Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our mid-Winter thaw plus the rain causes lots of cabin fever.

First the snow melted as the temperatures climbed into the high 40's then came the rain. Lots of rain that would have created about 3 feet of snow if it had been colder. Rain makes for muddy fields and we have lots of grass out back and that meant the three Rottweilers spent all their time indoors except for when the went out to potty or go for a ride in the car. I don't mind just the rain and we keep piles of towels next to the front and back doors of the house. The Rottweilers enjoy the toweling ceremony every time they come back in when they are wet. It's the mud that I can't stand. Not only does it cover their feet but they come in with their entire undersides soaking wet with muddy water from running through the grass.

So we spend lots of time watching television. And taking naps. Them, not us. The Rottweilers sleep as much during the day as a baby does. Sometimes it sounds like a dormitory in the middle of the night with multiple snoring sessions going on. And we find excuses to go for rides in the car. We have owned two Rott-mobiles since 1998 and when the older one died last year we immediately searched for a new replacement. Believe me, we felt totally helpless for about a whole week in before we got the new mini-van. Most of the problem was that for some reason most of the car manufacturers decided the mini-van had become unpopular and they replaced them with SUV's. That would have been OK except the SUV's were smaller inside and had higher door sills making it more difficult for the older Rottweilers to jump inside. Here is a picture of one of our trips to the park a few years ago in the old van. The padded box replaced the third row seat and was light enough to slide out.

The same wood box now fits inside the new van by the three Rotts prefer to ride on the second row seat so I covered it with a heavy drape. I haven't any pictures of the inside of the new van but I have this one showing it in the background, behind the boys playing.

So back to our two weeks of boredom watching the rain. The Rottweilers seem to be very adaptable with their environment. If the two humans are inside watching television they are going to watch television, too. Here is a shot of Ruff and Axl, Ruff curled up on his favorite chair and Axl on his favorite couch right next to his Mom. I wonder if the old warning about sitting too close to the television was bad for your eyes? 

Spring is only two months away. Snow has been forecast for next week. It'll be great to go outside and play again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Axl and Ruff enjoying the cold weather and the snow.

Axl has learned some bad habits recently. One of his favorite hangouts is in the kitchen, especially when meals are being prepared. Whenever he sees anyone picking up food he follows them looking for a handout, even when we scrape pots and dishes into the garbage can.

Now we have a new garbage can that has a pedal near the floor that you step on to raise the lid. Guess what I saw Axl doing? Yep, he learned to step on the pedal and raise the lid so he can look inside for food.

We took everyone to Petsmart a few days ago and they all had a great time greeting everyone in the store. These three become quite an attraction as soon as we walk (get dragged) into the store. As soon as we arrived Ruff jumped up on the wall next to one of the check out girls and she gave him hugs and kisses and treats and everyone standing in line smiled. Ruff recognized this employee from his previous visits and the girl remembered him and said hello to her old friend.

We put everyone on the scales at Banfield Vets in the store. Sassy has gained 3 LBS over the holidays from munching Christmas ham and treats they got from Santa. She now weighs 88 LBS. Axl now weighs 101 LBS and has filled out very nicely. He can still run like a deer and loves going out back to play with Ruff. Ruff has lost a few pounds and now weighs 113 LBS. This weight loss is solely the result of him running around chasing Axl. He has been getting more exercise since Axl arrived then he ever got before.

Speaking of Ruff and Axl running around, they had a blast this afternoon in the new snow. We only got 4 inches but it was just enough for them to play in. The only time Ruff can catch Axl is when Axl lets him and then they jump up and wrestle like a couple of horse. Keep in mind that Axl, who just turned 8 last October, is the old dog here. Young Ruff, is just 3 years old and in spite of his 113 LBS of muscle cannot run as fast as the old man.

In spite of the cold snap dropping our temperatures into the single digits we have been enjoying the snow as long as it lasts. Just read a funny story about some unexpected problems that people are having a bit further South of us in the Sunshine State of Florida. The thought of frozen Iguanas falling from the trees is a hoot.

Cold Snap Causes Frozen Iguana Shower
Key Biscayne, Florida. --

Wednesday night's bitter cold temperatures rattled tree-dwelling iguanas in South Florida.

The large green reptiles drop out of the trees and litter the ground when temperatures drop in sunny South Florida.

