Sunday, February 28, 2010

Think hard enough about Spring and it will come.

The only way to deal with a miserably cold and snowy Winter is to think about the sunshine and warm weather that the Spring will come. So then its time to play ball, just as we did last year. Here are a few pictures of my wife Jackie, the designated pitcher for our male Rottweilers Ruff and his new playmate Axl. 
 Click the pictures for a larger view.
 Here comes the first throw and Axl definitely has his eyes on the ball.
Axl brings the ball back for another toss and hands it to the pitcher.
Ruff brings his ball back for another toss while Mom dries off the ball Axl has just handed her.
Ruff says this is taking too long but Mom doesn't want to throw a slimy ball so you'll just have to wait.
Now Ruff and Axl each have their red balls so they can run around and play with each other.
Now wait a minute. What did you two do with your balls? You can't come back in the house without them.
Watch out for that rough stuff. Someone may get hurt.
Sassy does not approve of the boys playing rough so she charges right in to make them stop.
In spite of the fact that Sassy is the smallest of our Rottweilers the boys acknowledge her commands and stop playing. So now it must be time for a nap before dinner.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our beautiful Rottweiler family - memories of Spring in the midst of Winter

Late last Summer we were all in the backyard enjoying the sunshine and lounging on the grass. My wife and I was were taking pictures of our newly enlarged family as we had just recently adopted Axl, our 7 year old Rottweiler. I must say that taking pictures of three dogs is a complicated thing because they each have their own interests and it is hard to get them to sit together and pose. But this time was very different because sit and pose they did. Let me share some of the results.
Click the pictures for a larger view.

After one of the most severe Winters we have ever had, it make me feel good to see all this sunshine and green grass and makes me long for the return of Spring.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not all of our Rottweilers enjoy the snow

Well, we had a brief end to winter a few days ago and the temperature climbed up into the 40's. This melted most of the snow but then it got cold again. Yesterday it started to snow again but we only got a dusting of a half-inch. During to snowfall it came down pretty heavy for a short time and I let the whole tribe go out on the back deck. After a few minutes they all wanted to come back in. Here is one picture of a very unhappy little girl waiting outside for someone to let her in.
I took the above picture through the glass on the storm door. Then a few minutes later Sassy was joined by her two bodyguards and they all wanted to come in. Guess it was because we were getting ready to sit down for lunch.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scenes of Winter with our Rottweilers

We have set a record for snow here in Northern Kentucky. In just the month of February we have had an accumulation of 23.6 inches of snow which is more than the average amount of snow for the entire year. To add to our enjoyment or distress, depending on how you must deal with this, the temperature has remained below freezing for the first 19 days of the month which resulted in most of the snow to remain on the ground. One fact that is obvious to us is that our Rottweilers are having the time of their lives going outdoors numerous times each day to play. Here are a few photos of our Rottie family enjoying the snow.
Click the pictures for a larger view.

This is Axl, our 8-year old rescued Rott standing on the rear deck. In spite of looking like a Rottie icicle he is very happy.

This is Ruff chasing Axl around our frozen swimming pool in front of the diving board. And another shot of them exploring. There is nothing to worry about. The pool has three layers of safety covers.
After the snow had stopped falling I captured this photo of Ruff when we took everyone out for their nighttime pees before they went to bed. I used the Aperture Priority setting on the camera to use available light with no flash. If you're interested in the technical stuff, in Aperture Priority mode the camera adjusts all the settings based on available light, which in this case the light meter was centered on the house light. The shutter speed was 1/6 second, the ISO got kicked up to 1600 and the f/ stop was 3.5. It all made for a very dramatic image.
The next day we went down to the back of the property for some fun. 

Ruff and Axl began horsing around and judging by the stern look on Sassy's face she did not approve of it. Sassy doesn't like the boys to play rough and always jumps in to make them stop.
And Sassy charged right at Ruff and he was so startled he fell in the snow trying to get away from her. By the way, there never is any fighting in our Rottweiler family. Sassy weighs 40 lbs less than Ruff but he respects her seniority and her authority whenever she exercises it.
So while Sassy sat beneath a tree the boys went for a chase on their own and a little more play.
Our three year Ruff has always been a bundle of energy and really needed another big dog to play with. When we adopted Axl last August, in spite of his age, he became the best thing that ever happened to Ruff. They are best friends and play with each other every day. Even in the house.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We have a new paperboy.

