Wishing all of our Rottweiler friends, wherever you are, a very Happy New Year.
Nelson, Jackie, Axl, Sassy and Ruff.
Overnight we had the largest snowfall in three years. 5 more inches on top of the 1 inch we got the day after Christmas. Our Winter Wonderland looks wonderful and the Rottweilers seem to agree. At least with the deeper snow. Here are some photos taken this afternoon with Ruff and Axl. And, yes, if you happened to ask, Ruff does take his red rubber ball everywhere, even when he goes to bed.
OK, it was only an inch of snow but it was the most significant snowstorm we've had in the last two years. Too bad the timing was off by a day and we didn't have a White Christmas. But the Rottweilers didn't seem to mind except the day it was snowing and they didn't want to out until it stopped.
Today we took a look at the beautiful scenery with our snow-capped trees in the back yard.
And, of course, Ruff had to bring along his red ball so he would have something to play with.
Here is our old man Rott Axl, 11 1/2 years old, taking another of his many daily naps. But wait, is he just napping or is something else going on?
Above is the closeup. Here is the long shot. He was babysitting his Mom all along. And he always takes naps with his eyes open. Don't they all? Axl is his Mom's shadow during the day and her bedwarmer at night.
Well, its that time of year again. After Thanksgiving everyone knows that Christmas is only a month away, especially when the newspapers get filled with sales ads. If you read last year's post on my first attempt to make a perfect Rottweiler family Christmas card you recall that I was forced to use a photo of a Santa Claus hat on the two boys, Axl and Ruff, because the hats I bought them were too small for their large heads. This year I was determined to do it right so I bought three large size hats for them to wear and once again I sewed elastic chin straps to hold them on. Well, it sort of worked but not the way I had expected. Along the way I also purchased a new Nikon D3200 DSLR camera and one new feature with the timer was it shot three consecutive photos each time I used it and the timer gave me a 20-second delay. Since I had to walk across the room, sit down and get one of the Rottweilers to sit in front of me, the 20-second delay was very helpful. Then I found I also had to get the Santa hat on two of the Rotts because they didn't care to have it on their heads for too long. Then we had to put leashes on them to keep them by the couch and not wander off. Anyway, I got it all right after several attempts and here is the final result. The only digital retouching was to remove the white chin straps and the leather leashes from the picture.
|Click the pictures for a larger view.|
And here are the out takes showing the trials and tribulations of making the perfect Rottweiler family Christmas card. These pictures are posted in chronological order beginning with the first effort. One unexpected problem I had was to keep the three Rotts from turning their heads and looking at us instead of facing the camera. And Sassy, the one in the middle kept laying down.
I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. We did and so did our Rottweilers. Their new favorite food is turkey giblets, stuffing and gravy. And then we had time for some new pictures. Our ever-popular couch gets a lot of workout. It is the only place big enough for one human and two Rottweilers and in that case the human happened to be ME. I managed to talk my wife into holding the camera and basically aiming it in the right direction and pressing the button to take the picture. That's a turkey dinner not a beer belly you see here.
Then it was my turn and I got this picture of my wife and her favorite companion, Axl, who seems to be very happy just being by her side.
I spend a lot of time on the computer in my office and this place has become a frequent hangout for Ruff and Axl. I call the boy's club and I think they call it the quiet room. This is also where I keep the camera so I don't have to go more than arm's length to get it on short notice. Well, this afternoon Axl paid me another visit and while I was petting him and scratching his ears his buddy Ruff decided to interrupt us because he was a bit jealous and wanted his share. So first off Ruff starts giving Axl some ear washes and then Axl returns the favor. And while this was going on I was taking the pictures. This ear washing went back and forth several times.
I walked into the living room this afternoon and spotted Ruff laying on the couch. He turned his head to look at me and gave me such a look that my first reaction was to ask him to 'hold that pose till I get the camera'. And a few seconds later when I walked back in the room there he was, just as I had left him.
