End of newf story.
    Living in the woods, on a creek and near a very large river and reservoir you expect to see wildlife, just not in your home. First time in 15 plus years, but one time is more than enough. We had already relocated a 6 ft blacksnake that insisted on sunning itself right near the house where I work in the gardens, and before that one, an even larger one that had draped itself on the brick of the exterior garage wall. I learned to discourage them from hanging around by keeping the birds from nesting on house ledges etc, because the snakes love baby birds. We occasionally in winter will hear a mouse in the attic, so we then set a trap and it is gone. Nature inside the door is once in a while have to deal with when you live surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods. Deer, raccoons, rabbit, fox, bear and bobcat, hawks, possum, eagles, so many song birds, all of which we have seen. They can be awesome, as long as they remain in their own habitat. It will take time for me to recover from this one. I need to take my lesson from Juni, sleep soundly, snore loud and if there is a snake in the house, scream and run like a mad woman with a huge black Newfoundland right on my heels, barking, “faster Mom, faster”!!!
   Events like these can take an emotional and psychological toll, but whether they happen with humans or animals, they can become bonding events, and give you something humorous to put in the memory bank, allow for a time months or years down the road when out of the blue you will say “remember when …………”

 


You know it’s official when they get a middle or double names. Heh, Juni Moon, Juni Marooni, can you move please?


Thanks for stopping by. Laters, charisse


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Comments

  1. Hi, you don’t know me but I was a friend of Carole. I named Luci she is my baby from my Emmie Lou a Ch female Precious Stone King of Helluland kennel , and my Ernie Ch Sun Valley ’s Escape to Sangar . She was my last puppy from Emmy Lou . She was a single baby. I am so glad to hear about Her and she is ok. If anything goes wrong she is welcome back home in Florida with us. Carole knew I had had a stroke and my husband has Leukemia. She also had Ruby who also was from my breeding, but from a different litter. We have one Newf left Luci’s sister Fancy from the same parents but a previous litter

  2. Oh My Gosh!! You had me at “snake!” I am terrified of them!!! Black, Brown, grey… any kind! Rob will confirm that I scream when I see one outside. I would probably have to start sleeping in the car if I saw one inside 😫😫
    Very exciting stories!! 😆😆
    I was laughing and cringing all in the space of a few moments. Go Juni Girl! The photos are priceless! You have such a gift of storytelling.
    KBJ had a creative answer for you ! LOL
    Looking forward to more animal stories as well.
    Juni Is in great hands. Hopefully she will continue to improve and mind her manners. You and Keith are geniuses.
    Still sending loves to Whitley.
    😘
    Victoria

    • That makes two of us. Did you know that there is a genetic basis for fear of snakes, rooted in evolution? Not that it matters!I don’t know how people live in Florida. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting Victoria.

  3. Juni is beautiful! I, also have a Newf … who will bark at & chase anything in his yard or space. Never catches anything…not once! Lol… so glad she warned you about your visitor… she is definitely a keeper!

  4. You really had an adventure with the Newfie. She is quite beautiful. And you are quite the animal lover. Take care, from one animal lover herself 😌🌸. Judy

    • Yes, Judy, I am an animal lover. Have been almost all my life. Many of life’s lessons and gifts of wisdom I learned from just observing animals in nature, and dogs in particular. I have had Newfs over a very long time, and oh the stories of living with them. Juni wasted no time in adding to them.Thanks for writing.charisse

  5. Krieger Catherine :

    Hi Charisse, I love your animal stories … sorry for the snake inside your house, incredible!!!
    Your house isn’t only attractive for people and dogs, this black snake has good taste
    and for sure I will use the translator, so it will be easier for Gérard to follow the whole stories and he won’t give up before the end.
    I hope you have more animal stories to tell us!
    Cathie

    • Thanks Cathie, that was funny….a snake with good taste! Glad that Gerard will use the translator. I sympathize with his frustration reading it in English, as I am a far cry from being able to read in French, although I still try. I am determined to learn. I am sure there will be more animal stories to share.So many of the important relationships I have had in my life are because of the animals.

  6. Margaret Murray :

    On the stair landing, huh? Only feet from the downstairs bathroom and guest room, huh? Yikes! Maybe Juni will sleep outside the guest room door next time? I laughed, but shuddered at the same time.

    • Be brave Margaret, be brave! Yeah, I am with you on shuddering. We are so careful about closing the garage doors, and keeping house doors closed. It was just one of those freaky things. At least I now know that when she carries on like that to pay attention!

  7. Shannon Champa :

    That was hysterical!! Totally Juni behavior for sure. Glad she’s doing so well! You’re an angel for taking her!

  8. Thanks for the pics of the dogs and the wonderful story to go with it! I don’t remember if I told you about Tika the Husky we had when we owned the kennel. She would find snakes all the time but never went close enough to get bit. She would then begin to do the famous “husky talk” and we would always know she had a snake in her sights. This seemed to happen only when she discovered a copperhead. She seemed to ignore the black snakes. Interesting. Animals are just such incredible creatures. The story of Philip just cracked me up. I can just see him doing all that you said about the goose!! Yes I can see why Juni is a permanent fixture in your home!!

    • Phillip knew I despised that goose, but to him it was hilarious that Lucy aimed “her” guarding instincts at just me, and I suppose it was a funny sight to see me take off in full business attire, high heels, briefcase, and a damn goose chasing me. But let me tell you, I was bruised and sore a lot, which was not so funny. Dogs are amazing, but Juni was not nearly so brave as Tika.

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