Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Signs of Love

Kisses. If your Rottweiler doesn't love you will he still give you kisses? Not very likely. Kisses are a universal sign of love. But they are given freely from the heart and cannot be bought or bribed or ordered. They are always free. And I can tell you from personal observation that the skin on my face has absorbed so many slobbery kisses in the last 20-years that my DNA is now part Rottweiler. So sit back and enjoy some kissing photos. And eat your heart out if you never got any.
And, please click on the photos for a larger view.
Sometimes, it hurts.
Anywhere, any time.
Any one.
But especially, us.

When I started to take a lot of photos of my Rottweilers back in 1995, at first I began saving them by scanning the prints into my computer. Then when I got my first digital camera saving the photos simply meant uploading them to the computer. But I never cataloged them. The only smart thing I did was creating a storage file using the model number of the camera. Then a few years ago I actually reached the end of the numerical file sequence for the Nikon D40 camera and had to give it some thought what would happened after image DSC_9999.jpg was created. To my dismay the counter simply went back to DSC_0001.jpg so I needed to create a new storage file so as not to overwrite the original photos. This led to Nikon D40, Nikon D40 2014, Nikon D40 2016.

All these years I always wanted to catalog the ever-growing mass of photos that now exceeds 30,000. One of those catalogs would certainly be by subject and the first one that comes to mind are my Kiss photos. In order to find them I literally have to look though all of the photos. In selecting this tiny sample of Kiss photos I came to realize I must have over a thousand of them scattered throughout my hard drive. I hope I picked the right ones to entertain you today.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The new Fall TV season brings lots of new entertainment

Summer re-runs were dull and boring so not much time was wasted watching TV except for a few BluRay movies I bought. So now I am glad the new Fall TV shows are back and I eagerly awaited the return of some of my favorite shows. Apparently, so did Ruff and Bessie.

So last night as soon as I sat down to watch Marvel's Agents of Shield my two love birds decided to entertain me with renewed antics of their own.
And to add one more footnote to the continuing saga of Resting Rotts, here is the latest installment from our teenage sleeping beauty.
Also, here is one for the joke page. I couldn't resist adding my own words.
"Hey, Ruff, wanna see me run across the pool cover and chase the frogs?"

 Wouldn't it be nice if every day was as normal as this?

Friday, September 23, 2016

The official word on our old Rottweiler, Axl.

The wonderful lady in Ohio, Carey, who was Axl's first mom sent me an email a few weeks ago that finally cleared up the confusion about when Axl was born. When we adopted him 7 years ago the rescue group gave me some papers from the Veterinarian that mentioned Axl was born on September 9, 2001. That turned out to be either someone's guess or just some sloppy paperwork. But Carey did some research on the AKC web site and came up with his registration number. With that I ordered an official certificate that showed his Certified Pedigree, and his true date of birth.

So we were only about a month off when we had his birthday parties but it doesn't matter now.

On October 28, 2016 old man Axl, affectionately called Grandpa Axl, officially named Armani's Cold November Rain will be 15 years old.
In case you're interested November Rain is a song written by Axl Rose from the rock group Guns 'N Roses. Thank you Carey. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Resting Rotts

Whether its on the floor or on the furniture Rottweilers know just how to get comfortable while taking a nap. The floor is OK if they have more in mind than just napping but nothing beats a nice soft leather chair to curl up on.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

You're going to love this movie.

I just watched a trailer for a new movie coming out in January and it grabbed my aching heart and put tears in my eyes. OK, maybe I'm just a big softy when it comes to dogs but this movie struck a cord. It is a dog movie, but not about Rottweilers, but that doesn't matter. The movie title is "A Dog's Purpose" and rather than spoil the joy about the plot I am just posting a link to watch the coming attraction.
If you love dogs you will love this movie.
Watch this trailer for a new movie coming in January.

If you don’t get tears in your eyes you’re not human.
This is the movie poster:
After you watch the trailer write a comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Another Morning Show.

