Friday, October 31, 2014

Bessie celebrates her first Halloween with unexpected results.

As previously mentioned, Bessie has been acting like a miniature guard dog lately whenever I took her out front on her leash. And our normally quiet, dead-end street always gets invaded on Halloween by hundreds of kids from surrounding neighborhoods going door-to-door trick or treating. This posed a serious problem. By the time the kids started ringing our doorbell tonight at 6 o'clock Bessie was in a frantic state barking at everything so I couldn't even let her watch from inside the door because she was jumping up against the glass storm door. Ruff and Axl stayed with me out of curiosity and stuck their heads out while I dispensed the candy treats but Bessie was tied up where she couldn't see what was going on. Then during a lull in the traffic I decided to take the boys out along with Bess on her long leash. When the crowds of people began to move up and down the block Bessie didn't know which way to look to begin barking and the biggest surprise came when the first group of kids walked across our lawn right up to the three dogs. Bessie greeted them with excitement but didn't bark at anyone.

Ruff, as usual, became the center of attention as one youngster after another came over to pet him. When he was inside and just stuck his huge head out the door he managed to give a few kisses to some little ones but he really becomes a clown outside when he is surrounded by older girls. And Bessie managed to get a large dose of instant socialization when she found herself meeting so many people at once. Not once did she bark at anyone for the rest of the night.

I decided to stay outside with the three Rottweilers until the trick or treat period ended at 8 o'clock instead of running inside to grab some candy every time we had a visitor. Daylight Savings Time doesn't start until Sunday morning so by 7 PM it was already very dark and we have no street lights. It must have been a big surprise to Bessie to see the outlines of people walking up and down the street past the porch lights on the other houses and to hear all the talking coming from every direction. In the end I think she handled herself very well.


Unintended consequences. Ruff becomes a casualty of play-school.

Some bad news here but hopefully it will get better. Yesterday I noticed a large wet spot under Ruff's chin that was larger than my hand. It was also crusty so I mistook it for saliva from baby Bessie's make-believe combat. Turned out her make-believe combat hasn't been very make-believe. While Ruff was pretending to fight, Bessie wasn't. The wet spot was puss oozing from some infected bite marks she gave him with her needle-sharp teeth. I washed Ruff's chest with shampoo and scrubbed the crust away and it looked serious enough for a visit to the Vet this morning. My suspicions were correct and now Ruff is on a mega-dose of 3000 units of Cephalexin antibiotics per day for the next ten days and the love of his life is going to be kept away from him.

Looking back on some of the photos of Bessie hanging from Ruff's neck I now realize the snarly look on Ruff's face was not pretend. Ruff was in pain but he never tried to hurt Bessie, he just tolerated everything she did to him. I think that says a lot for Ruff's temperament. He loves his little girlfriend but she is now a formidable 42 pounds and getting quite strong. 

I am sure glad it wasn't more serious than it turned out to be. At least the medication was not too expensive.
Just on a side note, I also brought the little terror with us to the Vet today because Bessie was scheduled for her Stage 4 Parvo shot and the doctor happened to comment on how big she has grown. He said that on August 29th, exactly two months ago, when we got her she only weighed 13 pounds. She has gained 28 pounds in 8 weeks.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bessie and Ruff explore the great outdoors.

With such a beautiful Fall day as this we just had to go for a long walk, and bring the camera. Bessie now has the strength of a small tractor and it is impossible for me to keep up with when she is trotting along trying to keep up with Ruff. So with her long leash still hooked to her collar I dropped it and let her run. And she did the best she could with her short legs to stay next to her hero.
And I managed to capture a sequence of her running toward me with her ears flapping in the air.
Click the pictures for a larger view, especially this one. 
 Maybe I'll try again to get some of her chasing a butterfly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In the short span of a month, from chasing butterflies to chasing away burglars. (her opinion, not mine)

