Monday, April 27, 2015

Celebrating an anniversary, Rottweiler style.

On Wednesday my wife Jacqueline and I will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary. Yep, that's Gold plus 5. OK, one time only, pause and clap hands. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now back to the story. Because my daughter has been pestering me to send her some photos of her Mom and Dad, I decided this afternoon to set up the camera and use the new shutter remote to take a few pictures. And you instantly know why this story is being posted on a Rottweiler blog. Because we live with Rottweilers.

The first photo went off without a hitch. It was a quiet afternoon and for some strange reason we were along in the family room and had the couch all to ourselves.
Then we were joined by Bessie. She probably noticed the flash going off and that always means I'm taking pictures. She walked in and jumped on the couch and immediately gave her Mom a kiss.
Then, when I thought Bess was going to lay down on the couch, I thought I could bring the rest of the family in for a group shot. Sort of like a practice run for our next Christmas card. So I called Ruffin and Axl. The big guy came in but Axl was sound asleep in the other room and never joined us. 
The minute the two love birds locked eyes on each other, they decided to have another play session. They act this way wherever I take them, even to the Vet's office last week.
Anyway, that what its like Living With Rottweilers.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The return of Snooty Rott

Plus another weird tale from the kitchen.
Snooty Rott has returned.

Only once before in the 20-years I have been privileged to live with Rottweilers have I ever had a Snooty Rott. And that would be my very first Rottweiler girl, Mocha, who I always called Mo. Just a quick jump back 8 years and you will see that baby Ruffin had two Moms, Mo in the foreground and Sassy in the back. Mo was the Queen or should I say the Empress and Sassy was the enforcer. But while I have had three girls before Bessie, I had Mo, and her mother Felony and Sassy, only Mo had the not-so pretended upper-class snooty look.
This is the look that I mean, the cool, classy, smart and self-confident Snooty look:
And Mo deserved ever one of those accolades. She had the ability to look at me and know what I wanted and would jump to the task without hesitation. I even began to imagine she could read my mind, we were so tuned to the same wave length.

So today I am sitting in my den with my almost 10-month old Bessie and I am taking some new pictures with the shutter remote and right in front of me I see that look.
I have some very high hopes for this young lady Rott and I am confident that when she becomes an adult Rottweiler she is going to be as smart as my first one 20 years ago.

Now for another weird tale from the kitchen.

Two days ago Bessie had a brief bout of diarrhea so I boiled up a chicken breast and a cup of rice. I gave her a little more than half of it for dinner that night and put the rest in the refrigerator. Yesterday she was pooping normally so at dinner time I opened a can of Pedigree ground dog food into her metal bowl and poured the remaining chicken and rice over the top.

As previously mentioned, the only food Bessie will eat from her bowl is "people food" and when I put canned dog food in her bowl I have to hand feed it to her with a fork. So last night Bessie goes to her bowl and eats every scrap of the chicken and rice - and leaves the canned dog food in the bowl. So I had to once again feed this to her with a fork. 

I would have thought that while enjoying the chicken and rice she would have kept on eating and gobbled up the ground dog food. But she didn't and I am still scratching my head trying to figure this out.

  Click the pictures to see them full sized.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The goofy crowd paused to say, Hello.

By the look on these three faces you wouldn't think they had a care in the world. I guess, from their perspective, they don't, because all is right in their world. Grandpa Axl is in his regular spot on the couch, Ruffin has reclaimed his favorite chair and baby Bess just decided to take a stretch after laying on the hassock. But in between the frantic attempts to get the little one to eat they all enjoy lounging around in the family room. And about those frantic attempts, sometimes I think those comments about little Bessie training me may well be true.
Oh, the Rottie Mom was not too far away. She was watching the whole show from her powered recliner chair.
Yes, everything was right in their world.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some good news on Bessie's visit to the Vet today.

If you live in the United States you may have read in the news about a nasty outbreak of Canine Influenza that has been spreading throughout the mid-west.
Update on Canine Influenza Outbreak
College of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Update, April 15: Laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin have determined that the current outbreak of canine influenza virus, which has sickened more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area, is caused by a virus related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2 viruses. This strain has also caused infection and respiratory illness in cats in Asia, though no cases of cats being infected in the U.S. have been reported. - See more at:
I was sent the following link to a story about a vaccine from Sam in Cornell University. The article at this link (from the American Veterinary Medical Association) describes the disease in detail and also mentions a vaccine:

Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious infection caused by an influenza A virus. The causative canine influenza virus (CIV) strains have been classified as H3N8 and H3N2.
H3N2 canine influenza appeared limited to Korea, China and Thailand until 2015, when an outbreak in the Chicago area was determined to be due to an H3N2 strain.
The gist of the 6-page article is that the only available vaccine for Canine Influenza is for the H3N8 strain and not for the H3N2 strain that is currently spreading and it is not known if it would be effective on the H3N2 strain. The chances of effectiveness are increased when used along with Bordatella Vaccine for Kennel Cough. So I brought Ruff and Bessie in to see the Vet and get their shots. Since we often visit Petsmart and Pets Supplies Plus it is better to be a little prepared than not at all.

