Tag: Great Dane

Animals in love

The beautiful hidden depths of the consciousness of animals

Back in the Summer of 2011, I published a couple of posts on the subject of consciousness.  The first one was called Consciousness, science or God? and the second one about a month later continued the theme under the heading of And more on consciousness.

In that second article, I concluded with these words:

Finally, do you have a dog at home?  If you do, ponder on how their conscious world engages them.  If science can’t explain human consciousness then all we have is our own intuition with regard to animals.  Not sure about you but when one is feeling a little low and a dog comes up and lays a head across you I feel a very strong conscious connection.

Hazel and Pharaoh

The dog to the left of Pharaoh in the above picture is Hazel.  Shortly before we left San Carlos, Mexico to move up to Arizona in February, 2010, this dog was dumped outside Jean’s house.  She was still in milk and Jean explained that it was common practice for female dogs to be cast out shortly after they had had pups.  The pups would have been sold for a few pesos and the mother dog was no longer of any use or value and was ‘disposed’.

We took her in, of course, and she joined the other dozen dogs on our journey to our new Arizonan home.  Hazel has the sweetest of dispositions and frequently sleeps snuggled up against me at night.  As I write these words, Hazel is sleeping just to the left of my feet.  There are times when Hazel looks into my eyes with what I can’t lable as anything other than the look of a dog in love.

So with that in mind, let me introduce you to Kate and Pippin.  As their website proposes  Kate & Pippin is “An unlikely love story“.

THE STORY

Pippin, a helpless baby fawn was abandoned by her mother on the property of Isobel Springett. Isobel’s Great Dane, Kate, adopted Pippin immediately and they have been best friends ever since.

The story of Kate’s and Pippin’s loving relationship is charmingly chronicled in a handsome book featuring the beautiful photography of Isobel Springett.

Here’s Martin Springett, author of the book.

While there’s a small degree of overlap with the first video, you’ll still love to watch this.

A collection of photos from pips’s early days. She was just a few days old when she found us. Music is by my brother Martin Springett.

To close, here’s Pip at about two and a half months old. She’s just lost her spots and is looking like a teenager, all legs! She loves grapes and bananas after her bottle. (And the music is fabulous – Artist: Jelengue “Amar Mi Verdad”)

Reminds me of that great book from Jeffrey Masson, Dogs never lie about love!

Meet George!

Now this is what one might call a dog!

First, an apology for presenting something that isn’t from my own pen, so to speak.  But for much of yesterday I was immersed in other writings and when I turned to ‘today’s’ Post for Learning from Dogs, around 5pm my time, my creative juices had well and truly dried up!  So a very big ‘thank you’ to Diane M., from here in Payson, for recently sending me this wonderful dog story!  It’s been widely circulated, not that I had seen it before, but I’m told that not necessarily with the full story, as this version includes.

 

A Little Something Just For You!

Meet George the Great Dane

The first time we saw George, our beloved Great Dane, he was no more than a tiny, cowering ball of fuzzy fur. As my wife Christie opened the door of the crate he’d travelled in, he teetered to a standing position and looked out at us, moving his head slowly from side to side, taking in the wonder of it all. Finally, as if weighing us up and deciding we were acceptable, he tentatively pushed his little nose forward and gave Christie her first lick.

Puppy love: A young George with Dave's wife Christie. Even as a pup he had comically large paws.

 

He came into our lives in January 2006, just a few months after we had married and set up home in Arizona . We both had busy jobs, Christie selling medical equipment while I was a property developer, but she had always planned that, once she had a house of her own, she would also have a dog.

She wanted a Great Dane as they make great family pets, so we tracked down a litter of 13, born 1,000 miles away in Oregon. Their owner emailed us a photo showing a chaotic jumble of paws, snouts and tails. Twelve were entangled with one another, but our eyes were drawn to one pup standing apart from the rest. He was clearly the runt, endearing him to Christie immediately.

Though it didn’t really register, George’s paws were comically large even then. But all we saw was this cute puppy. We certainly never dreamed he would one day become the biggest dog in the world, standing nearly 4ft high at the shoulder, 7ft long and weighing nearly 250 pounds. Right now, he just looked bewildered.

George made the long journey from Oregon to Phoenix by plane and we picked him up from the freight area, tired but unshaken. As soon as George settled into our home, we discovered our plans to be fair but firm parents were wishful thinking. All the things that make Great Danes wonderful pets — their lack of aggression and their attachment to humans — make them more emotionally sensitive than other dogs. They need to be with their ‘pack’ at all times and at night the cute pup with intensely blue eyes turned into a caterwauling banshee whenever we tried to leave him alone in the kitchen.

