Friday, September 9, 2016

Till I see you again, Goodbye for now.


                       January 4, 2005 - August 11, 2016

                                            R.I.P. Otto        

Monday, October 4, 2010

One of these days...

For about two weeks now, two older men wearing athletic sport knit caps have been speed walking by our house. Their athletic pursuits have been driving Otto nutso. Otto hates people in any type of hats. I swear he hears them in his deep coma sleep and like clockwork at 4:30 zooms off the bed with full hackles raised and barks frantically until they pass. There is NO calming him down. When they pass the front window, Otto races into the bathroom to get rear sight of them, barking and growling all the while. When he can't see them anymore out of that window, he races upstairs to get a final more elevated view. Whew, they are gone out of sight...he strolls downstairs and leaps back into bed, lands asleep no doubt dreaming of "One of these days..." This routine has been going on every day again for about two weeks.

Dogs, like people, have routines. Every morning, when I open up the door to our garage to go out for our morning walk, Otto zooms past me and does his morning recon of the cars, their wheels and the base of the cabinets. Every morning I yell, "Otto, get over here" and once the garage has been securely checked out and when Otto is ready, Otto in slow motion approaches me, head down, head really down while I put his massive prong collar on his massive neck. Sad isn't it? For five years he has worn a prong collar and for five years he has hated it and I am pretty sure that for five years, Otto has thought to himself..."One of these days..." Too bad for him, the collar is effective. The collar helps to stop him.

When I was about 16 years old, I remember visiting my father during the summer. Dad employed a man named Joseph, who was the "housekeeper-driver-formal butler- cook all wrapped up into one nice but strange man. Joseph loved Dad, the two had been together for many years and Joseph created a sort of bizarre and entertaining formality to my father's life and to my summer visits. My father was a very VERY handsome man with no shortage of beautiful women around him at all times. Some might have wanted to cook dinner or worse, make breakfast for Dad, Joseph would have none of that. Joseph had his routine of preparing meals, serving them at precise times and preferred no one, especially not girlfriends or other such interferences ever be in the kitchen. He was a formal man who spoke King's English and always had a crisp white towel draped around his bent arm. I never understood the towel, it was never dirty, never wet and never used. The more the women tried to be of help or show off their domestic skills in hopes of attracting the exclusive eye of Dad, the more Joseph disliked them all. One can conclude that Joseph enjoyed his formal routine of being the exclusive manager of all aspects of Dad's home and life.

One late night, I went into the kitchen late after dinner hoping to find a leftover snack and found Joseph, slumped over the counter, eye glasses cocked with a short glass in his hand filled with blackberry liquor from the bottle that lived under the kitchen sink...he looked up at me and in a slurred voice said " One of these days... One of these days I'm gonna tell 'em all to kiss my ass." My sister and I still laugh about it.

I took Otto for his late afternoon walk and was speaking with my husband, vaguely paying attention. Vaguely still means two firm hands on Otto's leather leash. Around the corner, out of nowhere and suddenly within 15 feet are the two cap wearing speed walkers. I pulled back on Otto who was already in full awareness mode, I yelled to them "Otto is going to bark at you" whereupon Otto went low to the ground and lunged straight up in the air throwing me backwards on the ground with 1/2 of the prong collar still in my hands. He had broken the metal prong collar and I was on the ground and he was free. He leaped at their heads, he circled them and charged again with his chest brushing their shoulders growling the entire time. I was terrified, they were more terrified. This happened in a split second. I scrambled up and stood between the men and Otto and wrapped his leash strap around his neck. Otto was still growling. My husband yelling, "It's your hats, he hates hats." The poor older man took his hat off where upon Otto lunged again at him...fortunately to no avail. Otto didn't bite them. Everyone was plenty scared but no physical damage was done. The men kept going, I apologized profusely and we walked the rest of the block home in silence...

It was one of "these" days and it came to life...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Otto my X security guard.....

Over the last month, I have had workman in the house and in keeping with the strict guidelines on how to raise an Anatolian, I have been careful to make sure that each person that enters the house has a proper introduction to Otto. Otto's reaction has been consistently disinterested after about 5 seconds of sniffing, 64 trance-like seconds if the workman has a dog himself. Most people up here in Wisconsin have dogs and are not afraid of a big huge dog like Otto.

Earlier in the week, Jerrold, who had come to our house once before decided to stop by for a visit. He knocked (so he said) and walked right in to the kitchen. I was in the shower, oblivious to all. Jerrold said he heard Otto bark while he was knocking and when he opened up the door, Otto was standing at the door wagging his curly tail. Jerrold then walked into the kitchen with Otto in happy happy mode.

I had left some cut up summer sausage on the counter and Jerrold helped himself to it and then explained to me that Otto appeared hungry so he gave him a chunk as well.

Am I to understand that Otto who has never ever taken food from anyone, who has been on a grain free, meat free, preservative free diet..who hasn't had a MILK BONE in over two years is having a chunk of spicy summer sausage in my kitchen with a guy he met one time....just two old pals, chowing down some snacks together....while I am in the shower.

