Friday, March 27, 2015

I think the hunger games will take a bit longer.

Apologies for borrowing the title of that movie but this business at home is the real deal. The reason I think its going to take longer to fix it is because Bess is not exactly starving herself completely. This morning I tried a new dog food with chunks and gravy instead of the usual ground-up variety and Bessie licked all the gravy and left most of the chunks. Then it came time for the morning peanut butter pills followed by the large Milkbone biscuit. I don't recall the way this started years ago, it may have been with my wife, but we have always given our Rottweilers Brewer's Yeast tablets every day to prevent fleas. They get 6 or 7 pills daily, depending on weight, and it has always worked. Besides, the peanut butter is a foolproof way of getting them to take other pills and Bessie is still getting two pills twice a day (Ranitdine 150 MG and Metoclopramide 10 MG) for indigestion. I haven't tried substituting kibble for reward treats for training yet, but the minimal amount of food she is eating is going to keep her a little hungry but not starving. 

I reread the piece on Hyporexia from the Viyo medical product web site in Belgium several times and their suggestions sound very workable. I think I will try and find some of their Viyo Recuperation but first I want to find and read some testimonials. Here is a copy of what they wrote.
When a dog is not eating well every day, there is a risk that he/she becomes anorectic. A lack of appetite is something that dog breeders are confronted with day in day out. There are a lot of different reasons for this problem but a stress factor is certainly one of them in kennels. Anorexia is defined as the lack or loss of appetite for food. In veterinary medicine, it is one of the most important and most common complaints indicating a myriad of diseases with greatly varying pathogeneses. It might be more appropriate to talk about hyporexia here.

Hyporexia means a reduction in appetite rather than a complete loss. Dogs that are completely unwilling to eat can rarely be forced to eat a sufficient quantity to meet their daily energy intake requirement and need assisted feeding (nutrition provided parentally or by tube feeding). After appropriate medical therapy, the most common initial strategy to get a patient to eat is to enhance the palatability of the pet food. What techniques are currently used and how efficient are they? Increase moisture. Switching from dry food to canned or pouched food may prove effective. The reason is the higher moisture level, but canned or pouched food also typically contains more fat and protein. Care should be taken that these increased fat and protein levels do not cause any adverse effects. One should also be aware of the fact that canned or pouched food is not always exactly the same as dry food. An alternative for switching to canned or pouched food is to simply soak the dry kibble (2.5 parts of water + 1 part of kibble). Increase fat. This is mostly done in therapeutic food to increase the energy uptake so that less food has to be consumed.

Note that increasing the fat content is not without danger, so we do not advise to increase palatability by increasing the fat level of the diet. Increase protein. Care should be taken when increasing dietary protein in certain disease processes, such as hepatic failure with hepatic encephalopathy and renal failure with acute uremia.

Sweet and salty. Adding a sweet flavour by using sugar or syrup as a top dressing may increase the palatability of the food for dogs. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided because they have little or no nutritive value and a common artificial sweetener, xylitol, can cause a hypoglycemic crisis in dogs. Prudence is in order when treating diabetic patients. Salty foods can be effective in getting some dogs to eat but be careful with patients with hypertension, edema, ascites or renal disease. We don’t find this strategy very effective because the preference we saw for some salty foods (potato chips, salted nuts, peanut butter) may in fact be a preference for fat or treats in general that is somewhat independent of the food’s salt level.

Freshness, aroma and food temperature. Warming food (not higher than body temperature to prevent burning the patient’s mouth) can be helpful because of the additional release of aromas. This is of course important in patients with a reduced sense of smell such as older dogs and renal patients. Keeping the food fresh during storage is very important. Rarity. Rare food may be more enticing than common food, but types of food that are completely novel may not be the best choice.

Variety. This may be an effective approach but there are several cautionary points. Polypharmacy avoidance. Common pain medications, antibiotics, antifungals, diuretics, anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressives and chemotherapeutics can reduce appetite. Try alternative ways of administration that might mitigate some medications’ adverse effects on appetite.

Eliminate physical barriers to eating. Examples of such physical barriers are Elizabethan collars, poor bowl location and dental or oral pain. Appetite stimulating drugs. Diazepam, cyproheptadine and low-dose propofol are not recommended because their effects seem to be unpredictable, intermittent and of short duration. After careful consideration of the 10 techniques described above, it is clear that no effective treatment was available, until today. Viyo Recuperation, a liquid formulation, increases the palatability of the food for dogs in a safe and healthy way without any negative interference with daily meals.
OK, I found the Viyo Recuperation product on for $27.95 for a 16 oz bottle and read all of the 16 positive reviews so I ordered some today. Most of the people who posted comments had tried it successfully for the same type of problem I'm having with Bessie and had good results. More to come on this.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Things are getting clearer about Bessie's eating problem.