Haven't posted anything for awhile due to the national emergency. I will try not to inject politics onto this blog but the last few weeks have been filled with great stress and much worry and the results of Nov. 6th have done nothing to eliminate it. We are all heading into dark days ahead.
But here at home I try to insulate the outside world from adding to our other troubles and I find our three Rottweilers do a wonderful job of relieving some of the stress. Well, two of them do most of the time. They make wonderful babysitters.
I took this picture on October 16th when we went for an afternoon walk. The maple tree behind the house was in full fall colors. Today, after a day of chilly rain most of the leaves are on the ground.
This is what it looked like ten days earlier on October 6th. The weatherman has forecast a wetter and snowier Winter this year. We are all looking forward to it.
I was at my desk doing something tonight and all of a sudden the whole little office became overcrowded. My wife came with her little parade following her and sat down at the computer. Another nice shot of our boys Ruff and Axl.
I just finished reading a science article, "What Your Dog Is Thinking" with the intriguing subtitle, " Dogs can count, use touchscreen computers and understand hundreds of words. Soon we might find out what they really think of us" http://ideas.time.com/2012/10/11/what-your-dog-is-thinking/#ixzz29ILVOr4U and it reminded me of a real life experience with our Rottweilers. Every night before bedtime I go to the jar in the kitchen containing small biscuits that we use for treats and count out six to be divided among the three dogs. One of our Rotts, Axl, has gotten into the habit of standing next to me watching me count the biscuits so when I am done I give him an extra one and say, "Thank you for helping me". Along the way I have also given Axl any of the small broken pieces that I pull out of the jar as I count the treats and I would say, "Broken one" and he would gobble it down. Last night I came across a larger piece of a broken biscuit that wasn't a whole one but it was bigger than the usual small pieces so I tried to pass it off as his treat for helping me. He took the broken biscuit but instead of walking away toward the bedroom he just stood there looking at me and the look on his face said, 'So where's my complete biscuit?'.
This was one of those moments when you realize you've just exchanged a real dialog with your best friend and not a single word was spoken.
Axl is a very quiet and loveable sweetheart but he has the most expressionable eyes of any of the Rottweilers we have owned. I can almost tell what he is thinking by just looking at him. I don't know how many spoken words he and the other Rottweilers comprehend but I know they all listen to every conversation we humans have in our house and they react to many of the words they hear. You probably have had the same experience when your conversations include words like dinner, car, go, ride, store, out, and the unlimited number of food names we all use. They probably don't understand complete sentences so it makes for a humorous moment when you suddenly get a reaction that you didn't expect after saying something that inadvertently contained a 'hot word'.
I have a friend in California who has owned many Rottweilers over the years and she told me one of her dogs knew the names of every toy the dog owned and would go a fetch it on command. And then there was another scientific test I read about on this subject that included telling the dog to fetch a toy by name that the dog did not own just to see what the dog would do.
One day, years ago, when I had my first Rottweiler Mo, she would go out and pick up the newspaper in our driveway and carry it into the house. I was privileged to observe her deductive reasoning skills when I saw her do this job one day. When Mo went down the driveway there were two newspapers a few feet apart and as soon as she saw this she paused to figure out what to do. Mo picked up one newspaper and dropped it on top of the other and attempted to pick them both up at the same time. She tried this several times with no success so she grabbed one paper and carried up to the front porch and handed it to me and then ran down the driveway to get the other.
Mo was trained by my wife at a time when I went to work every day and she proved to be a very smart dog. The one thing that she seemed to enjoy most was to be asked if she wanted to 'Go to work' and her ears would perk up and she would listen to what you wanted her to do. When we moved out to the rural part of the county and had our much bigger property the newspaper job became more involved. Sometimes Mo would discover the newspaper hadn't been thrown in the driveway and she would have to search for it. And she did this job with the diligence of the mailman who goes out in rain or snow.
As far as that scientific story I first mentioned, here is a sample paragraph to wet your curiosity. Don't know how many of you have iPods or iPhones, as we do not, but I do know that our baby Ruff has his own email address. It is Ruffin@fuse.net and he use to get a lot of fan mail.
