In our little family we have all lost someone that we loved. Two days after the passing of Grandpa Axl there is the sound of quiet moaning drifting through the halls. Ruffin, now our oldest, has gone through this moment once before and his grieving for his beloved girl Sassy almost cost him his health. It was then, 4 short years ago, that I watched and listened to his almost constant moaning for 6 months that made me desperate to find a replacement female Rottie to keep him company. That search for an adult female proved futile and eventually led me to adopt a 7-week old puppy whom we named Bessie. And whom Ruffin thoroughly enjoyed raising by himself.
Now poor old Ruff has also lost his one-time best friend Axl who he practically grew up with since he was only 3 years old when we adopted the older Rottweiler. I enjoyed watching them chase each other around our large backyard always noting that 7-year old Axl could run like a deer and the young Ruff was never able to catch him.
But their playful friendship gradually simmered down as Axl grew older and wasn't able to run around any more. At that point the friendship consisted of frequent face licks as Ruff seemed to be worried about Axl's declining health.
It was the presence of the new little girl that seemed to take Ruf's mind off of worrying about his best buddy so that turned out to be a good thing. Ruffin had a new love in his life and everything was right again.
And the contentious relationship that began when the feisty little fur-ball tried to get the old Rottweiler to play with her and ended with her being scooted across the hardwood floor from a well placed paw swipe, gradually progressed from Grumpy Grandpa to respected, old man Grandpa. So a different kind of love developed that crossed over a few generations.
But now the almost adult two and a half year old young lady Rott is beginning to experience her own sense of grief for the first time. I saw it begin when she began sniffing all the places where Axl used to lay down near his Mom. She was definitely looking for him, even licking the floor where he used to sleep. And at night I hear her soft mewing cries while she is sleeping on my bed. I know she is dreaming of those better days.
As for me, I cry to myself reading the sad comments that come in from people I've never met. And I realize that I had the privilege to have lived with a most special Rottweiler that has managed to affect the hearts of so many people around the world. But I also have the benefit of a vast collection of photos that retell all the good times.
Click the images below for a larger view.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
There was so much more I wanted to write yesterday about the passing of our devoted companion but I was too choked up with my own emotions to put it down. But there is one thing I want to say about the last words I spoke to the old Rottweiler as he dozed off for the last time. I told Mr. Axl I was relieving him from his duties and he could rest in peace knowing that I would finish his task caring for his Mom until they meet again.
Then I received the following email this morning and it brought more tears to my eyes. It expresses the sentiments that I was unable to put in my own words and the woman who wrote it has given me permission to publish it because it deserves not to be hidden among the comments.
I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks and a heaviness I cant describe. I have no words to convey how saddened I am by this email. I had been going through all of my backlog and was so excited to email you this morning with the updates on Paige and the Pic I took yesterday after your beautiful card arrived for her. But now I feel so upset by your news, and don't know where to start.I can only imagine how hard it must have been to take him for that last drive. I showed Wayne the picture you sent us with the card for Paige and he was amazed at how long and well he had stuck it out. I also sit here and think about one of your posts that I was going to discuss with you, which now actually makes so much sense to me.You captured the most amazing image of Jacqueline with her hand on Axl’s head. You say that this is not a regular occurrence and I sit here and wonder if that was not maybe her bidding farewell to a great friend and carer. Maybe she was telling him it was ok to go.. That she had You and Ruff and Bess to keep her company. Maybe she sensed his discomfort and eased his pain through her acknowledging him… I might be way off here, but I feel that she may have known, as they would with us.My deepest condolences Nelson, take comfort in knowing that you offered him a life like none other could have, in allowing him to be himself and be a carer for Jacqueline, Looking after him so well and Loving Him Eternally.Hugs and kisses with a broken heartFlee
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Axl's legacy will live on forever. There has never been a more devoted Rottweiler than him.
For several months it had become obvious that old man Axl was having trouble walking. His hind legs just didn't seem to work right and his feet were slipping when he tried to stand and walk on our hardwood floors. His devotion to duty was so great he never once voiced a complaint or sounded a cry of pain, he just wanted to keep on doing his job, being near his Mom. No one ever said he couldn't sleep on the job and being very old he took lots of naps, at times almost at Jacqueline's feet. After all he only needed to walk to go out and pee or go to the kitchen for meals or water. A few days ago I thought I found a way to help him. I bought a package of Pawz rubber booties and the minute I pulled a pair onto his hind feet he was able to stand and walk as good as new.
Then last night without any warning Axl suffered two massive seizures less than 3 hours apart. After each one he fell into a deep sleep and I thought he was never going to last the night. This morning I found him wide awake but unable to stand on his own so I called a neighbor to help me carry him out to my van and I took him for his last ride to our long-time Veterinary doctor who put him to sleep.
I can tell you today that tears of joy and tears of sorrow all taste the same.
Arrangements were made for Axl to receive a private cremation and his ashes will be placed in his Mom's casket when she dies. That way they can spend eternity together and wait for the rest of our family to join them.
Rest In Peace old man, you've earned your long nap. Wait for Mom at the bridge.
It has been my profound honor to have known you.
Eulogy from a family friend
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
This is a bit out of the ordinary but possibly very necessary. I want to wish a special Happy Birthday to the daughter of a special friend of this blog who lives on the other side of the world in a place where mail delivery isn't always guaranteed. This is the message I sent her in the mail almost four weeks ago.
H.F., the little bear is from London Teddy Bears and I'm holding one in reserve for you.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
The weather outside is crazy. On Christmas day we had high 50's to mid 60's for daytime temperatures. Forget about Dreaming for a White Christmas. When Santa flew through here he had to take off his overcoat.
