We’ve had a lot of dogs on the farm. Thinking about the Rottweillers. I guess we had only two.
The first one had kind of a weird looking head. Gus was his name. He had seizures so we had to put him down. I think Dad got what was considered a good buy, but of course it didn’t turn out to be.
The second, Hans, is the one everyone remembers because he got so big. Well over a hundred pounds. He was a pretty good dog. He showed some aptitude for livestock herding, but was generally too rough.
I remember one time loading hogs with Dad. Hans bit into the rear of a hog and a chunk of quivering ham fell out onto the ground. We stopped having him help us load after that.
Another time we were checking cows with new calves out in the pasture in the spring of the year. The dogs liked to run along with the jeep or ATV and most of the time the dogs were very aware of the momma cows as they are protective of their newborn calves and will charge dogs or anything else that looks threatening. Hans never paid any attention to the cows. He just trotted along like the top predator he was. He must have gotten too close and one of the cows decided to chase him away and started towards him. Hans didn’t appear to notice her until the last instant when he turned and ferociously bit her on the nose. That’s all it took for the cow to hightail it away from him.
When we ran the calves through the corral for vaccinating and castrating, we always locked the dogs up because its already stressful for cattle to be corralled and seeing dogs just makes it worse. But dogs, at least every dog I’ve ever been around, always know what is going on in their surroundings, and when we let Hans out of the basement, he ran straight down the hill to the corral. We forgot about him until a couple of hours later when we saw him waddling up the hill, his belly visibly distended, filled with all the testicles of the calves we had castrated that day.
Hans was never trained as a guard dog, but he had some natural instincts. The dogs slept in a non heated porch in the warm months of the year. My parents would latch the screen door shut last thing at night. One morning when my Dad went out to do chores, he found the screen door broke open. He was kind of upset until he went to open up the driveway gates and found a golf club lying in the driveway. Someone, we never found out who, so it may have been someone with bad intent, was down our half mile dead end road opening up the gates into our yard at night. Hans sensed trouble and met them at the gate. They didn’t get the gates open, and they never came back for the golf club.