Several things happened today. I took Ruff and Bessie to see the Vet this morning and showed her the print from the online Merck Veterinary Manual that I mentioned in my blog yesterday. The gist of the discussion we had was in line with what the lady instructor told me on Monday at the dog training school (I do not know her name). Let her get hungry from missing her meals and in three days she should start eating again. Bessie is forcing me to give in to her demands and I must be strong in resisting her. I must not give Bessie treats of handouts in between meals even is she doesn’t eat her dog food. And other than the occasional boiled chop meat, I should not give her people food. One more thing Bessie does is she refuses to come to the kitchen to eat when I feed Ruff and Axl before me and my wife site down to eat. She does this so she can have table food before or in place of her dog food. That also has to stop. The other thing is Bessie still weighed in at 77 1/2 lbs this morning. While her weight hasn't changed much in the last three weeks she has continued to grow taller which makes her appear thinner.
After we got home I received an unexpected surprise email from Cornell University in Ithica, NY. I have noticed from checking the visitor hits on my blog that someone using a computer from a Cornell University server has been following us for several months. Well the man said he was concerned about Bessie and he suggested I search Google for "hyporexia in dogs" (I only searched for the word) and the search produced an interesting link to a medical product web site in Antwerp, Belgium that explained all about hyporexia that was mentioned in the online Merck Veterinary Manual. It just so happens that it is a mild form of anorexia in humans and it contained some useful information. Thank you Sam, you put us on the right track.
Now I am left with one lingering problem. If I allow Bessie to go hungry for a few days I must also deny her all forms of treats which will make obedience training difficult. Well, when you think about it this will also be a form of training. As opposed to that the Vet suggested I substitute kibble dog food for the treats and continue her training. Tonight I tried to encourage her to eat dinner by putting some Swanson’s Beef Broth on her kibble. She lapped some of it up but did not eat the kibble or the expensive Eukanuba canned dog food with gravy. I also found out I shouldn’t put milk on her kibble. While it seems to work and she eats her food when I do, the Vet said dogs are lactose-intolerant and it causes stinky farts. Now I know where they come from. LOL.
I must try to remind myself to stay strong and win this fight. I am bigger and older and smarter than she is. But she has the sweetest, helpless little girl look that melts my heart. All I have to do is avoid making eye contact. Lots of luck with that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The problem that just won't go away.

It has been six days since my last post when I happily reported that Bessie had just eaten her regular meals. The situation went downhill after that. Following my brief success at confusing Bess into thinking she was being given some people food from the table, she began to turn away from dog food again. At first I sprinkled some table scraps on top of the can of dog food but then she began to eat just the table scraps and leave the dog food. I was determined to weed her off the table scraps and give her nothing but the dog food and that led up to the present crisis. To reinforce her need for regular dog food I have not given her any biscuit treats or training reward treats. This last point has made her lessons from school impossible. Without the training rewards she refuses to work. Withe the training rewards I think she spoils her appetite. I am convinced now there is something else going on besides her having some bad eating habits and tomorrow I will be taking her back to the Vet for the third time.

I am writing this post today for a different reason. There are some apparent repercussions to this crisis that may have a longer lasting effect. I have been advised by some experienced dog trainers that the simplest way to deal with the problem is the direct approach, limit her entire access to food to her meals and give her no treats, and wait until she gets hungry enough to begin eating. The other night at obedience school the instructor said she had a similar problem and after three days her dog decided she had gotten hungry enough to eat. But I am getting some uncomfortable stares from Bessie and it makes me feel she thinks I have been making her hungry on purpose. Will she blame me to the point that she will lose her trust in me and no longer want to be my best friend? Last night she got no bedtime biscuits and she did not want to sleep on my bed. How much difference is there between physically abusing a dog and in denying her food? Her food gets put in her dish and she walks over to it and sniffs it and then walks away. After 15 minutes or so I remove the food from the floor and she sees me doing this, so in her mind am I responsible taking her food away and making her hungry? In her mind am I treating her badly?

And what if there really is an, as of now, undetected medical problem? I have pored over the Internet searching for answers. I have even searched for Eating Disorders through The Merck Veterinary Manual online. The only thing I found was a one sentence teaser that said: "Dogs with hyporexia may have an anxiety disorder, and some may develop specific taste preferences and aversions that reduce what they will eat." Whatever hyporexia is, it is not explained in the manual and from what I can find the word  hyporexia does not exist. But the description seems to be exactly what Bessie has, a "specific taste preferences and aversions that reduce what they will eat".

I will update the situation after speaking to our Vet tomorrow.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Finally, some very good improvement in Baby Bess

Yesterday was the first day in the past four weeks that Bess ate two regular meals. I am very happy to write that there was nothing medically wrong with her. We had just developed some bad habits that needed to be corrected.

The problems I've had with Baby Bess' eating disorder continued through last weekend. At first the boiled chop meat and rice seemed to coax her appetite but it didn't last. Once again she turned her nose up and wouldn't eat. So either I was doing something wrong or there was a more serious problem. On Tuesday I took Bess back to the Vet's office and had a visit with a different doctor. We discussed how I was feeding her and the Vet suggested a different approach. Bess has learned to beg for handouts at the dinner table when my wife and I were eating. She was no different from the other two Rotts except she seemed to prefer the table food to her dog food bowl.

