Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Training a new babysitter. I think it comes in the DNA.

Good babysitters are hard to come by. Especially the nursemaid variety. I ought to know, I've gone through four of them in the last three years. Luckily, we have our three Rottweilers who are more than willing to take the job, but it always seems the female Rotts have a special talent for the work. I think you have seen the help I get tying my wife's shoes in the morning to see I have no trouble finding volunteers.

So it was yesterday afternoon. I spotted Bess doing something I hadn't seen her do before. She jumped onto the small couch next to Jacqueline's recliner and seemed to be in a particularly loving mood.
Bess can be a real sweetheart when she wants to as well as the Tomboy she enjoys being most of the time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A few odds and ends.

Old business first.
Breakfast this morning was a repeat of yesterday. Ruff ate by himself early and Bess and Axl ate much later, side by side again. Yay! I love it when a plan comes together. Ditto at dinner time.

Me and my shadow.

Got up from the computer last night to go to bed and my not so little anymore shadow was curled up around the base of my chair. I guess it is as close to me as she can get without climbing in my lap.

I think I spoke too soon.

Its been a long time since I had a Rottweiler climb in my lap and give me kisses. Ruffin was very good at that when he was much younger. So I shouldn't have been surprised when Bess did the same thing this afternoon. I didn't have the camera set up the first time so after enjoying a few minutes of her frantic kisses I made her get down and got the camera and remote ready. Then all I said was Bess, gimme a kiss, and she was in my lap again. And I could tell she was enjoying this new game she had just invented. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A strange observation at the feeding stand.

Bessie has been slowing getting over her eating disorder. And what I had once thought was a fear of her metal food bowl. OK, I've spent so much time observing the problem and trying to think of causes to eliminate that I've let my mind wander a bit. After all, there's nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. An hour ago I saw something that added a new wrinkle to the situation.

Our normal routine is that I get up first in the morning along with Bessie and Ruff, take them out to pee and then we have our breakfast together. Sort of, anyway. Ruff eats anything, any time, any place. Bess is more finicky. So Ruff has a bowl of dog food and Bess practically stays out of the kitchen until I open the jar of peanut butter for their pills and biscuits. Then Bess comes out and gets hers and always takes her big Milk Bone biscuit into the family room to eat it.

Awhile later its time to get the Mom out of bed and take Axl outside for his pee. Then Mom and Axl come out to the kitchen for breakfast. Since it takes longer to get my wife's breakfast I always set down a bowl of food for Axl first. Today I gave him a bowl of kibble with a handful of cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. When I set this down for him Bessie was also at the feeder so I made a second bowl of kibble and cheese and put it down for her. And Bessie and Axl ate their breakfast together standing side by side at the feeder.

Since the first day I brought Bess into her new home she has treated Axl differently that she treated Ruff. Axl earned the name Grandpa Axl because he acted more maturely to Bess than Ruff did. I had thought that Ruff was supposed to be teaching Bess discipline but he quickly became her playmate with all the daily playschool stuff that I was calling combat lessons. Meanwhile, Grandpa Axl remained aloof and acted more like a curmudgeon to the pesty little pup. The first time little Bess tried to jump on him to play like she does to Ruff, Axl swiped her with his huge head and flung her across the room. It was also the first time in six years I heard him growl.

Later on as Bess got bigger she warmed up to Axl and started flirting with him with ear licks and kisses. She was treating him with respect and he was responding to it. Many times I saw her laying very close to him, something that she never does with Ruff.

So the observation at the food dish this morning immediately told me that Bess prefers to eat along her Grandpa and does not like to eat with Ruffin. And tonight at dinner time I'm going to arrange it.
UPDATE: 7 PM same day.

Something old and something new. 
Well, dinner time arrived and I did what I had planned. My wife and I had a late supper so I fed Ruff about 6 o'clock which is close to his normal meal time. As mentioned, Axl doesn't come out to the kitchen until he follows his Mom so I held off putting down his and Bessie's dinner until we sat down to eat. Once again, just like at breakfast, Bessie stood next to Axl and they both ate from their bowls. Only difference was Axl finished his meal and then went to lay down next to my wife's chair at the table but Bessie walked away after only eating a little bit. Then I realized why. The humans still had food on the table. 