So now to the good news. The good news was that Bessie weighed in on the scale at 81 lbs. A gain of 2 pounds this month. Counting calories and hand-feeding seems to be working.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Counting Calories for a different reason.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person who sees a problem where others say none exists. If it were not for Bessie's remarkable growth rate during her first six months, at times even growing faster than our big guy Ruff, then I would not have started keeping track of her weight. The fact is, that remarkable growth rate seems to have come to a grinding stop three months ago and that is what made me so concerned. There is a difference of opinion on how long a Rottweiler continues to grow. I was under the opinion they grew for the first year and a few people told me they grow in height for 12 months then for several months after they bulk out. I tend to agree with this but when Bessie went to the Vet's office for a toenail trim last week I commented to the doctor that she hasn't gained any weight in more than two months and the doctor told me she has probably stopped growing. If that was completely accurate it would mean Bessie only grew for half the time I expected. And her weight has stayed the same at 79 lbs since late January. And it doesn't take into account that she has very large feet, something that would suggest she was meant to be much bigger when she finished growing.

Thanks to my frequent visitor from Cornell University I have poured over a few links Sam gave me about calculating calorie consumption. The three different formula peg Bessie's requirements at about 1900 to 2000 calories a day. So I decided to start counting calories and see how much Bessie was getting, in spite of her reluctance to eat her regular meals.

Bessie loves dog biscuits as do all our Rottweilers and we buy lots of Milkbone Dog Biscuits. The small size I give for treats have 30 calories each and the large size they all get with their peanut butter pills has 130 calories and that large dollop of peanut butter, a full tablespoon adds another 190 calories. Checking the list of ingredients tells me they are very nourishing, too. Since the problem with her eating began I have been giving Bess a lot more dog biscuits every day. Two big ones and about 20 small ones add up to 860 calories. For reasons I still can't explain, Bess will eat dry kibble nuggets from my hand but not from a dog food bowl so I substituted the kibble for the tiny treats that I was using for her training rewards. That adds up to a cup of kibble a day and another 360 calories. While Ruff and Axl enjoy eating two meals a day Bessie ignores breakfast but she will eat a can of dog food at dinner time, even if I have to feed it to her on a fork. That's 463 calories for a can of Pedigree ground dinner. This brings her daily total intake to 1456 calories. Then I throw in some table scraps from our dinner or maybe a small scoop of extra mashed potatoes and this seems to have stabilized her weight loss to a minimum. Before I started doing this Bess had lost about five pounds but managed to come back to her present weight of 79 lbs. in the last month.

When I think about this problem I am reminded of what the undernourished children look like from those impoverished third-world countries. They are smaller than healthier children are because their meager diet has affected their growth. I'm sorry if this comparison between my puppy and some real kids offends anyone. I cannot do anything to affect their lives but I am determined to protect the lives of my devoted companions at home.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bessie update on school and eating.

Last Monday night Bessie completed her 6-week obedience school training. In spite of her ongoing eating problems she managed to pass the course. I was hoping to post a picture of her certificate but they didn't have it ready in time. It had become a weekly event to bring everyone up to date on Bessie's progress. So Monday night I made a shocking announcement that had everyone talking. I had found a way to get Bessie to eat. A few weeks ago the trainer suggested I substitute dog kibble for treats to use while I was having Bess go through her lessons. The dog kibble worked fine getting hand-fed to her since I had not been able to get Bessie to eat the kibble from a bowl but I still had problems with her eating the canned food.

The shocking announcement that I made in class was about a recent observation I discovered during dinner. It has to do with what we and our Rottweiler companions consider to be normal in our house. We know how much they always study us and pay attention to what we are doing so if you think about this that way, maybe it won't sound so shocking.  Everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that my wife Jacqueline has been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years. I often mention that Axl knew something was wrong the day we adopted him seven years ago and that is why he has never left my wife's side. Seven years ago my wife was a different person, she was able to walk and talk and take care of herself. And she was able to feed herself, too. Now, all that has has changed and my Rottweilers have witnessed all of it.

Long before we adopted Bessie, I had become my wife's full time caregiver. For as long as Bessie has been living in our house she has watched me spoon-feed my wife at every meal. Last weekend as we sat at the dinner table, as I was feeding my wife I was also coaxing Bessie to eat her can of dog food from her metal bowl. I was having no luck so I picked up a chunk of dog food on a fork and offered it to Bess to eat and she took it and ate it. I then took turns feeding my wife and picking up more dog food from the bowl and feeding Bess. By the time dinner was over she had consumed her entire can of dog food. And when I told an abbreviated version of this to the people in class they were shocked. I told them I had spoon-fed my dog the same way I spoon-fed my wife.