I watched in shear joy as my little girl Bessie got all excited a few weeks ago when she saw a leaf fall from the tree and she chased it across the lawn with her ears flapping in the air like little wings. Then she saw a little white butterfly and began to leap after it trying to catch it as it darted over her head. I said to myself the world must be an amazing place for a little puppy, it is so full of exciting and wonderful things. Now Fall is upon us and there are millions of leaves on the ground but my little 4-month old baby girl has already turned into a combat-ready marine with more important things on her mind. On a windy day when the leaves are blowing around Bessie still chases them but it is on the quiet days that I get a glimpse of what she may become when she grows up. 
I am not sure if I should still refer to her as "little" because I put Bessie on the scale tonight and she weighs 41.5 lbs. If she keeps up this rate of growth she will be over 90 lbs by her first birthday.
I have mentioned that soon after she discovered she had a voice, thanks to Ruffin's play-school, combat training sessions, her quiet wrestling sessions became very loud. Then she began to show some new-found courage when I had her outside. Anyone walking down the street would be challenged by her little bark given at the end of her taught leash as she would run out as close to the street as she could. She would stand with legs firmly spread looking like a miniature version of a grownup Rottweiler guard dog. Now the only difference is her bark is no longer little, she now has a serious voice. But there is more. We have a full pane glass storm door in front of our front door and when I go to take her out, as soon as I open the inside front door she begins to bark through the glass as if to let the world know she is about to come outside. We live on a quiet dead-end street and there is usually nothing or nobody out in the street but she barks anyway to give an advanced warning. The only thing I can think of is to compare her to the way a SWAT Team enters a building by first tossing a hand grenade through the door before going inside.

This is all a result of having a male Rottweiler raise her instead of a female. I suspect that single fathers who raise little girls turn them into tomboys who have as more fun playing with boys than with other girls. I may be wrong but I am seeing something different here. My first two Rottweiler girls adopted and raised our rescued Rotts, Mocha raised Sassy and she became the leader of the pack but still had a motherly nature. Then Sassy raised Ruffin and Ruffin became the biggest cream-puff who just loves to meet people. He makes friends with anyone who says hello to him. He is only protective in the sense that he has such an imposing presence that a bad person wouldn't go near him. The only time I saw a vicious looking snarl on his face was when he was playing with Bessie. But Ruffin seems to know what kind of upbringing Bessie required so in spite of his gentle good nature he has produced what I am having fun calling my Warrior Queen. I often wonder if I should have given her a more noble-sounding name. Bessie is a cute, girlish name that can be whispered softly in her ear when cuddling with her on the couch. Maybe something with a strong Germanic sound would fit her personality better. I know as I get older I will be well protected.
As they say on television, the adventure begins.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

After 19 years I finally learned something about my Rottweilers.

Since 1995 I have been privileged to have shared my home and my life with seven wonderful Rottweilers and be allowed to witness how they live among themselves. One of the things I've learned is that all of the females in our home were always the leaders of the pack. I have seen the generations of the older Rottweilers pass on to the young the qualities we recognize as being so noble. A friend some years ago told me to be careful of falsely attributing human traits and characteristics to my Rottweilers because it was called being anthropomorphic. But besides the hugs and kisses all species share some common things like compassion, devotion and leadership.  In the last two months since I adopted a 7-week old baby Rottweiler girl I have mentioned the play-school that Bessie has been put through by our almost 8-year old male, Ruffin. But now I see some differences going on from what I saw in the past with our other adopted pups.

In 2003 we adopted another baby girl we named Sassy who was about the same age as baby Bessie was when we got her.
Our 8-year old female, Mocha immediately became Sassy's foster-mother. Mo never had any puppies but she was raised by her mother Felony who ruled our house like a Drill Sergeant.  We were constantly entertained by Sassy's playfully combative attitude with her adopted mother and the fierce and strict reactions she received from Mo. Mocha was teaching Sassy that she was the leader of the pack and that someday Sassy would also become the leader. Then we bought baby Ruffin from a breeder and another round of training began. Ruffin was the only one of our seven that came with a pedigree. Technically, Mocha wasn't adopted, she was a gift from my daughter but we did adopt Mocha's parents, Nikko and Felony.

Sassy's determined schooling teaching Ruffin discipline and respect almost seemed the same but it had a minor quality that didn't become obvious until I began to watch Ruffin teaching baby Bessie. Sassy was teaching Ruff that she was the leader to be respected and obeyed while Ruffin is teaching Bessie to become the leader. Ruffin was letting Bessie get away with things that Sassy never allowed.