So after we finished our meal and Bessie got to help pre-wash the dinner plates and pick up a few scraps of leftovers, she then went back to her unfinished dinner and gobbled it up. I have seen this before. She treats her dog food as a backup meal and won't eat it until she is sure all of the people food is gone. (Actually, Bess only cleans my plate. Axl always cleans his Mom's plate.)

It amazes me what I've learned from watching them. Lets try this again in the morning.

On the care and feeding of Rottweilers, the eyes have it.

Sometimes I sit around trying to come up with an interesting topic to write about on Living With Rottweilers and then the idea pops into my head after reading someone’s comments. Like a nice lady from South Africa who wrote: 
Look at those tongues, lol. They would definitely be in contention for a Gold medal in Synchronised Licking in the doggie olympics… I love how a Rott tends to OPEN their eyes wide up when getting a treat, Both ours do it and it is hysterical… almost as if the wider their eyes the more peanut butter there is.
Her comment about the look in their eyes reminded me of my first Rottweilers almost 20 years ago. I used to call them my Three Bears and in fact that’s what they were named: Mocha Bear was my first Rottie girl who I got as a puppy, at first I called her just Mocha until we adopted her parents, Nikko Bear and Felony Bear. Here are Felony Bear, Mocha Bear and Nikko Bear in 2001.
As a funny side note, those are the actual names that I had engraved on their tombstones in the Highland Pet Cemetery. They are buried side by side.
The people who run the pet cemetery told me that another client had asked them in a rather concerned voice if there were real bears buried there. Why that would matter to anyone in a cemetery is beyond me. I did explain that among Rottweiler owners, Bear is a fairly common name.
Anyway, back to the care and feeding of Rottweilers. Felony, who I always called Felly Girl, always had the special “look” and it was that look in her eyes that literally changed my mind and made me decide to keep them and give them a forever home after my wife drove back to Long Island to get them from my daughter (but that’s another story).
The three bears always loved to share everything the two humans had and one of their favorite treats was pizza. 
Here’s the sequence of photos I took. Mocha first. The girls always go before the boys, don't they?
And then when my wife offered Felly Girl a slice I saw the Pizza Eyes look on her face. By the way, her official name on her AKC Pedigree registration is Erin Lee's Felony but since we were the third or fourth home she lived in we had no other details.
With Nikko Bear patiently waiting his turn in the background.
Not much has changed from one Rottweiler to another. Once again here is the look that seems inspired from Walt Disney's classic film Lady and the Tramp.

No tramps here in our house. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hijinks in the kitchen

Never a dull moment during the breakfast hour at our house. The Mom's been fed, the Rottweilers been fed and then its time for the peanut butter pills and big biscuit ceremony. A friend who owns Rottweilers asked me one time if I had trouble giving medicine to my dogs. I asked him back if he ever tried sticking the pills in a spoon of peanut butter and he said, no. Now he says he could never get by without a jar on the kitchen table. We've been doing it forever, at least since the early days when we first had Rottweilers. Peanut butter is irresistible. Every morning we give a spoonful with their Brewer's Yeast pills and any other medicine they may be getting at the time. And its all followed with a large Milk Bone dog biscuit.

As soon as Mom had her breakfast and the table was cleared, Bess and Ruff had gotten so excited knowing what was coming next that they decided to have some play-time.
Then after the last spoonful of peanut butter was used to dispense the pills I found the jar empty. So I got out the spatula to scrap the sides and bottom and give it to the dogs. As soon as they saw me take the spatula from the drawer they seemed to know what was coming next and they got excited all over again. Even old man Axl got up from his place under the table by his Mom's side to join in.
And this last photo is some sort of record. It's the first time I saw a triple header and recorded it with the camera at the same time.
Just one more photo that I forgot to post. Reminds me of the iconic scene from the Walt Disney movie Lady and the Tramp.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday, baby Bess, you are 1 year old today.