If you know about Rottweilers then you already know that they love to work and they are proud when they please their humans. My first Rottweiler was a girl named Mo and she had a job that she did every day for over 10 years. I would let Mo go out and find our daily newspaper and bring it in the house. All I had to say to her was, it's time to go to work Mo and go get the newspaper, and she would run out to the driveway and search for it around the front of our house and pick it up and carry it back. To see her search for it in the snow was a sight to behold because she knew what she had to do and didn't stop until she did it.

Here is Mo working on her own while I stood on the front steps taking the pictures.
Here is Mo walking back with the newspaper with our adopted girl Sassy.
And here is Mo carrying the paper past our then little baby Ruff showing him how to work.

Well baby Ruff has grown up and he has taken on other jobs and I haven't tried to get him to do the paperboy work, until today. When I went out this morning I noticed the newspaper wasn't in the driveway that had been cleared of snow. It was laying on the front lawn on top of some deep snow and I didn't want to get my feet wet walking out to get it, so I called Ruff and told him to get the newspaper.

Ruff was very happy with his new job and I think he will be doing this more often. Good boy, Ruff. Just like he remembered watching Mo do it.

Smile for the camera, Ruff.

I love taking pictures of my Rottweilers because they are so handsome and because they show so much character with their expressions. They are also the biggest clowns I've ever met. Yesterday afternoon I walked into the family room and spotted Ruff laying on the couch with a pose that seemed exceptionally majestic. I went out and grabbed my camera and managed to snap this picture.

As soon as I took his picture I said, Ruff, smile for the camera. And he did.
Ruff has so many photos taken he is no longer camera shy. Matter of fact, I would almost guess he likes to have his picture taken because he is a bit of a ham. I have seen him laying on my wife's bed admiring himself in the mirror, at least that is what I think he was doing. Maybe he was just rehearsing his poses. It doesn't matter which.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Playing games with Ruff

We have a science toy in the house that generates huge colored lightning bolts inside of a clear globe and shoots them out to the inside of the glass wherever you touch it. I call it The Thing. I bought it at Target a few years ago and have posted some photos taken when our then young girl Sassy came in contact with it. I set up The Thing today and showed it to Ruff and he was mildly curious about it. Ruff did touch his nose to the glass and I got a few good pictures of it.

Now some people I showed these pictures to asked if he was hurt by the sparks and I told them, No, and I know this for a fact because I tried it out on myself, first. So now you know just how goofy we all are in our house.

So one good joke becomes another good joke and this leads to an even greater joke. I concluded my emails on this subject by sending out this next picture, which wasn't mine. I commented with mock alarm that The Thing exploded because I forgot to turn it off. Of course it didn't fool anyone.
For the record, the first four photos are originals and not photoshopped. The last photo is real also. Some electronic genius built himself a Tesla coil in his backyard. Probably scared the wits out of his neighbors.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Do you know what Rottie Rules are?

I was reminded of something today that I hadn't given much thought about for many years. Not that I hadn't been aware of it because it has become an indelible way of life - a part of Living With Rottweilers. The thing I'm talking about are Rottie Rules. These rules are taught to us by our Rottweilers but mostly to humans who are fortunate to have more than one Rottweiler living with them. Some of these Rottie Rules involve families of Rottweilers such as owning a mother and daughter or a father and son relation who all live in the same house. Our first three Rottweilers were related. We first got our puppy Mocha and then six months later we adopted Mocha's mother (Felony) and her father (Nikko). Whenever baby Mocha learned a new task or did something good she would get a treat. The first rule we learned was that when we gave Mo a reward we had to give her mother and father a Royalty Payment. The concept of a Royalty Payment in their world is the same as it is in the human world. If you created something and someone uses it they must pay you a Royalty Payment. And you didn't have to seek them out to do this because they are always in the same room that you are. Rottweilers do not live in obscure corners of your home, they are in-your-face kinds of dogs that always follow you around and if you don't make them a part of your life they soon make you part of theirs. In our house our Rottweilers are a part of our family.

The second Rottie Rule we learned is that in a home with more than one human and more than one Rottweiler, each human has his own Rottie shadow and one Rottweiler will always be in the same part of the house as "their" human. 

The third Rottie Rule comes from the concept that Rottweilers belong to a very strong union. They seem to have adopted the rule from organized labor that says if a human does a job that was supposed to be done by a Rottweiler, then the Rottweilers must be paid for the work even if they didn't do it. Experienced Rottweiler owners know that Rotties love to work and they love to please their humans. We have many different jobs in our house that our Rottweilers enjoy doing. Every day for 11 years, in rain or snow or any weather, Mocha went out and found and picked up the daily newspaper and carried it in to the house. Mo was our hardest working Rottweiler and I enjoyed watching her work and taking pictures of her, like these.