This sort of thing is beginning to be a routine around here. The kitchen has always been a gathering place for the whole family, maybe because this is where the food is. That stuff that Rottweilers live for. And of course, the humans are the dispensers of the food, so they must be entertained. Hmm, does that make us "Royalty" and them "the Court Jesters"? Makes no difference, they always make me laugh. 

Here is was, yesterday morning. Hope you are also entertained.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More Love & Joy, less Sorrow.

This morning while sitting at the kitchen table giving Jacqueline her breakfast, Ruffin and Bessie were laying in the doorway to the family room less than 4 feet away. They were so close I had to crop out the left and right frames of the doorway. From what I could gather they were simply having a little love fest together. They could have gone to any other part of the house but they decided to do this right in front of me. 

Sometimes I think they do this to entertain me, so could this their way of making me feel better? I am sure they realized something serious happened here this past week. Any way you look at it, isn't love beautiful?

Monday, August 15, 2016

An update on everything. It's really been a busy month.

At the risk of changing the direction of this blog into a soap opera I do think I owe it to my readers an explanation for my absence. But I have a happy note here that is entirely Rottweiler related.

Early in July, following a seizure and three-day stay in the hospital, my dear wife Jacqueline was admitted into Hospice and we elected to keep her at home with some assistance of a hospice group here in Kentucky. About the same time I was undergoing a series of medical tests in the hospital as an outpatient and the Cardiologist had recommended an Angiogram and a Stent to improve my blood flow. Hospice of the Bluegrass, the group helping me care for my wife stepped in and arranged to place Jacqueline in a nursing home for 5 days to give me some time to rest from the surgery. The stent procedure on Wednesday, August 10th only required a single night in the hospital. Jacqueline was picked up by ambulance the day before and taken to the nursing home as I had to be in hospital before 7 AM the next day. I was very much concerned about the Rottweilers so I decided to keep them at home in a familiar environment so I hired a dog-sitter to come in and take care of them. This is the story of what transpired after that.

Thursday, August 11th.

When I came home this afternoon it felt good to be home again and surrounded by my best friends again. They all greeted me when I walked in the house and then they went back to taking naps as if nothing different had happened. I'm sure they must have missed me but the welcome home party only lasted a few minutes. I’m guessing that is a good sign they were well cared for while I was away. 

My appetite needed some adjustment after getting back home since I had my last meal at 4 PM on Tuesday. This morning, in the hospital I ate my first meal in over 36 hours and I was quite famished. I ordered scrambled eggs and pancakes and sausage and I was so full that I had a light lunch very late at home and didn’t eat dinner until 10 PM. It was still good to be surrounded by my food friends again starring at me while I ate. And I am very happy to see that nothing bad happened to old man Axl while I was away. Tonight he still went to sleep on the floor in his mom’s bedroom and I have reminded him often she will be coming home Sunday afternoon. 

The doctor prescribed some new medicine for me to prevent my body from rejecting the implanted stent in my heart. I will be taking this for a whole year. This is some new drug called Brilinta and rather expensive, too. Well, for years I got away with just taking some basic drugs for my cholesterol and then everything changed this year. First came the Flowmax for my prostate, then came the Midodrine for my low blood pressure, then my newest doctor, the Cardiologist, added three more drugs. Now I need a larger daily pill reminder to store the pills in. In addition to all that, when I hobbled into the County Clerk’s office a few weeks ago with my cane to renew the handicapped tag that I’ve used for years for Jacqueline, the clerk asked me if I wanted a tag for myself. Good thing, she said, as it not legal for me to use Jacqueline’s handicapped tag when she wasn’t with me in the car. So now, in spite of some people saying I don’t look as old as I am, I am now a full-fledged old coot with a cane and a handicapped placard.
Friday, August 12th.
Well, its been a very busy week. this afternoon I took Ruffin and we drove to the nursing home to visit Jacqueline. Hospice of the Bluegrass had a contract with several area nursing homes and because of limited available beds we were most fortunate they got to put her in Madonna Manor which at first sight looked to me like a 5-star hotel. I took Ruff with me because he is the easiest to walk on a leash and I wanted him to see that his Mom was OK. I don’t know how much they communicate with each other but I was hoping he would let Axl and Bess know that he saw her again.

