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(I'm starting to look at on-line Great Dane adoption photos and thinking "Maybe," but then the saner part of me pulls me away and slaps me across the face a couple of times and yells, "What do you think you're doing?" I might be pining for a Great Dane but they can be such hard on the heart dogs with their short life spans and awful ways to death.

Of course, what Stella gave to me was more than worth every moment of worry I experienced but being worth it didn't necessarily make it easy.

And now I miss her terribly still. I look at old photos of her. I reread what I wrote about her. Wasn't it funny when ... Oh, remember that ...

I miss her enough that I want to replace her but we all know that's not possible. Even as we find another dog of the same breed, same colour, same size, we know it's not possible to replace that which is irrevocably lost but a part of us still tries. I think that's why so many people keep going back to the same breed. Trying to reignite what has been extinguished.

We got Smitten partly because of Barclay who was also a Bearded Collie and we loved Barclay to bits. If I ever do get another Great Dane, it will partly be because of Stella and I know it will never replace Stella but there will always be a part of me looking for her, even just a touch of her, in the new dog.

Here's a repost from June 2008, the first post I ever wrote about Stella from the old blog)

This morning, as I was walking Stella, my Great Dane, to the park, someone stopped and pointed and said:

"Hey, you got a saddle for that yet? Har, har, har."

Dane owners get that a lot, probably even more than actual horse owners. Here are some other great lines:

"Is that a dog or a horse? Ha, ha, ha."

"You ever ride that thing? Heh, heh, heh."

"How much for a pony ride? Huyuck, huyuck, huyuck."

And then it kind of repeats itself.

"Where's the saddle? Snort, snort, snort."

"Nice horse you got there. Teehee, teehee, teehee."

"Can my kid get a ride on that? Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck."

So, let's see. I hear that about once a week and Stella's been with me about 5 and half years so that's 5.5 * 52 = 286 times now.

I got Stella when she was 6 months old. Elizabeth told me that there was a great dane pup being housed at a kennel by a woman who was in hiding from her husband. Apparently, this happens a lot: an abused woman finds herself in a situation where she can hardly look after herself let alone any dependent pets (Safe Pet and other organizations can help out). I was dogless at the time and had no intentions of getting a dog but, what the hell, a quick peek at a Great Dane pup wasn't going to hurt.

Later, at the kennel, there she was: six months old and already 85 pounds. All gangly legs, long neck and big ears.

"Hey, she looks just like a horse!" I said. "I'll have to get a saddle for her."

And that, folks, is how you get suckered in.

8 Comments to “Originality”

  1. Biscuit says:

    Oh, I remember this post so well. I'm so glad to see it again! Sweet gorgeous Stella.

    Whenever you're ready, any dog will be very lucky to hang out with you guys.

  2. I suppose all Dane owners get the same remarks. I've come to respond to saddle ones with "C'mon, you can do better than that!", to which the person making the remark looks at me blankly, and to which I say "The saddle's back in the stable, sorry..."

    Danes are indeed unique creatures, and I totally understand that the decision to adopt another one after your first passes away is a difficult, heart-wrenching decision. Having almost lost my Dane to bloat on 2 occasions, and weathering pneumonia soon after, I too wonder if I would adopt another Dane after mine takes leave. Shorty will be 5 in November, so I'm hoping with all my might that I won't need to think about this for another 3 years at least. Time will tell, but in the meantime, I'll cherish every breath he takes.

    If you do decide to adopt another Dane, always remember that he/she will be incredibly lucky to have you as their Papa.

  3. Anonymous says:

    She was a beautiful girl. Great Danes are my breed of choice - I've lived and loved four and have my fifth now - and can't even remember how many I've fostered. They are never ever with you long enough. I have found that they all hold a place in my heart and each has had their own personality quirks. I thought that I would have trouble letting each new Dane into my heart but it seems they find their way there very quickly.

  4. Lynn says:

    Oh, I never saw Stella when she was young. No wonder you fell in love with her! Beautiful!

  5. What a beautiful picture of Stella! A bouncy, happy pup. No wonder you fell in love :-). And bless you for taking her into your home and probably saving her life.

  6. GoodDog says:

    Do you dream about Stella? We lost our old girl, Kayla, about a month after you lost Stella - we were going through a lot of the same things you were with our old girl, so your posts always hit home. Every once in a while now, I have a dream about her. I always seem to know in the dream that it is a dream so I always think - oh this is special I need to savor this. I always wake up happy because I got to be with her one more time.

  7. Fred says:

    GoodDog I've had a few dreams with her in them and she's here and it's just another day.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.