At the very young age of 3-months, (she will be 4-months old November 1st), I saw baby Bessie already acting like the protector and leader of the pack. She has become unusually brave and outspoken when she is outside. She loudly challenges everyone and everything. And then it occurred to me that her self-confidence has come from the fact that for the last two months she has been allowed to beat the crap out of a 130-LB male Rottweiler and get away with it every day whereas Ruffin was never allowed to beat up Sassy because she was the boss.

A few weeks after we got Bessie I noticed there were some things she was afraid of and being so little it was to be expected. If I took her outside alone at night and she heard a train whistle or a barking dog off in the distance, she would run as fast as could back to the front door for safety. It was so cute to see when Ruffin was outside with her at night she would run and stand behind him for protection when she was frightened. She doesn't do that any more. Now she stands firmly with her legs apart and listens to the sounds as if she is thinking about them or she challenges the sound with loud barking if it is close by. Another new thing Bessie does is after I put on her leash - as soon as I open the front door she lets out a few barks to let the world know she is coming out. Bessie is becoming our new warrior Queen and Ruffin is her trainer and champion and knight in shining armor. So much for being anthropomorphic.

Friday, October 17, 2014

More odds and ends. In one 24-hour period, not counting the toilet paper episode.

War declared: Ruffin stole Bessie's red ball. The same one he hasn't played with since we adopted Bessie.
The watering hole. Sort of like National Geographic.
Peace declared.
Fighting resumes.
Axl says, I wish these two would grow up so I can get some decent rest and relaxation around here. I thought this was supposed to be my retirement home.
And it isn't even time for dinner yet.

Bad Girl stories with pictures.

You have all heard that raising a puppy is almost like raising a child. With children they say the "terrible twos" are worst times but they are referring to 2-year old's. With puppies it seems the terrible twos are when they are between 2 and 3 months old. Well, Bessie is now 3 1/2 months old so we should have been past that point but I am beginning to have my doubts. I think that her adoration of Ruffin has had some unexpected consequences. Whenever they are together she acts completely wild. When they are in different rooms she acts like a little angel. And then there are her bad manners.
OK, these are the cute pictures that make you laugh. She has the "I didn't do it" look on her innocent face. And it was my fault for not closing the bathroom door. But then again these are the polite pictures that I'm sharing, the other things that she is still doing on the floor I can't show you. I ought to mention that the other two puppies we had, Mocha and Sassy, were raised mostly by my wife. She trained them and got them house-broken while I was working. Now this job is up to me and I have no clue how to handle it and I'm obviously not doing it well.

Then we have the bad manners. Also, it makes some cute pictures, but if it isn't stopped I can only imagine how bad it will get when she is fully grown.
Ruffin will occasionally lay his chin on the kitchen table to see what we got but he doesn't try to steal any food. Bessie will come right up while we're eating and try and get some. I'm going to have to keep her on the other side of that gate.


Friday, October 10, 2014


Well, today we had another birthday party but it wasn't the one I planned. It rained all day and I couldn't get out to the supermarket to get the "birthday cake" that I wanted. Our past Rottweiler birthdays usually involved a cake made from a meatloaf covered in mashed potatoes but old man Axl deserved something more special than that. Our adopted old Rottweiler Axl became 13-years old today (For the record, that's equivalent to 103 human years) and I wanted him to enjoy a filet mignon steak because of the love and devotion he has shown us in the last 6 years but as you can see in the photos, I had to settle for 13 meatballs instead. He did not seem to mind and I promised him he would get his steak. I just wish I had the idea sooner. 
And an uninvited guest who literally jumped the fence to crash his party. I had set up the gates to keep Ruff and Bessie out because Axl is so easy going they would have taken his food and he wouldn't complain.
But after she turned out to be his new best friend.
Next up will be Ruff's 8th birthday next month.
Just how old is the old Rottweiler in human years? Here is an interesting chart that explains the dog years to human years. It varies by size of breed and Axl is in the Giant Breed category. From the Business Insider c/o Yahoo Finance.
Since smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds, it's important to calculate your dog's age according to the right category: small (20 pounds or less), medium (21-50 pounds), large (51-90 pounds), or giant (over 90 pounds).
Age Of Dog
(Human Years)
Small Breed:
Age In Dog Years
Medium Breed:
Age In Dog Years
Large Breed:
Age In Dog Years
Giant Breed:
Age In Dog Years
1 15 15 14 14
2 23 24 22 20
3 28 29 29 28
4 32 34 34 35
5 36 37 40 42
6 40 42 45 49
7 44 47 50 56
8 48 51 55 64
9 52 56 61 71
10 56 60 66 78
11 60 65 72 86
12 64 69 77 93
13 68 74 82 101
14 72 78 88 108
15 76 83 93 115
16 80 87 99 123