The Vet suggested that I take her dog food and put it in one of our dinner plates and keep it on the table. When Bess came over to beg for a handout I would place the dish with her food down for her to eat. As soon as we came home from the Vet's office I took a soup bowl and filled it with a half-can of dog food, sprinkled some grated Cheddar cheese on it and warmed it in the microwave. When I sat down for a cup of coffee Bess came over and I took the bowl off the table and laid it in the feeder stand. She gobbled it all up. Tonight at our dinner time I feed Ruff and Axl first and got them out of the kitchen and repeated the breakfast routine. Bess ate the entire meal, this time a whole can of dog food, warmed up with Cheddar cheese.

The Vet told me that Bess was forcing me to give her people food - she said Bess was training me, and because I didn't have the heart to let her go hungry I gave in to her. So now there will be no more biscuits for treats to keep her a bit more hungry when its time to eat. When Bess gets back into a regular eating pattern I will give her more treats for being a good girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Our Rottweilers become famous. Their stories were published in two books.

Originally posted on 10-15-2000

My web site, The Rottweilers of Abby's World had been visited by thousands of people from over 50 countries world wide during the 10 years it was on line. One of those visitors was Kim Dearth, an editor of Dog Fancy magazine, and a author of several books on dogs.

My web site had several stories about the day to day experiences living with our Rottweilers and Kim asked me if she could put a few of them in her book. Of course I said Yes. Kim Dearth has compiled a guide with everything you need to know about owning and living with Rottweilers. As she goes through each phase, from bringing a puppy into your home to acquiring a rescued Rott, she adds some real life experiences from Rottweiler owners from around the country. I am particularly pleased that Kim chose a few of my own experiences with my Three Bears to include in her book. Thank you, Kim, for making our three clowns so famous.

A few years later, Kim Dearth has wrote another book, The Compassion of Dogs. It, too, contains a story about our beloved Felony.

How dangerous are Rottweilers? Mother Nature knows.
In our house we have two cats and three Rottweilers and everyone lives in perfect harmony. One of the cats, a female, six years old, goes outside and hunts every day. Since we live in a populated suburban community we seldom see any wildlife other than birds, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, garden snakes and an occasional rabbit. Casey, the cat, has managed to catch everything except the elusive squirrel. One day my wife and I were in the back yard with one of the Rotts, Felony, the old momma. Casey spotted a rabbit in the next door neighbor's back yard and began to stalk it in her usual fashion. She crouched down and slowly inched her way across the grass toward the rabbit. Now you have to picture in your mind that Casey was on the other side of the neighbor's yard furthest away from us, my wife was moving away from me toward the back of the property, Felony was between my wife and my position and the four of us has the little rabbit surrounded. The rabbit spotted Casey and looked around and saw that the two humans and the large dog were all closing in. So which direction do you think the rabbit chose to flee to safety? 

Of course, the rabbit decided that the Rottweiler was the least dangerous of the four creatures. In a few short hops it headed straight for the Rottweiler and for a moment sat in front of Felony with its little nose twitching away. Felony lowered her huge head and went nose to nose with this little creature before it hopped right past her and bounded off across our property.  

We are still learning Rottie Rules.
In our house there are two humans and three Rottweilers and sometimes this presents a problem that we have had to learn how to deal with. Not the kind of problems that you would expect, its just a matter of learning what the Rottie Rules are. For instance, one rule we have observed is that no human can be alone in any part of the house without a Rottie present for protection. Since we don't have a fenced yard it is necessary for us to take them out back on leashes so they do their business (poops and pees). But when they are called to go out, if either my wife or I remain in the house one Rottie will always stay behind while the other two go out. And they do take turns at this.

If one of us gets up early and goes downstairs to start the morning coffee pot, at least one Rottie always remains on the second floor to protect the human that has not gotten up yet. If one of us is upstairs taking a shower there will be a Rottie laying outside the bathroom door waiting. 

Here are a few more of my favorite stories that show the true nature of the Rottweilers, the side that is ignored by Hollywood and the newspapers.

Rottweilers are very protective and do not like violence.
I was sitting on our front porch one day with Nikko Bear the largest of our Rottweilers. We were just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. A woman walked out of the house diagonally across the street from us and as Nikko followed her with his gaze she entered the house next door to hers. A few minutes later this same woman exited the house accompanying an old white-haired woman and was holding her arm to help her walk. Nikko again looked on with great interest as these two slowly walked back to the first woman's house, only this time I heard a low growl coming from him. He continued his intense gaze and low growl until the two women entered the other house. 