If Bessie had this eating disorder any time after she was fully grown I don't think I would have taken such drastic measures. The problem now is that Bessie is going through a growth period and to allow her to starve herself into eating would deprive her of her daily level of nourishment and that could stunt her growth and affect the development of her bones and joints. I found that the so-called "three day cure" wasn't working. In theory, if she was completely reluctant to eat then after three days of hunger she would be forced back to her food dish. In reality it didn't work that way. Bessie would come to her dish ever day and take a nibble and then walk away. Her nibbles of food staved off her hunger pains but also prolonged her state of undernourishment. That is why it stretched out this problem from a few days to a few weeks and I had to do something, anything, to fix it.

So for the last six days Bessie has been eating breakfast and supper by being, not exactly spoon-fed, but fork-fed her cans of dog food and in between she eats a few handfuls of kibble. And she has begun to put back on the weight she lost. I am happy with the results and will worry later about fixing any other problems I've caused.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Slowly getting back to normal?

The last time I mentioned that Bessie had eaten three meals in a row I thought she had gotten over her problem, then it started all over again. Well, she did it yesterday and today so unless she is repeating the same cycle, she may be making some progress. One thing I am sure of and that is she seems more active and healthier looking than before. You have to have food in your stomach to make enough energy to play. She runs around outside chasing balls until she has to stop and catch her breath. Then comes inside and the adrenaline rush makes her act like a nut. Which leads up to her coming in the den this morning and bringing her over-sized playmate with her.
They weren't there more than two minutes before the roughhouse began.
I took the camera and held it almost at floor level to get this shot.
After dinner last night Bess had some snacks eating more dog kibble out of my hand while watched a movie. Still won't eat them from a bowl. This morning she ate 3/4 of a can of Pedigree ground dog food from her metal bowl. Complicated, isn't it?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A quiet moment on a rainy day. A new clue to Bessie's problem.

Late afternoon, just before dinner time Friday and once again I am the only one working. Notice all the hungry faces waiting for dinner. Well, one of them isn't as hungry as the others and she is driving me nuts trying to figure out her problem. I tried to reinstate her obedience training using kibble in place of dog treats and it worked very well. Bess worked her way through a handful of nuggets. But because we were indoors I had to contend with Ruff begging for his royalty payments every time Bess got a reward. So a few hours later that may explain why she once again turns her nose up at dinner. But there is a new wrinkle to the puzzle. After dinner when I sat down to watch some TV Bessie came over for a pretzel that I was eating and I went and put a cup full of kibble in a small metal bowl. Here is where it gets interesting. Bessie would not eat from the bowl but if I picked up a kibble nugget she would eat it from my hand. If I placed it on the floor she would pick it up and eat it, too. So is she shying away from the metal bowl? Tomorrow I will have to try feeding her breakfast from a glass soup bowl like I tried a few weeks ago. I recall that the Vet suggested fooling her into thinking I was giving her food from the table. But the novelty only lasted for three meals.
At least, one way or another I can now get dog food into her. Hand feeding and using kibble for training treats makes no difference to me. And it gives me more time to figure out her real problem.

That Viyo stuff has some good nutrient value but it does not appear to enhance her appetite at all. Bess likes the taste and cleans up a few ounces of it in a small bowl but when I put it on her food it doesn't do anything. I will continue to use up what I have and wait and see what happens.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bessie's progress report. Still changing but not resolved.

It seems that some days Bess will relieve her self-induced hunger by eating both breakfast and dinner and other days she will eat one meal but not the other. I got my order for Viyo Recuperation from yesterday. The directions say it works best if given before breakfast so I didn't hold much hope for immediate results but I tried it last night at dinner time. And Bessie picked that meal to sniff and walk away from. One of the many uses for Viyo is to increase appetite for dogs following surgery. I was hoping it would get Bessie back into enjoying her regular meals and not be such a finicky eater. The Viyo comes in a liquid form and dosage by weight means Bess will get about 3 ounces a day. It has a very favorable aroma and Bess liked the taste and licked up all that I gave her but then wanted nothing to do with her breakfast. Tonight at dinner, I squirted some over her food and she ate her entire meal. I can't figure this out yet. Some days she eats only one meal and some days she eats two meals. I am not making any early conclusions about the Viyo until I try it for a few more days. I bought about 32 ounces of it so it would last about 10 days.

After dinner she appeared as lively and playful as ever. Before I went back to my den I took some pictures of Bess on her new chair. She seemed to be showing off her big feet because I have been chiding her lack of appetite by telling her if she didn't eat she would wind up a skinny little girl with big feet and all the other dogs would make fun of her. 

Then she followed me into the den and was determined to get me to play ball with her. Bessie made a big effort to get my attention and managed to push me away from the computer several times. That's not too difficult sitting on a chair with wheels.
Even climbing up in my lap.

She is still my sweetheart.