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A few odds and ends.

Followup note to Bessie Wins post yesterday. This afternoon I walked in on Bessie and Axl sharing the couch again. Seems that Bessie likes her new best friend and seems to treat the old Rottweiler differently from her aggressive war games that she plays with Ruff. She likes to rub up against him when they are outside together but she doesn't jump on him - which is a good thing. Axl's hind legs are not too strong anymore and some weeks ago Bessie actually knocked him over.
Speaking of those war games, tonight Bessie and Ruff were at it again while I was trying to watch TV. She has grown quite a bit and it becomes evident when she stands on her hind feet and stretches out.
Her growth is even more obvious when you take a close look at her feet. At 3-months of age her paws are almost as big as my hand. I noticed that this morning when I managed to clip all of toenails. They were getting to be as sharp as needles. I hope I can get her used to this later on. I have to take the boys to the Vet to have their nails done - with anesthesia.
I think Bessie is going to be a big girl. Just the way I like them.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Persistence pays off.

Title this post:

Bessie Wins

And meanwhile, grouchy old Ruffin plays sore loser.

What lurks beneath my chair.

What lurks beneath my chair? I'll give you three guesses. Hint, two of them wouldn't fit. This is what I saw when it suddenly got quiet in my den a few minutes ago. It's a sleeping baby Rottweiler. And, by the way, this is not an easy photo to take while still sitting in the chair. I had to lean over and hold the camera as far above my head as I could. The lens was set for wide angle and the pictures below are full frame.
When the flash went off she awoke for a few seconds and rolled over. Now we can see who it was.
OK, you knew that, didn't you.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

End of the day at our house.

After a quiet day at home we sat around the TV watching an old movie tonight and it was almost Midnight when Bessie came walking into the family room clanging away with her empty food dish in her mouth looking for a snack. In the background you can see a scene from the The Incredible Shrinking Man. And then when it ended everyone but me headed for bed. Bessie has been carrying her food dish around a lot lately and I wanted to get a picture of her doing it. When she came through the room from the kitchen, I went back to the den and grabbed the camera. When I returned I caught her heading back to the kitchen.
What the house looks like at the end of the day. Took this before I swept the floor.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ruff and Bessie explore the backyard.

Since the day that Bessie entered her new home all of Ruffin's old toys became hers to play with. Even Ruffin's favorite red ball. All three of them and while Bess could only play with one at a time, Ruff never made any effort to reclaim them. Well, today we went for a walk in the backyard and this time I took my camera, and Ruffin snatched up one of the red balls like he used to do before we got Bessie. And Bessie was well aware of this. All the while we were outside she tried to reclaim her toy and only succeeded on the way back to the house.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A really beautiful family portrait.

It isn't often that everything falls into place perfectly when I take pictures of my Rottweilers. I had just retrieved my camera to take a picture of Ruff and Bessie looking out the back door - but of course when I got back with it they had moved a bit. Then for no reason at all Ruff gets up on the couch with Axl and Bessie wanted to join them. So I picked her up and sat her between the big boys and got this wonderful family portrait on the first try. I mean, it is perfect. Everyone has their eyes open and all three are looking right at the camera.
Please note that Bess has her front leg on Ruff's shoulder just like formal portraits are posed. Then as would be expected, these two had to begin wrestling. And also note the disgusted expression on Axl's face. He definitely does not approve.
Oh, and here is the original picture I took of Ruff and Bessie at the back door. Notice the fine selection of home-made toys laying on the floor including the empty plastic jar that makes so much noise when Bess tosses it around. You can't buy stuff like that in a pet store.