Rottweilers (in this house anyway) seem to sense that when anyone puts their hands on another person it must be a form of violence and they don't like it. This Rottie Rule, as we call it, even extends to  our own home where our Three Bears get very upset whenever my wife and I hug and kiss each other or even hold hands while sitting on the couch. (Yeah, OK, we've been married almost 40-years, so what.) We have begun to refer to the old mama Rott, Felony, as the Mother Superior. Whenever she spots us hugging or kissing she gets a look on her face that seems to say, "Oooooh!".

One day a man and his adult son were visiting us and when they were about to leave, the son shook hands with my wife to say goodbye. Nikko Bear was sitting nearby and literally snapped his head in the direction of the man's hand when he was took hold of my wife's hand. Nikko's sense of alertness came on like a light switch and his usually placid expression turned to instant intense seriousness. I explained to the two gentlemen that no one is allowed to touch the Momma and demonstrated by putting my arm around her shoulder. They learned very quickly when they saw the reaction from the three Rotts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Good news from the Vet. But the mystery continues.

Dr. Matt from Ft. Wright Pet Care called and told me the blood work on Bessie came back normal. That's the good news but the problem hasn't gone away. Bessie has had three doses of her medicine since yesterday and the only food she has eaten were two bowls of cooked oatmeal with some milk and sugar along with a cup-full of dry kibble mixed in. I mentioned this to the Doctor and he can't explain why Bess prefers the oatmeal but he said a bland diet won't cause any problems. His only thought was she may have a mild form of gastrointestinal discomfort that should slowly go away.

We have lots of oatmeal in the house as I make for my wife every morning.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. This little girl has captivated my heart and has become one of the most precious things in my life. (almost, besides my wife, of course) and Ruff and Axl. Oh, you already know this.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Teacher's Pet

This was Ruffin's night to remember, but first an update on Bessie.
I have been very concerned for the last few days about Bessie not eating. I went to a new pet store here on Sunday and bought a few cans of outrageously expensive Merrick brand gourmet dog food and believe me, the beef stew looked just like people food you would make at home. In spite of this Bess was reluctant to eat it until I coaxed her for several minutes. So first thing this morning I took Bessie to see our Veterinarian. As expected she has lost 2 pounds from not eating but it was good to hear after a barium x-ray there was no sign of any blockage or intestinal damage. The Vet also took a blood sample for a full panel blood workup but we won't know the results for a day or so. The x-rays showed some signs of gas pockets and the Vet prescribed two different drugs for her. I gave her the first dose when we got home.

I decided not to take Bessie to school tonight because of the medicine I gave her and not wanting to go there by myself, I called ahead and asked if it was OK to bring Ruff. Angie More, the lady who runs the Amore Obedience Training class has already met Ruff so she said it was fine with her. And it turned out to be one of Ruff's most enjoyable evenings.

The classroom was in a large room with chairs set up in a large circle. We sat in the class next to where Angie had laid out her training materials and was speaking. It was pretty obvious that Ruff had made a new friend. Ruff was very interested in listening to Angie's voice and he kept staring at her while she talked. So much so that he managed to grab her attention and distracted her on several occasions and she kept glancing down at him and breaking into big smiles. That is the way Ruff gets most people to react. He has that "hug me" look that really grabs people.

When it came time for the class to take a short break, Angie took out her cell phone and asked me to take some pictures of her giving Ruff a hug. I sent her an email and told her I already had a title for this blog post, Teacher's Pet, and asked her to send me the pictures. She said that calling Ruff a Teacher's Pet was an understatement. "If I could take him home I would in a heartbeat! He is probably one of the sweetest dogs with the best temperament I have ever met."
Now for some good news. When we got home from class I made Bessie a big dinner of dog kibble and oatmeal and she gobbled it all down. So I think the medicine was already starting to work. I hope the bloodwork comes back normal.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

On the subject of my little girl getting bigger.

I took the nice Kong bed out of Bessie's red fold-up travel crate and brought it into my den today. Since she's been sleeping on my bed every night she hasn't been going in her crate. Because Bessie likes to hang out with me and she is getting too big to lay under my chair I thought the bed would be a nice place for her to lay down on. Well, as soon as she did I suddenly realized how big she has gotten, aside from my concerns over her weight. Take a look at these two photos.
And maybe the Vet can tell me why this little girl has such a sad look on her face all the time when she is surrounded with love.
I know I have spoiled her since she was a baby but her problem lately is she no longer likes to eat dog food. At first she enjoyed her Diamond brand puppy kibble. That was the kind they fed her at the dog shelter so she had gotten used to it during her short stay there. Then I began to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on the kibble like I do for Ruff and Axl. When that didn't work any more I started to add a half can of ground dog food. That worked for a few weeks until last week she wouldn't eat it. So then I tried to spoon feed her the canned dog food. In the last few days even that had mixed results. So as a last resort I fixed up a batch of cooked oatmeal and she gobbled it right up.
When we go to Obedience School they taught us to give them small treats to get their attention and  follow commands. I have been working her this way every day and I thought maybe the treats spoiled her appetite.
So Monday morning we're going to see the Vet. I want my little girl to get her happy face back.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bessie starting to slow down her growth rate

This is an update to my post on January 15th.  I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

Bessie turned 8-months old on March 1st. Last night I managed to pick her up and get on the scale and she weighs 77.5 LBS. That means she has only gained about 10 pounds in the last two months, a drop from her previous weight/size gain of over 10 pounds each month prior to January.

