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.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
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
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
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
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.
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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 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
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
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.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
My daughter Karen sent me two pictures via email this morning. She took them when she came out here recently. During a break from her cleanup work she took Ruff and Bessie for a walk in the backyard and this is what she saw them doing. These photos were taken with her cell phone camera. Does Bessie look like she has gotten bigger?
Can't quite make out what's going on here. It doesn't look exactly like a game of tugs while it almost looks like the two were working together carrying that "big" stick. OK, call it Teamwork.
Updated June 21st: Took Bessie and Ruff the the county Animal Shelter yesterday to get their dog licenses renewed and saw they now had a large size dog scale in the lobby. I put Bessie on the scale and it hovered between 100 and 101 pounds. That's the same as it was at the Vet's office several weeks ago. So that answers my question, Bessie hasn't gotten bigger.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Lately I have begun to feel my life has become an obstacle course leaping over one hurdle after another. Maybe the 6-month battle with Prostate Cancer and the accompanying 3-months of daily radiation was too easy. For all those who offered prayers, I wish to express my sincere thanks. The cancer is gone. The after-effects are almost gone and life started getting back to normal. Then came the next hurdle, Carotid artery stenosis. A few more tests, and a few more visits to the hospital, a visit to the ER and some very worried Rottweilers, and now that is almost under control. So, hopefully, I am back posting for awhile, anyway. And I have a few stories to catch up on.
In between all these troubles the grass and weeds continued to grow and the rumored complaints from the neighbors about the run down look. That was helped along with several weeks of pleasantly cool weather and lots of rain, the two things grass and weeds love most. One thing I learned was teenagers living on my street now have cars instead of bicycles and are seldom at home and it is almost impossible to hire someone to cut your lawn. So I hired a "professional" guy to cut the grass but just because someone invests in a professional piece of equipment and does the work as a second job doesn't make them a pro. So after one particularly difficult weekend health-wise my neighbor volunteered to cut the grass. Then I got some additional unexpected help. My daughter Karen, worried about my health flew down for a 5 day visit and did an absolutely smashing job cleaning up the property, and the inside of the house. I just wish she'd paid more heed to my warning about wearing a long-sleeved shirt. She went home with both her arms covered in poison Ivy.
Several weeks ago, around the time of my last post, I took Ruff and Bessie down the back for a survey of the property and had some great photos of them standing in grass that was as high as their shoulders. And in my drug-induced misery I lost the pictures before I could post them. What a sight that was, though. Seeing them walk though the incredibly tall grass reminded me of the scene from one of the Jurassic Park movies of the people walking through the head-high grass before the Raptors attacked them.
And as far as those lost photos go, it wasn't just the few I took that day, it was my entire collection of over 25,000 digital photos taken with all four of my digital cameras over the last 15 years that I accidentally wiped out. I had mounted a new second hard drive in my computer and was in the process of partitioning it when I clicked on the wrong drive letter. Luckily I had prepared a backup of the photos but the backup was two months old and I had no copies of the pictures taken during that time except for the ones I had already posted here. So I went back and saved each one from the blog. Lesson learned, don't drink and drive, and don't mess with your drives if you're on medications.
I do have one photo to share with you. My big guy Ruff had fallen asleep on the couch one evening when it was his turn to keep an eye on my wife Jacqueline. This certainly is a classic pose, isn't it? Reminds me of my Porno Puppy Mocha.
I must tell you that for the time being my favorite place to take outdoor pictures of the Rottweilers has now become unreachable. By virtue of the fact that I have been having so much trouble walking down the back, until the meds begin to do their job I'll have to restrict myself to front yard and indoor photography.Thanks for hanging in there with me. And the personal emails were always a joy to read.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
We have a green-eyed monster living in our house. And a pretty young Rottie girl who loves him. Some times the green-eyed monster makes ugly faces to scare away the young girl but he never succeeds.
Isn't love wonderful? As the saying goes, "Love conquers all".
You can see it in her eyes.
You did a good job raising baby Bess, Ruff. Now enjoy your senior years.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
OK, I promise not to do this again. While this is technically a "sick" joke it did happen in conjunction with a visit to our Veterinarian's office so its also dog related. Even still, I couldn't resist the temptation to share this because its true.
I’ve mentioned before that I have been sick from the side effects of the radiation but I forgot to tell you the best joke that goes along with it.
If you spotted my previous blog post you’d read that I took Bessie and grandpa Axl to the Vet for their annual checkup. Well, for starters, Bessie now weighs 100.3 lbs. and the Vet commented to me that it seems she has gotten over her eating disorder. Then he asked me how I was doing with the radiation treatment and I said, I feel sick as a dog. (that is a common euphemism over here). He came back with the reply, Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I think the weather here in Northern Kentucky is having sympathy pains. When you’re sick there is nothing worse than looking out the window at a nice warm sunny day that you can’t go out and enjoy. So it helps a little bit when the weather is cold, rainy and miserable. It also makes it more convincing when I can tell the three Rottweilers why I can’t take them out to play.
