Rest in peace buddy and give Roxy our love.
One year ago today, Terry and I laid to rest Roxy, our beloved yet ditzy female Rottweiler. I find it imminently appropriate that today is also the dark of the moon. When I walk out to the van this morning, I will quickly and easily be able to find Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the heavens, a fitting reminder of the brightest memories I have of Roxy.
For the last couple of months, Terry has been scouring the Internet in search of a female Rottweiler to rescue. He spends hours on the PetFinder web site. He has found several beautiful Rotties, but unfortunately they end up being two or three states away, and even then, when we call, they’ve already been adopted. We may even take a roadtrip one of these weekends to Omaha to a Rottweiler rescue organization up there.
Terry’s frustration with the search for a female Rottweiler has been first and foremost the poor quality of photographs taken of the adoptees. His second gripe is misclassification of dogs as Rottweilers. He has almost reached the point of purchasing a pure-bred female from a breeder.
I can understand how difficult it can be to capture a canine in a photo. Especially if they are young (puppyish and frisky) or even old (and tired and lazy and not wanting to be bothered). A Rottweiler looks best in profile, usually standing. This shows off the breed’s distinctive characteristics to best effect. Over the seven years we enjoyed with Roxy, I managed to capture her in profile numerous times.
As ditzy as Roxy could be (I often mused she should have been a blonde), she could occasional be a typical Rottweiler; the perfect example of the definition of hardheadedness: obstinate, stubborn, willful (sort of like the daughter who rescued her from the dog pound). But I’m not going to talk about the softer, more abstract aspects of hardheadedness today. I need to expound on something just a bit more concrete, and significantly harder: The density and unyielding properties of Roxy’s skull.
Have you ever been headbutted by a Rottweiler? I have, more than once (and I saw stars flash before my eyes almost every time). I didn’t go seeking contusions and concussions, but Roxy happily dished them out, most of the time as a byproduct of her exuberance to greet me or play or, come to think of it, if anything remotely resembling food became involved. And while I held my aching head between my hands and moaned, Roxy continued on, oblivious to the aura of destruction emanating from her thick cranium. In fact, she would stare at me, the picture of innocence, even while my eyes struggled to refocus through the haze of double or triple images generated immediately after impact, completely oblivious and waiting expectantly for me to interact with her.
Have you ever almost bitten through your tongue because a Rottweiler uppercut you unexpectedly with her head in her excited rush for attention? I have (and I took precautions to never repeat that experience).
When I asked Terry if he had any fond memories of being bashed by Roxy’s skull, he related an incident where he had called Roxy to jump up on our bed, where he had been reclining. She ran across the room, launched herself into the middle of our queen sized bed from a location roughly midway between the door and the bed and barreled into Terry. I hope he didn’t have his glasses on (I forgot to ask him that) but he did say his vision went black for a couple of seconds after the collision.
I spoke to Rachelle, who couldn’t remember ever running afoul of Roxy’s hard head. She must have been more agile than her aging parents and the ditzy train-wreck of a Rottweiler named Roxy.
It’s been three months, come Monday, since Roxy left us. On a much happier note, Rachelle celebrates the anniversary of her birth on Tuesday.
On this first day of June, an unofficial summer Friday start to a fantastic weekend, I went looking for an appropriate photo of Roxy to share with you. This one jumped out at me as a reminder of much colder days and Roxy’s resistance to all things watery. Although she did like to chomp snow, as you can see clearly above. But enough of that white cold soft solid stuff and on to more liquid indulgences.
For this week’s installment of my “Remembering Roxy” blog series, I wanted to expound upon Roxy’s love-hate relationship with water. Last week I mentioned her ability to out drink a camel, and prior to that I related her first trip to a dog park and her unintentional dunking in a lake. Roxy also had an aversion to baths, but she stood resolutely still in the tub while I quickly cleaned her.
But the weirdest thing Roxy insisted upon doing was interrupting family members while showering. It happened to Terry, as well as Rachelle. Terry remembers Roxy whining outside the shower door, until he opened the door and let her in. It took her a minute to realize the shower wasn’t exactly the experience she had thought it was, probably because she immediately got soaked. However, that didn’t deter her from interrupting someone else’s shower on a different day in the future.