Bess is getting bigger in size but not as heavier as before. She has also not been eating as regular and I think I will be taking her to the Vet next Monday to see why her appetite has slacked off.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow and Temperature records falling all over the place. Rottweilers overjoyed.

The weather out here has been changing. In the past week we briefly enjoyed one day with 60-degree temperature followed by 24-hours of rain that washed all of the remaining snow pack away that had been on the ground for several weeks. Thankfully, that muddy mess only lasted one day. And then last night it started snowing again as the daytime temperatures slowly dropped to several degrees below freezing.

So this morning we woke up to a brand new Winter landscape with a fresh coating of snow about 6-inches deep. And baby Bess and her playmate Ruff thoroughly enjoyed every minute they spent outside. One side note was that when the rain washed away the snow I managed to find five of Bessie's Kong toys that she had taken outside to play with in the snow. I picked them all up and laid them on one of the chairs on the front patio and as soon as we went outside today she stopped to grab a few to run around with.
First look at 8am. Gee, there are no footprints anywhere. It was a little too dark to take pictures so we went inside for breakfast.
An hour later we came back outside.

As Bess gets bigger she poses a formidable challenge when she plays with Ruff. She can easily topple him over.

 Ah, the power and agility of youth. Bessie runs like a deer.

 It all about challenges. Bessie taunts Ruff to try and take her ball away from her.

Ruff puts up a good effort to chase Bessie but his age and size work against him and slow him down. Bessie literally can run circles around him.

The weatherman reminded us that Spring is only a few weeks away as if to add a glimmer of hope. I can fully sympathize with the people in Boston who have endured record-breaking snowfalls this Winter but we have broken a few records for ourselves. I, for one, can't wait for Spring.


Friday, February 27, 2015

I was told I couldn't do this without her help.

You have already seen some of the things that go on around here in the morning. I try to record the little things that make Living With Rottweilers so much fun. That's also because I get a lot of help taking care of the Rottweiler's Mom. Some of the evidence of that help usually came about as an afterthought when I decided to interrupt what was going on to go get the camera.
Today was different. I planned in advance to get some pictures while my helper was busy doing her thing. 
As fast as I tried to tie the shoelaces my helper got them untied.
And then when I was finished I got a look that clearly said, "You couldn't have done it without my help."
These are just a few of the simple pleasures that my best friends give to make my day a little more cheerful. And I love ever precious moment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rottweilers struggling to deal with a record-setting Winter.

This Winter has introduced everyone to a new phrase in our conversation. They don't understand what a "bippy" is when Daddy tells everyone we have Bippy-Freezing weather outside, but it means just that. It means you gotta learn to go outside and do your business and then come in. No playing games, literally, when the standing temperature is in the minus numbers and the wind chill will cause frostbite in less than a half-hour. And while I'm all bundled up in warm clothing, you Rottweilers are walking around barefoot. So struggle they must even if they don't understand. This Winter has gone down in the records books. Last week we had -17 F. along with three snowstorms in 5 days that gave us 15 inches. This morning it went down to -6 F. The snow was nice until the temperature got very cold and the Rottweilers didn't like being brought inside in that nice cold invigorating air. Then the surface of the snow froze and walking on it was like punching holes in ice. That is what Mr. Axl was having problems with.
Bessie has been paying a lot of attention to old man Axl, to the point she seems worried about him. I told her this morning she was acting like his nursemaid. I think she has noticed he has trouble outside walking in the deep snow, his hind legs get stuck and he falls down and I also think his eyesight is not as good as it once was. I saw Bessie holding his collar in her mouth as they were walking through the family room last night. At first I thought she was trying to play with him like she does with Ruffin but she didn't have the same look on her face, she seemed to be leading him. For an almost 8-month old girl she looked somewhat serious. Then she seems more willing to stay close to her Mom than she did before.
And she also keeps an eye on Ruffin especially when he goes outside by the pool. She always lets me know when he has come back and wants to come in.
Ruff is the only one who gets to go outside because Axl can't climb the stairs on the deck and Bessie doesn't know where to walk around the pool. The one time I took her out there she ran across the pool cover and thought it was a big game. And damn near gave me a heart attack trying to get her off of it. Ruff knows where the sidewalk ends and the pool rim is and you can see the well word set of footprints. Bessie is a free thinker.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter has finally arrived. And it came with a vengence.