I have mentioned in the past how Ruff seems to become the center of attention whenever we walk into a store. Just realize those stores are almost all pet stores that have other dogs as well. So imagine what he was like walking into a place where he had never been before and he was the only dog there. At 130 lbs, he does make an impressive presence, and everyone turned and looked at him. From the receptionist at the front door to the staff walking the hallways, every one gave Ruff a smile and some even petted him on his head. And when we arrived at the common area where there was about 10 older people in wheelchairs and half as many staff, he made quite an entrance. First thing we spotted his Mom on the far side of the room. We had arrived just as they were beginning to serve lunch so they moved Jacqueline to a table by herself away from the others so we could sit together. All the other elderly people were feeding themselves and talking to each other but Jacqueline was the only person who was not able to do this so I offered to feed her myself and because it takes some time they welcomed my help. Ruff laid on the floor next to her wheelchair the whole time and looked around and watched everyone in the room. And I noticed the frequent stares he was getting as everyone was looking over at him. And there were smiles on almost everyone’s faces. It was as if he lit up the room. Some of the staff came over and made comments about how big and handsome he was and he got lots of pats on his head but the best part was how Ruff picked up on the disabilities of the patients. After seeing me move Jacqueline in her wheelchair from room to room at home, when he saw all those other people in wheelchairs it was like something must have clicked in his head. Every time someone in a wheelchair came near him he went over and put his head on the armrest of their chair and they touched his huge head and smiled.
Sunday, August 14th.
On Saturday I went to see Jacqueline alone because I had to stop in a store on the way home but on Sunday, when she came home I took Ruff back with me and that was his best day ever. Word of his Friday visit got around and the new staff on Sunday acted like he was a returning celebrity. When we got there Jacqueline wasn’t in her room or in the common area. I asked one of the staff and then said she had been taken to the chapel for Sunday Mass. This nursing home, Madonna Manor in Villa Hills, Kentucky was a religious facility. So one of the staff took us down a long hallway to another section of the nursing home to look for her. We got there just as the Mass ended and while we sat on a chair in the hallway waiting there was a parade of almost a hundred people pass us by and at least a third of them were in wheelchairs. I can tell you that was the slowest moving parade ever because almost everyone had to stop and say something nice about Ruff. When Ruff is around people he seems to smile and have a happy look on his face and that is so captivating. I always tell people that Ruff is a people person and just loves to meet people. I began to think how much joy a therapy dog gives to handicapped people doing just the same thing. 

We must have missed Jacqueline or one of the staff brought her back to the common area a different way. When Ruff and I came back looking for her they were getting ready to serve lunch so we sat down at the table with her but this time we were not moved to a table by ourselves. Four other people in wheelchairs were having lunch with us at the long table. Ruff now had the presence of food to keep his interest so I had to explain in jest that he was just a big moocher but at least he wasn't begging for handouts. This time no one complained at his being there with the others. Then the ambulance people arrived and loaded Jacqueline on to a gurney for the ride back home.

When the ambulance pulled into my driveway I went into the house to put Bess out back so she wouldn’t get in the way. When I opened the door she darted out and ran to see who had come to visit. The ambulance people rolled Jacqueline inside the house and as soon as Axl spotted his Mom he got so excited he nervously threw up on the floor. Shortly after that Jacqueline was back in her green recliner in the family room and she was surrounded by her three best friends. They took up their positions on the couch and chair and Axl on the floor and it was back to normal once again. 
And, as they say, life goes on.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Axl in the morning.

