Categories
Bronco's Adventures

Leonbergers and Hamsters

Bronco gave us many funny stories and great memories. The book I wrote “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle” feature several dozen stories. I’ve told a few of the stories here in my blog, but my recent visitors have not seen the early ones. Instead of telling too many stories from the book I’ve decided to rerun of the earlier stories including this one. It also an improvement because I am including images that were used in the book. In the first telling of this story back in March, I used an unfinished image. Anyway, this story is about our Leonberger Bronco finding run-away hamsters.

A photo of Bronco’s friendly face
Bronco’s friendly face

Back when Bronco was young, the kids had pet hamsters—Moldova and Montenegro. The hamsters escaped from their cages sometimes, but Bronco usually helped us find them whenever they did. Claudia would tell him, “Bronco, find the hamsters,” and he would go around the house sniffing until he found them. One time he found them in the linen closet; another time he found them on a shelf in the living room.

On one occasion, a friend of David trusted us with his two hamsters while he and his family went on vacation. A couple of days later, Claudia noticed that the two hamsters were missing from their cage. The next thing she noticed was that Bronco’s cheeks looked puffy, so she said, “Bronco, drop it!” Out came the two hamsters, both unconscious.

Drawing of Bronco's face with puffy cheeks because he holds two hamsters in his mouth. Illustration by Naomi Rosenblatt.
Bronco’s puffy cheeks. Are there hamsters in there? Illustration by Naomi Rosenblatt.

In a panic, Claudia started performing CPR on the unconscious hamsters. She put one hamster at a time in her hand and gently compressed each tiny chest using the finger of the other hand. Fortunately, one hamster revived right away. The CPR didn’t seem to be working on the other hamster, but Claudia put both of them back in their cage, and soon the second hamster also woke up. We decided to keep the incident to ourselves. Hamsters don’t squeal.

Drawing showing Claudia performing CPR on Hamster. They came back alive. Illustration by Naomi Rosenblatt.
Claudia performing CPR on Hamster. They came back alive. Illustration by Naomi Rosenblatt.

The question is, Did Bronco try to eat the hamsters? Or did he simply find them and pick them up, intending to alert us to their presence? I’ve asked several people this question, including some who know Leonbergers well. The answer they give is that he tried to save them from whatever danger he thought they might have been in. If he wanted to eat them, they say, he would have tried chewing them. But clearly, he didn’t.

The hamsters may have felt differently about the situation and may have fainted from the shock. Who knows? Bronco was a hero on many occasions, but this time, perhaps, he was a hamster superhero.

Eventually our own hamsters died, but that didn’t end Bronco’s interest in them. When the first hamster died, we held a funeral. We put the hamster in a shoe box, said goodbye, put some flowers in the box, and buried it in the backyard underneath some bushes. But when we turned our backs, Bronco was there, digging under the bushes. Perhaps he thought he could save the hamster. So, we called Bronco off and tried again: this time I dug a deeper hole and put a wide rock over the shoe box before covering it. Now Bronco couldn’t dig up the hamster. When the second hamster died, I had learned my lesson and did the same thing.

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers.

This is the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.

This is the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.

These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Leonbergers

The Five Most Commented Posts

This is the front cover of the book The Life and Times of the Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger. The feature crazy and amusing stories about our late Leonberger as well as information about Leonbergers. The book will be available on Amazon and many other bookstores on July 3rd 2022. July 3rd 2022 would have been Bronco’s 15th birthday.
This is the front cover of the book The Life and Times of the Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger. The feature crazy and amusing stories about our late Leonberger as well as information about Leonbergers. The book will be available on Amazon and many other bookstores on July 3rd 2022. July 3rd 2022 would have been Bronco’s 15th birthday.

This post features a list of the five most commented blog posts out of the 26 posts I’ve made. Click on the photo to see the blog post. Check and see if you missed one or maybe more of them, and feel free to add more comments. I love comments.