I guess being a ditzy Rottweiler had its drawbacks, especially if your goal was staying dry.
My Memorial Day weekend edition of ‘Remembering Roxy‘ catches me scrambling after an incredibly chaotic week at work. I usually aim to publish these posts a few minutes past midnight on Fridays (thanks to automatic scheduling from WordPress). Not only did work leave me exhausted, but I spent many evenings this week either visiting with my daughter or standing for hours outside on a sidewalk photographing the moon (during the solar eclipse and playing tag with Venus). I woke up this morning and realized I neglected to finish writing about Roxy and door bells.
When someone rang the door bell at our house, before we rescued Roxy or Apollo, most of the time we couldn’t hear it. The physical bell is located in the basement in the area where the water heater and furnace reside, directly under the coat closet and the front entryway. Visitors could find themselves stranded on the front porch and may have resorted to calling our cell phones to get our attention. All this changed when Roxy arrived.
Roxy could hear the screen door opening. She would charge the door, growling softly but insistently. If someone knocked, she might bark, once, sharply. If the doorbell rang, without someone opening the screen door first, she would bark quickly, once, maybe twice, and then charge the door. I never worried about intruders with Roxy on patrol.
When Apollo joined the family, we noticed a marked difference in his attitude towards the door bell and visitors. Roxy continued to charge the door, and usually made it there first. Apollo barked loudly and frequently, but did not attempt to rush in front of Roxy. Rather, he would hang back and wait to see who came through the door, opting to circle behind them in his stealthy sneak attack mode. Roxy and Apollo made a great team. She charged in where angels, and Apollo, feared to tread.
Terry discovered that a door bell sounded during a commercial, television show or movie could cause both dogs to jump up and start barking. The first time this happened, they both ran to the door expectantly. One day, he teased them relentlessly, hitting the ‘instant replay’ button on the satellite DVR remote, replaying a commercial with a particularly authentic sounding doorbell. Eventually, both dogs gave him ‘the eye’ and grumpily went back to napping.
Howl you know unless you open the door?
Roxy might have been related to a camel. As far as we could tell, she only drank water from her two gallon dish once or twice a day. When she decided to quench her thirst, she could easily drain half or more of the water from said dish. And if we happened to be watching a television show or movie, we had to pause it because we could not hear anything over Roxy’s obnoxious slurping. It reminded Terry and I of Monty Python & the Holy Grail; specifically, the knights use of coconuts to simulate the sound of a trotting or galloping horse.
Terry remarked that he could hear her drinking half a house away, beyond a closed door and down the stairs in the band room. Rachelle remembered being able to hear her slurping while standing outside the house with the door closed. I just remember worrying that she would cause her stomach to torsion. We lost one of our previous Rottweilers in the prime of his life to that malady.
I don’t fill up the water dish nearly as often now. Apollo, stealth dog that he is, sips water silently from the oversized (for just him) water dish. He might be quieter than Roxy was, but he drips more water on us (deliberately or so I believe).
Five years ago, my daughter, Rachelle, wrapped up her senior year of high school. This year, the day before Mother’s Day, she graduates from college, which is probably the best present a mother could ever receive and I am truly thankful Rachelle persevered, am proud of her achievement and excited for her future adventures and dreams.
Back in 2007, Rachelle spent her senior year creating beautiful art, including a large self-portrait in oils that hangs in our great room next to the fireplace, several 2-D pieces, and another oil portrait of Roxy. She also received a I rating at the Kansas State Music Festival for her solo.
As a special Mother’s Day gift back in May 2007, Rachelle painted a portrait of Roxy in oil on gesso masonite, using the photograph I took below (in August 2005) as a basis for her painting. She finished it in just three days. This photo (below) of Roxy is one of my favorites, and spent months as my Windows wallpaper back in 2006.
The portrait of Roxy hangs in a place of honor in my kitchen/dining area and is almost the first thing you see when you walk in my house.
I even managed to include it in an updated avatar profile picture I took with my cell phone. I spent the rest of that Sunday afternoon updating all my avatars at various social networking sites, replacing the one I had been using (a closeup of Roxy from last fall) with the more recent one you see to the right. At least this way, people can recognize me and I can still provide a tribute to my favorite ditzy Rottweiler, Roxy.