Today was the day for another birthday party. Baby Bess is no longer a baby any more, she is now a young lady Rottweiler, all of one year old. Carrying on a tradition for special occasions at our house Bess enjoyed a special dinner with a filet mignon steak, the best that a special little girl could eat. The humans had the same and also had some birthday cake. A very special guest, the wonderful lady who made it possible for me to adopt Bess, brought over some doggie ice cream, something I never heard of before. From the looks of things Bess wasn't sure what had been placed in front of her but a few quick sniffs and licks and she decided this was as good as any other people food she has enjoyed.

Update to post July 3, 2015

Had an email exchange this morning about these birthday parties and decided to dig way back into my photo collection to find some pictures that explained how this all began. These pictures were taken about 18 years ago with a 35mm camera and the prints were scanned into my computer.

A long time ago, in what seems now to be another age, my wife Jacqueline used to bake a small meat loaf birthday cake for the Rottweilers and cover it with mash potato “icing”. The first picture is from  Nikko Bear's 5th birthday, minus the icing, in 1997. We kept that tradition going for many years until a mail-order steak company accidentally sent us a shipment of frozen filet mignon that got defrosted before it arrived. While still cold the meat couldn’t be refrozen so the steak company replaced the order and that was the first day our Rotts tasted this special treat. 
And three special Rottweilers are about to savor their first filet mignon dinner.
Skip forward to one year ago and we had the combined birthday parties for 8-year old Ruffin and 13-year old Axl and I cooked up a filet for them to share. Now I am blessed with a special little Rottie girl that us three boys all helped to raise and I felt she deserved the best birthday dinner ever. And not to be outdone, two months from now, God willing, Grandpa Axl will be having a 14th birthday party sharing another steak with his buddy Ruff who will be 9-years old.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Morning, Noon and Night

Note: The following three stories and pictures were taken over the past two days and not in the order presented. Hope you don't mind. 

The Morning Routine.

It pays to plan ahead. After the last episode of shoe lace tying when all of the action was finished by the time I got out the camera, this morning I decided to lay a trap for my ever-willing accomplice. So with the camera set up and the remote in my hand I began to do the simple thing that I do every morning. Get my wife dressed. And as soon as I got on her socks and picked up her shoes my little Bessie came into the room.

For some unexplained reason the flash didn't go off on the first three pictures and the camera shifted into aperture mode so everything that was moving (Bessie) was a little blurred.
But I think you can make out what was going on. Then I fixed the flash and continued.
Finished! Last shoe tied, again, and time for breakfast.

The Afternoon Routine.

The TV is on all day long even though I'm sure no one is watching it. It just works to keep everyone company, like having conversation in the background. So Jacqueline is in her recliner going through her collection of magazines and her bodyguards, baby sitters, companions are lounging around with her.
Just another quiet day. Thankfully, living on a dead end street we are seldom bothered by door-to-door salesmen ringing the doorbell. Glad we have a full-glass storm door, too. When the occasional salesman does ring the bell all I need do is open the inside door and let them see three excited Rottweilers standing there. A wave of the hand and they quickly leave.

The Nighttime Routine.

After dinner its back to the family room. And when I happened to walk in the room I spotted Bess giving Grandpa Axl some face licks so I went and got the camera. I didn't catch any more of that but I got a few nice pictures of Ruff, Bess and the old man.
And while I was sitting on the floor my best friend Ruff decided to wash my face. Actually, I think he likes to lick my whiskers because I hadn't shaved for a few days.
From this position on the floor I happened to notice up close Axl's face full of gray hairs and he looks so dignified in his old age. I can't believe he will be 14 years old in September and he is still able to get around by himself. Of course, I also realize he has taken on an important task being a constant companion to his Mom. Sometimes when you have a purpose in life it gives you the motivation to take care of it.
He sure does look happy in this photo, doesn't he? He deserves to be since he took on a new life after he retired seven years ago.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Its a wonder I get anything done around here with all the help I get.

Once in awhile I get to record a cute picture of my Rottweilers because I planned ahead and had a camera ready. Other times, like this, I stop what I'm doing and beg them to stay the way they were until I dash off to grab it. The morning ritual of getting my wife dressed is one of those opportunities. Bessie just loves watching me tie Jacqueline's shoe laces. She loves it so much she sometimes unties them so I can do it all over again for her entertainment.

