Friday, November 11, 2011

My Dream Dog

Tess The Dane (mix)
I always wanted a great dane. When Remy died, I looked up the local great dane rescue and was devastated when they would not adopt out to me because we don't have a fenced yard. So when I got the opportunity to foster Tess, a 10-month-old great dane/lab mix, I begged my husband to let me do it.

What I learned is that alot of people say they always wanted a great dane, but most people have no idea what they are getting into!

People call great danes the gentle giants. Tess was a classic example of this. The caveat is that they are, in fact, giant. They don't realize that when they step on your other dog's head it is not very nice or fun for the other dog even if they were just playing. And when they stampede through the house the way playing puppies do, it sounds like a herd of horses. (Not nice for the neighbors.) She is also very skittish - way beyond the point of shy. She startles easily and isn't terribly good about meeting new people, especially men, although she does warm up pretty quickly. She is neurotic about her potty habits - like she will only go in one place. You can walk on leash for 40 minutes, but she will hold it until you get to her special place. And danes eat more food than a normal three times as much. A bag of dry food that would last Teddy a week was gone in two days.

So although it was wonderful to get so many applications for Tess, I was relieved when one of the applicants had a great dane already. THEY would know what to expect!

I had very mixed feelings the night before I took Tess to her new home. I so wanted it to be perfect. And I wanted it to be not perfect so that I had an excuse to bring her back home to be my dream dog. I cried. But when I arrived in the suburbian home outside of Philly, I found that I was right in my initial reaction - it was the most perfect home I could have ever hoped for for my dream dog. The other dane chased her for a minute or two, and then they ran around the huge, fenced yard together for hours. There was no power play for toys or attention. She was super comfortable with all of the family members as if she had known them her whole life. I didn't even cry as I left - she was looking out the sliding glass door and wagging as if to say, "Thanks so much! This is great!" I got an email saying they played all afternoon until they finally flopped down in two tired heaps in the living room. How great is that??

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