We got Duchess on Craigslist in November of 2007. She was about 6 months when we got her and her old family just wasn't able to give her as much time as they felt she needed. We first met with the old owner and Duchess to see what her personality and demeanor were like. She was the sweetest girl, and was super eager to please and perform tricks. She was very healthy and well taken care of. She was a beautiful American Pit Bull Terrier and was raised well. We called the owner back and said we were interested. Three years later she's a total daddy's girl and is very smart and obedient.
One of the first days we had with Duchess. Danny was moving in with his friend JR and we were setting up the room.
Danny and Duchess in my dad's kitchen.
This was a dog house we made for Duchess. This thing was awesome! It had a little door over the window and we made the dog bone nameplate.
Bandit, a 13 year old Chihuahua, was Danny's mom's dog, but he came to live with me for about 6 months during my senior year of college. Here is Bandit with a mini-helmet on............... :)
Diesel, the weiner dog in the middle, was JR's dog that got along really well with Duchess while they lived together.
Danny's sister Tessie with Duchess, Bandit and her dog Jessie, a King Charles Spaniel. I crocheted that awesome, hillarious hoodie that Bandit is wearing.
Bruno was the next addition to our amazing pack. Bruno is my baby. I love him and am obsessed with him... weird as it may be, I love this dog. :)
I got Bruno just weeks before my college graduation. The girls who lived above me in my college apartment had found a mama American Pit Bull and four small puppies on the side of the road in our college town. I saw Mama (as we started calling her) and the puppies on the porch and around outside. At first the girls offered me the little girl of the litter - she was adorable and all black. Danny wasn't sure about getting another girl because of already having Duchess. She ended up being called for by one of the other neighbors before I gave the girls an answer. I thought my opportunity to have one of these adorable puppies was gone - but I figured it wasn't meant to be. A couple days later the girls came knocking at my door asking if I wanted "Bo" - the biggest in the litter, who wasn't called for anymore. I could not say no - this was my chance. They called him Bo because of his little, strong bowed legs. He was a shiny, milk chocolate color with amazing jade-colored eyes. He was beautiful and an amazing find. I renamed him Bruno after the dog in Cinderella. It was similar enough to Bo, but he was the color of Bruno, the loving, innocent hound dog in Cinderella and he dreamed like him, flopping his paws around in a dream-chase.
Over the next couple of weeks, I really bonded with him. He slept with me, hung out in my room on my bed while I went to class, and played outside with the other puppies. Then we found out the original owner of Mama and the puppies was a local breeder who had reported his dogs stolen. After sorting everything out with the girls upstairs and the breeder we were able to meet Bruno's dad and see the kennel. Bruno's dad Bam Bam was an enormous, oaf of an American Pit Bull. He was 120 lbs. at only one year and was the sweetest, most gentle giant ever.
Today, we are so happy to have found Bruno and he is now a full 100 lb. lover like his dad. He was an amazing addition and got along with Duchess so well. They would play and wrestle all day and then fall asleep together.
This is Bruno and Lila, his sister that we almost got.
I love seeing how small Bruno used to be. Bandit, the Chihuahua in this picture, weighs 4 lbs. Bruno was so tiny! And now he weighs 98 lbs.
Yard sale day! The dogs hung out in the car.
We don't have any pictures of Bruno from about 2 months to 5 months because Danny's camera broke and we moved to Birmingham. Bruno grew on average 10 lbs. a month, so he was now about 50-60 lbs.
Attempted family picture!!! We all look kind of crazy though...
Camping in Georgia!!
This is Lookout Mountain area in Georgia right near Tennessee where hangliders take off from.
Above, Bruno had broken his leg jumping up and landing on it weirdly and had to wear this E-Collar. He would sometimes freeze when it was on him so we were able to get this picture.
Below, Duchess looks awesome.
Here's Bruno with his broken leg. The bright red thing is a cast cover that I crocheted to cover his cast so he wouldn't chew on it. It was becoming expensive having to replace his cast every week because he'd gnaw at it and get it off, and he'd knocked everything all over the place when he had the E-Collar on. I don't know why I crocheted a cover for it. I think it made sense at the time, I was probably crochet crazy at the time, too, and it ended up working well. Below, you can see the blue cast with the gauze on the inside. That's where he'd start to chew and get it loose.
This was the new apartment we moved into in October.
Bruno at Moss Rock.
Camping trip to Pensacola, FL.
This is a pumpkin we carved with an outline that we made from tracing a picture of Bruno from the computer.
This is my brother, Adam, holding Bruno like a (100 lb.) baby.... :)
Danny took Bruno running in the woods and playing in water, which he loves. Here is Bruno taking in the air in the car ride on the way home.
It's only fair to begin Hercules' story with a pregnant Duchess. But I suppose before that we should talk about both mom AND dad, as they were both guilty parties in this....
Here they are - mom and dad - Bruno and Duchess. Duchess had been in heat for a week or two and we had been keeping them separated as much as possible until we could get them both fixed. Meanwhile, we already had an appointment to get Bruno fixed for 7am one weekday morning. The evening before his appointment, we had felt bad about keeping Duchess in her crate a lot during her heat in order to keep them separated so we let her out while we got ready for bed. Behind our backs at around 11:30pm they had "gotten together". To make a long, horrifying story short, and as we were soon to find out, Bruno had gotten Duchess pregnant that night - 7 hours before he was due to be neutered. This was not something we had planned for or wanted, but we accepted it once it came along. Exactly 63 days later Duchess had 11 beautiful and healthy puppies, not a single problem with any of them or the birth (which we did at home in a plastic pool from Wal-Mart and help from Danny, who became a dog midwife that night!!!). They were born throughout the night spanning from April 13 at 9:00pm to April 14 at 5:00am. One by one, eleven 1 lb. or less puppies popped out!! There were 7 boys and 4 girls; they were: BJ (Bruno Jr.), Hercules, Duke, Two Face/Harvey, Frankie, Butch, Spike, Runt, Rings, Abby, and Seussa.
Here is where they all began.......
We had done a lot of research on dog pregnancy and them going into labor and we were very prepared for Duchess giving birth. Most of the research said it would take somewhere around 63 days, and exactly 63 days into her pregnancy, Duchess was displaying all the signs of being in labor. We closed ourselves in our room with the pool as our welping bed and all our doggie-birth-giving-tools.
Here is April 13-14!
I don't want to make theses pictures too big because it's gross and the dogs are kind of slimy... so I'll leave it like this, and they can still be seen.... This is right after birth. The middle tan one with white spots is Hercules. :)
Here is Hercules already laying on others. He was the biggest of the litter at 16 oz.
All the puppies with mama on day 2. Their ears and eyes are still shut at this point, and they squirm around like inchworms.
Hercules cuddling up with mama.
Biggest vs. Smallest. This is Hercules and Runt. Hercules was born 16 oz. and Runt was born 8 oz.
Hercules at a couple weeks. His eyes have opened and he's walking a bit.
We were pleasantly surprised that Bruno was a good dad!! He watched them like a hawk and made sure they were okay. He was surprisingly gentle with them considering he was 90 lbs. and totally unaware of his size.
Super cute picture...... Spike :)
Bruno keeping an eye on the puppies.
|Giving special attention to Runt.|
|This is all the puppies in a puppy pile!|
They were defiant and gutsy from the beginning!!!
|Sleeping Hercules :)|
|Herc fighting the paparazzi.|
These next pictures are of the puppies when they were about 2 months old. They grew so quickly!
This is Rings. Max still has her and she's still adorable.
We don't have pictures of Hercules again until he was 1 year.