Rottweilers love snow. They also love cold air. It seems to invigorate them with an abundance of energy. Now our little Bessie has had her taste of a real Winter. Within the past week we have had three measurable snowstorms. The last time it snowed here on Feb. 12th, we only had a few inches but the first storm last weekend brought us 8-inches. This storm was followed two days later with 4 more inches which was followed again by another storm that dropped 3 more inches. And the cold has remained continuously preventing most of it from melting. And the weatherman has predicted 3-6 more inches of snow tomorrow.
Little Bessie had a lot of fun running across the sidewalk every time I shoveled it kicking more snow which needed to be shoveled again. 
After taking these pictures it was time to come in the house. As I turned I saw the gang had followed right behind me.
The worst part of this weather has been the bitterly cold, record-breaking low temperatures. Day before yesterday we went down to -7 F and this morning we hit -15 F and my primary concern was the Rottweilers getting frostbite on their toes. Other than that they seemed to be totally unaffected by the cold. When the wind was factored in the wind chill was -30 F.
 Here is a temperature map taken from a local TV station this morning
We are located just about in the middle of the triangle between -21, -15 and -4.
P.S. Due to weather and bad colds we have missed so many training classes that I re-enrolled Bessie in a new session starting on Monday. Weather pending. I really wished I could take her to class in the Spring but she is getting so big so fast.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

BLACK BEAUTY BREED - The best documentary film ever made about Rottweilers

If you came upon this blog because you love Rottweilers as I do or were just curious about this magnificent, noble and misunderstood breed then I have an excellent suggestion for you. Last year a professional filmmaker in Hollywood named Angie Ruiz produced and directed a documentary about Rottweilers that you must see. The name of the film is Black Beauty Breed, and it had its premier in Los Angeles at the ArcLight Hollywood theater on June 12, 2014. I just finished watching the DVD copy that I purchased from the producer.
Go here and place your order  You will be glad that you did.
The documentary is currently on a worldwide tour and was most recently shown in three cities in Australia. The DVD is available for sale worldwide in NTSC format which can be played on most DVD players that also use the PAL format.
Angie Ruiz and Samson
Angie Ruiz fell in love with Rottweilers the same way I did, with a rescued Rottweiler in need of a home. She was asked to transport a Rottie puppy to a Rescue group but instead she discovered she could not let it go. If you are reading this Angie please know that I have been telling people for years that they are truly Thief of Hearts. From that day in 2007, Angie Ruiz decided she had to tell their story using her skills as a documentary filmmaker.  
This documentary covers every aspect of Rottweiler life from birth, to training to competitions to work as therapy dogs, K-9 and Search and Rescue dogs. The coverage is meticulous and thorough and tears apart the bad reputation heaped upon this breed by biased, sensationalist news stories. In the film I learned for the first time that the first Search and Rescue dogs at the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001 were a team of Rottweilers. From there the film follows each of the noble traits and qualities this breed possesses. My writing skills cannot do justice for this wonderful work so let me show you a story originally published in the Porterville Recorder.    
The following newspaper story is reprinted with permission from the author.
Award-winning documentary touring the world

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:35 am
Film producer/editor has Porterville ties
A feature-length documentary about Rottweilers and their positive attributes has earned a woman with Porterville connections several awards, including a Best Documentary award at a film festival in Charlottesville, Va.
The film, Black Beauty Breed, has been touring the nation and world, said film producer/editor Angie Ruiz via telephone from Portugal. She will travel to London and Scotland next before returning to Los Angeles.

Her first feature-length documentary and directorial debut, the film will be scheduled for the Central Valley in the near future.

“I made this film from the heart about something I believe in. Even though the film is about the Rottweiler, the themes of the film are universal — loyalty, resilience, friendship and hard work,” Ruiz said. “The film showcases their little-known versatility as search-and-rescue dogs and therapy dogs, and their success in dog sports — agility, nose work, carting and herding. And for the first time ever, audiences can see the Rottweiler Search and Rescue dogs deployed to Ground Zero in the days following 9/11.”

Her inspiration for the film came in 2007 after rescuing a Rottweiler, Samsun, from a Porterville family who could not keep him.

“He was 9 months old and I offered to pick him up and drive him to The Rottweiler Rescue of Los Angeles. On the drive from Porterville to Los Angeles, I saw how sad he was to leave his family and my heart just melted. At that moment, I made a decision to rescue him myself,” Ruiz said. “I was inspired to make the documentary because it is the film that I would have liked to seen when I rescued Samson. I didn’t know anything about the breed at the time and information was not readily available.”
Internet searches yielded negative stories about the breed, she said, and she wanted people to get a full picture of the breed.

“I made the film because I knew firsthand how wonderful this breed can be if given structure, a loving home and a positive training environment,” Ruiz said.

The film premiered June 12 to a packed audience at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. Several local family members attended, including Ruiz’s mother, Lupe Ruiz, formerly of Porterville, her aunt Josie Garcia Sandoval, cousin Teneha Sandoval, and her brother, George Ruiz of Clovis.

“We enjoyed the personal accounts from all the Rottweiler owners in the film,” Garcia Sandoval said. “They spoke about the Rottweilers being search-and-rescue dogs during September 11. This fact is not well known, so it was surprising to hear.”