Post-4: 21 comments so far – Bronco’s Hamster Search and Rescue

This is a drawing of our Leonberger with hamsters. Bronco was good at searching and finding run away Hamsters. His puffy cheeks are due to hamsters in his mouth and on the right a hamster is receiving CPR (it was successful). Click to read the story.
Our Leonberger Bronco was good at searching and finding run away Hamsters. His puffy cheeks are due to hamsters in his mouth and on the right a hamster is receiving CPR (it was successful). Click to read the story. Drawing by Naomi Rosenblatt.

Post-5: 21 comments so far – The Grey Muzzle Award

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco's Grey Muzzle Award from the Leonberger Health Foundation International.
Our Leoberger Bronco received the Grey Muzzle Award from the Leonberger Health Foundation International when he turned 12. Leonbergers, like all giant breeds, don’t live very long, on average eight years. The Leonberger Health Foundation International is trying to extend the life span of Leonbergers and in the extension all giant breeds.

Post-12: 14 comments so far – A Shocking Walk

A photo of a young, gangly, not yet filled out Leonberger Bronco. However, despite his youth he was still entirely unafraid of thunder and lightning, it was not very frightening to him.
A young, gangly, not yet filled out Leonberger Bronco. However, despite his youth he was still entirely unafraid of thunder and lightning, it was not very frightening to him.

Post-6: 11 comments so far – The time Bronco accidentally pushed Baby into a storm drain

This is a drawing of me rescuing our German Shepherd Baby from a storm drain while holding onto an agitated Bronco our young Leonberger.
Me rescuing our German Shepherd Baby from a storm drain while holding onto an agitated Bronco our young Leonberger. To read about this crazy adventure click on the image. Drawing by Naomi Rosenblatt.

Post-16: 10 comments so far – Bronco the Very Big Dog Bites My Behind

A photo of our very big Leonberger dog sitting in Claudia's lap. They are sitting in a red sofa.
Our Leonberger Bronco was very big indeed and he had powerful jaws. The only person he ever bit was, and was in my derriere. To read about this misadventure click on the photo.
Categories
Leonbergers

My Leonberger Post Number 20 Lists Them All

This is post number 20 for my Leonberger/Bronco blog. I decided to make it a list of posts. Not all posts were equally popular and maybe you missed the posts you would have liked the most. You can click on the link or the picture to see a post, then click back or “Home” (at the top) go back. If you read a post I certainly would love to get a “like” or maybe a comment.

Post-1: What is a Leonberger?

This image of a Leonberger summarizes the FCI Leonberger breed standard.
Summary of the FCI Leonberger breed standard (Photograph of Leonberger © Shutterstock/Eric Isselee)

Post-2: Our Leonberger Bronco

Photos of our Leonberger Bronco. Left: Bronco at 3 months old. Right Bronco at almost 13 years old.
Left: Bronco at 3 months old. Right Bronco at almost 13 years old.

Post-3: The Time Bronco Saved the Neighborhood

Two illustrations: Left: Trespasser at night spying on us through our bedroom window. Right: Bronco chasing off the trespasser (illustrations by Naomi Rosenblatt)
Left: Trespasser at night spying on us through our bedroom window. Right: Bronco chasing off trespasser (illustrations by Naomi Rosenblatt)

Post-4: Bronco’s Hamster Search and Rescue

Two illustrations. Left: Leonberger with puffy cheeks full of hamsters. Right: Hamster CPR (illustrations by Naomi Rosenblatt)
Left: Puffy cheeks full of hamsters. Right: Hamster CPR (illustrations by Naomi
Rosenblatt)

Post-5: The Grey Muzzle Award

Leonberger's live on average 8-9 years. However, the Leonberger Health Foundation International is working hard to extend the lifespan of Leonbergers. They give an award to all Leonbergers who have survived passed their 12th birthday. The award is called the Grey Muzzle Award. Bronco's award reads: The Grey Muzzle Award, for Leonberger longevity is presented with gratitude  by the Leonberger Health Foundation International to Bronco for offering hope and potential for longer lives for Leonbergers throughout the world.
Leonberger’s live on average 8-9 years. However, the Leonberger Health Foundation International is working hard to extend the lifespan of Leonbergers. They give an award to all Leonbergers who have survived passed their 12th birthday. The award is called the Grey Muzzle Award.