The lizards are not dead. Most of them are alive and are simply cold. When the weather returns to the warmth they know and love, they will spring back to life.

"It is as if they are in suspended animation," said Robert Yero, park manager at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne.

At Bill Baggs park on Thursday, it was raining iguanas.

The critters could be found underneath buttonwood trees and beneath a sea grape.

"We have found dozens on the bike path after a major cold snap,'' said Yero. "When they warm up in the sun, they come back to life.''

The iguanas are exotics from Central and South America. Most of them were house pets at one point, and then released into the wild by their owners when they got too big.

In their new home in the wild of South Florida, they feed on vegetation.

''They really are taking over,'' Yero said.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Have you ever been kissed by an affectionate Rottweiler?

I was debating how to word the title for this post because many people seem to think it rather unpleasant to have their faces licked by a dog. That said, if you like Rottweilers, and many people do, and if you are fortunate to own a Rottweiler, and many people do, then you already know that a friendly Rottweiler likes to show his love by giving you (and everyone else) face licks. We like to call them kisses. Of the six Rotties we have owned since 1995, three have been male and three female, the males seem to be the most affectionate as far as the kissing goes. My first male Rottie got the nickname The Babe Magnet for his ability to attract women of all ages and shower them with kisses. Here he is, Nikko Bear.

And here is Nikko and his friend Dianna who used to work at our Vet's office several years ago. Nikko Bear went to the bridge in 2004. Nikko was an 4 year old adult Rottweiler when we adopted him. He had previously lived in two other homes. In spite of the personal problems his previous owners had they all made the effort to find him a new home so that someone would care for him. It wasn't long after Neek arrived here in Kentucky that he stole our hearts. Rottweilers have a keen ability to adapt to new homes and when their new surroundings are filled with love they respond to it by giving their love in return.

And here is a picture of our 3 year old baby Rottweiler, Ruff, who has carried the reputation of Babe Magnet to the farthest extremes. The pictures that follow are just a few examples of how much enthusiasm Ruff puts into his kisses. We took all three Rotts to Petsmart today and as soon as we got in the door Ruff was visiting the two ladies working the check out counters. This is a wonderful store that really puts the dogs who bring their humans in to shop first. Before we left Ruff had gotten several more hugs and kisses from his old friends.

Of all the Rottweilers we have owned, Ruff is the only one we purchased from a breeder. Nikko, Felony, Sassy and Axl were rescued and Mocha was a gift from my daughter.

And I'm sure my baby Rottweiler, Ruff, loves me the most.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Wonderland - Our Rottweilers love to play in the snow.

They eat ice cubes year-round as if it were candy, but in the Winter they love the cold air and the snow. And there is nothing better than eating fresh snow right off the ground. Our Rottweilers seem to be made for this weather with such amazing insulation built into their coats that snow doesn't melt on them until they come back into the house. When we take them out at night at this time of the year for their final potty break before bedtime, their sensitive noses point to the North and sniff the air in anticipation of another snowfall. Our three Rottweilers look like hunting dogs pointing to their prey when they all stand still on the front lawn aiming their noses in the air.

Then comes the morning after the snow has fallen and they are as excited as children waiting to get outside and play. The cold air plus the snow seems to rejuvenate them and they can hardly contain themselves until after they have had breakfast and their humans put on their warm clothing.

Sometimes the human has more important things to do such as clear the snow off the sidewalk and driveway.

But they are patient and willing to wait. Then the time comes to go out back where there is more room to run around and the games begin.

One of their favorite games is 'catch me if you can' and a convenient tree to run around is just the thing to have.

And then to break up the monotony of running in circles Ruff and his new playmate Axl meet and do a little wrestling, doggy-style.

Even girls are allowed to play. Our six year old Sassy, who usually takes a dim view of the boys rough housing and tries to make them stop, gets chased by Ruff once in awhile.

But they do not ever wrestle together like Ruff and Axl do.

Life is good when you are having fun.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

STOP Breed Specific Legislation.

