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Posts Tagged ‘puppy’

Okay, so now I’m finally getting around to the story of how we completely lost all capabilities of reason and said to ourselves, “We have a somewhat smallish sized dog, a medium-largeish sized dog, a 6 year old, as well as ourselves all in our small house (which is jam packed with junk in every nook and cranny)… let’s buy a ginormous dog and keep it in the house!”

Sounds like a good plan, right?  Well at least it did to us.  Everyone else in the world didn’t see it our way.  I don’t think anyone else we know loves dogs as much as we do though.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure of it.  If we had eleventy billion dollars, I think we’d have a whole ranch full of them… some sort of rescue operation.  Dog Ranchers – I’m sure there’s a huge job market out there for it.  I’m just way ahead of the curve on this one… I can feel it.

So anyway, it was getting close to our 14th wedding anniversary and we were trying to decide what we wanted to do for gifts for each other.  With the economic downturn, there wasn’t a whole lot of options.  Flying off to Greece, dinner at Bobby Flay’s restaurant, or a scenic tour of California’s wine country were definitely off-limits (not like we’ve ever done anything like that anyway).

That’s when it was decided that we should find another four legged furball to join the family as our anniversary gift to each other.  We had narrowed it down to either a Goldendoodle (since they don’t shed) or a Great Dane after many, many months of research.  We love Jake with all our hearts, but man that dog can shed!  I honestly don’t understand why he isn’t completely bald.  My wife knits, and I’ve joked many times that she needs to learn how to spin that fur into yarn to cut down on her yarn bill.  Plus, it would be quite a memorial to Jake wouldn’t it?  Unless of course that snazzy scarf you’re wearing happens to get wet… then that could be rather unpleasant smelling I suppose.

It had also already been decided that the next dog would be a female and that her name would be Duchess.  I’d always wanted a Duke, but since a female fits better into the current menagerie, we had to make the switch to Duchess.

We’d searched for Goldendoodles for a long time, but they all were about $1,500 and we just didn’t have that kind of cash to drop so we opted for the Great Dane who is supposed to have the loving heart that we like in Golden Retrievers, but has somewhat of a more clown-ish personality.  We found out quickly that in Duchess’ case, the “somewhat” is more like “over the top” when it comes to clown-ish behavior.

The thing is, there aren’t many Great Danes out there – at least not in our immediate vicinity.  We had decided to make the six hour drive to go look at a litter after receiving some puppy pics via e-mail when we found an ad for some about an hour away.

We hopped in the truck and took off one Sunday afternoon to meet the owners of the litter.  They lived in the country and the guy was headed in town to play golf so we could meet them there at the course.  They agreed to put the puppies in their SUV, we could look at them, he could stay to play golf, and his wife could head back home.  We were only interested in a female and they only had one female left out of a litter of 12 so they put her in along with a male to keep her company for the ride.

We arrived in the parking lot that hot summer day and parked next to the mud-covered SUV that had seen its better days.  The guy got out with his grimy shirt and Crown Royal baseball cap… the kind of guy you cringe a little bit when they want to shake hands because you’re not sure if its been washed in oh… a few weeks.  You know, like he’s been eating fried chicken, changing his oil, and picking his body parts?  Yeah, that kinda guy.  The first impression was not the greatest let’s say.

We exchanged polite formalities (about as well as a guy wearing a Crown Royal baseball cap can do) and took a peek inside to see the pups.  And there she was.  This tiny little ball of perfection.  A beautiful merle Great Dane.  Both had been sacked out, but the male raised his head for a few seconds and wobbled a foot or so and collapsed again as I lifted Duchess out of the SUV.

Here’s where all emotion has to be set aside – look for the health of the dog, personality, quiz the owners relentlessly as if they’re in some sort of Dateline puppy mill sting… the usual drill you’re supposed to do.  Truth be told though, I knew we were coming home with that dog when I saw her.  Blame it on the puppy breath.

Please let me stress here how important it is to NOT purchase your dog from a pet store or from a puppy mill.  They operate all over the place and crank puppies out 24/7.  The dogs are living in the worst possible conditions and most are put down or worse as soon as they get too old to be effective breeders.  They sell to pet stores as well as to the public… so before you buy that cute little puppy in the window, stop and think about where it came from first.

The only things I was really concerned about was the overall health and that her personality would fit the calm submissive energy we were looking for (thank you Cesar Millan).  So we paid our $150 (she’s unregistered *gasp*) and took off to Petsmart to get puppy stuff.  By the way, I think that they need puppy showers just like you have baby showers… maybe I’ll write a Congressman about that or something.

After spending about 52038413 times as much on stuff as we did on the actual dog, we started home to get her settled in.  She rode in my wife’s lap and slept the whole way, grunting and groaning like a little pig.  I don’t know why Danes do it, but it seems to be a common thing throughout the whole breed.  She still does it a little bit now, but it’s a lot, LOT louder.

Here are a few pictures from her first night in her new home… my wife was determined that the only other girl in the house would have bling.

At 8 weeks old, she already had some gigantic paws.  Little did we know that these were formidable death weapons.

The comments we got when people found out what we had done ran the gamut.  “Oh how cute!”  “You did what?”  “That’s not a Great Dane, that’s a Catahoula.”  “Do you know how much that thing is gonna eat?”  “You realize how much that dog is gonna poop?”  And my favorite – “You…. are sooooo screwed.”

I still laugh when I think about that last one.  What we consider to be the best anniversary gift we’ve ever had would be an absolute nightmare to someone else.  I guess that’s not why every household has a giant dog in it (which should be against the law – everyone that has a sense of humor should own a giant dog at least once in their life).

But I guess that’s why a Dane is such a good fit for us.  When I’m awakened in the middle of the night (which is rare – it’s usually my wife that wakes up, and in a much less happier state than I) by the thundering crash of her flopping around in her crate to find the spot that’s juuuuuuuust right followed by a bellowing groan that sounds like Pavarotti after eating way too much at Taco Bell… I have to giggle just a little bit because I know the next day will be a whole new adventure.  And God willing, the day after that, and the day after that…

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