Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gentle Giant Tanner



('hi there', dog language)

June, 2009, front yard

I was up all last night with my Great Dane, Tanner.
Yesterday we had a little cuddle in bed before I got up.
He stayed in our bed (his preferred place to snooze).

yes, I change my sheets/pillowcases often!

So I'm doing my morning puttering routine, and I hear the most
I rush to the bedroom, and Tanner has rolled over and fallen off the bed!
Now this actually could be quite humorous, except...

he has injured his back somehow and is frozen with his front half up on the bed
and his back half on the floor. He is trying to not put any weight on his back legs.
And he is crying and whining this most terrible sound.
So I am trying to calm him,
and support his back by putting my arms under his hips and raising him up a bit.
This helps him somewhat; enough so he can boost back up on the bed.

He is completely panicked (and in pain I suspect).
It takes me a long time to calm him down.
I try to do as much massage to his back hip as he will allow.
I tuck blankets and pillows all around him so he won't fall off again.
I figured the best thing would be to let things settle,
un-spasm, calm down for awhile.

Tanner on HIS bed, sleeping like a vulture like Snoopy

Just a few little Great Dane Facts:

If you think you want a Great Dane or Danes in your life, be prepared for

I'm talking about a dog that may well weigh more than you,
or you and your kids, put together.

Tanner with a friend, trying to pretend he can fit in small spaces.
Note the BIG bed.

With a BIG dog comes

BIG vet bills!

BIG doggy poopers!

BIG doggy kisses!

BIG doggy beds!

Tanner's BIG head. Note the size of the DVDs and VHS' behind him.
This photo has not been altered!

"My dog can bark like a congressman,
fetch like an aide,
beg like a press secretary
play dead like a receptionist
when the phone rings."

- Congressman Gerald Solomon

fawn/brindle Great Dane with natural ears,
hand painted and stamped domino magnet by inkspired.

There are a few things you should know about Great Danes.
They are susceptible to bloat.
The number 1 cause of death is bloat.
Bloat is a nasty thing that happens with deep and narrow chested dogs
like Great Danes, Dobermans, Greyhounds, etc.
The stomach twists, and gets 'strangled'.
You have about 3 hours to get your dog onto an operating table,
or they die.
Sometimes they die anyway.
Well, a lot of thought/research has been put into this
potentially life-threatening condition.
Here are a few basic "rules" that all Great Dane owners should know about:
  1. Feed a Dane twice a day. Large meals can encourage bloat. Several small meals are much better.

  2. Let your dog rest after eating. Play is discouraged. Kind of like when your mom told you you had to wait 30 minutes after lunch before you could get back in the pool.

  3. Never allow your Dane to roll from one side to the other - like the popular dog trick "roll over". This motion encourages stomach twisting - BAD.

Tanner 'helping' decorate for Christmas.

As you can see, Tanner's favorite sleeping position is upside down.
Danes don't do that.
well, I guess they do!
But it is very bad, as mentioned above.
Tanner constantly will roll from one side to the other.
He came this way.
It's not our fault!

(We adopted him from Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue when he was 1 1/2 years old.)

Here are some 'typical' Tanner positions in a day:

"Let's see what's in the back yard..."

"This looks like a good place -"

"Nah....I need something to lean on I think..."

"Ahhh, this is the spot!"

(Note, he is rolled over onto his back.)

Did someone throw pennies at me???"

"I'm hot. Let me in."

"Hmmmm, this looks like a good place."

Children should view with caution.

Yep, that's Tanner SOUND ASLEEP on the living room couch.
Right click on the photo for a full effect...

"Hey Mom! Is that lunch I smell?
Little afternoon snack?"

"I am NOT begging...really..."

Tanner, facing the kitchen table.

"Out front? You bet! I'll help you garden!"

Tanner, supervising me working.

"This looks maybe a bit more comfortable."

Note, he is lying in the only area of the front yard that has no grass.

"I'm gettin' hot. Gotta find a cooler place..."

"ooooh yeah, this is cool."

(loud happy tail thwapping)

(Much happy tail wagging, kisses, hopping around like a silly rabbit
and whining like a sissy-dog...)

Tanner get's fed -

"Ever consider what they must think of us?
I mean, here we come back from the grocery store
with the most amazing haul -
chicken, pork, half a cow...
They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!"

- Anne Tyler

Keep in mind that Rule #2:

2. Never let your Dane play immediately after eating,
it can cause bloat.

"Is it time to play????
I just ate and I feel GREAT!
How about a go-'round with MR. BILL...
Oh nooooooo..."

a stunningly wonderful gift from Grandma Trish and Grandpa Bill -
a plushie "Mr. Bill" (from Saturday Night Live).
When squeezed in the middle, it says:  'Oh Noooooo...."
Tanner has learned how to do this 'squeeze' repeatedly,
time after time after time...
you get the idea.

