Our journey with our Rottweilers has been filled with ups and downs.
This beautiful breed won over our hearts starting in 2008 and it’s hard for me to imagine having any other kind of dog.
These gentle giants have caused us to belly laugh so hard it brought us to tears. And we’ve shed tears for sad reasons with our sweet dogs too.
I wanted to dedicate a blog to our dogs because they are part of my family and have brought so much to our lives.
We have loved 4 Rottweilers in our family and each pup has had quite the story behind their lives. They have brought us more joy than I could ever express, and some heartbreak beyond measure.
The Story of Duke
I hope this next statement doesn’t change your opinion of me. But here it comes. I DID NOT want a dog.
It was 2008, and Doug and the kids had been after me for months about getting a dog. Understand, I didn’t grow up with animals, so I didn’t really have a data point for what owning a dog meant.
But all I could think about was the following: who is going to walk, clean, feed, pick up the poop, take care of, train, vacuum the dog hair and manage a dog? I was working full time, had crazy hours, had enough on my plate and really didn’t want to take on ONE MORE THING.
“I’ll do it,” said Kylie, then 8. “I’ll help!” said Trevor, then 3. “Pleeeeeeezzzzzzeeee Mom!” the kids would beg. “How big of a deal could it be?” my husband would ask.
The idea was met with even more resistance when my husband, who was DILIGENT in his research of the best breed for our family, hit me with his ultimate find… we should get a ROTTWEILER!
Can you imagine? I’m already freaking out about how we’re going to manage a dog and he wants some humungous breed like a Rottie? O.M.G.
And in addition to that revelation, he tells me, there’s a Rottweiler named the COUNT at a local rescue not far from our home. Of course there is.
So, we head over to the rescue, only to find out that “the Count” had found his forever home earlier in the day. Yep, I was relieved.
But I agreed to look at some of the other dogs and puppies to see if it was possible that there was ONE I could agree too.
As we were playing with some puppies, one of the rescue volunteers came over and asked if we were the family who was asking about the Rottweiler.
When we confirmed, he told us that the family who had adopted him was returning him because, apparently, the Count didn’t do well with cats… and that family had a feline.
So, we hung out (and I’m thinking, how can I say no to this dog now?) and awaited our meeting with the Count.
Within 2 minutes of our meeting in a grassy field, my daughter, Kylie, looked up to Doug and said, “Dad, he’s the one.” Trevor, who at age 3, only came up to the dog’s nose, seemed at ease around this big dog. He was gentle, friendly, and I will admit, a handsome creature.
We found out he was a purebred, found abandoned in Maryland, and had clearly been trained. The records showed that it was estimated he was about 1 1/2 years old.
We showed up with no leash, we didn’t have dog food, dog bowls, or anything in anticipation of bringing him home. But, in a moment of weakness, I looked at Doug and said, “You better get him in the car before I change my mind.”
As we drove away with DUKE (Kylie renamed him instantly), a tear rolled down my cheek, as I was still wondering to myself, what have we done?
Well, as you might expect, what we did was make the best decision I could have ever imagined for our family. Duke was pure joy. He loved the kids and our family. And boy did we love him.
He was the best dog anyone could have ever asked for… especially for a “first” dog, for someone like me.As you probably guessed, Duke quickly became MY dog. I loved that sweet boy so much.
He LOVED the water, especially our pool, and would gracefully glide across the length of the pool like Esther Williams! Seriously, he was the first one in the pool and the last one out.
Duke also loved going to the beach and would splash around in the waves for hours! He loved being around people and I can tell you that everyone who met Duke fell in love with him.
There’s so much more about Duke’s story… I’ll have to write a whole blog about his journey another time.
He passed away in 2014 after a long battle with cancer. He just wouldn’t give up. He was my magic sparkle dog.
I believe with every ounce of my being that it was no accident that he was returned to the animal rescue that day so that we could bring him home. He was meant for our family. The universe made sure of that. Duke helped my heart grow. He was truly my friend. And I miss him every day.
And now for Brosky!
Before Duke passed away, we welcomed another Rottie to our family.
Brosky was just a puppy when we brought him home.
I think Brosky liked Duke more than Duke liked Brosky, but Duke was really slowing down and I think it was hard for him to keep up with Brosky’s puppy energy.
Rottweilers are known to be an intelligent breed. And let me tell you, Brosky is smart. I really believe he understands things we ask him and is able to tell us or show us the answer.
He’s also the most protective of our dogs. Especially of me.
If there’s someone new in the house, he stays between me and that person until HE feels it’s okay. He is definitely my guard dog!
Brosky loves to be outside. Like Duke, he loves the beach, the pool, the deck, the warm sun. He loves to go for walks and loves to go for car rides. He’s also a bit of a clown.
When he wants to play (he loves to play chase or hide and seek with Doug!) look out! You’re signing up for at least 30 minutes of fun.
Brosky is well-trained, so he’s great around people and other dogs.