Otto, your fired! Good help is hard to find.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Otto seen him!

Scout catching some warm rays!

My husband has been secretly thinking to himself, "why the hell does doesn't she write something about my dog? Why is everything about Otto...Otto this...Otto that... Otto ...Otto, Otto, Otto!!! I think secretly he would like to have this blog devoted to his black lab Scout.

True, I seldom mention our black lab Scout. He is a wonderful dog. He is 10 1/2 years old and a true gentleman. He epitomizes the breed. He is loyal, easy, loving, needy and kind. If you asked Scout to "sit and stay" one time... say for 3 days or so.... he would. If you got lost in the wilderness and you were alone with just Scout and whispered, "Scout, lie down next to me to keep me warm and don't leave," he would do just that. He pauses in our driveway every morning, waiting for an invitation to walk with us. He is obedient and he is tolerant. He doesn't require a leash when outside, he has no ambition to ever leave your comfortable heel. He could be a poster child for the perfect Lab. Scout is a very nice, handsome, well footed, black Labrador from Champion Canadian parents.


About 4 1/2 years ago, while making a cup of coffee a man came behind me in our kitchen...shortly thereafter I decided that I didn't need a nice, needy and highly food motivated animal, I needed protection. It wasn't Scouts fault, he doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in his big fat head.

Enter Otto.

Otto isn't at all like Scout. Otto is affectionate but only on his very own terms and only to the people and animals that he chooses. He is independent in his thinking and isn't needy in the least except for the basics. He is never motivated by food from a stranger nor will he accept it. Good boy.

True, I clean his teeth, trim his nails, bathe him, feed him and pretty much cater to his every need and he barely acknowledges me. Also true that Otto would never retrieve anything unless he wanted to retrieve it. He would with 100% certainty leave me if he could get off of his leash if an attractive squirrel crossed our path. If I was lost in the woods he would not stay like ol' trusty Scout, no way, Otto would be like Elsa, born free to roam and eat deer poop. He might come back but the jury is still out.

But...if you are alone in the house and going downstairs in the dark, he will do a complete recon with just a quick whistle.

and he hears things before they happen...because Otto (like other Anatolians) has remarkable senses.

and if the doorbell rings .....Otto will answer first, insistent that he position himself between me and the door...he is no welcome wagon.

and even when he is in sleeping coma, paws up on my pillow..he has one eye open.

and above all else in our house, Otto has my back.

I was going to only write about Scout but even thinking about my Otto, my naughty bundle of joy, just takes me over!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Otto is going Holistic!

Yesterday I received an email from a woman who believes in holistic solutions to allergies and other ailments. I went to the Internet to investigate her suggestion of "Traditional Tibetan Healing remedies for modern ailments." She suggested that Otto try "Tibetan Allergy Support" ($33.00/60 pills) which as she claims "will help the root causes of why the body is having reactions in the first place by helping to rebalance the immune and adrenal systems." She went on to suggest Tibetan Kidney support...another $33.00, some Beta Sitosterol...another $21.00 and lastly, Xanthium....for 20 bucks.

Ohmmm ....Otto might be going Holistic but my husband will be going Ballistic! I think I better just try one bottle of the Allergy stuff.

I appreciate her taking the time to help us come up with remedies. I mean, nothing has helped either of us. Both of our allergies are just terrible and meds from any Doctor or from any over the counter prescription really offer minimal temporary relief so at this point our downside is nil...

I got a kick out of some of the testimonals. They are a far cry from the Mayo Clinic!

It might be of note that I don't even pause to look at the organic section of our market..and those bins of open grains and granola where little dirty hands have helped themselves on an hourly basis, I would rather starve to death...

But...all that negative thinking... well it is soon to be in the past. The cheeseheads are going to Tibetan meds!

I will try not to be alarmed that both Otto and I are going to be taking the same pills... comprised of things that I can't pronounce nor have I ever heard of...

Punica granatum -
Angelica archangelica -
Elletaria cardamomum -
Piper longum -
Tribulus terrestris -
Crocus sativus -
Mirabilis himalaica -

Who knows, maybe, just maybe there is some truth in all this holistic organic stuff. I am going to purchase one bottle and give it a whirl.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Full of Sheep

It would appear that my life revolves around Otto. He touches my heart every time he shoves his favorite toy "Moo" into my rear end...his attempt to be playful or his hint that I am resembling a Moo myself in the rear...So much of my day is consumed thinking about his needs and his happiness that sometimes it occurs to me that he is no longer just a dog, he is a mystical being that is somehow dictating the way that I live, where I go, whom I speak to and what I speak about.

Take for example my mother who passed away in October. I was estranged from her and her second husband for years and I was comfortable with that. When I learned that she was in the final stages of her life in the hospice ward my husband became insistent that I call her. He wouldn't let up. I thought about it and put my guilt meter on fast forward to the "what if's" and agreed that possibly it might be better to drop the dime then with a sweaty hand and a shot of scotch I called her room. The endless ringing was enough to make me terminal ill. She answered on about the 12th ring with a voice I knew I would never hear again. I identified myself and immediately told her how sorry I was that she was so sick. I could hear her trying to reposition herself to sit up.....silence and heavy breathing...and I wished I had made the shot a large double.