Garcia Sandoval said she also enjoyed the story of how a Rottweiler helped a young girl come out of a coma after a tragic hit-and-run accident.

“This portion was truly emotional,” Garcia Sandoval said. “I’m proud of Angie for contacting and gaining the trust of these fellow Rottweiler lovers and for producing this film to truly educate us about Rottweilers.”

Teneha Sandoval agreed.

“Large dog breeds, such as the Rottweiler, are often misunderstood and assumed to be dangerous animals on their own. When in reality, their temperament is result of its owner’s training,” Teneha Sandoval said. “This film brings light to the fact that the Rottweiler is a loving and intelligent breed who, with proper training, can be remarkable pets, rescuers and rehabilitation service dogs.”

Ruiz, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, has worked in the entertainment industry for 14 years, first starting as an actress. She bought her first DSL camera when she volunteered in East Africa, where she made short documentaries of the Maasai, and enjoyed filming the Serengeti wildlife. The experiences led her to create her own production company, Wandering Films.

Ruiz is the daughter of Lupe Ruiz of Salinas, formerly of Porterville, and a granddaughter of the late Josefina and Gilberto Garcia, and the late Sally and Frank Loyola, all of Porterville.

Ruiz lives with her husband Mark Terbeek, and daughters, Isla and Edie, in West Hollywood.

“It has been amazing to see the audience response to the film,” Ruiz said. “Who knew that Rottweilers were so loved by people around the world.”

Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.
Followup 2-13-2015

This documentary is listed on the Internet Movie Database web site. I am not the only one who found this movie so enjoyable. The film currently has a 5 reviews and a rating of 9.1 out of 10. I just added my own comments.
Reviews & Ratings for
Black Beauty Breed More at IMDbPro »

The most beautiful documentary ever made about Rottweilers

Author: AbbyD-1 from United States
13 February 2015
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have owned 7 Rottweilers over the past 20 years and currently live with three of them. I first came upon this breed in much the same way as Angie Ruiz did, by adopting one that needed a home. Angie Ruiz is a professional filmmaker who directed and produced this documentary and she did an exceptional job of showing the inner qualities of this magnificent breed. From love to devotion to intelligence to character strength this often misunderstood canine stands well above all others. I just finished watching the DVD of this film that I purchased from their web site. From the very first days I became acquainted with Rottweilers I quickly learned they were truly Thief of Hearts and as Angie Ruiz pointed out in the commentary on the DVD she was asked to transport a 9-month old Rottie puppy to a Rottweiler Rescue group and before she got there she decided to adopt him, herself.

From that beginning the documentary shows many aspects of Rottweiler training for competitive sports as agility and carting but then goes into how this breed is ideally suited for K-9 police work, Search and Rescue and even Therapy work in hospitals. The most touching sequence was the Rottweiler who aided a comatose accident patient regain consciousness.

Angie Ruiz said in the film interview, "I made this film from the heart about something I believe in. Even though the film is about the Rottweiler, the themes of the film are universal — loyalty, resilience, friendship and hard work," And the film has received several awards, including a Best Documentary award at a film festival in Charlottesville, Va.

As a Rottweiler owner I congratulate Angie on doing such a fine job with this film. Anyone who owns a Rottweiler or is curious about this breed should search out and find a copy of the DVD or catch it in a theater. It is currently on a worldwide tour and recently was shown in three cities in Australia.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Daddy's little helper.

I was having some trouble getting my wife dressed this morning. Nothing more than usual but every time I tried to put on her shoes and socks a little head kept poking through between my wife's feet to see what I was doing. To some extent this is a daily occurrence around here but today I was determined to try and get a picture of it to share. Baby Bess has always been infatuated with shoe laces. She untied my shoelaces at the animal shelter the day I went there to meet her for the first time. And speaking of getting underfoot, she is laying on the floor between me and the computer desk right now as I write this. She doesn't realize how big she is getting and I need to reach out with arms length to type. When she was tiny she would wrap herself around the base of my swivel chair but now just uses it for a pillow for her head.

By the time I fetched the camera Bess was no longer between my wife's feet but she was trying once again to help me tie the shoe laces.
And thank you for the sweet smile when you paused to let me take your picture.

On the subject of all the help I get around here, here is a picture from yesterday of the palace guards guarding the throne room.

They all sure make life interesting around here.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some visitors came in my den tonight.

Not really visitors, just a bunch of moochers looking for handouts when they heard me eating a snack. You know they all can recognize the sound made by every kind of food wrapper.
It's kind of hard to resist them when they gang up on you like this. Just for the record they are not starving so don't fall for that look on their faces. Must be the camera angle. One more thing, Bessie seems to be slouching. If she was sitting up straight she would be almost as tall as Ruff and Axl.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lets play a game, King of the hill or Queen of the chair.

I took some new pictures this morning and when I uploaded them into the computer I discovered another batch that I took the other day that was still in the camera. So this will be two posts in one.