Today marks the second month anniversary of Roxy’s death. We still miss her and continue to think about her often.
My last two posts on Remembering Roxy dealt peripherally with her main fascination with anything remotely food-like. Actually, let’s be completely honest, Roxy had an overriding addiction to food and anything closely resembling it. She had a particular obsession with paper products (paper towels and facial tissues, but not toilet paper … thank goodness!) and never passed a trash can she didn’t like (or that she didn’t want to root around in).
Roxy, like most if not all of the Rottweilers we’ve had over the years, lived for meal times. She was incapable of self-feeding herself (I’ve heard that some other breeds of dogs actually know when to stop eating and therefore can have more food put in their dish than they would likely (or should) eat at one meal). Most mornings, I would measure out a cup or a cup and a half of dry dog food and wait for Roxy to settle down (either sitting and laying down). Then I would dump the food in her dish, stand back and give her the signal that she could proceed. By the time I walked over to Apollo’s dish with his cup of food (a matter of a couple of steps), Roxy had finished her breakfast. I ignored her and gave Apollo his breakfast, encouraging him to eat it (unlike Roxy, you have to cheer Apollo on or he won’t eat). I’d then let Roxy out, and watch Apollo watching (and sometimes growling) at Roxy to keep her from snatching away his breakfast (which she would try to do if Apollo got distracted). Never mind that Apollo probably wouldn’t eat it or would take his own sweet time to consume his breakfast, he was not going to let Roxy anywhere near his dish.
I remember one weeknight when the band was over for practice and Terry demonstrated Roxy’s snarfing ability for the disbelieving guys. She convinced them of her food ferocity.
Several times over the years, if Terry or I forgot to close the door securely to the band room (where we kept the fifty pound bag of dog food and the dog dishes), Roxy would wait for Terry to take a nap and sneak downstairs for a snack. We could always tell when she’d succumbed to her stomach, not only because the dog food bag would be tipped over or otherwise disturbed, but also by the evidence of her distended belly. Roxy never learned to resist the bottomless pit that was her stomach, even though she would suffer for most of the day.
During the year before we rescued Apollo, Roxy would clear the kitchen counters for us whenever we left her home alone. She particularly liked my fresh baked bread. Terry got so frustrated with her they got into a scuffle over her behavior. I learned to put the bread (and anything else remotely edible) up in the cabinets with the plates before we left the house. Roxy eventually learned we weren’t going to let her starve and she didn’t need to raid the pantry, the counters or the trash can.
Earlier this year, we put a damper on her feeding frenzies by purchasing a slow-feed dog dish. As you can see from the photo to the right, the center of the dish is raised up, forming an O-shaped trough narrow enough that Roxy could not get her entire snout down into the dish. Any food put into the dish had to be lapped up with her tongue. That doesn’t mean she didn’t try her best to circumvent the dish’s designers. The very first time I fed her in the dish, she picked it up by the rubber seal around the bottom and shook it to dump the dog food out on the floor. Soon after that incident, the rubber seal stayed off the dish so Roxy couldn’t find any way to grab onto it and turn it over.
Both of Roxy’s dishes stand empty in the corner of the band room now. The bag of dog food I bought at the end of February still has plenty left in it. Most days I can only get Apollo to eat one meal, unless I bribe him with a can of ‘beef cuts in gravy’ dog food. You can tell he’s lost some weight, but some of that may be the both of our increased physical activity with my walking regimen. Every morning, I miss not putting the food in her bowl and making her wait, impatiently and with the drool polling on her paws, until I let her have at her food. You could definitely hear the sound of the wind created by the vacuum left in her empty dish a split second later.
In a not-so-subtle segue from last week’s post, I continue the story of Roxy‘s addiction to paper products (new or used – she wasn’t a discerning Rottweiler). She favored paper towels (usually snatching them from the trash as soon as you turned your back), but excelled at sneaking a tissue from a Kleenex box on an end table if she thought you weren’t looking. For the longest time, we couldn’t figure out why we kept running out of tissues so fast, especially when it wasn’t even cold or allergy season. We learned to keep the tissue boxes and rolls and cans up out of her reach, just like you would for a human toddler (but with more dangerous household items). Otherwise, Roxy considered every tissue box (and trash can) her own personal snack dispenser.