....and then in a fairly clear but heavy voice she said, "Tell me about the dog." I said, "Mom, his name is Otto, he an Anatolian Shepherd Dog from Turkey. He is bred for livestock protection and guardianship. He looks just like Mort." (Mother adored Mort. He was a huge great dane/shepherd mix dog that found us in Connecticut when I was about 16 years old. I found an old picture of Mort and Shotzie, our German Shepherd.

33 years ago, Mort greeted my first official "date" at the door by ripping his shirt at the neck ....which was subsequently the end of the date and soon the end of Mort.)

Fast forward to Ottoland...

I said to mother, "Otto is very protective and watches over me like I am his flock " and with that my mother said " That's because he knows you are full of sheep." We both laughed for the first time in so many years and through her rattle I heard her say, "Call means the world to me."


I don't think the whole conversation lasted more then a minute yet as corny as it sounds it covered a lifetime for both of us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Otto Madoff with my money!

It seems that everyone you meet is talking about how lousy the economy is. Everyone in our house has cut spending back dramatically, everyone except Otto that is. Best I can tell, he is having Salmon Fumé for breakfast and dinner!

Otto's allergies have once again flared beyond the tolerable zone and both he and I are desperate to find a proper solution. I have eliminated milkbones (heaven forbid a dog should have a MILKBONE with all their horrible additives...regardless that they have been the reward of every long lived dog that I have ever had...I have eliminated dairy since cheese might be the new poison.. I have dosed him like a junkie full of Benadryl, I have hosed his eyes with Neo-Poly-Dex, bathed him daily with relief baths and have contributed to my Vet's retirement plan at the expense of my own this year...all attempts sadly providing only temporary relief to Otto.

So now at the on going request of his breeder, I have agreed to start him on his third round of new food, a grain free food. She suggested that I switch from the Holistic Chicken food made up of hand raised organic, free roaming little peckers (for $48.00 a bag) ...over to a top quality brand called "Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine Formula."

Top ingredients are as follows: Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, canola oil, salmon meal, smoked salmon, etc..

You know you are in trouble when the dog food that you are buying is football field away from where everyone else is shopping.... a solid 12 aisles away from the "Purina One" which so successfully nourished my last three dogs till they were each about 122 years old. Otto's new dining pleasure is located in the only aisle where the sales people seem to be... next to the tiny $7.95/bag of hand rolled, grain free, organic, sun ripened, sweet potato treats (which I also purchased.)

Otto's new smoked salmon dinner has far better ingredients then any meal that I have eaten since the stock market went south. To make matters worse I had to listen to my husband complain for the 35 minute ride home about how ridiculous feeding a dog a grain free diet was...and how stupid it was that he couldn't eat milkbones...and how expensive it was that Otto now had to eat salmon...and how totally lame the whole anatolian world was..blah blah...blah. I stopped listening and began wondering if Otto's new diet was going to make him thirsty. Smoked salmon makes me very thirsty.

Time will tell. I will slowly mix the old food with the new and commence the process of eliminating any type of grains, dairy, meat and chicken from his diet hopefully within two weeks.... The testimonials are inspiring about going to a grain free diet especially for a dog with chronic allergies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Last night Otto and I tuned in to watch the working group at the Westminster Kennel Show. On their website, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is described as" an ancient breed (4,000 to 6,000 years old) from Turkey / Asia Minor that has been and is still used primarily as a livestock guardian worldwide. This is a true "thinking" dog, independent and capable of evaluating a situation to determine the appropriate response. They are highly intelligent, large, extremely fast and agile, powerful, determined, instinctively protective of their charges and very territorial. A "formal introduction" is necessary before tolerating strangers. They make an excellent companion with proper socialization and obedience training, as well as an owner who is always in charge."

Some other choice comments that I found on other websites describe traits that seem a bit more accurate to me:

They tend to bark at night and some like to dig.

They are intelligent and can learn quickly but might choose not to obey. Possessive and very independent, these are not the most obedient of dogs and are very strong minded and willful.

He will get up about every one to one and a half hours and circle the inner area, checking everything, and then lie back down in a new place. The dog quickly knows the usual activity and people moving in and out of its area. As long as nothing unusual occurs or appears, he will lie around doing nothing. (for hours and hours!)

and then there is Otto...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Translating Otto

Translated: I am going to kill you, blind or not!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Oh poor Otto, sometimes I think the poor dog just can't catch a break. He has ongoing immune problems. (And yes I am considering feeding raw. PITA. )

Twas the day before Thanksgiving and we were walking our usual route thru the woods when all of the sudden he turned towards me and tried to run between my legs! When he didn't fit, he started rubbing his muzzle frantically on my legs...I guess I thought my day had come, he finally noticed that I existed and was attempting to be affectionate for the first time in his 3 years and 10 such luck.