Most impressive of all is dogs’ ability to learn about humans. They respond to our gestures, they attend to our body language, and they follow our gaze to figure out what we’re looking at. They even are susceptible to repeating human yawns, according to a study published in the journal Biology Letters. As the longest-domesticated species, dogs have evolved alongside humans, selected over thousands of years for traits that make them especially sensitive to our cues. Another study from the journal Science reported that puppies only a few weeks old could interpret human signals, while full-grown wolves raised by humans could not. Dogs read people better than do chimpanzees, humans’ closest primate relative, according to research published this year. In fact, the most accurate comparison is to a human child: dogs have the social-cognition capacities of a 2-year-old. (The dogs in one recent study can claim another similarity to iPhone-loving toddlers: their ability to understand abstract concepts was probed by having them use touchscreen computers.)
I suppose I should be getting used to seeing this, but I don't. And every time I do see it I've got to grab the camera. Sometimes they act like bookends and squeeze in on both sides of my wife on the big couch. Today, they just spread out a bit.
Once in awhile when the Sun is out the daytime temps make it enjoyable for our walks. Even though it is now a bit cooler than a few weeks ago. Here is another shot of our Silver Maple getting more colorful each day.
On the same day we passed by my crop of Montauk Daisies that I grew from seeds two years ago. We brought this plant down to Kentucky in 1991 when we moved here from Long Island. The plant got its name from the Montauk Light House on the Eastern tip of Long Island. It blooms throughout October and November. It really brightens thing up when the other plants are beginning to hibernate for the Winter.
The weather here is changing fast. Last year we had no Winter to speak of due to mild temps and only a half inch of snow. Then we had Spring arrive three months early. This year seems on course to make up for lost time. Summer ended abruptly in late August. Fall seems to have come and gone in September and besides the cooler temps we had a lot of rain that made up for the drought during the Summer. Now we are having freezing overnight temperatures and the weatherman is predicting heavy snow for Winter. The Rottweilers are listening to everything and I see their ears perk up whenever the word snow is mentioned. So almost as if I was struck by a beam of sunshine, last night I found a beautiful photo taken last Summer that I forgot to post. Hope you like it.
"Mary had a little lamb, and every where that Mary went, Her lambs were sure to go." OK, change Mary to Mom and Lambs to Rottweilers, and you get the idea. I probably have the best protected wife in the world.
It all began 17 years ago when I got my first Rottwiler, Mocha. She was a very pretty girl and she loved to sleep on the couch laying on her back, spread out like a girlie mag centerfold. Now, we have the male equivalent of that centerfold, my 6-year old baby Rottweiler Ruffin. Here is his centerfold pose for the month of November.
|Here's Ruffin, Ms Rott-n-Girl magazine's November centerfold|
Eat your hearts outs girls, he's all mine. And he is a great bed-warmer in the Winter. You can click the image for a larger view, and print it if you wish, but that's all you get.
We had a pretty dry Summer this year and by late August our rainfall was 7-inches below normal. During the hotter days I was even watering our trees with a garden hose. September everything changed and we more than made up the lack of water with several rainstorms. Thankfully it came just in time to allow the foliage to change into Fall colors. We took a walk in the back yard this afternoon and some of the trees were already turning colors.
And Ruff and Axl did some exploring.
When we came back inside Ruff waited for me at the top of the stairs.
I have to tell you about the game Ruff plays, it's call "Toll Collector". Whenever I go down to the basement he waits for me just as you see him here. If I am carrying something when I come back up he lets me pass, but if I am empty-handed I have to pay a toll to get by. The toll consists of sitting on the steps and giving him lots of kisses. Who can resist that look anyway.
By the way, if you happen to be one of the people who Follow this blog you may have noticed the little Follower Avatars are all missing. I don't know what caused that problem and the Google Help desk hasn't responded to my questions. According to the Help Forum several people have also reported the problem.