"How about my plushie 'funny fox' (Octopus) that has a moo sound in the middle,
and squeakers in each paw!"

This was Tanner's favorite toy before he got Mr. Bill.

"Maybe we can play with the fat fox?"

Tanner has a love affair with his 'fox'. We have purchased many 'foxes' for him.
It remains a constant favorite.
Sometimes they are not foxes, but we don't tell him. We call them all 'fox'!
This plushie is actually a raccoon.

"Fox? Are we up to playing fox?"
(little tired sigh)

a 'hot dog' in his fave winter place, in front of the fireplace.
note fox in foreground

"must play..................."

"Oh yeah, this is the best!"

Tanner with his most wonderful-est possession,
his Dad.

All is well.
Tanner goes to bed.
Dad goes to bed.
Pam and that irritating mystery of a cat/fox? thing goes to bed.
I'm doing some last minute jigsaw puzzling,
and I hear the most

This time he is half in the bedroom and half in the hallway.
Sometimes he wants/needs to go out and do another
'last minute, night time potty'.
Apparently this was his intention, but somehow his back is out again.
Lots of yipping, crying, yelping.
I try to lift up his back a little to give that back right leg a bit of rest.
I try to calm him.
I get him into the living room and on the couch.
(For Great Danes, this means just kind of falling over, and you are on the couch.)
Lots of pets, lots of kisses, a little singing.
Tanner adores music, and tolerates my late night crooning.
big sigh.
Now he wants to go out.
Okay front yard, as it has grass (softer) and is smaller, in case he falls down
and I have to try and get him up or something.
Lots of pee. Good.
Inside, he goes straight to his BIG water bowl and empties it.
I lead him into the living room, and we have another little bout of
whining, crying, whimpering. He gets on couch, and we settle in a bit.
I try to run to the office to get his big orthopedic bed (from Costco) and he insists on following me - only he is not putting any weight on his right back leg.
Crying, yelping, yipping.
I finally tell him to 'stay', run to get the bed, run back to the LR and get it settled right next to the couch. He lays on it for a bit while I sit next to him, propped up with a couple of pillows against the loveseat. Okay, we're going to be fine.
Then he moves up to the couch. Okay, we're going to be fine.
I stretch (hah) out on his dog bed, throw a couple of couch pillows down, grab a lap blanket (thank you again Samantha) and think I am going to sleep.
Tanner wants me to constantly touch him, pet his face or just to touch me.
I am awakened throughout the remaining night, actually morning at this point.
Like I could really sleep that way, anyway.

Did I mention I have titanium rods and a gob of huge honkin' screws in my back?
Fused vertebra. Lots of 'em.
That I'm not supposed to bend or twist for the rest of my life?
That not staying with a straight back causes incredible pain,
and puts me at risk for a fractured vertebrae?
yeah. bummer.

"A dog is the only thing on this earth
that loves you more
than he loves himself."

- Josh Billings

Okay, I'm a bit sore, getting a headache, a lot tired, and a bit worried.
Tanner is doing well this morning, although he is still favoring his right back leg.
I'll keep you all updated as we know more.

hand painted and stamped domino magnet by inkspired
a white cropped ear Great Dane, this color is usually deaf and also often blind,
due to poor breeding.

"The dog is man's best friend.
He has a tail on one end.
Up in front he has teeth
And four legs underneath."

- Ogden Nash, 'An Introduction to Dogs'

By the way, Great Danes are called 'Gentle Giants' because
A. they are huge, thus the 'giant' label.
B. they are incredibly gentle and well behaved.
The well behaved part comes in with proper training. Even completely untrained
Great Danes that are older when coming into the Great Dane Rescue

are eager and happy to 'learn the rules'.
Great Danes just want to be part of the family.
This can include assorted adults, different ages of children,
other Danes, other dogs (yes, even yorkies!), cats,
rabbits, and I don't know...probably baby squirrels!
They are very sensitive, and Tanner gets his feelings hurt.
I have only lightly tapped him on his nose once,
for continuing to come into the kitchen (a big no-no) and ignoring my command.
He went into the office and laid down on his ortho-bed and wouldn't raise his head up until I went in and made sure he knew everything was okay. Yes, I stilled loved him.
Then all was wonderful with the world again.
Until the chihuahuas next door called him bad names.
I'm not sure what was said, but it hurt Tanner's feelings.
The chihuahuas have since moved. No loss Tanner says!

Oops. I wrote a book.
see you tomorrow,

Do you have any dog pictures and/or stories to share?
Let me know!

I encourage anyone interested in having a Great Dane family member to contact the RMGDRI, web site address above.
Support only well known and respected breeders.
Check out shelters/rescues first. The largest dogs are the first ones to be put to death in most pounds/shelters. They simply take up so much space, and the current fave are tiny carry-in-your-purse size dogs.
Tanner sends you kisses.

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