By the time we got home about 5 minutes later, his whole face looked like we had taken a baseball bat to it! He was swollen and itching, the welts on his face were raised, I have never seen anything like it. He had raised bumps all over his face. I stayed as calm as could be, Gordy who has never ever ever been good under any kind of pressure started yelling "this is bad..THIS IS BAD...this is bad" Obviously Otto was in trouble and having a reaction to something, I grabbed a magnum of benadryl and immediately called the vet's office. The receptionist listened while I explained what was happening and said kindly, " One moment, I will connect you to a vet technician."

I am not a rude person, at least I never thought I was...but something came out of my mouth and I don't exactly know who said it. "I don't want to talk to the Technician, NO, No, see, I need to speak to a VET, a Doctor right now, not a Vet Technician! This is an emergency!" and so I did...she connected me to the attending vet who said, bring him over immediately...and so I did...and they were waiting for me as I dragged Otto thru the clinic as he continued to swell and scratch.

A tear might have popped out of my eye but I am certain it was due to a few cat hairs lingering on the waiting room floor....

The Vet was so nice, soft spoken and kind as he examined Otto's face. He pulled out a shot of Cortisone (I think that is the third one in a year) and as he stuck Otto with a long burning needle, saying this wasn't the first case of severe hives he had seen in the last few days. Perhaps Otto got into a ground bee hive, perhaps it was a reaction to the manure being spread in the fields through out the county (for sale sign is going up any moment)..and then he said, maybe Otto is allergic to something that I am feeding a processed grain. I do give him milk bones, or shall I say I used to give milk bones...the over processed reward of champions..

It has been a few days and I am happy to report that Otto appears to be as normal as Otto usually is. A milk bone free, all natural grain free puppy biscuit is his new microscopic treat and all for now seems to be just fine. He remains on his holistic Chicken diet. I am watching everything he takes in to his mouth including the two baby mice and deer poop he snarfed down before I could yank him off..

He seems better but a bit lethargic. The HUGE orange snow plow went by the house at warp speed, grinding and flashing which normally would have led to a foaming growling beast...but instead he stayed quietly asleep on my pillow on the bed.

I hope he isn't aging prematurely or worse, have something terribly wrong with him. You know, I bet mothers who love their kids so much think the same thoughts every time they get sick...or every time they are late coming home...I hope he isn't....I hope he isn't.

Responsibility creates worrywarts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks and Giving

It's two days before Thanksgiving and the deer in Elkhart Lake are nervous! You can hear the shotgun blasts all over. There are four of them hiding in our woods, a mother and her babies....and Otto knows it. He is acting rabid and the windows are covered in Otto curses and ramblings.

Oh yes, life is all about Otto...except for 2 weeks ago when my sister bought an adorable 13 lb., 11 week old yellow lab puppy to stay with us for a few days. Then life became all about tending to the every need of Beasley, the world's cutest puppy. The most fun was taking her on little field trips in the car around town, it was like showing off a really really cute new baby! Everyone loves puppies, they make people smile. I love the way they run to the side, I love the way they smell. I love it that they are naughty.

I had expected the puppy to be intimidated by Otto. Otto expected the puppy to be intimidated by Otto. The puppy took one look at Otto and immediately charged into him nipping his feet. Otto looked at her as if to say, "Are You Kiddin' me??" He kept backing up and the puppy kept on coming at him. It was like watching a comedy show. Otto was very good natured and sweet with her even giving her a gentle KICK when she started chewing on his foot. I was proud of him. They were happily playing tug-of-war, my boy was gentle and kind, giving up his favorite toys with the tiny puppy thief.

One night during their stay, Otto was leaping over the puppy (and me!)Beasley was running and leaping after him, they were having the best time. Otto was putting on his best show, cornering tight and disappearing and reappearing, taunting her... until he cornered fast and came back she just jumped up and bit him....right in his privates! Otto took off straight up in the air like one of those hoovering helicopters yelping...from that point on Otto stayed clear preferring to remain up in my safe bed three feet off the ground and out of Beasley's reach.

I wonder what Otto was thinking when the puppy came in to his domain and stayed a few days. Was he wondering if he was being replaced by the cutest puppy on the planet? Was he happy to have a playmate (most of the time) Was he exhausted from all of the interruptions of his constant nap? I wonder if he thought that he now had one more thing to protect in his home...

I know one thing, I asked him for a kiss and I got one, just one, but it was the third one in four years so that tells me something.

Happy Thanksgiving, I am so thankful and grateful that I share my home with Otto.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bride of Wood Chuckie!

Early this summer I noticed a large chipmunk in our back yard or so I thought.....
Until this morning when Otto and I got a much better view.

It is either the world's largest chipmunk or the fastest growing woodchuck in Wisconsin.

Otto has been huffing and snorting all morning.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Noon Howl

From bad knees and bad backs to allergies in dogs, Cortisone is a miracle drug. I would like to stock pile a gallon of the stuff. Otto, at least for the past two days is 100% back to his old self. He slept across my legs early this morning something he hasn't done in 29 days. He renewed his skid marks by the front door. He howled at the 12:00 noon siren. I have missed that howl. You can hear the dogs throughout the village of Elkhart howl at noon. Otto didn't start out howling, he started out barking at the siren, probably thinking the flashing red fire truck was coming fast as it usually did in Chicago whenever the alarm sounded. It wasn't until I tossed my head back and howled at him like a wolf that he got the general idea to sing along. It must be something that affects a dogs ears. We used to have a German Shepherd dog that would howl every time I played the piano.