Post-6: The time Bronco accidentally pushed Baby into a storm drain

Our German Shepherd Baby in a storm drain. I am trying to pull her out while our Leonberger Bronco is pulling on the leash.
Me handling a difficult situation. Illustration by Naomi Rosenblatt.

Post-7: The Worldwide Independent Leonberger Database

Screenshot from the Worldwide Independent Leonberger Database, showing all the information on Bronco. More than 160,000 Leonbergers are listed in this database. That is most Leonbergers who've ever lived.
This screen shot shows the information about Bronco that appears in the WILD database above his full pedigree.

Post-8: The Day Bronco Stumped the Geek Squad

Illustration depicting a geek squad guy impressed by what the powerful bite by our Leonberger Bronco could do to a laptop.
Luckily the warranty covered both acts of God and acts of Dog (illustration Naomi Rosenblatt)

Post-9: Some Fun Leonberger Facts

The coat of arms of the town of Leonberg, Germany.
The coat of arms of the town of Leonberg, Germany, was allegedly the inspiration for the first breeder of the Leonberger, Heinrich Essig

Post-10: History of the Leonberger

Photo of Bronco at three months old. You can trace his ancestry back 120 years. A lot of interesting Leonberger history happened in that time.
Bronco at three months old. You can trace his ancestry back 120 years. A lot of interesting Leonberger history happened in that time.

Post-11: The Day Bronco Sniffed Out an Oncoming Insulin Shock

Photo of our Labrador Baylor on the left and our Leonberger Bronco in a sun ray on the right. Bronco may have saved Baylor's life by sniffing out an incoming insulin shock.
Bronco’s nose predicted an oncoming insulin shock

Post-12: A Shocking Walk

A photo of our Leonberger Bronco when he was young. Bronco was slim and a bit gangly when he was young. He would fill out later. He was full of energy, confident and not afraid of anything.
Bronco was slim and a bit gangly when he was young. He would fill out later. He was full of energy, confident and not afraid of anything.

Post-13: Bronco the Great Swimmer

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco swimming in White Rock Lake. Leonbergers are excellent swimmers and are sometimes used in water rescue.
Leonbergers are excellent swimmers and are sometimes used in water rescue.

Post-14: The Eye Drop War

Our Leonberger Bronco standing in front of a pet gate. Leonbergers are big and tall and can reach almost anywhere a human can. so pet gates are a good idea.
Gates we had around the house to prevent Bronco from roaming where he shouldn’t

Post-15: The Day an EF3 Tornado Ravaged Our Neighborhood. It was a tough day for us and Bronco

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco in front of our fence that was damaged by a tornado. He had also just had a toe amputation. He has a  plastic bag around his bandage.
Bronco, who was not at his best in this picture, rests next to our tornado damaged fence. We put a plastic bag around his bandage when he went outside.

Post-16: Bronco the Very Big Dog Bites My Behind

Our Leonberger Bronco was a very big dog with powerful jaws. Here he is sitting in Claudia’s lap/
Bronco was a very big dog. Here he is sitting in Claudia’s lap.

Post-17: When Bronco Swallowed our Neighbor’s Head and Teaching Dogs How to Greet People Properly

Our Leonberger Bronco standing in the hallway
Bronco in front of the hallway

Post-18: How to Publish a Dog Book on Amazon (and elsewhere)

This photo is a page example from The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger. It will be released July 3rd 2022.
Page example from The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.

Post-19: Are Leonbergers like bears, lions or wolves? Ask the Boy Who Cried Wolf!