Some of the other jobs they have all done is "pick up" and "delivery". There is a useful side effect to always having a Rottweiler near by. In our house if we should ever drop anything on the floor one of our Rotts will immediately pick it up and hand it to us. If one of us is in another room you can always ask one Rott to carry something and deliver it to the other person. One day years ago when we lived in a two story house, I was in the upstairs bathroom getting ready for work and I called down to my wife that I needed a new tube of toothpaste. Shorty afterward Mo came trotting up the stairs carrying a box in her mouth with the toothpaste.
They have acquired another job with a somewhat uncomplimentary title that we call "Garbage Girl" because mostly it was done by our girls. Whenever we have finished drinking a can of soda one of the girls would take it and carry it to the garbage can and wait for a human to dispose of it. One day our next door neighbor came for a visit and she happened to have a can of soda with her. As she was drinking it Mo was standing nearby watching her intently. The woman asked why Mo was staring at her and I told her Mo was waiting for her to finish her soda so she could take it to the garbage can. We have expanded this rule to include beer cans as well and added a new wrinkle to it. Our young male Rottweiler, Ruff, soon learned to carry soda cans but when ever I was drinking a can of beer I would remind him that he wasn't allowed to carry beer cans until he was 3 years old. In human terms that would make him 21.
Our first family of three Rottweilers have all passed on to the Bridge but we soon found ourselves with two new Rottweilers and recently our lives were blessed with the addition of a third member. The concept of the Royalty Payment was then replaced with a new rule about making a Witness Payment when one Rottweiler did some special job, the others who were not related were paid as witnesses to the one who did the work.

Another rule our Rottweilers taught us was that, contrary to popular belief, Rottweilers do like violence. Their concept of violence is not the same as ours. It seems that to our Rottweilers any human touching another human is breaking that rule. That also seems to be a literal translation that includes hugging and kissing and sometimes even holding hands. I think that Mo learned this rule from her mother Felony because whenever me and my wife gave each other hugs or kisses Mo would come running to us barking at us to stop. Of course, Mo was very possessive towards me and treated me as if she owned me and our other Rottweilers haven't been as dedicated to following that part of the rule so much. But our other Rotts definitely do not like violence even when they see others get physical with each other, even when they see it on television. I told this story long ago about sitting on our front porch one day with Nikko and we were just looking out across the street. A young woman came out of her house and walked over to the house next door and came out with an older woman. Nikko watched this closely and as soon as the younger woman took hold of the arm of the older woman to assist her Nikko began a low growl of disapproval under his breath. Our young male, Ruff, often growls at the television when he sees people fighting.

Living With Rottweilers for the last 15 years has been the most enjoyable time of my life. We have been surrounded with their love and they have provided us with so many moments of entertainment with their clownish behavior. They are very much tuned in to our thoughts and daily activities. We love to take them with us when ever we go someplace and it hurts us to have to leave them home when we can't. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad news from Pennsylvania, good news for Kentucky (Rottweilers).

AP News Flash Feb. 2, 2010 (Groundhog Day):
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The groundhog has spoken. And it's bad news.
Punxsutawney Phil has emerged to see his shadow before chilly revelers in Pennsylvania, meaning winter will last another six weeks.

Bad news??? Bad news for who???  Rottweilers LOVE winter. When we told our three Rotts this morning that they could look forward to 6 more weeks of winter and the possibility of more snow their ears perked up with excitement and I thought I saw a smile cross their faces.
We have had several weeks of cold temperatures since Thanksgiving but our area has been deprived of much of the white stuff that makes winter exciting and beautiful. Since we all watch television together our Rottweilers were all very excited to hear about the huge snowfall that came eastward last week but it passed right below us and clobbered Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolina's. Can you imagine the irony? If you wanted to enjoy the snow you'd have to travel South. The only decent snow we got here was just after New Years and the boys made the most of it. It was only about 6 inches deep but it stayed on the ground for more than a week.
So now all we have to do is sit back and wait. The temperature is above freezing right now but it is expected to get a little colder next week.  If it does snow again it will help us save money on gas because then we won't have to make unnecessary car trips just to keep everyone happy. 
Here is a photo of the boys, Axl and Ruff, watching television with their Mom, last night. They reminded me of a pair of bookends.