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Kindness.

Rion hated water. She would run along the shore line and bark at her brother swimming carelessly in the ocean.

Tiber had been whining for miles. His nose out the window smelling the tide and it was all we could do to hold him back from running head long into the surf .

But not my Rottweiler. She stayed on the shore. Her four feet firmly planted on terrafirma.

I didn’t know I wanted or needed a Rottweiler until one was dumped in my lap.

Rion was around 5 months old when she was rescued. I paid my father in law $1 for her because he had a rule about not being able to come back at me and demand money. So there I was with two puppies roughly the same age and different personalities.

The only bad thing to happen to Tiber as a puppy is he was bit by a neighbor dog and had stitches in his lip. This changed his outlook on other dogs and life. It made him have a stress reaction. He would drool and become very anxious when faced with greeting other dogs. So picture in a world where you’re walking two large dogs and everyone wants to meet the Labrador because well it’s a Lab. They are always friendly. Right? Tiber’s anxiety would turn to panic about meeting other dogs; in turn would cause the other dog to react aggressive. Rion would stand stead fast and patiently wait. She would then show her brother how to greet other animals and that not everyone is was out to hurt him. She fastly became his protector.

Rion, on the other hand, came to me with too many issues. She didn’t trust humans not to harm her. I was never really sure of her history but at first she didn’t like to be touched, guarded her food and generally thought she was boss.

I still remember putting her on a leash and teaching her to come.

I gave a tug and the command “come.” Rion pulled back and growled. At me. I was a little stunned. And then she did it again. I then looked at her and realized she was a little unsure and needed me to be sure. I narrowed my eyes at her and growled “come.” This time she did with a confused look on her face and she got rewarded with a ton of affection.

From there Rion and started building a bond. Things got harder and easier for that little puppy. I read every book I could on dog training and Rottweilers; soon tug and fetch were apart of our training. I immersed in socializing. Any place she could go with me; she went. Anyone who said “she’s such a cute dog” was asked to pet her. She wasn’t vicious, just unsure about life.

At 1 year old my shy and food aggressive Rottweiler has turned into my best friend and Tiber’s as it would turn out. She never let me go for a walk without her being on guard. Rion would always sit between me and whatever perceived danger. That was her job and she did it well. No one got close to me without her allowing it. Although loud noises would cause her to hide behind my legs and peek out. We all can’t be tough all the time.

Rion had a bubbly personality. She loved playing and she loved meeting new friends.Her whole butt would wiggle with excitement and I would swear she would smile at you. She loved to play, and her farts would peel paint off a wall.

One day I had come home and they weren’t in their yard. That led to a panic because I had dog stolen after he got out and these were two dogs. One being a Rottweiler. I looked all over and called their names and drove around. When I got home, they were back in yard. I checked the fence, a board was loose and could be swung from side to side. I moved the board and on the other side was another Rottweiler staring back at me. Turns out down the hill was a lonely friend. Learning how to open gates is how they would escape. That and the fact Tiber could jump. He could jump so high you could see his head over an 8 foot fence, which is why I start calling him the Flying Chocolate Lab.

Lots of preconceived notions come with owning a Rottweiler. People would assume she was mean. They would assume she needed to bred or wear a tire around her neck to make her stronger(yes I had someone say that to me). What no one understood is behind her job to protect me and her family was her huge capacity to love and be kind to every creature she would meet. She would lay down on the ground if a dog was smaller to play. She also let a squirrel chew her out for her barking causing him to drop his prize nut. Yes she sat and looked up him while he went on rant. I think she was as confused as I was while watching it.

One thing I didn’t realize with Rion is that her need to chew up the place was her crying for a cave. She needed a safer space to stay while I wasn’t home with her. The moment I put the crate together she crawled and laid down. I felt like an idiot for never figuring that out before. She eventually didn’t need one; after her passing Tiber needed it again.

I could write for days about this dog. This Rottweiler and her huge capacity to love. I felt like I failed her in so many ways. There are so many memories. So much joy and fun wrapped up with the two of them. They really were my constant companions. Rion. She has my heart.

Rion was my best teacher that in this world if you can be anything; be kind.

Rion (L) Tiber (R) enjoying dinner with their human