Poor Otto has been in the downstairs retreat during the August itch so when he came double stepping up the stairs for his daily 15 second howl, I was thrilled that he is finally feeling better, even it if it just for a day.

Poor dog, why does he...come to think of it, why do I have allergies? My husband, who has never had an allergy in his life is convinced that they come from a weakened immune system. (His multiple sinus infections which have resulted in IMMEDIATE TRIPS TO THE URGENT CARE FACILITY don't count.) When he discusses Otto's allergies or mine, he has the same look on his face as if someone has sneezed on his dinner plate.

So, August is the official month that Otto and I would like to eliminate from the year. We both live on Benadral, both break out and generally don't feel well. Otto lost 5 lbs. due to his non stop itching, I gained 5 due to lack of exercise in the extreme heat or what ever other excuse I can muster up. It just isn't our favorite month.

Thank heavens September is here and we both howling!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Waiting for the fall...

We went back to see the vet today for the second time in 29 days and poor Otto has lost 5 lbs. The vet said that this has been the worst season for animal allergy cases. She gave Otto his second $50.00 shot of cortisone and within three hours he was up barking at the joggers outside our house and gnawing on his bone. Those shots are like miracle drugs!

When we were at the vet's office, a beautiful German Shepherd came in while we were waiting to pay our bill. Somewhere between the moment when Otto was gnawing at his foot and staring at imaginary flies above his head (Otto's new insane favorite summer past time) he lunged with all of his might at the German Shepherd. His owner said one word to his dog and his dog sat down, oblivious to my growling, scratching, fly swatting, deranged Anatolian.

You would think that there would be some sort of unwritten code of respect amongst Shepherd dogs. I told that to Otto when I was taking him to the Ottowagon. You would think that from one shepherd type to another that there would be an unspoken, no bark rule. You would think that both breeds know that they are tough, smart, loyal, fierce animals that never need to flex their muscles unless provoked... Otto told me that I have been watching too many episodes of the Dog Whisperer and that was just simply not true and it was never going to be true for him.

Glad he is feeling better.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Otto's least favorite month

August is coming to an end and not soon enough for Otto. Otto is horribly allergic to August. Like clockwork, on August 1st, he starts gnawing on his feet. Like clockwork, 30 days later, a $350.00 trip to the vets office, 2 weeks of antibiotics and 18 benydral a day later....he is still gnawing on his beet red feet. It is hard to imagine that this hearty and fierce dog can get reduced to such ruins. He is thin, tired and joyless. He lives on the couch downstairs, in the corner of a dark cool room and only comes up when he needs to go outside. He doesn't even bark at the trailers and boats rattling by. Very sad. His eyes look so drawn and red.

"This will pass" I told him tonight when he came up to greet some labor day dinner guests then quickly retreated back downstairs to his couch to gnaw his feet in private. Poor Otto, he is too miserable to even consider being naughty.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Otto's summer

I like the reflection in his glasses. He thinks I am an idiot I know he does.

Elkhart Lake is the epitome of summer. There is an ice cream stand that serves fresh peach ice cream by a 16 year old that could be considered God's gift to summer time.

Everyone is having such a nice time...except for... you know who...Otto hates el-touristos with their boat trailers clomping down the road disturbing the Osprey's nest just below our house. Afterall, they do have babies!

Every morning, at warp speed, Otto visits the end of our 50 foot driveway and promptly tuckers out for the next mile of our walk. The dead morning june bugs fascinate him, he paws at them a few times before deciding that feel is better than taste.

The summers up here are like magic complete with lightening bugs that just thrill Otto at dusk. He jumps straight up in the air like he has springs on his paws and when he catches them, he spits them out like he swilled some Tabasco sauce...

Just when you think that life is peaceful......look what has come to our feeder every morning at 5:30 am. So much for quiet mornings....

Click on the picture for a close up of the masked foe!

Otto is going to end up in the insanery down the street...or I will from lack of sleep.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A cool reception.

It is amazing to me, I was called away to Indianapolis for 5 days. I was so worried about Otto's care having never really left him longer then a couple of days that prior to my leaving, I asked my husband Gordy throughout the day..."Will you be nice to Otto?" "Would you mind terribly putting a few drops in his eyes if they look red?" Would you mind if it wouldn't be too much trouble sleeping half off the bed because Otto prefers to take up at least 3/4's of the available bed space...Would you please check his toenails and don't walk on the grass, he might have an allergy to grass...don't ...don't just DON'T!"..... "Will you be nice to Otto?" That was my primary concern. I was tore up about having to leave him, it hurt my heart.

So off I went, worried every day that Otto's needs were not being met....worried..worried....worried...every free chance....worrying about the worry....worried about his eyes...worried about him becoming overheated...worried about allergies...