No matter how much we reminded ourselves that he had every home comfort (warm dog bed, warm blanket, warm kitchen, squeaky bone), each whimper created a picture in our heads of a tragic, abandoned pup, desperate for his mother. Eventually, we gave in and shunted George’s dog bed into our bedroom.

George measures more than 7 ft from nose to tail and weighs 250 pounds and is the world's biggest dog, but he's terrified of Chihuahuas...

 

In the coming months, Christie really threw herself into being a mum to George. As well as a photo album, he had a growth chart — we were soon reading it in awe. At five months he still acted like a puppy, chasing his tail and playing games of fetch and tug-of-war with his favorite bit of rope. But he was already the size of a fully-grown Labrador . He was putting on more than a pound a day and he bounded around like Bambi, skittering on our wooden floors and hurling himself at everything he fancied, including us humans. His displays of affection could leave you pinned temporarily against a wall or a piece of furniture.

His size did not go unnoticed in the outside world. Our local park had a section for puppies but we were bullied out of it by other owners, who were scared George would hurt their pups — but the opposite was true.

The smaller dogs ran around and under him, and he’d be constantly sidestepping them, obviously anxious and jittery. Slowly we realized that our enormous puppy was a big softie. Besides his terror of being left alone, he had a fear of water. He’d growl anxiously at the side of our swimming pool, alarmed that his ‘pack’ members would so willingly place themselves in danger of drowning.

If the pool was his most-hated place, his favorite was our bedroom. Eventually he outgrew the single mattress we placed there for him and preferred instead the comfort of our king-sized bed — sprawling between us like some over-indulged prince while we spent half the night clinging onto the edges.

Paws for thought: George's giant feet dwarf Dave's hand.

 

In the summer of 2006, we solved this problem by buying him his own queen-sized mattress, which he still sleeps on today at the bottom of our bed. But soon we encountered another challenge as George reached doggie puberty. Once he had grabbed life by the lapels, now he was grabbing onto legs — table legs, chair legs, human legs, he wasn’t picky — and doing what all male dogs do with the vigor of a canine giant.

He calmed down in the furniture department after we had him neutered, but then he took up a new hobby, eating as if it were an Olympic sport. A sausage on the barbecue was like a siren to a passing sailor. You couldn’t turn your back for a minute. And he was so tall that he actually had to bend down to pinch food off kitchen counters.

He could reach the high shelves as well, so we had to hide everything away in cupboards. Soon, he was getting through around 100lb of dry dog food every month.

As he approached his first birthday in November 2006, weighing about 196 pounds, it was getting physically impossible to make him go anywhere he didn’t want to — including the vet’s surgery. He had not forgotten the time he went there in possession of his manhood — and came out less than whole. As soon as he recognized the entrance, he refused to move. So I had to take him around to the less familiar back door instead.

For all these troubles, George gave us plenty in return, not least the following year when Christie lost the baby she was carrying. Evidently tuned in to her grief, George was a constant presence at her side. When she sat, he sat too. When she stood, he stood and padded alongside her to wherever she was going.

His personality grew more delightful the bigger he got. A male Great Dane typically weighs from nine to 11 stone, but by Christmas 2007 George weighed 210 pounds — bigger than most men. At this point, he loved being chauffeured around in my golf cart and would sit in it, his haunches on the seat and front legs on the floor. By Christmas 2008, our canine colossus weighed 252 pounds. A friend suggested he might be a contender for the Guinness Book of Records, but we had other things to think about: Christie had discovered that she was pregnant again.

With size comes problems: George the giant barely fits in the back of his owner's SUV

 

The trouble was, when our daughter Annabel arrived that September George made it clear he wanted nothing to do with this interloper. He was used to spending nights in delightful oblivion at the foot of our bed. Annabel’s high-decibel presence simply wasn’t on. When she cried, he’d wake, harrumph and then turn over in annoyance. Once it was clear the racket was going to continue, he’d exhale heavily again, till one of us finished that mysterious feeding thing we did with the noisy intruder.

But while he might not have cared much for Annabel, George loved her dolls, especially a stuffed green one that played a nursery rhyme when squeezed. Whenever he could, he placed it between his paws and pressed it so he could hear the tune. It was like a security blanket. It was a period of such big adjustment for him that if it made him happy, then it was fine by us and our patience was rewarded.

Slowly, George understood that Annabel was our pack’s youngest member and in need of his affection and protection. And on Christmas morning, he ended his three-month sulk, acknowledging her presence with a lick of her hand. It was the best present we could have had — although the beginning of 2010 brought more good news.

A doggone miracle: George the Great Dane with the Nasser's daughter Annabel at home in Arizona.

Over the previous weeks, while Annabel slept, Christie had applied to the Guinness World Records people on George’s behalf. That February, one of their adjudicators came to watch George being measured in the presence of a vet. He was officially declared not just the world’s tallest living dog (43 inches from paw to shoulder) but the tallest dog ever.