I have owned Rottweilers since 1995 and I think my experience with them has given me some personal knowledge of their true nature. My second and third Rottweilers were both adults who had been passed through three homes before I got them. While they were last owned by my daughter, they were technically rescued dogs, but they adapted to their new home and quickly filled it with love simply because that is how we treated them. If you treat any dog with love and respect and affection they will return that love to you and everyone else ten fold. On the other hand Rottweilers and all dogs for that matter, have something in common with children. If you abuse them and mistreat them they will respond by becoming mean and vicious. Show me a vicious dog, of any breed, and I will show you an owner who doesn't give his dog any love. Some people, I like to refer to them as the "Joe six-pack" people, enjoy having the meanest, most vicious dog in the neighborhood - just for the bragging rights. These people are as dangerous to society as the dogs they own. 

I have written a Guest Editorial on this subject and post it below:

A long time friend who has been a breeder of Rottweilers and also a judge for the American Rottweiler Club once commented that every animal with teeth will bite. And don't think for a moment that only big dogs can cause harm. Dog bites are as much the result of human negligence and stupidity as bad attitude on the part of the dog.  Any dog chained or tied up to a tree will have a bad attitude and responsible adults shouldn't let children play in the yard with this dog. Likewise, don't leave infants unattended around dogs.
Take a look at the following news stories about what some small dogs have done and think about how these tragedies could have been prevented if some adult has used a little common sense.

I'm sure a lot of people got a big laugh when they read the story from California a few years ago about the pack of angry Chihuahuas that attacked a police officer. The fact is that many small dogs have a vicious tendency to bite, a lot more than big dogs.
Most lawmakers who write ordinances against specific breeds of dogs do so as a result of some emotional incident that has raised the ire of the public. They write these laws without bothering to do any research into animal behavior or temperament. There is a source for such scientific research that has been around for many years, it is the American Temperament Test Society and they have compiled a list of over 30,000 tests done over every breed of dog since 1977. You should note what these temperament tests consist of and how they are conducted and then read the percentage ratings of some of the common dogs that get a lot of media coverage. How interesting is it that the popular Jack Russell Terrier has less temperament than the Rottweiler. Anyone interested in reading these results can look them up on the ATTS web site. Click here:  http://www.atts.org/statistics.html
I have a simple solution that would eliminate many dog bite incidents. Following a dog bit incident, check the owner of the dog and the way the dog has been treated and then prosecute the dog owner for making his dog vicious. It won't be long before Joe six-pack gets the message that he'll go to jail if he raises a vicious dog.  If your town or city doesn't have such a crime on the books then push your lawmakers into making it a crime for mistreating an animal and causing it to become vicious. Dogs don't become vicious all by themselves anymore than Guns Kill People. And leave those nice families alone who have provided their pets with all the love and kindness they require.

If you want some proof about the true nature of dogs read about the famous case of NFL player Michael Vick.  Michael Vick was convicted of conducting dog fights and went to jail, but his dogs, at least the one's who were rescued alive were rehabilitated by a group that simply cared and showed them some love and then these so-called vicious Pit Bulls were adopted by ordinary families. Read the story here:  http://www.badrap.org/rescue/vick/

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pool side stories. Our Rottweilers are afraid of the water.

In the midst of Winter, thoughts of Summer warm our frigid bones. Here are some pool side stories from the previous two years. Our three Rottweilers are courageous and brave, willing to defend their humans any time or place. Except when we are in the water. Our new home has a 40' in-the-ground swimming pool which we enjoy in the Summer, but the Rottweilers all think it is the most dangerous place on the earth. Whenever we and our guests are in the water, the Rotts run around the edge of the pool barking frantically to make us get out. Talk about spoil-sports. When we bought this new home we had two adult Rotts who had never seen a pool before so we understood their concern. Then when we got our new baby Ruff we decided to introduce him to the water. We even bought a life-jacket for him to give him more assurance. It was a disaster. Look what happened.

 Ruff gets his life-jacket on and his friend Bev helps my wife get him to the water.

  Ruff panics as soon as he gets wet. Momma Mocha rushes to his aid. Finally he does a few nervous dog paddles.

Ruff is obviously frightened in spite of my holding him. This will be enough for the little guy.

One year later, Bev brings over her new Rottie pup, Zoe, for a swimming lesson. Same reaction as Ruff had.

An older and wiser Ruff rushes to console this little girl.

Zoe is a landlubber and not a water Rott and friend Ruff is her hero.

Nothing will change their mind about the water.

Mom takes Casey the cat for a boat ride. Mother hen Mocha and Sassy, more like two sidewalk superintendents, stand by to assist the rescue. Now Mom gets a lecture.

Happy New Year to Rottweiler lovers everywhere.