Jed the Rottweiler – the early years
Before we got Jed in 2006, we had another rottweiler named Henry (who I shall write about another day) a beautiful big Teddy bear with a huge head and the soppiest demeanour. He had died of an osteosarcoma in his back leg at 8 years old. We were inconsolable when he died.
Anyway, having decided (in my opinion) that rottweilers are the most fantastic dogs on earth, I did some research on finding a line of rotties that, hopefully, wouldn’t have the cancer gene and found Cameus Rottweilers in Wales. Coincidentally, when I contacted them, they were expecting a litter of pups that June. I felt this was meant to be and I would have another soppy dog, just like Henry…
… How wrong could I be?
Jed was born on June 11th and we had weekly updates on the puppy’s progress during the 7 weeks before going to collect him. Before picking him up, Cameus told me they had earmarked a puppy for me but when I went to collect him, they had changed their minds because someone wanted to buy a brother and sister, so as the puppy I was going to have was really closely bonded with his sister, I agreed to have a different one. As far as I could see, they were all very similar.
Cameus Rottweilers were situated up a very long and winding lane that went up a high hill. I thought I must be in the wrong place. My poor mini. The bottom kept hitting the ruts that had been left by tractors and other vehicles. But when I reached the top, there was this lovely house and beautifully looked after rottweilers, who were obviously much loved. Their home was spotlessly clean. I remember marvelling at how it could be so clean with all these dogs roaming around.
We were given all the paperwork and paid for him, were given lots of good advice and told if we changed our mind, we were to give the puppy back to them, not go selling him on or giving to a rescue home.
When we got him home, I began to wonder what on earth I had brought back with me. He turned into the puppy from Hell. You couldn’t cuddle him or stroke him as he just wanted to kill you and take over the world. If we shouted at him, he argued back and would run the ‘wall of death’ round our living room. Leaping over all the furniture, racing around like a gremlin possessed. At one point he was hiding under the sofa and when my husband bent down to see where he was, he tried to attack his face. I called Sue at Cameus Rottweilers to ask for their advice and they were at a loss as to why he behaved like this but offered to take him back. There was no way I would give up on him. Looking back, I now realise, he was probably terrified and left his mum a bit too early.
I took him to the vet to get him checked out and he tried to attack him. The vet said, “You have got to deal with this”. I said I intended to. In my head, I was imagining having this huge wild animal, chained up round the back of the house where he couldn’t kill anyone. It was like having one of the dogs from The Omen. Where was my lovely little puppy that was meant to be like Henry?
So after a couple of weeks, living with this little monster, I contacted Amy Hatcher, dog psychologist. She came round to meet Jed and as he sat in front of her, she started to stroke him. His eyes were big and dark, with his ears pinned back and he looked so angry but she said he had to learn to be stroked and she wasn’t going to take any notice of his attitude. Gradually he calmed down when he realised it wasn’t going to hurt. Amy said he wasn’t a dangerous dog, just a bit abnormal. So, we continued to stroke him. These days, Jed can’t get enough cuddles and when we’re out for a walk, he’ll go up to complete strangers and lean on them to make them stroke him. We also took him along to the vet just to stand on the table and take treats, so he wouldn’t be scared of the consulting room. He had his tail docked as a tiny puppy, and I think this experience must have been the cause of his fear of the vet. To this day, he worries about silly things like stethoscopes and thermometers, until he’s shown them and he has a little sniff, seeing there’s nothing scary about them.
A short time later, I took Jed to puppy classes and he excelled at learning. He was obviously extremely intelligent and just knew what to do. He was a right teacher’s pet and Jed was always the one called upon to show the other puppies what to do. I was so proud of him then.
When we got Jed, we had an old dog called Zak, He was 11 years old and was a cross Rottweiler Labrador. He was really good at teaching Jed dog etiquette. Jed would tease him endlessly, playing tug of war with Zak’s tail and pouncing on him from time to time. Zak would put up with so much, then tell him off when the little tike got carried away.
As time went on, we decided to get another dog to keep Jed company, so Zak could have a rest. It was then, my husband went to the RSPCA and found Annie. A six month old mongrel stray from Ireland. She was so sweet and quiet in the kennels and she was a dog who smiled like a person, which was very comical. Henry also used to do that, so my husband fell in love at first sight and she with him. We took her home and the sweet quiet dog turned into a bonkers dog who wouldn’t be dictated to by Jed. She came straight in and took his chew. I thought Jed would kill her. She was very small and thin and he was fully grown by then.
