Saturday, July 30, 2016

Axl in the morning.

Old man Axl, affectionately called Grandpa Axl, loves to sleep late in the morning. He goes to bed when his Mom goes to bed, sleeping on the floor in her bedroom, and he gets up in the morning when she gets up. They say our dogs expressions sometimes look similar to their humans and the look on his face in these two pictures reminds me of what I must look like before I've had my morning coffee.
Gotta love every gray hair on his face.

Monday, July 25, 2016

This news about Axl is interesting.

I don't recall hearing this before but I just received an email from the lady in Dayton, Ohio who was Axl's original mom and she told what his AKC Registered name was. 
Axl was named after Axl Rose...his registered name is actually Armani's Cold November Rain...after the Guns and Roses song, November Rain :-)
Wow! And all this time we have been affectionately calling him Grandpa Axl. Nice to read that he has a real spiffy show-dog name but we all love him for a whole lot of other reasons.

Just thought you'd like to know this.
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As a footnote to all this, since we now know we have a bonafide would-be show-dog living amongst us, I must reveal the back story to one of our original Rottweilers. Six months after my daughter gave me my first Rottweiler who I named Mocha and later just Mo, we inherited both of Mocha's parents, Nikko Bear, her father and Felony, her mother. But it was later on when we learned we were the third or fourth family for these two that we were told that Felony's AKC registered name was Erin Lee's Felony. You can imagine how often we wondered about that, but we just called her Felly-girl.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Conversation About Service Dogs.

A friend who is involved with training K-9s and Service Dogs once told me that Service Dogs do not live long after they retire. The reason being their rigid training and their lives as service dogs are so tightly controlled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that they find it difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle after they are no longer working. I found that quite familiar because 3 months after I retired 14 years ago I had a heart attack and a triple by-pass. A lot of people also face health problems early in retirement as well.

This fact applies to old man Axl and explains his mysterious attraction to my wife from the day they first met in 2009 because my wife Jacqueline was diagnosed with Alzheimer's that same year. I am guessing that Axl, as a trained service dog, recognized that my wife was going to need him so he just went into Service Dog mode to continue the job he knew how to do best. No one had to ask him to do it, he volunteered.

In the beginning Axl enjoyed a few breaks in his daily routine and bonded with our then 3 year old Ruffin. I even used to think that Axl could become an adopted father figure to Ruffin because of their age differences. When we adopted Axl he was only a month away from his 8th birthday. In the ensuing years Axl began to spend more and more time with Jacqueline and less time with Ruffin. This coincided with the progression that Alzheimer's was taking over my wife. In the early years all of us, my wife included, used to take long walks down to the back of our property. Then when walking became difficult for Jacqueline both she and Axl would spend more time in the house together. And when Axl found it too difficult to jump up on Jacqueline's bed at night he simply took up sleeping next to it on the floor.

As I mentioned before I have had several conversations with our Veterinarian about Axl's health and his longevity. Axl gets a check up twice a year along with all his shots. The Vet agrees with me that Axl is so devoted to Jacqueline that he refuses to let the infirmities of his age keep him from staying close to her. If he has any pain he has never showed it and the only visible problem he has is a slight weakness in his hind legs. Sometimes he has difficulty standing up and needs a little help but when I am not around he still manages to stand up by himself. And the funny thing is when I do help him get up he seems to complain as if he was telling me he could do it by himself.

Over the years I've been reminded of the fact that we humans have a duty to end the lives of our devoted pets when they become sick or injured beyond the point of repair or healing. Some people almost think they should strictly adhere to the 10-12 year life expectancy rule that Rottweilers face because they don't want a handicapped old dog. Too often some would regret having assumed the worst and put down their furry friends unnecessarily. I abide by one rule and that is that none of my Rottweilers will ever endure pain and suffering. If you read back further in this blog you will note that my girl Sassy had a problem that came about from the ACL surgery on both her hind legs when she was about 3 years old. A few years after that her Vet put her on a pain management program that worked very well until she developed liver and kidney disease when she was 11 years old. And Sassy led a very happy life until the day she was put to sleep. And I will tell you I cried my heart out when I had to make that decision. It is not easy playing God.