I have become my own worst nightmare as a parent of ...A DOG! I have become one those women that I used to think to myself, "God she needs to get a life!" I worry about Otto, I think about him and I worry, to me he is fragile and precious.

Finally I returned home this past Friday..Two planes, 7 hours of travel later, I finally walked in the door and got to see my furry pal. He looked wonderful. My reception? It was considered lukewarm, I walked in and he came to the door and turned his back on me. I said in my happiest of voices. ...OTTO! OTTO! OTTO! I missed you so much, thought about you all the time, I missed you!...Otto walked back into the bedroom.. I mean he turned and walked back in...sort of slowly.....

Okay, it is bad enough that he doesn't ever give me a little lick when I come home on a daily basis he does to complete having been gone for 5 days and receive this sort of greeting was really disappointing...he hates me. He must hate the fact that I clean his ears, clean his what ever needs cleaning...dream about how handsome he is...brag about him...write a stupid blog about him....trim his toenails, brush him weekly, brush his teeth...and so on...there wasn't even a wag...

Until the morning when I found him across my legs...I looked down at him and said, " Otto, I missed you and I thought about you all the time." He wagged his tail twice and went back to sleep.

Anatolians are tough.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


It is hard to imagine that Anatolian Shepherd dogs tolerate the heat well. Otto has been refusing to walk in the warmer temperatures. He has even taking to throwing himself on the ground, tongue fully extended in protest of continuing back home in the warmer weather.. While the house looks like a cyclone of dog hair, he still hasn't managed to cast off his handsome heavy winter fur coat so I am sure he is overheated...or just PLAIN LAZY.

The highlight of Otto's spring has been the daily visits by a lone female turkey. She comes everyday like clockwork, once in the morning around 8:00 am and again promptly at 5:20 pm to eat the fallen seeds from the feeders. On the top of the feeders we set out grape jelly and oranges out in anticipation of Baltimore orioles, my most favorite little spring darlings.

Turkeys love grape jelly. Who knew? It has officially made Otto crazy. Click on the pictures to get a close up of Ms. Tom.

On to the next feeder!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Otto and the Chipmunks!

This is Chippee, Otto's favorite new toy!

This is Otto's new daytime favorite!


Time to get the Windex! You need to click on the pictures to get the full steam and drool effect...

His entire body was shaking!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Otto exercise!

The Wisconsin winter has caught up with my waistline. I discovered fresh cheese curds and "fish fry" and put on a quick 10 lbs. I decided typing isn't the aerobic activity I needed so I went to the thrift store and purchased some 99 cent exercise videos. You know you are in trouble most of the exercise videos still in their original sealed box as opposed to all of the other well worn videos.

I set aside a little area in our home for me to watch the tapes and punch, kick or do what ever torturous activity required to shed the 10. I hate the thought of exercising, I prefer sitting, cooking, eating, even working appeals more to me then sweating away at a public place with equipment that has been touched by ANYONE...sickens me just the thought of it....

Otto has never seen me exercise except when I have to chase him to retrieve something he has taken or when I am doing aerobic vacuuming after his weekly brushings. My husband has never seen me exercise either aside from folding the laundry or cleaning the windows ( Otto's lookout posts) four times a day so the mere suggestion that I was venturing out to get myself a mat from TJ Max and a Billy Blanks (Otto's worst nightmare) Tae Bo tape was really amusing for him.

I wish I could describe better how my first 29 minute "Denise Austin" "Flatten those ab's" video went. Prior to going to "the room" to exercise, I put Otto in the bedroom, closed the door and told my husband that I would be back in half an hour...I wasn't even past the opening credits and "WARNINGS" in her video before the audience arrived. Otto, his 10 year lab pal Scout, and my husband all planted themselves down, as Gordy says, "Moral Support."

Have you ever had an animal laugh at you? Whereas my husband wouldn't dare, Otto was laying on his side when I started the sit up torture and every time I would raise my head (grunt and exhale) to my knees, he would wag his tail with his mouth open making like a chirping growling noise. He actually looked like he was smiling at me, for sure he was amused. This went on for about 10 minutes when I looked at my husband who was sound asleep on the floor...slightly snoring. He is like a baby, he can sleep anywhere regardless of anything...lucky guy..I have to have complete darkness, the right pillow...and must be all tucked in real tight and NO NOISE at all. I don't sleep too much between three snoring males in the bedroom.

Well, I made it thru the tape but decided that tomorrow, Billy Blanks, Tae Bo and I are going to have 30 private minutes, no audience, no moral support and no laughing dog.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Otto Quit Chasing the Deer!

I quit. The new sheriff is quiting and two weeks notice is served. For the past few days on most every walk, morning, noon, early evening and late night...there are so many deer outside our home, outside our doorstep- it is like a wildlife breeding area. We are growing deer here in Elkhart Lake! The snow is melting and deer are emerging from the drifts in large herds!