But she could easily outrun Jed, and when he did eventually catch up with her, she just fought like an alley cat and he backed down. I presume, because of her previous life, she had become very streetwise to survive. Annie only had half a tail, so she must have lost that in an accident of some sort as well. And when she strutted around shaking her booty, the short tail would swish from side to side. It looked very comical. She was such a flirt with other dogs.
Zak loved Annie and became a Geriatric teenager following her all over the place like a love sick youth. Jed also loved her and the two of them were inseparable, always playing – with Annie always winning. Lying next to each other eating their chews each day and racing round the garden playing chase. Or, trying to get down rabbit holes.
It was a lovely time but unfortunately, there was a cruel twist of fate and Annie died in a freak accident down the garden. She wasn’t even 3 years old.
I let them out one evening before bed and, as usual, they charged down the garden in the hopes of catching some small mammal that might be out there. Suddenly, we heard this awful screaming and I ran down the garden as fast as I could to see Annie lying on the ground screaming. I thought she’d broken her leg as I gently touched it and she let out another scream. After a short while, which seemed an eternity, she stopped screaming and tried to get up. Her legs were straight out behind her, devoid of any movement and I knew she’d broken her back. By now, my husband had joined us, so I rushed indoors to call a vet, knowing it would probably be hopeless. It seemed to take ages to get through to the emergency vet after listening to an answerphone message on our vet’s number. I called the emergency vet and she told me to put her in the car and bring her along. An 8 mile drive. I said I thought her back was broken but I don’t think she believed me. She just said “bring her along and we’ll see”. We gently rolled her onto a blanket and used it like a stretcher. My husband held her in the back of the car and kept reassuring her as she made little noises but she died on the way to the vet. I have lost several loved ones over the years but that is still the worst day of my life. I have tears rolling down my face as I type this 5 years later.
Jed was devastated. He’d already lost his beloved Zak aged 14, six months beforehand. And now, his best friend. We don’t know if they collided running down the garden (Annie was always looking backwards to see where Jed was) or if she crashed into a tree. But Jed just stood there looking horrified a few yards away and when we brought her back from the vet after she’d passed away, Jed kept growling at my husband as though he’d killed her. Jed has never really played with a dog since that day. I think he blames himself. We got another dog, Millie a month or so later as Jed just didn’t seem to have much interest in anything. Just living each day with no fun things happening. Millie loves Jed, but he was a bit aloof to her. And over the years has barely played with her at all. Just the odd occasion of a little run around. But she follows him all over the place to see what he’s up to. One day, they got out the garden and went off over the fields, coming back hours later with a large marrowbone. We had been looking for them all over the place. Worried they’d got lost or been hit by a car.
So, we got another dog from the RSPCA. A lovely teddy bear of a rottweiler. Very similar to Henry, called Diesel.
Poor Millie. It must be like living in an old people’s home for her.
Jed’s not unhappy, just doesn’t want to socialise any more. Preferring to go rabbit hunting when out walking or in the garden. Sometimes, he tries to literally get down rabbit holes. I don’t think he realises how big he is. He gets very worried when meeting large dogs.
It’s very strange, but Jed is a very slim rottweiler. Which is great for his joints. But his family are all wide and chunky like you’d expect a Rottie to be. I always joke that he must be some sort of ‘throw back’ which is why he has such a strange personality. I also think he might have some sort of autism, as he would live happily anywhere. If you leave him in kennels, or he has to stay at the vet for a while, he doesn’t give a damn, as long as he gets lots of cuddles.
When he was about 3 years old, we were over the fields one day and Jed suddenly took it into his head to tease a horse called George. He’d never taken any notice of George before but suddenly got the devil in him and tried to play tug of war with the horses tail. Now George was extremely tolerant but after a while and me shouting at Jed to let go, heel, come here etc. All the while being ignored. Geoge kicked Jed in the leg. He yelped very loudly and limped off. I thought, he must have done some damage but Jed seemed to stop limping by the time we got to the car. However, a short while later, he started limping again and also occasionally he had limped on his front legs, since a puppy. So, we went to the vet who suspected a cruciate ligament problem in his hind leg.
Off we went to Fitzpatrick’s Referrals and saw the Supervet. He investigated front and back legs and Jed had to have two Biceps ulnar release (BURP) procedures and a Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).
I fully expected him to become lame a couple of years later. But seven years on, he is still like a mountain goat, zooming up and down steep hills chasing rabbits and squirrels whenever possible and, touch wood, has never limped since. Apart from getting a miniscal injury on his operated leg, which is related to the TPLO apparently. This was easily sorted though. Except Jed managed to get to the stitches and pull them out before it was fully healed, so now he has a small lump of skin and tufty fur on his knee.