I didn't know much about rotties when I first got Henry, but he has helped me learn. He has been a little character since the day I brought him home in February 1991. He was happiest when we were out walking in the woods or playing ball or just lying on my lap playing with his toys. He was never one to get into the garbage or chew on furniture, but he loved to grab my socks and take off with them with that mischievous look in his eyes.
He potty trained easily and quickly (and I did NOT use the rub-your-nose-in-it method; I don't believe in it), but he knew that whenever I was on the phone, my attention was elsewhere, and he would immediately squat while looking me square in the eye! He knew what he was doing, the little imp! I didn't know whether to yell at him or laugh. Now when I'm on the phone, he just leans against me to get his butt scratched.
He's always been a smart dog, one of the smartest I've ever had. He needs to be shown what I want only once or twice, and he catches on. Of course, he's taught me all about that rottie stubbornness, too. My mother used to try to tell me he was dumb, and I'd tell her, "he's not dumb, he's stubborn. He knows darn good and well what you want."
He still steals socks if he thinks he's being neglected, and he still loves to lay on my lap and play with his toys (although at 105 pounds, it's no fun for me anymore!).
Henry is a food hound. He'll do anything for people food--even "sit up". I grew up with Dachshunds, and we always thought it was cute to teach them to sit up. Well, we didn't have to teach Henry--he taught himself, and if you think little dogs are cute when they sit up, a rottie is absolutely ADORABLE.
He also knows how to shake hands (or, "give me paw"). Henry has developed an allergy to people food, though, and most packaged and canned dog food, so he doesn't get those things any more. Since puppyhood, he was fed Nature's Recipe Lamb and Rice formula (both canned and dry), but he started throwing up alot, so then we went to the vegetarian formula dry food with the lamb and rice canned. After awhile, he began throwing up again. He's been eating Science Diet natural formula with a little ground turkey and garlic mixed in and is doing so much better.
Henry is usually so sweet, cuddly, and calm, it's hard for me to accept that he can behave in a ferocious and aggressive manner, but he surely does. When the builder came to try to finish the deck, he had to quit because he thought Henry was going to break through the double-paned glass slider (we weren't home), but when he came back to do it when we were home, Henry greeted him like a long-lost friend.
Henry can act like such a wimp sometimes, that I used to wonder what would happen if someone threatened him while trying to break into our home, but no more.
When I first met Henry as a puppy, he was more interested in playing with his littermates than in being affectionate with a stranger, and I mistakenly thought this meant he would be aloof even to me. HA! He may not follow me from room to room all the time, but he will lie in a strategic location so that I (or anyone else) have to get by him to go in or out. And when I'm working in the yard, he assumes his watchdog role, lying near but always with eyes and ears alert to what's going on in the neighborhood. Although he loves my husband dearly (Henry was two when we started dating), it is clear that Henry's loyalty always will be with me first.
I have had many canine companions in my lifetime, but Henry tops them all. He is the smartest, sweetest, funniest, cuddliest, most loyal, and has the biggest heart. I wanted Henry for a friend and companion, and he has surpassed all my expectations. He is now five years old and beginning to grey slightly around the muzzle. We've had alot of experiences together in those five years, and he helped me make it through some really rough times. No wonder he's getting grey.
Joy C. Rogers, Olympia, Washington, at email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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