Around our house napping is a favorite pass time. We have, in chronological order, after breakfast naps, after lunch naps, naps before dinner and, of course, naps after dinner. Thank goodness the three Rottweilers don't have to worry about being on guard. That must be my job since I am awake most of the time. So here we have today's after breakfast nap but I seem to have disturbed them with the camera flash. This was, I think, the third or fourth picture I shot of the group.
And they are inseparable. These two spend their days together and their nights together. Axl gets upset when he is not next to his mom. He has a whole routine that he goes through just to be at her side. If my wife and I are sitting together on the loveseat watching television then Axl wants to lay down between us. And he always gets his way. Soon that gets to be too cramped so I usually go sit on the other couch and then he stretches out with his head on her lap. Axl has become so devoted to Jackie that when she leaves him alone by accident - like if she goes outside on the deck and he wasn't quick enough to follow her, he comes to me and makes very worried-sounding moans to get my attention, which makes me get up and let him be with her.
Resting Rotts -or- Couch Potatoes. Take your pick. Indoors play is somewhat limited due to inconvenient obstacles such as furniture and televisions. What else is a healthy Rottweiler to do? Well, how about going into Standby Mode, like the other gadgets around the house. Or just resting on the couch. I think I'm running out of different ways to describe this favorite activity of theirs. Anyway, enjoy the pictures.
I don't usually succumb to impulse buying but a few days ago I was in Sam's Club and saw a display for the iRobot Roomba vacuums. Two words jumped off the display and caught my attention: PET HAIR. If you own Rottweilers you know what I mean and if you own more than one Rottweiler you really know what I mean. So I bought it and took it home wondering all the time how it would be greeted by the rest of our family. In case you're interested, the model 585 was $279 which turned out to be a pretty good price and the reviews were mostly favorable, too.
I charged the battery in the robot overnight and the next day gave it a try. The first thing I found out was that my original plan to use this after we go to bed was not feasible because it is loud. Then I discovered after one try that the best way to use it was to keep it from wandering all over the house by blocking it into one room at a time. And it did a very good job. It got under the furniture in the living room and under the beds and dressers in the bedrooms and it chirped out a plain language message every time it needed its waste bin emptied. And when I used it in the living room where the charging station was set up, it plugged itself back in when it need to be recharged.
Oh, and how did the Rottweilers think of it? Axl took a look at it and then went up on the couch for a nap and ignored it afterward. I used Sassy's bed to block the entrance to the living room and she laid on her bed and watched it working. Ruff, on the other hand, followed it all over the place, nosed it a few times and tried to pick it up once. After the first time I used it Ruff left it alone.
I really love the way the little iRobot got under the beds and the dressers. And it did a really good job, too. Now if they could build a bigger model to cook, do laundry and dishes, I would be thrilled.
Here is a story without pictures. Sad, but true, so I hope you can visualize this in your mind.
Last Thursday our good friend Lucy came by to sit with Jackie so I could take care of some chores. After a brief chat I told her I had to leave to do some shopping. When I left, Lucy and Jackie were sitting together on the small couch in the family room along with Ruff and Axl who had taken up their places on the larger couch and the chair along with Sassy who was laying on her bed.
I went down to the basement to get my car and as soon as I backed it out of the garage I heard the three Rotties doing their wailing chorus like they usually do when Jackie and I leave them home alone. I had to go back inside to check this out because they have never before cried while someone was still in the house.
I could still hear the singing as I climbed the stairs. When I walked into the family room, I got a look of shear embarrassment from our three best friends who all acted like I had interrupted them in the middle of doing something wrong. Then I saw Lucy, who was still sitting next to Jackie on the love seat, she had a shocked look on her face because of what had just happened in front of her. As soon as the three Rotts heard the car start up they had all stood up and raised the noses toward the ceiling and began singing their heartbreaking song of disappointment. It was as if they didn’t realize there were still two humans in the house with them. Sitting right there watching the whole time.I wish I had seen it but then if I had been there it wouldn't have happened.
The weather was beautiful outside today. My wife Jackie was tending her flowers while her two protectors, Ruff and Axl, kept their eyes on her. I watched them from inside the living room and took these pictures through the glass storm door. That explains the glare from the sun.