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trjn - "...Of courageous determination or energy.  One who shows the pluck, endurance,

     determined energy, or the like, attributed to the defenders of Troy."





How Rottweilers Got Their Markings   


A long time ago, when men were alone and afraid on this new earth, the Great Being looked over all the dogs that had been created. He wanted that one special one, the one who would forever be the perfect companion for mankind.

There were fast dogs, long and sleek, there were massive dogs, slow but sure, dogs with keen noses, dogs with keen hearing and dogs who could hunt down lions. Dogs who could retrieve and dogs who could herd sheep. All of these were good dogs, but not what the creator had in mind.

Finally there was one dog. He looked rather plain. Medium to large sized, and all black, with a head like a bear and no tail. The dog was to be tested, to see if he was the one to be at mans side forever. And so the plain, black "bear like" dog was sent to mans fire. At first the men feared him. But the dog looked down....

" I am sent to be at your side, to be part of all the man does". "You are black and strong like a bear! What if you eat our children?" they spoke. "I would not do that, "said the dog,"for I love man."

For three days and two nights the dog went with man while he hunted, and helped track down game, he protected their flocks, and chased away the wild animals who sought to harm them. He pulled their loads and supplies, and guarded their valuables. On the third night, a small girl came to him. She was frightened by dreams she had. So the plain black dog laid with her, and his head rested gently upon her. As she dreamed of scary creatures, the dog entered her dreams and fought them off. If she dreamed she was lost in the darkest quicksand, the dog would run to pull her out. All night long the dog nevered from the little girls side. All night long he battled the demons in her sleep. When she awoke she hugged tightly her new friend, and kissed him once on each cheek, and above each eye. Her hands stroked his feet where he had waded in the quicksand, her arms hugged tightly his chest, and stroked his powerful muzzle and throat. Giggling and playing with her new friend and protector she even patted his behind. The child and dog became inseparable, and the dog felt only undying love for the child.

The Geat Being whispered in the dogs ear, then. "You have passed your test, for many dogs can hunt and guard and herd, but you were not only willing to give your life, you went into the world of man and entered his darkest dreams and fears. You did not run, but stayed by his side. You have earned the love of even the youngest child, as it should be". When the Great Beings voice faded like a gentle breeze, the plain black tailless dog shivered with happiness, and all the places the little girl had touched and hugged him became a wonderful mahogany color. And the Rottweiler was sent to be at the side of man, where is his place. But always in his noble heart is a special place of love, for the little ones, The children.



A Letter From A Dog To His Owner


My name is Max and I have a little something I'd like to Whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise.

It always seems like you are running here and there, often much to fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life. Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer.

See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The gray hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes.

What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit, a soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?

That is all I ask. To slow down if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing.

Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat.

Sometimes we age so slowly before your eyes that you do not even seem to know, until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes.

Still the love is always there, even when we take that long sleep, to run free in distant lands.

I may not be here tomorrow, I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the waters from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "One more day" with me.

Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have now, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor. And look deep into my eyes.

What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as "alpha" or as a "trainer" or even a "Mom or Dad," come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another's eyes, and talk.

I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general.

You decided to have me in your life (I hope) because you wanted a soul to share just such things with.

Someone very different from you, and here I am.

I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls.

I do not think of you as a "Dog on two feet"--- I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if even for only 15 minutes. Look deep in my eyes, and whisper into my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self.

We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.

Love, Max

(on behalf of all canines everywhere)





The Messenger


Copyright Jim Willis 2001


I dreamed I came upon a meadow
sunlit and fragrant, a small dog at my side.
As we walked on in silence I saw
across the blue ribbon of a river, a field,
where animal spirits licked the morning dew
from brilliant poppies...basked in sunshine...
batted at butterflies.

"Is this Heaven?" I asked.
He nodded yes and as we rounded a bend in the path,
I saw ahead a wondrous garden
surrounded by a halo of mist,
where animals and children lay among the flowers.
Cool breezes rustled leaves
and over all hung an aura of beauty and peace.

"Is this Heaven, too?" I asked.
"An honored place," he said, "for those who lived
a Hell on Earth - who died of neglect, torture,
unloved, unwanted and abandoned."

We walked on until we came to a precipice
that overlooked a dark canyon.
Lightning crashed above the horizon
and illuminated iron prisons on the desert floor.
I heard the wails of captive men,
the screams of women imploring for water,
railing against the absence of Light amidst an acrid smoke.

Before I could ask he answered, "These were their tormentors."

We continued solemnly
until the sound of laughter and music greeted us,
and we came upon a village square,
where carefree women, children and men played at games,
or walked arm in arm.
"They are happy," I said.
He agreed and replied, "These were their rescuers.
They are blessed above all."

I spent time among them until I awoke, bathed in a new peace.
For whatever this Earthly day may bring,
I knew that no wrongful deed goes unpunished,
nor is any saving grace without its reward.

I hugged my small dog closer to my chest
and blessed him as a messenger of truth and love.



A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

    After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, the wall was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough,he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

      "This is heaven, sir," the man answered.

      "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

      Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured,and the gate began to open.

      "Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

      "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

      The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going.

      After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man leaning against a tree, reading a book.

      "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

      "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there."   The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from the road. "Come on in."

      "How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

      "There should be a bowl by the pump."

      They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.

      "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

      "This is heaven," was the answer.       "Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was heaven, too."

      "Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates?   Nope. That's hell."

      "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

      "No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."




I will lend to you for a while, a Rottweiler pup, God said for you to love him while he lives and mourn him when he's dead. Maybe for twelve or fourteen years, or maybe two or three. But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief, you'll always have his memories as solace for your grief. I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return. But there are lessons taught below I want this pup to learn. I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true, and from the folk that crowds life's land, I have chosen you. Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain, nor hate me when I come to take my Rottie back again.

I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord Thy Will Be Done". For all the joys this Rott will bring, the risk of grief we'll run. We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may. And for the happiness we have known, forever grateful stay.

But should you call him back much sooner than we've planned,

If, by our love, we've managed, your wishes to achieve, the memory of him and his love, will help us while we grieve.

When our faithfull bundle departs this world of strife we'll have yet another Rottweiler and love him all his life.






You can't buy loyalty, they say.
I bought it though, the other day.
You can't buy friendship, tried and true.
Well just the same, I bought that too.

I made my bid, and on the spot bought love and faith and a whole job lot of happiness, so all in all the purchase price was pretty small.

I bought a single trusting heart,
that gave devotion from the start.

If you think these things are not for sale,
buy a brown-eyed puppy with a
stump for a tail.





By Jim Willis 2001

  When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad,"
you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.

  My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

  Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your home comings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" -still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. 

  I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

  As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

  There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

  Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

  I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers."

  You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you.

  You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked.... "How could you?"

  They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared..... anyone who might save me.

  When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry.

  My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The "prisoner of love" had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

  She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"

  Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

The End - Jim Wllis

  ** A note from the author:
  If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.










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