The following week we flew to Chicago to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show and were put up in one of the city’s most luxurious hotels. We had a huge sitting room, dining area and even a bar — but there was just one problem. There was nowhere for George to sleep.

As we enjoyed a gourmet meal and a bottle of red wine that night, he struggled to settle on two roll-out divans provided for him. Infuriatingly, they wouldn’t stay together. So he had his head on one and back end on the other, but his stomach was sagging onto the carpet.

‘You know what we need to do,’ I joked. ‘Give George our bed to sleep on and have the divans in this room ourselves.’

Christie looked at me with a telltale gleam in her eye and I knew immediately my joke had been a fatal error. An hour later, our boy was sprawled in splendor in our huge, fluffy king-size bed.

‘Well,’ whispered Christie, ‘George is the star here, after all.’ She was right, of course, and since his appearance on TV, Giant George has built a following around the world, with his own fan club, website and 70,000 fans on Facebook.

None of this, of course, means anything to George. He still spends his days doing what he has always liked best: eating, playing and sleeping. Our cherished pet may have become a global celebrity — but really, he’s just one of the family.

 

Man's biggest friend: Devoted owner Dave Nasser with George.

Fabulous!  Big thanks Diane.

The fabulous, loyal ‘seeing-eye’ dog

A beautiful story of dog loyalty – to another dog, to another blind dog.

I first received this lovely story last Sunday from Dan G., dear friend of over 30 years.  As is my want, did some research to discover the source of the story.  It appeared on the website of Ross Parry Agency on the 22nd October, 2011 (note the pics are copyright rossparry.co.uk)  But I have taken the liberty of reproducing the story as it appeared in the UK Daily Mail online site, on the same date.  Enjoy.

Meet the blind Great Dane in need of a home (but you’ll need to make space for HER huge guide dog)

By NADIA GILANI

Last updated at 1:01 PM on 22nd October 2011

When illness forced vets to remove Great Dane Lily’s eyes, the prospects of a fulfilling life didn’t look good.

But then no one had reckoned on her pal Maddison stepping in to turn guide dog.

The pair have been inseparable for years but now find themselves looking for a new home because their owner could no longer cope.

The catch for anyone interested is that the Great Danes come as a package. They have been waiting at the Dogs Trust re-homing centre in Shrewsbury since July.

Homeless: Blind Great Dane Lily and her kind-hearted canine carer Maddison
Forever friends: Lily, left, being guided while walking with Maddison right. The pair have been inseparable since Lily lost her sight

Manager Louise Campbell said: ‘Maddison is Lily’s guide dog. If they are out and about, for the majority of the time Maddison will lead and Lily will walk nearly touching her so she knows where to go. It’s lovely to watch. Maddison is always looking out for her.

Lily, six, was barely a puppy when she was struck down by a condition that caused her eyelashes to grown into her eyeballs, damaging them beyond repair.

It was after this traumatic event that her relationship with seven-year-old Maddison developed as she took her under her wing.

The best buddies lived together until their owners decided they couldn’t look after them any more.

Miss Campbell said: ‘With her lack of sight, Lily’s other senses have heightened so although we don’t split them up often she can tell if Maddison is nearby.

They curl up together to go to sleep and they are very vocal with each other.

We haven’t analysed their different barks but if Lily wants to go forward and Maddison is in her way, the bark will have a different pitch.

‘They are very close to one another and enjoy each other’s company‘.

Playful: Lily's lack of sight has heightened her other senses so she can often tell if Maddison is nearby without the pair touching

Miss Campbell said that Lily does all the things normal dogs do and if you saw her from a distance you wouldn’t realise she had anything wrong with her eyes.

She added: ‘They are really happy with life, the glass is always half full with these two.

They have been with us for a considerable amount of time but they are quite happy and go about their daily routine – they are very affectionate.’

She believes the dogs’ size and advancing years, as well as the fact they have to come in a pair, may have put off potential owners and she warned that anyone contemplating taking the dogs in should look at their lifestyle and think of the responsibility involved.

They are not gigantic when you see them outside. These are two lovely big girls who deserve to live out the rest of their lives together in comfort‘, she said.

Dogs Trust cares for around 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs every year through a network of 17 re-homing centres.

The Great Dane is seeking an owner who would be willing to give both her and best friend Maddison a new home

Back to me.  Must say that it was just fortuitous that Dan’s email came in to me a little while after I posted yesterday’s article by Robert Holden, The Gift of Happiness.  Indeed, shortly after I had written, “Perhaps the art of happiness is yet another thing we can learn from dogs!

Anyone in the UK who wants to contact the Dogs Trust click here.