When my dad came home with 2 Great Dane puppies, we, meaning the family, didn't quite realise just how big these dogs were to become. In just 12 months, we could have strapped saddles onto their backs and rode into town they got that big! The Great Dane dog is no pushover, and is an animal that should be carefully researched before anyone decides to go out and bring one home. My dad, who is an ardent dog lover, even admitted that 2 was a little more than we could handle as a family, and sadly we had to make a choice and find a another good home for one of them.
It's a well-known fact that Great Dane dogs are among the largest dogs on the planet. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from a light tan to white with spots to the deepest black. Although Great Dane dogs are very big and have a foreboding bark to match their size, those who know them, realize that these dogs are big babies. In fact, Great Dane dogs have been said to be an ideal pet for those living in apartment building complexes because they require very little exercise and actually prefer to remain sedate for most of their days. However, don't be complacent, as Great Danes eat plenty, and take up heaps of room.
My father did a lot of research on Great Dane dogs and he decided to get ones called the Harlequin Dane. These dogs are mostly white, but much of their coat is covered with black spots. Their ears and muzzles also tend to be mostly black. This unique appearance is most similar to the markings of a Dalmatian, and this variety is not as common as the fawn colored Great Dane dogs, made popular by the cartoon strip, Marmaduke.
Great Dane breeders are easy to find, just do a search online to locate your nearest one. In addition to breeding Great Danes, these guys are a mine of information and therefore a wonderful resource for tips and advice about caring for these big beauties. There are also a number of Great Dane rescue and re-homing centers around the country and this is another good option and support source for anyone thinking about making one of these animals their pet.
My dad purchased his beautiful puppies from a local breeder and named them Babe & Shelly. Alas, it was Shelly that we decided to re-home. It was a tough family decision and was literally made with the flip of a coin as they were both loved equally. Shelly is very happy with her new master and the dogs often met up in the local park for a frolic.
Babe quickly became the focus of our family life. With one blue eye and her ears all taped up (a common practice after ear-docking) Babe looked like and acted like a clown. My mother purchased an old Lazy Boy rocker so that Babe could sit in the living room and watch television with the family. She was spoiled rotten and treated like a princess - she would certainly be the envy of any other Great Dane dogs typically sent to their doghouses for the night, that's for sure!
Sadly, Babe wasn't a member of our family for more than 2 years. My parents had to go away one weekend. They decided to leave Babe with a local dog boarder. This particular kennel loved pets. Unfortunately they had very little experience with Great Dane dogs. During her stay, Babe became increasingly distraught, feeling that she had been abandoned by her family. The kennel did little to calm her down and Babe ended up going from worried to frantic, jumping against the bars of the cage and crying. When my parents finally got home and went to pick her up they were heartbroken to find Babe in a very sorry state. After an emergency trip to the vet they found that in her angst Babe had twisted her stomach. Surgery would be unable to correct the problem. Babe was going to die! The vet told my parents that this is a very common problem with Great Dane dogs. They have very delicate stomachs, and due to over breeding they need to be kept very calm to avoid this twisting of the stomach. The family was completely heartbroken, but we had no choice. Dad had to put poor old Babe out of her misery. My mother held Babe's big old head and she left this world. It was a truly tragic end and a very sad lesson to learn.
My father mourned the loss of Babe for six long months. He felt terrible for that beautiful creature to face such a sad end. My parents have thought about Great Dane dogs since then, however, they've decided to downsize. They recently told me that the next dog they want to get is a miniature Chihuahua. They adored Babe but no other Great Dane dogs can compare, and so she'll always be remembered fondly, but will never be replaced.
It's so important to know your dog. All too often these days, parents go rushing out to buy pet puppies for their kids without really knowing the animal, and how to care for it. There's a lot more to dogs than a walk in the park and a can of doggie food at 17:00 every day. And if any lessons can be learnt from our experience, if you ever find yourself leaving your dog at a kennel for a period of time, make sure they are well qualified to take care of your breed. Cost cutting should not be a consideration when leaving you pet with strangers.