Photo of a Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus) to the left and our Leonberger to the right. The humoristic text says "Canis Lupus, the Grey Wolf, is a fearsome and courageous hunter in nature. Canis Lupus familiaris, the dog, a close relative of the grey wolf, is sometimes also brave. This specimen bravely protects the life of smaller dogs and hamsters."
Leonbergers are big dogs and little boys may think they are wolves, but Leonbergers are very friendly.

Post 20, well that’s this one. Please like this post or any other post if you do or leave a comment.

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

Bronco the Very Big Dog Bites My Behind

Bronco was a big dog. As an adult, when he was not overweight, he tipped the scales at 135 pounds. He was significantly bigger than a German shepherd, and when he stood on his hind legs, he could easily put his big paws on a person’s shoulders, even if that person was almost six feet tall. Naturally, his size, combined with his energetic nature, made him a perfect dance partner, and Bronco loved dancing. His size and energy also combined to produce a lot of good stories.

Me and my Leonberger Bronco. Leonbergers are very affectionate.
Bronco was a very affectionate dog and a good dancer
Bronco our Leonberger was a very big dog. Here he is sitting in Claudia’s lap. He was 167 pounds in the photo.
Bronco was a very big dog. Here he is sitting in Claudia’s lap

When Bronco arrived at our house from the airport, for example, we had prepared a very large crate for him to sleep in. Unfortunately, even though it was spacious, he didn’t like it very much. As time went on, he decided that he wanted to abandon the crate and sleep with us in our bed. It was difficult to say no and listen to him whine at night. So Claudia lay down on the floor next to him and put her hand into the crate and petted him and held his paw. He loved that and was able to fall asleep that way.

Our Leonberger Bronco at 3 months
Bronco our Leonberger 3 months
Bronco our Leonberger 3 months old in black and white
Bronco our Leonberger 3 months old in black and white

Eventually, though, we relented and let him sleep in our bed. As the saying goes, “First they take your heart, then your bed.” But as Bronco quickly grew to 120 pounds, and then to 130 pounds, that arrangement didn’t work very well. We were three in the bed, and Bronco would sleep between us, a situation that became a bit crowded. Sometimes Bronco would push me with his paws until I fell off the bed and onto the floor. To my great relief, as time passed, he started to prefer the dog mattresses that we bought for him. On the other hand, Bronco was relatively easy to potty train. He quickly learned to go number two outside, but the peeing outside took a little longer, so Claudia hired a trainer from our veterinarian’s office to help us out. As a result, Bronco was mostly potty trained by four months old.

Dogs in our bed, including a giant breed. First they take your heart, then your bed.
First they take your heart, then your bed
Our Leonberger on our sofa. Not much room left.
One of our sofas was too big too be comfortable for people. It was perfect for Leonbergers.

I was often working long hours, and Claudia was at home with our kids, so it was she who mostly took care of Bronco, especially in the early years. She took him for walks every morning; she took him to the dog park, to go shopping, to Starbucks, and other places. She socialized him well. She also brushed him a few times a week, kept him clean, gave him medication to prevent heartworm and repel fleas and ticks,* and took him to the veterinarian’s office and the groomer. All of us in the family helped with the training, but Claudia did most of it. She grew up with dogs, so she knew what she was doing, and she did a very good job.

This medication also protects against infestations of chewing lice: see “Dog Lice:

What They Are, How to Avoid Them,” American Kennel Club, June 24, 2020, at

Ticks, fleas aw well as lice

Bronco was eager to learn, and he liked to go for walks, but he didn’t always finish them. When he got tired, he lifted his front paws up and scratched our legs. Then we picked him up and carried him. He loved being carried around like a baby. We carried him when he was thirty pounds and when he was fifty pounds, but at one hundred pounds it was time to stop.

Walking a big strong dog like Bronco presents special challenges. You need to be physically fit in order to control a Leonberger who isn’t listening to you. On several occasions Bronco yanked the leash so hard when I walked him that I almost fell forward. Did I mention that it’s not a good idea to wear flip-flops while you’re walking a big strong dog? When our daughter, Rachel, did, she fell face-first after. Bronco got excited and took off in pursuit of something. She shouted at him to come back, and he did. I guess he felt bad for her and returned. That was his personality.

