Our poor unlucky rottweiler had to be put to sleep yesterday: a severe pancreatic illness was making impossible for him to eat, and despite daily vet visits administering massive doses of nausea-fighting drugs, he’s lost 13 kilos (out of an already scant 44) in three weeks and there’s a point when the pain of seeing him wither away overcomes the pain of having to make the decision.
Sauron was not the luckiest of dogs: we collected him four years ago from a Dog Rescue where he was brought after being taken him away from his unfit owner (why do people get large dogs they can’t possibly look after?)
The process of adoption itself was rather complex due to the dire fame rottweilers enjoy, as the volunteers running the rescue service are under the obligation of double-checking that the adopting family has the necessary experience and appropriate situation.
I always believed dealing with large dogs (as all of ours have been) is a matter of respect: they expect respect and are prepared to treat you likewise if you deserve it: your weapon is not physical (very hard to physically dominate a 50kg dog) but the tone of voice, which of course, you must use with coherence.
That said, we never-ever had the slightest aggressivity problem with Sauron; of course, he did not like strangers coming round the house and we strictly enforced a protocol whereby visitors had to be escorted in by a family member to make sure he understood they were welcome. However, during our summer charity BBQ we had up to 150 people coming over and he was very happy to play around with children and even other dogs, as if he understood that on that day the protocol was relaxed. In any case, unusual for a rott male, he accepted lazy Bellatrix ruling without argument so in reality he was more the sidekick than the hero: she would bellow the alarm bark and he would charge at the intruder.
An avid digger, he was an escape artist (another one !) and, as a consequence, a frequent guest of the local Dog Impound, but his biggest flaw was maybe his penchant for relentlessly hunting trespassing rabbits and hedgehogs: especially the latter carry many a harmful parasite and, as a result of these hunting expeditions, he did get all sort of infections, one of which was probably to ultimately take him away.
Bellatrix is now alone again and we fear she might become depressed so she will come to live with us in the house. We will need careful monitoring to avoid clashing incidents with our two cats, but she’s the most peaceful dog in the world. As for replacing Sauron, we still believe rescues are the place to go, but are now convinced that males are more prone to disease than females, and are beginning to have second thoughts about living outside. so we’ll have to think long and hard about this.
Here is a short video of the very first time Sauron met Bellatrix, in 2016