As Bessie has gotten bigger she has become more demanding. Poor Ruff, he doesn't even know what he helped create with all of his play school combat with the little puppy. Now it seems that nothing is safe any more, not even his favorite chair.

So in just four pictures we see the mighty Rottweiler being forced from his resting place by an upstart would-be Queen.
And do you know what, it was all a game because less than a minute later Bessie got down off the chair. She didn't really want it, she just wanted to take it from Ruffin.

So this morning after my wife had her breakfast I happened to notice something that made me do a double take. Bessie and Ruff were laying side by side on the floor in front of the stove and it was hard to tell them apart. Bessie has officially reached the 75 LB mark and today is her 7-month birthday and Ruffin is still 50 LB bigger than she is but take a look at this.
Bessie is in the foreground and Ruff is in the back. Granted, the wide-angle lens adds a little distortion but you can see by the floor tiles there isn't much difference in size. Oh, and Bessie loves her big friend Ruff.
I think Ruffin is beginning to wonder just how big Bessie is going to get. He is still 50 lbs heavier but she is almost the same size as him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Can a Rottweiler pass down knowledge to a younger generation?

For several months I have been exchanging emails with a lady who own Rottweilers who follows this blog. Today the subject of our dogs enjoying swimming came up and I mentioned something that I have written about before. In the past 10-years that we have lived in our present home with its in-ground swimming pool, all of my Rottweilers have been afraid of the water and do not even like it when the humans are swimming in it. Whenever we went swimming the dogs would run around the pool panic-barking to seemingly warn of of some danger and only stopped when we got out of the water. I could never figure out why.

Until today it just dawned on me. 

Many years ago, before we bought this house, when my first Rottie girl Mocha was just a puppy, we used to visit a park that had a lake. On the shore of this lake was a small ramp that went down in the water and one day brave Mocha decided to investigate it by walking down the ramp into the water. It was lucky for us that we had her on a long leash because when she got to the end of the ramp which ended less than a foot below the surface she fell into deep water over her head. Needless to say she became very frightened and was still shaking even after we pulled her out of the water.

So now the light bulb that sometimes glows over my inquisitive mind just lit up with a thought. Did Mocha's traumatic experience in the water when she was little create the fear in her mind that all water was a dangerous place and did she pass this information on to the two young Rottweilers she raised as a foster mother? We still had Mocha living with us when we bought this house ten years ago in 2004. Mocha went to The Bridge in 2008. In 2003 we adopted baby Sassy and in 2006 we got baby Ruffin. Mocha raised Sassy from a furball pup but at the age of 11 she was only passively involved with baby Ruffin. It was Sassy who did most of the mothering. But Mocha was the first to raise the alarm over our dangerous swimming pool and I think that is where Sassy got it from and passed it on to Ruffin.

Comments welcomed.
P.S. While dogs are natural swimmers and therefor shouldn't be afraid of the water, one day we put a life jacket on Ruffin and carried him into the pool. This photo shows the panicked look on his face.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brief update on Bessie's training classes.

The lady running the Obedience Class said it was OK to bring my camera. The bad news is she had to cancel the class last night at the last minute so we'll have to wait until next week to take pictures.


Friday, January 23, 2015

The morning routine.

Well, its time to get the Momma up. So begins our new day and it seems I cannot do it alone any more so my willing assistants are always there to lend a hand or paw. No need for a lot of words here, these two pictures tell it all.
OK, can you guess where Momma is?
Good guess.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The cold weather is back.

We seem to be having a three-way love affair going on. My baby Rottweiler Bessie has stolen everyone's heart but especially mine and Ruff's. And she has had some cozy moments with her Grandpa Axl, too. Ruffin, on the other hand, has always been my BFF even before I knew it stood for Best Friends Forever. I have two favorite stories that I tell people about my Rottweilers, one, that my face has absorbed so much Rottweiler saliva from Ruff's kisses that I must have Rottweiler DNA and the other is that Ruff's constant kisses have helped make the wrinkles in my old face disappear. But now I must share my heart with my baby girl Bess but what makes things complicated is that Bess loves Ruff as much as I do and Ruff loves Bess the same way.

So we have minor bouts of jealousy and a little competition going on. When I show affection for Ruff Bessie butts in and wants some and when I show affection for Bess, Ruffin pushes his way in to get his share. Sometimes this leads to some silly situations. Tonight Ruffin was laying in his favorite leather chair with his head hanging over the armrest and I was sitting on the floor in front of him giving him hugs and kisses. So Bessie decides to join us and she just climbed up on the chair on top of Ruff and laid down on him. I quietly left the room to get the camera and thankfully they hadn't moved.
Now to be honest I must say I've seen Bessie do something similar when all she wanted was for Ruff to get off his chair so she could have it but tonight she definitely wanted some attention. And just as quickly as I took the above picture, Ruffin decided to give up his chair.
Which then left a smarty-pants little girl enjoying her prize.