Axl, is never more than an arm's length away from the bed and I sometimes have to literally slide him across the floor to make room for me to work. So while he is slowly waking up I am scratching his ears, telling him what a wonderful job he did taking care of his Mom while she slept and putting on her socks and shoes at the same time. 

Then we add Bess to the mix and I begin to see how much affection she has for her no-longer grumpy Grandpa. And while I'm struggling to find room to work while kneeling on the floor, Bess comes in, plops down and shoves Axl aside to get closer to the action. It makes for a wonderful start of the new day.
By the way, when Bess and Ruff get this close to each other it becomes instant playtime but when she is with Axl it is totally different. She spends a lot of time licking his face and his ears and after Axl had his lip surgery she spent days licking and cleaning the wound. And Axl loves every minute of it.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Its been awhile since we had a night at the movies.

Yes, we haven't had a night at the movies with the camera and my two best friends to share it with. As you can see, it all starts with a very respectable pose, just two handsome Rotties laying next to each other on the couch.
Thank goodness for the pause button on the remote. I needed to use that when ever the action on the TV screen moved on to the couch.
I'm not sure but at first glance it looks like the two love birds are making out. Ah, but what can you say about a May-December romance. But it didn't last long. From Bessie's point of view close contact is the same as close combat.
From the look on Ruff's face I don't think he appreciated the mood change.

Playing indoors on a rainy day.

Thanks to Tropical Storm Bill the weather is going to be quite wet around here till next week. So the little girl who spends most of her day hanging out with me in the den has been trying to get me to play with her. And how can anyone refuse such a sweet, loveable look, especially when she comes over and drops her favorite ball in my lap. So we play toss and catch and it makes her happy.
Bess may not have been putting on any new weight lately but she has certainly developed some muscles. I took both Ruff and Bess into Petsmart on Saturday and it was like trying to hold a runaway tractor on a leash. Then I decided to take only Bess by herself into our other favorite pet store and she acted fine and proper on the leash. Put her and Ruff together and its like a chemical reaction. Maybe all those cute hand-to-hand combat pictures aka playschool with Ruffin, her foster daddy, were a bad idea. Ruffin didn't know what was expected of him when he first laid eyes on the little furball last September. And being a baby girl Rottweiler, Bess just naturally thought she had to dominate the giant version of herself. 

I'm so glad she acts differently with me. Well, almost. She follow me everywhere and enjoys pulling little pranks like grabbing the cuff of my pants when I'm walking. When I set out my wife's pajamas and bed clothes Bess sneaks in a runs off with the underwear. Every night! Then she will come to me with the helpless little girl look and asks me to fetch her toy that rolled under the couch and it just makes me get all soft and melt. I once joked about how well she has trained me but it isn't always funny. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Bessie is adorable, cute, playful and full of love. And she is the most beautiful female Rottweiler I've ever seen. Her tan markings are so vivid and deep and her black coat is gorgeous and her teeth are so white they almost glow in the dark. I think I'm gonna keep her. We're gonna grow old together.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pardon our butts.

I just got an email from a very nice lady reminding me that I haven't posted any new stories or pictures. And thank you Ella for asking if we were alright. We are all OK but it has been somewhat busy around here working out some problems and I didn't realize its been 10 days. One of those little things that was on my mind was what to do about Bessie's 1st birthday party on July 1st. I am going to have a party for my special little girl. She is slowly starting to eat regular meals and a few days ago I got her on a scale at Petsmart and she now weighs 83 lbs.
So before I get involved with fixing anything else I promise to get some new photos up tomorrow.

Last week I ran into the woman who arranged Bessie's adoption last year. She has been reading this blog and keeping track on Bessie's progress and she took out her cell phone and showed me a video of her two dogs pulling on a low hanging branch on one of her trees. She was prompted to take the video after reading what Bessie was doing when I wrote about The Magical Tree. I think if Bessie was bigger she might have torn the branch off the tree like my friends dog's did.

OK, here is some leftover photos from the horse race on June 6th that didn't seem worthy. 
OK, guys, now turn around and smile for the camera.