Otto has gone bonkers, he hates deer. From the moment we leave our house, his nose is high in the air, he walks on his tiptoes and his chest is puffed out. I have tried every trick I know to distract him and correct him- short of carrying the boiled skinless boneless free range organic smiling chicken breast that he enjoys every morning. Otto is very focused on causing bodily harm to the entire deer population. When he is in the house, he huffs at each window and races around the house, up the stairs, down the stairs, over and over again, the deer are visible from all windows.
It has been a record breaking snowy miserably cold endless winter and Otto has cabin fever. I don't, he does.

I think his dreams must be about busting thru the slobbery glass and running after his look-a-likes! If that ever happened, it would be the last time I ever saw him.....tomorrow I will bring the chicken with me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I am taking the kind advice of some of the more experienced dog owners, those who have left comments to me on this blog. With much appreciation, things are going remarkably well at least they have been for the past two weeks and four days. There is a new sheriff in Otto's life and as I start to believe that to be true, it transcends to Otto.

For example, who would have ever imagined that the simple way that I exit my home can set the tone for the rest of the walk. For the past 4,380 walks, Otto has pushed by me to get out first and I have consistently been catching up with him and being pulled by him. I was always under the impression that the lesson starts once we are outside when I can position him correctly on my left side. Boy was I wrong! A few days ago, new rules were enforced. Leash, sit, wait, I go out first and Otto gets to go out when I say it is okay. By the sixth walk, Otto was making eye contact with me instead of the door, that is a good sign.

The problem as I see it is "rules are rules" and I think in order for them to work, they must be consistently followed by everyone (husband) otherwise it is confusing to Otto and counterproductive to my efforts. We all have to exit the door in the same manner, consistently, not one day, one way and another day, another way...even when everyone is tired.

Getting Otto off the bed is a different story...I am not too sure about enforcing that rule especially when every morning he creeps into bed and lands asleep on my legs until I get up. It is quite sweet. I love this dog, he is my most unusual friend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pillow Fight!

Whew! We are almost unpacked from the Chicago move. Hopefully it will be years before we have to move anywhere again. It is still cold in Elkhart and we still have snow on the ground but it beats Chicago any day.

Recently we met a very nice couple and decided to have them up for a visit. I spent a solid two hours vacuuming up dog hair which is nothing new to anyone reading this. A can of Pledge and about a gallon of Windex on all of Otto's lookout posts and I felt like we were in pretty good shape, exhausted but tidy. Remember the little valentine's day pillow that Otto took such a liking to? Well, it had been relocated to my nightstand two weeks ago and he seemed to have forgotten it existed.

Just before their arrival, Otto was put in "his room" with his water and his toys, animal planet on the TV and a see ya later biscuit.

The couple arrived and we were having a very nice visit until about 40 minutes into it, she said, "I thought you have dogs, where are they all? All I keep hearing about is your Otto, where are you keeping him?"

Otto must have been listening at the door because as soon as she said his name, he started in with his version of, "Why I right here, behind this door, being such a good dog." Otto has many different barks and sounds that he makes. " Rabbit under the lounge chair RIGHT NOW!" bark is very different then "SOME ONE JUST RANG TO DOOR BELL" bark. The, demure, "I am hungry" is very different then "SNOW PLOW GOING BY" high alert bark.

So, we all ventured downstairs to meet Otto. I asked them to sit at the table rather then greet him standing up just in case Otto decided to do one of his flying tiger leaping dragon moves at warp speed. Sure enough, like a lighting bolt, he pushed by me at the open crack of the door and ran past to investigate the newcomers to his home. A few quick licks (how do complete strangers get licks and I can't get one.) The interest in the new people quieted down quickly....on their part as well.

For some reason, Otto ran as fast as he could up the stairs. It was as if the doorbell rang or something urgent was happening upstairs. The couple said something about how BIG he was then changed the subject to discuss something else. They did not rave or say "That is the most beautiful animal I have ever seen" either. While she was talking, I could hear the pitter patter above my head and some fast movements. I was trying to pay attention to her story but I was wondering what Otto was doing. I had a feeling either he was eating her boot that she so kindly removed when she entered in from the snow...or worse, dragging and shaking her purse around.

Otto had run upstairs very quickly and left us all, something that he wouldn't normally do unless it was to investigate if anyone else in the house. Normally he would have come racing back down the stairs.... right away.

He did.....with my Valentine's day pillow in his mouth. He had helped himself to it, right off of the back my nightstand........and the lady said, "Oh look, Otto brought us one of his toys!"

New friends, world's worst dog, two choices. "No, that isn't one of his toys, it is MY PILLOW!" Otto is now in the rear end up and front legs down, wagging and shaking the pillow in his mouth position. It was like he was saying, "Did you think you could just lock me in my room, exclude me from the party without any consequences? Did you think I had forgotten about YOUR PILLOW? That you HID TWO WEEKS, THREE HOURS AGO??"

Honestly, sometimes he is worse then having a child..I couldn't make a scene, if I got up to chase him it would make the situation worse because then he would have run in and out of the room, leaping by I just sat there and watched him, gnawing away on my little heart shaped pillow.

