Life With far


Ivy, our Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, is now 4 months old and what an adventure it's far!

She has changed so much since I first introduced her here on the blog. Firstly, she is bigger. A lot bigger. We expect Ivy to be over 100 pounds like her parents, I just don't think we expected her to get this big this quickly! Our other Bernese, Colton, was quite ill when we first got him (which is why I over babied him) and it took him forever to gain any weight in his first year so this is all rather new to us.


Heritage Softpack Cooler, Personal | Soft Cotton Rugby, Flannel-Trimmed sweater c/o L.L. Bean
Women's Bean Boots 8" | Reflective Bandana and Travel water dish purchased at the L.L. Bean store in Clinton Twp, Michigan

Ivy also has developed quite the personality. On the way to pick her up I jokingly said I wanted a puppy that had pizzaz with lots of energy and pack leader mentality. Well they always say to be careful what you wish for...because that's exactly how Ivy is!

She's strong willed and spunky and while she likes to exert her independence often, she still wants to be babied and carried around. She adapted to our family quite quickly. She knows Mom and Dad are boss (mostly Dad because, again, I like to baby all the people and dogs in my life)  and she adores The Youngest. When she sees him I just imagine all these heart eye emojis pouring out of her. She really lights up with him. The Oldest moved into his college residence just as we got Ivy. He makes a special trip home once a week just to see her and she gets the most worked up when her big brother comes to visit. Jumping and barking and making all sorts of noises! Running up and down the halls, she just wants him to chase and play with her. I've already told him that he can be the one to take her hiking when it snows because she seems to save all her high energy for him.

While I paint a rosy picture here, there have been struggles, too. She's a biter and I have the scars to prove it. It is outrageous how much she bites, we even resorted to purchasing bitter apple spray that my neighbour recommended (because they couldn't believe how much she bites either!). It is getting better now that her adult teeth are in, but it's still a struggle. As is potty training. She knows to go outside and even figured out if she barks at the door we will let her out, but she still goes on the carpet, the rugs and the hardwood floor.

She even went on the deck when we had the door open to BBQ! I know it's something they grow out of once their bladder catches up with the size of them so until then we praise her when she goes outside, take her outside even if she did have an accident in the house, and to save my poor rugs they shall remain covered in puppy pads for the time being (I would love to just roll them up and place into storage but Colton, who is in the twilight of his life now, has a lot of trouble walking on the floors so we need the rugs to prevent any slips)

One of the things we found is that Ivy is the most happy when she is travelling in the car to, well, anywhere! She fits right in this with family because we are always happy to hit the open road. Very quickly we ran into an issue of bringing water along for her. With all her fur, she is one hot dog!

For such a small creature, you wouldn't believe how much water she drinks! We would bring along a water bottle and she would quickly go through that. Then we decided to bring along 2-3 water bottles (depending on the distance) but ran into the issue of the waters getting warm in the car. That lead us to have to purchase cold water at a convenience store which got expensive quickly.

Halfway through the summer our family decided to ditch water bottles for good and opted for a Culligan water dispenser for our home. It's been great but I still didn't have a good solution for Ivy's water. In my head I was thinking that what I really needed was a doggie version of a diaper bag. Something that would keep her drinks cool, have a spot for her treats, snack for us and maybe a zippered pouch to hold wallets and keys especially for when we go hiking. Wouldn't you know I found exactly what we needed at L.L.Bean!

l.l.bean lunch pail

The Heritage Softpack Cooler, Personal is part lunch pail, part personal tote and exactly what we need to carry supplies for our puppy and ourselves. Even on the times when the dogs do not come out on the road with us, I find myself throwing a few drinks and snacks in it for our travels. It's bigger than a traditional lunch pail and smaller than a tote. It's that perfect inbetween size. I wish I had this when my boys were young. We spent so many weekends at football fields and baseball diamonds, I would have rathered bring this along than dragging the hardsided cooler we had!

l.l.bean sweater

I've even been using if for days when I need to be in the office. I throw in two freezer packs, my reusable bottle filled with water, a frozen lunch meal, an apple (because fall makes me want to eat the world's supply of McIntosh apples), a granola bar and some tea bags and my mug. I also use the top zippered pouch to hold my wallet and access cards so I only need to bring one bag with me! 

lunch pail for grown ups

On the Thanksgiving weekend we took Ivy for a walk in one of our favourite parks. She spent the day meeting other dogs, tried to figure out what a swan was, and fixated on the many squirrels running around (pretty sure that's what caught her eye in the above photo). I have an old plaid blanket that I bring along in the car for her to sit on and as a quick resting place to have some water and snacks. 


She doesn't stay on her blanket long before she's up and ready to adventure again! 

Life with Ivy so far has been pretty grand. Like any puppy she needs constant attention and routine. The reward is the love and admiration she gives us, which can't be beat! Well, I'm off to take this high energy pup on yet another walk, TTFN!