Old man Axl will hopefully continue for as long as he wants to do the job he started doing 7 years ago. But he will never have to suffer for his devotion to duty.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Devotion To Duty

I keep getting compliments about Axl whenever I write about how old he is getting. My Veterinarian tells me he has never seen a Rottweiler that was his age before. It is unheard of since they only have a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Then the subject turns to either what is his secret or how does he do it. I think it comes down to devotion to duty. Axl has a profound sense of purpose and I am convinced that is what is keeping him alive. Somehow he knows that his Mom needs him.
Axl was originally bought as a puppy by a friend of mine who sold him to a handicapped woman when he was a year old. That woman had trained him to be a companion service dog and Axl lived with her for 6 years until she had to move due to a house fire that also had killed Axl's female Rottweiler helper. When I heard from his original owner that he was available for adoption I jumped at the chance to adopt him and through the reputation of this blog and my friend's recommendation I was able to have him.

We took Ruffin and Sassy with us and drove up to Dayton, Ohio and met Axl for the first time on August 2, 2009 and he seemed very happy to meet all of us. But as strange as this may seem, Axl seemed particularly taken by my wife Jacqueline. Of course I was surprised since I was the one who wanted to adopt him.
Upon arriving home Axl followed my wife everywhere. It soon became obvious that he was going to be her dog. Especially after he jumped up on her bed at bedtime that first night and slept next to her. It was soon after his arrival in his forever home that my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I began to understand his attachment to her. Axl always seemed to have a happy, smiley look on his face when he was near his Mom. He even took naps with her on the couch.
When we all went to the kitchen to sit down for a meal, Axl would follow us and was right there laying at his Mom's feet. He never begged for table scraps like the other Rotts do. He was just there keeping her company. This photo below was taken 3-years ago.
Which brings me to today. I have seen this every day but for some reason tonight I decided to take some pictures and then that led me to write this post about this wonderful, loving canine. 
This old Rottweiler is still smiling and his eyes still seem to have a twinkle in them. It must be because he is a very happy old Rottweiler, doing what he likes to do. Keeping his Mom company. God Bless you Mr. Axl and I pray He keeps you healthy so you can finish your job.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Another Birthday Party at Our House

Happy Birthday Baby Bess, you are 2 years old today.
I bought a large package of chop beef and made 3 large hamburgers this afternoon and a bowl of mashed potatoes for the icing. This has always been our traditional Rottweiler birthday cakes ever since my wife Jacqueline started the tradition almost 20 years ago.
Just a brief historical update. Here is a photo of the first Rottweiler birthday cake that my wife made sometime back around 1997. I think the mashed potato icing came later. The single meat loaf size one feeding all three Rottweilers at the same time doesn’t work when one Rottweiler wants to eat it all. This is our first Rottweiler family. Nikko Bear on the left, 5-year old birthday girl Felony in the middle and their 2-year old daughter Mocha on the right.
Baby Bessie has grown up to become a beautiful young lady Rott and I wanted her day to be very special. We all got in the van earlier and visited her favorite drive thru windows and everyone wished her a Happy Birthday and gave her biscuits. Then it was time to come back home and do some cooking. And with the exception of her reaction to the two lighted candles, I think she enjoyed this special occasion.

I gave each of the Rottweilers their own individual hamburgers so as to avoid any commotion at the food stand. And Axl got to enjoy his mixed in his dinner dish before the humans sat down to eat.

And a kiss for my birthday girl.
And then it was Ruffin's turn.
I held the plate for him so he wouldn't scoot it off the stand with his mighty tongue.

Bessie has really become my sweetheart as she has gotten older. She still has a lot of playful puppy energy in her so I can't wait for her to mature a bit more and quiet down. Here she is, one more time, getting a birthday kiss.

Next birthday is another big one. Old Man Axl will be 15 in September.