Summer begins here on June 21st. I hope everything works out by then.
I finished the radiation treatment last Tuesday. Thank you all for the prayers and good wishes.
Post Script: A friend just sent me an email saying the Vet had a wicked sense of humor for saying "Well, you've come to the right place." after I told him I felt sick as a dog. I never took it that way. I have known this person for many years and that is the way people talk to each other when they try to inject some humor into a situation to cheer them up. I hope no one else misunderstood this conversation. I would not have written about it if I didn't think it was funny.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
OK, not really, of course he didn't win. But Ruffin did continue his unbroken streak of never missing a major televised horse race. And in our house that makes Ruff a winner every day.
And just for the record, Nyquist won the derby and continued his own unbroken record of wins.
Instead of taking the photos in the family room I wanted to see how well the new TV looked in the background so we got everyone in the living room. All the previous horse race photos were taken in front of a plasma TV and the new TV is an LED. Here Ruff struck his usual pose standing in front of the TV during a commercial before the race started. Then as soon as the horses came out Ruff laid down on the couch to watch the race.
And here they come into the final stretch.
Nice going Bess. This was Ruff's picture session, not yours.
Earlier in the day Ruff and Bessie lounged around the pool like a couple of tourists on vacation. Bessie seems to like laying on the stone wall. If I could get a picture from the the other direction I think she would look as regal as a Lion statue outside a library.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
I took baby Bess and old man Axl to the Vet this morning for their annual checkup and I finally got a chance to put Bessie on a scale.
Holy Cow, has she grown.
Baby Bess now weighs 100.3 lbs.
And Axl, by the way, is only 15 lbs heavier than Bess.
I was going to add this as a post script to my brief mention of our 56th anniversary yesterday but decided to make this a stand alone post because of the size. I thought I would share these memories before they start to fade away.
April 29, 1960
I was in the middle of a 4 year enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard. It was a good time. The world was at peace, we were in between wars as it seems. The Korean War was almost a decade old and we were a few years away from getting involved in Vietnam. I was 20 years old and not even old enough to vote. And I met the girl of my dreams.
We dated for almost a year and decided to make it official with a small wedding in the Catholic Church in the town where she grew up. Apart from finding my life-long soul mate, my stint in the Coast Guard was the most uneventful time of my life. I grew up on Long Island, NY and after enlisting went to Cape May, NJ for boot camp. Then was assigned to a group of lifeboat stations on Long Island 30 miles from home. Never got to see the world like those guys who joined the Navy.
We took the subway into Manhattan to spend 5 days on our honeymoon. Ate at The Cattlemen’s, the best steak restaurant ever. Went to see Ben Hur on Broadway. Fondest memory that I never told anyone before was when Jacqueline told me that when we were about to go into a restaurant one night a prostitute tried to solicit me and I didn’t even notice her because I only had eyes on my wife.
After my discharge I started work with Pan American World Airways at Idlewild, later to become JFK International Airport. In the following 30 years I made up for that Manhattan subway honeymoon. Working for Pan Am had some wonderful travel benefits and we went to lots of places where honeymoons are supposed to happen. The flights to California and the days spent in Yosemite National Park, visit friends in Santa Fe, NM, the Whale-watching trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington, two trips to Hawaii and one that took in 4 island hops, two trips to St. Thomas, then later on to see the Black Forest in Germany for our 30th anniversary, and, of course, the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. And to cap off our 10-day trip, a train ride from Munich to Zurich to spend 5 days before our return flight home. It was exciting when we discovered that we were followed by a plain-clothed German police officer all the way on the train. Yeah, I know, those were the start of some difficult times.
56 years ago we pledged to love each other in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. I am proud to say we have kept our word.
There's a running joke here with this photo. Jacqueline had a penchant for stopping at every stream in Yosemite Park to sample the mountain high fresh water. And every time I kept telling her a bear had probably taken a bath in it upstream.
And then came the Rottweilers.
And a new life filled with excitement began in Kentucky, thanks to my 10-years with Delta Air Lines... and 20 years with my new best friends.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Last Friday, April 29th, Jacqueline and I celebrated our 56th anniversary. I just wanted to share a picture of the quiet event that we had here surrounded by our very best friends.
That wasn't meant to be a joke even though this night was not much different from any other night in our house because the three Rottweilers are always close by. If you own Rottweilers then you already know the depth of their devotion and love so you will understand what I mean.