Ignoring Otto sometimes lessens his excitement, except in this case. He then went up to the new guy and jammed the pillow in his upper leg (crotch) all while making a low growling sounds which I know to be "Play with me" sounds but I am not sure that the guy believed me. Thank heavens my husband got up said the magic words, "Biscuit" and Otto went running after him... back to his room, dropping the slobbery little heart on the floor.

I would imagine that will be the last time they come over to our house!

Naughty, naughty, naughty.....

Saturday, March 15, 2008


This is the past......

It's official now, Otto is a Cheesehead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One blue ribbon dog

Otto has the classic coloring, fawn with a black mask and he comes from championship even though I neutered him AND my husband thinks he is a runt AND our uncle's brother said he was the "Smallest Anatolian" (that was the end of that friendship,) Otto does have one first place, blue ribbon for best puppy from the Waukesha Dog show. Who cares if he was the only Anatolian male puppy in his class and who cares if he stopped half way around the ring to relieve himself. He attended and won the only show he was ever entered in so I can say he retired with honors.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Anatomy of a nap.

Hmmm, I'm so sleepy...
I just can't stop yawning, I am soo exhausted...
Maybe a quick power nap would help...

Need to make it comfortable.......

I can't keep my eyes sleepy.....

I am going down..............

Can someone please close the blinds in here??


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Otto's Way

It was nice waking up in Wisconsin this morning. We all went for our morning loop and when we reached the end of our road, a couple was walking up the hill. They did not have their dog and they were in heavy winter clothes. Otto took one look at them and started barking and barking, he just wouldn't stop. My husband told me that was the couple who owned the female black lab that Otto went after last summer.

I could barely contain Otto. He was lunging, growling and barking at the couple which was not a good way to start my pre-coffee Sunday morning. I thought for the first time that he was actually going to attack without a visible fear of threat and I was plenty worried. My husband excused his behavior by saying to the couple, "Well, Otto must smell your dog on you." Then he asked them, "How was Lucky doing?" He told us that the cancer was in her leg, spreading fast and she could no longer walk but that she was comfortable....what ever that means and then suggested that they walk ahead of us. I knew the woman must have remembered Otto as the "Mean Dog" that had attacked without provocation, her old dog Lucky.

So, am I now to understand that Otto, from a distance, can smell the cancer of a dog from the clothes of the owner? Did he view the owners as a potential threat because of this smell? Can a dog smell other dogs on their owners clothes without the dogs being present from a distance?

I am going to have to look into this further, maybe take him to the entrance of a hospital or something similar to see his behavior.
Otto could be like a directional signal for the sick or soon to be sick. I, on the other hand, will be locked up in the mental ward ranting about Otto's abilities.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Otto meets the Burberry's

Otto is like a kindergarten bully with a black belt degree. His personality completely changes when we return to Chicago almost immediately after we pass the highway sign, "Entering Cook County." Sirens go off continuously from car alarms, police and the fire station down the block. I am sure that Otto is stressed out. Last night, he lifted his leg so many times that towards the end of our walk, he was just wearily brushing by posts with his leg just slightly raised... translated, I assume to mean, I am still here and don't you forget it.

My husband and I thought it would be fun to walk the dogs one last time around Wrigleyfield. There is still a good amount of ice on the sidewalks and it made it hard to stay upright, especially when Otto becomes "Otto the Sleddog." Around the bend at Wrigley, a woman was walking her schnauzer towards us and the sidewalk was pretty narrow. The woman had on a huge plaid Burberry scarf, matching hat and matching plaid boots. Her dog is wearing much the same outfit. He had little plaid boots and a little plaid winter coat. They were fast approaching us and HER Schnauzer started barking at Otto. To my immediate left and right were banks of ice. I said loudly to the Burberry's, "Can you please just wait there until I can cross the street?" She kept on coming, Burberry Schnauzer still barking. Otto proceeded to crouch down, he wasn't going to cross the street, he simply refused to move and he was starting to escalate the tension. Again, I asked the lady, "Please don't come by us, I am on the ice and I have no where to go , can you just give me a minute here...???" She then said, "Why do I have to cross the should cross the street, why do I have to???"


Then something came over me. I said to her," Better yet, don't cross the street, feel free to walk right by us...." I have no idea why I said that, I know better. I must have been overly exhausted with the whole moving thing. I know about liability issues so I must plead insanity on having uttered this comment...Otto, at this point was standing, (bootless and coatless,) lunging, growling and barking at her dog. I think he was calling her dog names, cursing at him in anatolian babble which drove the schnauzer insane. Burberry Schnauzer was lunging with his boots up in the air, and Mrs. Burberry was dragging him, still complaining about having to cross the street.

We have had enough of Chicago...I am dreaming about seeing the bunny under our snow covered lounge chair, the hawks in our trees and the old fashions at the bar.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The best protection of all

Our move from Chicago is starting to take place today. Otto is like a shadow over me in the City and I feel his protection all the time when I am here.

Click on the the picture and see if you can see him.

ADT has nothing on him...

I can feel him thinking so loudly, "don't you know that can only watch you from here, take me with you.."

Two more visits to the big City and then we are gone. No more bars on the windows, it is no way to live...I can't wait to return back to Elkhart Lake....neither can Otto.