Old man Axl, affectionately called Grandpa Axl, loves to sleep late in the morning. He goes to bed when his Mom goes to bed, sleeping on the floor in her bedroom, and he gets up in the morning when she gets up. They say our dogs expressions sometimes look similar to their humans and the look on his face in these two pictures reminds me of what I must look like before I've had my morning coffee.
Gotta love every gray hair on his face.

Monday, July 25, 2016

This news about Axl is interesting.

I don't recall hearing this before but I just received an email from the lady in Dayton, Ohio who was Axl's original mom and she told what his AKC Registered name was. 
Axl was named after Axl Rose...his registered name is actually Armani's Cold November Rain...after the Guns and Roses song, November Rain :-)
Wow! And all this time we have been affectionately calling him Grandpa Axl. Nice to read that he has a real spiffy show-dog name but we all love him for a whole lot of other reasons.

Just thought you'd like to know this.
-- 0 --
As a footnote to all this, since we now know we have a bonafide would-be show-dog living amongst us, I must reveal the back story to one of our original Rottweilers. Six months after my daughter gave me my first Rottweiler who I named Mocha and later just Mo, we inherited both of Mocha's parents, Nikko Bear, her father and Felony, her mother. But it was later on when we learned we were the third or fourth family for these two that we were told that Felony's AKC registered name was Erin Lee's Felony. You can imagine how often we wondered about that, but we just called her Felly-girl.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Conversation About Service Dogs.

A friend who is involved with training K-9s and Service Dogs once told me that Service Dogs do not live long after they retire. The reason being their rigid training and their lives as service dogs are so tightly controlled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that they find it difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle after they are no longer working. I found that quite familiar because 3 months after I retired 14 years ago I had a heart attack and a triple by-pass. A lot of people also face health problems early in retirement as well.

This fact applies to old man Axl and explains his mysterious attraction to my wife from the day they first met in 2009 because my wife Jacqueline was diagnosed with Alzheimer's that same year. I am guessing that Axl, as a trained service dog, recognized that my wife was going to need him so he just went into Service Dog mode to continue the job he knew how to do best. No one had to ask him to do it, he volunteered.

In the beginning Axl enjoyed a few breaks in his daily routine and bonded with our then 3 year old Ruffin. I even used to think that Axl could become an adopted father figure to Ruffin because of their age differences. When we adopted Axl he was only a month away from his 8th birthday. In the ensuing years Axl began to spend more and more time with Jacqueline and less time with Ruffin. This coincided with the progression that Alzheimer's was taking over my wife. In the early years all of us, my wife included, used to take long walks down to the back of our property. Then when walking became difficult for Jacqueline both she and Axl would spend more time in the house together. And when Axl found it too difficult to jump up on Jacqueline's bed at night he simply took up sleeping next to it on the floor.

As I mentioned before I have had several conversations with our Veterinarian about Axl's health and his longevity. Axl gets a check up twice a year along with all his shots. The Vet agrees with me that Axl is so devoted to Jacqueline that he refuses to let the infirmities of his age keep him from staying close to her. If he has any pain he has never showed it and the only visible problem he has is a slight weakness in his hind legs. Sometimes he has difficulty standing up and needs a little help but when I am not around he still manages to stand up by himself. And the funny thing is when I do help him get up he seems to complain as if he was telling me he could do it by himself.

Over the years I've been reminded of the fact that we humans have a duty to end the lives of our devoted pets when they become sick or injured beyond the point of repair or healing. Some people almost think they should strictly adhere to the 10-12 year life expectancy rule that Rottweilers face because they don't want a handicapped old dog. Too often some would regret having assumed the worst and put down their furry friends unnecessarily. I abide by one rule and that is that none of my Rottweilers will ever endure pain and suffering. If you read back further in this blog you will note that my girl Sassy had a problem that came about from the ACL surgery on both her hind legs when she was about 3 years old. A few years after that her Vet put her on a pain management program that worked very well until she developed liver and kidney disease when she was 11 years old. And Sassy led a very happy life until the day she was put to sleep. And I will tell you I cried my heart out when I had to make that decision. It is not easy playing God.

