Today, and every day, I’m thankful for the companionship and unconditional love of my Rottweilers. I’ll focus my fourth ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ topic with a walk down memory lane with Baron, Roxy and Apollo.
These two are not our first Rottweilers, and probably won’t be our last. Only Heaven knows why all dogs adopted by the Moss Family select me as their favorite family member.
I grew up a cat person. Yes, we had a dog, once, but it’s the cats I remember. I adored them; they put up with me. Ironically, I married a dog person and spawned more dog-loving offspring. At least my daughter had some affinity for cats, but gave equal time to dogs. In fact, Rachelle rescued Roxy from our local animal shelter back in 2004 or 2005. At least we had a fenced back yard. A good friend we knew from church also loved Rottweilers and helped train dogs, so Rachelle and Roxy went to obedience school together for the first few months. Roxy learned the commands well and even learned how to track and speak on command, not always an easy command to teach a Rottweiler.
A year or so later, my husband conspired with Rachelle to rescue Apollo, using the excuse Roxy suffered from loneliness. They took Roxy to the same animal shelter she was rescued from to meet Apollo, to see if she would like him and could get along with him. Apollo followed the pattern or all previous dogs we’ve adopted and looked up to me, but he really connected with Rachelle. Perhaps he was just playing along with the established canine hierarchy previously established by Roxy. When Rachelle left to attend college in North Texas, Apollo accepted his lot in life and transferred his loyalty, temporarily Rachelle hopes, to Terry. Apollo will get his annual Rachelle fix at the end of December, which she returns for a two week visit during her between-semester holiday break.
One of our previous Rottweilers, Baron, came from champion stock and weighed in over one hundred and twenty pounds (I don’t remember exactly, it could have been up over 130). He exhibited the typical male Rottweiler traits — grumpiness, protectiveness, aggressiveness, insatiable appetite — and still followed me around with puppy dog eyes. Because he was full blooded and registered, we never neutered him, so that probably contributed to his Alpha-dog antics; although King, an even larger, but older, Malamute, did not suffer foolishness. We lost Baron tragically to stomach torsion in the early 90s, leaving King alone again until he passed away peacefully at the great old age of fourteen.
We took more than ten years to adopt another Rottweiler. I blame Rachelle completely for the rescue of Roxy. I never dreamed I’d be buying (and hefting) forty and fifty pound bags of dog food again. Or annual trips to the vet to the detriment of the leather seats in my cars. Or finding dog toys that last more than five minutes (Tuffie Toys or a variant of the Tiger tested toys found at my local hardware store).
But for all my grunching, I enjoy walking either dog (rarely together, as they outweigh me and have incredible torque). Trips to the local dog park are a big hit with both Rotts, although Roxy, being older and slower, tends to flag sooner than Apollo, who can run and play all day long if given the chance. I come home each week night to wagging tails (or nubs in Roxy’s case) and greeted to a fresh round of snuffling and drooling.
Some breeds can self-regulate at meal time. In my experience, the Rottweiler is not one of those breeds. I often refer to the resident Rottweiler as a walking stomach. Therefore, I feed them both sparingly: a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening. Otherwise, Roxy would look like a beached whale in a week. Apollo, on the other hand, who is not a full-blooded Rott, often skips a meal because he’s not hungry and not driven by the need to consume anything that even looks remotely edible. When I board the dogs at the local kennel, I have to remind them to not leave any food lying around in a convenient dish, or Roxy will find it and consume it. She inhales her food. Seriously, I’m not joking, and I worry about her choking. Someday, I should post a YouTube video of Roxy at breakfast time, but it might be too short to believe. By the time I place the food in her dish, turnaround to scoop out Apollo’s portion and drop it in his dish, she’s usually done. Apollo then starts growling at Roxy to warn her away from his dish and I shoo her outside to the back yard, leaving him in peace to finish his breakfast in a leisurely five or ten minutes.
Once Apollo finishes his breakfast, he bounds up the stairs, prancing and bouncing around the great room in an effort to get my attention. I proceed to the other back door and let him out, provided Roxy doesn’t burst through the door as soon as I open it. Roxy hates being outside, especially if it’s raining or wet. Apollo loves the outdoors and gladly spends hours and hours exploring the backyard and keeping an eye on the neighbors and the frequent joggers, walkers and strollers. If he’d let me, I’d never let him back in the house, not because I don’t love him, but because I hate his non-standard issue long hair, which sheds continuously wherever he goes, wherever he lies down, even wherever he stands.
I am thankful for all the years we’ve enjoyed with our Rottweilers. I look forward to many more happy years of fun with Roxy and Apollo.