He does develop “crushes” on girls! There are several of my friends who come over and when Brosky recognizes their scent, he’s relentless in his pursuit to get their attention.
Maybe we should have named him Casanova?
Brosky is getting a little older and is starting to gray around the muzzle. I often cuddle with him and whisper, “you were my first puppy ever! ”
Brosky and I attended dog obedience classes and puppy kindergarten together (remember when I was worried about who was going to take care of the dog! I love it!).
He is loyal, loving, and funny.
And although he is starting to slow down a little, we eventually got him a little buddy to keep him on his toes.
After a few years as an only child, we decided we’d bring Brosky a playmate.
Enter Wilbert, named after Philadelphia Eagles great, Wilbert Montgomery. This little guy filled our house with such fun and laughter. He was quite the character!
Aren’t Rottweiler puppies the cutest? And to quote the daughter of a friend, “Wilbert is the cutest puppy of all the puppies that were ever puppies!”
His fur was a little fluffier than Brosky’s, so he always felt so soft. He was also a total love bug.
He thought he was chihuahua in size, and therefore saw nothing wrong with climbing up, with all 125lbs of his body in tow, and plopping right down in your lap.
I grew to love those cuddles!
While Brosky was clearly the alpha, he tolerated a lot from Wilbert, who at age 4, was still as playful as when he was 1!
They were best buddies, never far from each other and love chasing each other around the yard, playing tug of war with toys, or just snoozing on the deck.
Wilbert was a little quirky. He licked. A lot. Especially the fabric on a pillow or your leg. Or arm. He liked to eat paper. And he loved cucumbers. He was also the absolute happiest dog on the planet. I’ve never met a dog like him.
He was just. so. sweet. Sometimes he was a bit needy, but if you gave him 10 seconds of loving, he’d move on.
I came to learn that he just wanted you to know he was there and that he loved you. And wanted to be loved back.
And really, can you resist that sweet face?
Saying Goodbye to Our Sweet Wilbert
In 2021, we lost our sweet Wilbert. So many of you sent kind and comforting messages my way and I cannot thank you enough.
I never imagined we’d lose him before Brosky.
In fact, Doug and I always mentioned that he would be such a comfort for us when it was Brosky’s time to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
But after an aggressive pancreatic cancer diagnosis, we knew our precious pup wouldn’t be around for a long time. I collapsed on the floor and couldn’t catch my breath when the doctor told us we’d probably only have a few weeks with our sweet boy.
He stuck it out for longer than we expected and we did our best to keep him comfortable day in and day out.
He loved his peanut butter spoonfuls and we even gave him some of my homemade vegetable soup… the dish was one of his favorites.
It wasn’t easy when Wilbert passed. But to know he wasn’t in any pain and that he was with Duke in heaven provided some much-needed comfort.
In fact, the day before he took his final turn, out of nowhere, he started howling at us. Not in pain, but in the melodic way he often did when our local township tests their tornado alarms.
I think my sweet Wilby knew it was time. And he was letting us know how much he loved us and not to be sad and to thank us for bringing him into our family.
We’ve all had a hard time getting over Wilbert’s death. He was only 5 years old. We wanted more time! And he deserved more time too.
Our Newest Addition: Minnie
Our first thought when Wilbert passed was that we would love on Brosky as an “only child.” The same way we did after Duke passed.
But we couldn’t get past how playful he always was with Wilbert and so we started to look into getting him a playmate a few months after Wilbert passed.
Doug and I checked out rescues and always seemed to just miss adopting the dog we thought might be a good fit.
And then, we found her.
Minnie’s name is a bit of a play on words because when it comes to traditional Rottweiler size, she is “mini!”
But this mini Minnie is mighty. She had to be, as her history is one that breaks my heart.
What we learned about Minnie is that she was found wandering the streets of Philadelphia. And that the shelter she was rescued from was a high-kill shelter. Especially for certain breeds, like Rottweilers.
We quickly discovered that Minnie had to scrounge for food as she would sometimes scavenge around our house looking for more to eat. And that toys, especially stuffed animals, are like to gold to her… she covets them!
Can you imagine? A dog that never had a soft toy?
But as we spent time with Minnie, we also learned this about her… someone trained her. She knows commands. She is house trained, and she can “shake.”
And now that it’s been almost 2 years of unconditional love, Minnie has softened.
She loves to cuddle. She loves to be petted. And she’s learned how to play with another dog instead of being afraid.
I don’t know if her protection instinct or the length of time it sometimes takes her to just relax will ever fully go away.
But I hope, that the last years of her life make up for the stress, fear and abuse she must have endured before we met her.
I’ll Always Be A Rottie Girl
It’s amazing how these furry little (big!) beings wriggle their way into your heart. I don’t know if I ever thought I could love an animal so much.
Truly and deeply love. But I do.
I’m so thankful to have experienced this affection with all of my Rottweilers. And while losing them is far from easy, I’m so blessed to have their memories close to my heart forever.
From our furry home to yours,
Jill, Brosky and Minnie