Bronco our Leonberger was strong enough to drag a less heavy person. Drawing by Naomi Rosenblatt.
Bronco was strong enough to drag a less heavy person. Drawing by Naomi Rosenblatt.

One time, when Claudia was walking Bronco at White Rock Lake Park, just outside Dallas, Bronco saw a dog whom, for whatever reason, he did not like. He started running toward the dog and its owner. Claudia, taken by surprise, had a hard time controlling the situation. Bronco pulled her along as she tried to keep her balance. The man with the other dog saw that a potential confrontation was developing, and he loudly screamed, “Noooooo,” at Bronco. Then Bronco just stopped. He understood, and it all ended well.

Adolescent Bronco, still a gangly not yet proportional Leonberger
Adolescent Bronco, still a gangly not yet proportional Leonberger

It was incidents like these that prompted us to hire a professional dog trainer from Bark Busters and buy a Gentle Leader harness, which has a loop that fits around your dog’s nose. When your dog pulls forward, the motion gently moves his head to the side, redirecting his attention back to you. It may be a little bit uncomfortable for the dog, but it is certainly infinitely better than a shock collar, which is something you should never use.

One day I was standing in our living room, talking to the Bark Busters trainer. Bronco was standing behind me, and he kept poking my leg with his paw. I ignored him because I was in the middle of a conversation. Suddenly Bronco bit me on the rear end. It was not an aggressive bite, but it was a big one, and it hurt. He could easily have bitten me much harder, of course.

Our Leonberger Bronco and his confident look
Bronco’s confident look

I turned around, and there stood Bronco, looking at me with his happy eyes and wagging his tail as if he were completely innocent. I forgave him instantly.

I asked the trainer, “Why did he do that?” She said, “He was trying to get your attention, but you were ignoring him, so he bit you.” She continued, “He should know that he is not the one in charge, and he shouldn’t do that.” She knew what she was talking about. I should add that this was the only time Bronco bit anyone.

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

The Day Bronco Stumped the Geek Squad

At around the time the hamsters died, the kids had a laptop that they used for playing games and—allegedly—doing homework. One evening, when the laptop was folded flat on a table, Bronco calmly walked over to it and bit it, as if he were taking a bite out of a sandwich. He bit it very hard—so hard that his teeth punctured the metal top and the edges curled up on each side. The force of his bite made a loud cracking sound.

The boys and I stared in amazement. The laptop looked like it had been hit with a toothed sledgehammer. It really demonstrated the immense power of Bronco’s jaws. The bite force of a Leonberger has been measured at 399 PSI (pounds per square inch), which is significantly more than those of an American pit bull terrier (235 PSI), a German shepherd (238 PSI), and a Rottweiler (328 PSI).  See the link below. We don’t know why Bronco bit the laptop. Maybe he didn’t like the computer because of all the attention it got. Thank goodness we had an extended warranty from Best Buy.

Our Leonberger Bronco bit the kids laptop with devastating but impressive results. The Geek Squad employee was astonished. Luckily the warranty covered both acts of God and acts of Dog (illustration Naomi Rosenblatt)
Luckily the warranty covered both acts of God and acts of Dog (illustration Naomi Rosenblatt)

We took the crushed laptop with the huge bite marks back to Best. Buy and asked the technician if our extended warranty covered the damage. The man looked at the laptop, puzzled. He said, “Wow—I’ve never seen anything like this before.” He told us that we were covered under the warranty but that he was dying to know what happened. I explained to him that our very big and very strong dog bit the laptop. He said, “That’s the best story I’ve ever heard.” I guess our extended warranty covered both acts of God and acts of Dog.

Check this link “Dogs Bite Force Comparison,” at

Dogs Bite Force Comparison

uploaded December 26, 2020