Gunther, Gertie, and Zoe

My wife and I would like to introduce you to our family of Great Danes.  Gunther, our baby blue weighs in at 140 lbs, Gertie, the Boston black, comes in at around 120 lbs, and baby Zoe, the runt, is a mere 100 pounds and she is the star of this story.

2 and 1/2 years ago, my wife lost her beloved Reba, a wonderful Weimaraner and her best friend for over 11 years.  In hopes of easing her pain, I located a Great Dane breeder and took her to meet the six week old, 12 lb baby blue that is Gunther and she fell in love with him almost instantly and so he came home to live with us.  In less than a week, we had Gunther in the emergency veterinarians office as he was extremely lethargic and we couldn\’t figure out what was wrong.  Gunther had such an extreme case of hookworms that he nearly died and only a blood transfusion saved his life at the time.  In a few days, things were back to normal and Gunther was doing what big puppies do.  Over the next few weeks, my wife and I read a lot of information from a lot of different people and locations to learn more about the breed and the things we would need to do, look out for, etc.  We read that Danes do better when  paired with a companion and so, we decided to get Great Dane # 2, Gertie.  We located Gertie online and contacted the breeder concerning getting her as a companion for Gunther.  The breeder was thrilled to know that Gertie was sharing her life with another Dane and with loving parents, however, I do feel she was relieved in finding Gertie a home as she was 10 weeks old and was one of two she had left from a large litter.  So, Gertie comes to live with her new family and to be Gunther\’s playmate and he hers.

Nearly two years had passed since adopting Gunther and starting down the road as a Great Dane Family.  In April of 2008, my wife tells me that she wants to try and get a rescue the next time that we look at getting another Great Dane as opposed to getting a puppy as most Danes who become the property of a shelter do not usually get a second chance as people see their massive size and fear not only the dog itself, but the care and upkeep involved as well.  Two days later, I get a call about a letter received by the Fairfield County, Ohio Humane Shelter concerning a Dane that \”we\” had inquired about.  Now, I had no idea, but I listened to what the woman had to say and informed my wife upon her arrival home that evening.  The following weekend, we took the four hour drive up to Lancaster, Ohio and met Zoe, small in stature, bones protruding, and had the look in her eyes of being lost, not really knowing what she had done to her master to be left in such a place, and she knew only one way to get attention and that was to bark, loudly and often.  The lady at the shelter informed us that she was the product of a puppy mill breeder, and had given birth to three litters in her two year life and then the breeder got rid of her because she had a problem in getting along with other female dogs, or at least that was the reason she gave.  My wife and I discussed the issue with the humane shelter and they assured us that if we wanted to give it a go they would take her back if we had any problems.  So, we brought Zoe back to WV to begin her new life, and hopefully a better life.

When Zoe arrived at our home, she was very apprehensive, as would be expected, but she remained meek while Gunther and Gertie \”checked\” her out.  She was very well mannered, she didn\’t get on the couch as did the spoiled babies that she was introduced to, she didn\’t know what toy was, or if she did she didn\’t know what to do with them.  It took her only a few days to be comfortable and to begin to loosen up a bit.  The following week, we took Zoe for her first checkup at our vet\’s office only to receive horrible news.  Zoe has cancer and although it has not spread and has not caused her any significant health issues as of yet, to take a chance on getting rid of it would require removal of one complete side of her lymph nodes and milk sacks and would require complete immobility for approximately 3-4 weeks which in a 100 lb Great Dane would be  a feat all in itself.  My wife and I decided that we were not going to subject her to this and that we would give her the best life we could for as long as she is able to receive it and who knows, God may allow her to live a full life now that she has a happy home with loving parents.  About two months after Zoe had moved in, my wife came home after work to find a total bloodbath in the kennel where the three Danes stay during the day while mommy and daddy are gone.  Zoe and Gertie had nearly killed one another.  Gertie had taken over 100 bites and about 70 to her front left leg and Zoe had two large holes tore in her throat.  My immediate reaction was one of anger and sadness as we had brought this \”bad dog\” into Gertie\’s home and this had happened to her and she definitely did not deserve it so I was going to have Zoe put to sleep for fear that this would happen again, and possibly worse.  Well, the next day, I took Zoe to work with me as I was going to take her to the vet that evening to have her put down.  That day, I was so torn and so distraught over the situation, I just didn\’t know what to do.  So, I sat down and let her lie in my lap and we ate pizza together, and I called my wife and told her that I didn\’t know what we were going to do but that I couldn\’t put her down.  We would try to find her a home as soon as we could.  That weekend, things had calmed down, Gertie was back home, and I decided to just divide the kennel into two sections so that they couldn\’t be together while we were gone.  With blessings from above, so far, so good.  Zoe weighed in at about 90 lbs when she came to live with us and now she is a bit on the chunky side and goes 100 lbs.  We work hard every day to ensure that they have the life they deserve and believe me, it can be trying with 3 Danes all with 3 different personalities but so far, it\’s working.  Here\’s a pic of the happy threesome.  Keep up the work Mark, both on the show, and in the Dog World!

Scott and Lisa from WV