Two days ago we had out first snow, all of a single inch, with the temperature in the teens. Then the bottom fell out of the thermometer and we had a really cold dip in temperature. Way down to ZERO this morning. As you might already know if you live in a cold climate, Rottweilers love snow and cold air. They have some fantastic insulation that keeps them warm inside yet the snow doesn't even melt on them until they come in the house. But when the temperature gets really cold they don't care to stay outside for very long, either.
Here is a picture of baby Bess enjoying her taste of Winter this year. And it was just as cold outside yesterday as it looks.
And one more photo of the daring little girl waiting to get let back in the house. This photo was taken this morning and although the Sun was out and the sky was clear the morning temperature was ZERO. And it was so cold that the minute the inside door was opened the outside storm door got covered with frost.
Let me in.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
This morning while I was wheeling Jacqueline out to the kitchen for breakfast we happened to pass by old man Axl who was sitting in the family room. Axl has always shown a preference to following rather that to walk ahead but I had to make him leave the bedroom when I was pushing the wheelchair and there was no room for him to get behind us. While I tried to get him to move out of the way I stopped pushing the wheelchair right next to him. Suddenly Jacqueline extended her hand and placed it on his head. It was either that or she simply dropped her arm off the armrest. I want to believe she did it on purpose. And the two of them stayed that way for a minute or so, long enough for me to go get the camera.
She never turned her head to look at him but he stayed very still while her hand lay on his head. I am sure that somehow she felt his presence and knew he was there. And I'm sure he knew his mom still loved him.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
In our house our Rottweilers always seemed to come in threes. Three has always been the 'just right' combination, whether it was two girls and a boy or two boys and a girl. This all started way back when 20 years ago we unexpectedly found ourselves living with the Three Bears, our first baby girl Mocha and her two parents, pappa Nikko and momma Felony. The current iteration brings together three generations of non-related personalities: Grandpa Axl, age 15, Ruffin, age 10 and baby Bess age 2 1/2. What makes it all work is their shared love for each other. As I always tell people, Love is the most powerful force and the strongest vitamin in the world.
So I happen to enjoy taking photos of the three of them whenever I have the opportunity. Sometimes the best shots are missed when I find myself without a camera but manage to catch up with the continuing play fest, such as these two episodes the other day.
It all started in the hallway, which by itself presented some obstacles in choosing the right camera angles.
And ended up in Mom's crowded bedroom yesterday afternoon while she was getting a bath from one of the visiting hospice workers. This was the missed opportunity where I didn't have the camera as I watched when it started with Ruff giving his old friend Axl a whole bunch of face licks. Almost as if he was imitating what was going on behind me. And Axl seemed to be enjoying his bath as well until I got back with the camera to catch Bess getting into the game.
This much I'm sure of and while I have said they spend a lot of time entertaining us, this was all for their own enjoyment. They love each other as much as they love us and we love them. And that explanation also comes in threes.
Friday, December 30, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
Here is the second batch of outtakes on my quest for the perfect Rottweiler Christmas card for 2016. Like the others before each was marred by the unexpected turn of the head or dropping out of the frame, as Axl is fond of doing. This batch also ends with what I thought would be the most promising card. One that had everyone sitting just right (except me) and looking in the right direction but one that required the most digital remastering. When I started this years ago I tried to attach the Santa Claus hats with elastic chin straps but this became too difficult and unpredictable. Later on I posed each Rottweiler by themselves with the hat and took several pictures and then saved just the hat to later paste on top of someone's head.
It is futile to try and hide a few biscuits. They gang up on you until they get what they want.
And here is the completely finished, Second Place choice card.
I originally liked this card because everyone was looking in the right direction but I looked like I had too many drinks and was falling over. But the Santa Clause hats came out pretty nice anyway.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Two days ago I started taking photos to use on our annual Rottweiler Christmas card. To make up for the shortage of Rottweiler pictures on this blog lately, I decided to post some of the outtakes from the project. When I first started doing this Christmas card it was a tedious effort to get everyone ready and then go set the timer on the camera, run back to the couch and hope to get a decent picture. I even went to the trouble of putting a leash on each of the three Rotts so that Jacqueline could keep them from walking away.
All that changed when I bought a remote shutter release for my Nikon. Now I no longer need to leave the couch and I can hold all the dogs in place. It also helped to have a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits on hand. On the plus side I have a lot of good pictures to choose from but if there are any downsides it is that I have too many pictures to choose from. So rather than one final Christmas card to share I am posting a few of the dozens of Rottweiler pictures that were taken.
The camera wasn't tilted down far enough and I only got the top of Axl's head which I cropped off.
I love to get kisses from Ruff. He uses them to buy favors, like "Gimme a biscuit."
Now if I can only get Axl to turn around.
Great example of Rottweiler biscuit radar.OK. Take 2. Where is Momma?
A little pep talk to explain how I want everyone to pose for the camera. By the way, if anyone is still curious about how big Bessie has grown, that is her on the left sitting next to the big guy, Ruffin. I still haven't had the chance to take her to the Vet's office to put her on a scale but I'm sure she is well over 100 lbs.
Ruffin on the couch and Bessie on the floor. Now where did old man Axl wander off?
That's better. This is only a small bit of the three dozen pictures. Believe it or not out of all of these I managed to pick just one that came out just right. Stay tuned for Part 2.
One more note of interest. Take a close look at the little Christmas Tree on the table. It has over 25 tiny Rottweilers climbing it. Here is a closer look.