Old man Axl will hopefully continue for as long as he wants to do the job he started doing 7 years ago. But he will never have to suffer for his devotion to duty.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Devotion To Duty

I keep getting compliments about Axl whenever I write about how old he is getting. My Veterinarian tells me he has never seen a Rottweiler that was his age before. It is unheard of since they only have a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Then the subject turns to either what is his secret or how does he do it. I think it comes down to devotion to duty. Axl has a profound sense of purpose and I am convinced that is what is keeping him alive. Somehow he knows that his Mom needs him.
Axl was originally bought as a puppy by a friend of mine who sold him to a handicapped woman when he was a year old. That woman had trained him to be a companion service dog and Axl lived with her for 6 years until she had to move due to a house fire that also had killed Axl's female Rottweiler helper. When I heard from his original owner that he was available for adoption I jumped at the chance to adopt him and through the reputation of this blog and my friend's recommendation I was able to have him.

We took Ruffin and Sassy with us and drove up to Dayton, Ohio and met Axl for the first time on August 2, 2009 and he seemed very happy to meet all of us. But as strange as this may seem, Axl seemed particularly taken by my wife Jacqueline. Of course I was surprised since I was the one who wanted to adopt him.
Upon arriving home Axl followed my wife everywhere. It soon became obvious that he was going to be her dog. Especially after he jumped up on her bed at bedtime that first night and slept next to her. It was soon after his arrival in his forever home that my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I began to understand his attachment to her. Axl always seemed to have a happy, smiley look on his face when he was near his Mom. He even took naps with her on the couch.
When we all went to the kitchen to sit down for a meal, Axl would follow us and was right there laying at his Mom's feet. He never begged for table scraps like the other Rotts do. He was just there keeping her company. This photo below was taken 3-years ago.
Which brings me to today. I have seen this every day but for some reason tonight I decided to take some pictures and then that led me to write this post about this wonderful, loving canine. 
This old Rottweiler is still smiling and his eyes still seem to have a twinkle in them. It must be because he is a very happy old Rottweiler, doing what he likes to do. Keeping his Mom company. God Bless you Mr. Axl and I pray He keeps you healthy so you can finish your job.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Another Birthday Party at Our House

Happy Birthday Baby Bess, you are 2 years old today.
I bought a large package of chop beef and made 3 large hamburgers this afternoon and a bowl of mashed potatoes for the icing. This has always been our traditional Rottweiler birthday cakes ever since my wife Jacqueline started the tradition almost 20 years ago.
Just a brief historical update. Here is a photo of the first Rottweiler birthday cake that my wife made sometime back around 1997. I think the mashed potato icing came later. The single meat loaf size one feeding all three Rottweilers at the same time doesn’t work when one Rottweiler wants to eat it all. This is our first Rottweiler family. Nikko Bear on the left, 5-year old birthday girl Felony in the middle and their 2-year old daughter Mocha on the right.
Baby Bessie has grown up to become a beautiful young lady Rott and I wanted her day to be very special. We all got in the van earlier and visited her favorite drive thru windows and everyone wished her a Happy Birthday and gave her biscuits. Then it was time to come back home and do some cooking. And with the exception of her reaction to the two lighted candles, I think she enjoyed this special occasion.

I gave each of the Rottweilers their own individual hamburgers so as to avoid any commotion at the food stand. And Axl got to enjoy his mixed in his dinner dish before the humans sat down to eat.

And a kiss for my birthday girl.
And then it was Ruffin's turn.
I held the plate for him so he wouldn't scoot it off the stand with his mighty tongue.

Bessie has really become my sweetheart as she has gotten older. She still has a lot of playful puppy energy in her so I can't wait for her to mature a bit more and quiet down. Here she is, one more time, getting a birthday kiss.

Next birthday is another big one. Old Man Axl will be 15 in September.