Puppy Love

Both Adriene and I would tell you we are parents, despite our lack of children. We are dog parents to “puppies” that have stolen our hearts much like any human child would. We tell stories about them when others are telling stories about their children, and we don’t find it weird to share every cute picture we’ve taken recently. We love our babies!

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Sleeping…his favorite pastime.

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Gus, staying close during bath time.

  • Strong chewer
  • Loyal lover
  • Loud Snorer
  • Sleepy cuddler
  • Wiggly greeter

These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think about my stubborn two and a half year old bulldog. He is easily the fastest way to perk up a bad day, because he never has one.

Gus was a tiny little ball of feet and wrinkles when I got him on his 8 week birthday. He changed my life forever. Before he came into my life I was a cat person! When people used to poo poo my love of cats I didn’t understand. How could anything be as good as being a cat mommy? I get it now. there are so many reasons my love for Gus is different from my love for my cats.

Attention. Gus is my chubby little shadow. He’ll follow you every step, close enough to trip you multiple time during each task you’re trying to accomplish. He needs constant kisses and cuddles from whoever is willling at the moment. If you think you’ll do somthing on the computer, he will stick his fat head in front of the screen to distract you. If you continue ignoring him he will start climbing past the computer and guaruntee your attention. He’s definately a lover.

Stubborn. There is no question that my dog is smart, but he is the most stubborn little man I know. I can see him contemplating listening every time he’s asked to do something. Nothing gets past him. He is constantly looking for ways to get one by us, and occasionally it works. When he was in obedience classes he looked like the dunce, but he was really just being stubborn. He knew how to do everything at home and would do it to a T…until there was an audience. Stubborn.

Slobber. Everything you ever hear about bulldogs is that they snore and slobber constantly. Well, they go the snoring part dead on. He snores like a freight train, but at this point I think it’s adorable. The slobbering is way over-exaggerated. He does get very wet when he drinks, but in general his mouth stays reletively dry. The one exception to this rule is people food. When he begs, he drools. A LOT. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t ever successful in his begging, but he often is.

Chewing. Everything is a chew toy to Gus. Regardless of the amount of actual chew toys he is provided Gus will eat socks, pillows, blankets, sheet-rock, and anything else he finds on the floor. I have pulled more than my fair share of string/material from his bum and you can see by the colorful debris which toy has recently been devoured. I learned the acceptable toys for a “strong chewer” a little later than I would like to admit. When Gus was around one he decided it would be a good idea to eat part of his plastic kennel and part of a blanket; this sent him to the vet for emergency surgery after suffering two days. His entire tummy was cut open to remove the objects. So, yeah, he likes to chew.

I haven’t been able to spend as much time with Gus as Adriene has with Dozer, which makes the news I recently got all the more difficult. Gus was diagnosed with lymphoma, which is a cancer that attacks the lymph system throughout the body. Due to its extensive perliferation, surgery isn’t an option. We opted not to put Gus through 25 weeks of chemotherapy, so that left us with the option of prednezone. This is a steroid that prolongs life without symptoms for approximately two months after diagnosis. We are holding on to everyday we can get and will be devestated when his journey ends.

Not the best quality photo, but you can see where he started sitting on my lap as a puppy!

Not the best quality photo, but you can see where he started sitting on my lap as a puppy!

He wanted to come inside the igloo so bad!

He wanted to come inside the igloo so bad!

  • Foot warmer
  • Sloppy drinker
  • Happy kisser
  • Super Separation Anxiety -er
  • 140 lbs of pure friendship

I can’t even remember what it was like before Dozer galloped into my life! There’s so much to say about this furry companion. Where to start?

Dozer was literally twice the size of my full grown cat when we got him as a puppy. Nay, perhaps better compared to a three year old child. He was a puppy that looked like a full grown dog, but a puppy none-the less! 100 pounds and 8 years later, he’s a bit grayer and a bit grumpier, but still MY baby. This dog has been such a blessing – so much more than what we expected him to be! I hear all the time “where do you keep the saddle for that horse” (here’s a shocker… no where… It’s a dog). I also hear “it must be hard to feed that thing” (also false). Several times I’ve heard “I’ve always wanted a dane!”. To THOSE fantastic people I should an exuberant YES! GET ONE! If you’re one of those fantastic people, then let me share with you what I’ve learned through owning one:

Slobber. Yep. It happens. These poor things have lips the size of kites, but oh so cute! Dozer (my Dane) really only is messy when he drinks out of his bowl or from the kitchen sink, which often happens because he’s a spoiled brat and he can reach the faucet. Otherwise, he’s not very slobbery at all. Sometimes after he drinks I just take a towel to his muzzle and wa-lah! Mess prevented.

Food. We used pedigree giant breed puppy and adult food for most of his life. He has always been on the skinnier side of about 135-140 lbs, but always healthy according to the many veterinarians we have encountered. We did recently try to “upgrade” his food to the more expensive “grain free” chow, which was a flop. It gave him diarrhea and he lost a lot of weight. We now feed him Purina Giant Breed Adult formula and it does the trick. He honestly doesn’t eat much. Maybe, 4-6 big cups a day? They don’t eat you out of house and home if you don’t let them. My husband has done a great job of trying to keep Dozer active (because MAN does he love the couch – couch PO-TA-TO) and off human food scraps. Everything in moderation goes as well with dogs as it does humans. It’s important to get your Dane weighed yearly to keep their weight in check! It’s also EXTREMELY important to teach your Dane not to take anything out of hands, trash, or from the countertop without your command. If they want it, they can reach it, and if you don’t teach them to obey, they will get it.

Cuddles. My dane is SO cuddly sometimes. If he could sit on your lap (which he will, eventually) all day, he would. We didn’t crate him as a puppy and ended up letting him sleep with us off and on throughout his life. Awesome in the way that it’s like having a full grown person snuggle with you every night and not requiring a heater in winter. It’s not awesome when he dreams and kicks you and basically annexes the bed. It’s probably something we should have been more firm on in the early years, and he doesn’t sleep with us on a regular basis now but seriously, if you need leg room… BEWARE. Great danes also have this tendency to “lean”. Lean on you, your neighbor, your sister, your couch, your foot, your anything. They love the sense of being connected and thus must touch you at all times. Ok, maybe just mine. He’s got the worst case of separation anxiety I’ve ever seen and I love it. He protects me!

Which brings me to my next tid-bit: Protective. Great danes are extremely friendly and great with children. I have 14 nieces and nephews, and he’s never once knocked over, bit, or even looked at them in a threatening way. In fact, it’s quite fun for them to crawl all over him and play tug of war (usually at a 3 kid : 1 dozer ratio). He’s also very kind to people we invite to our home. Saying this, I must tell you that he is extremely protective of all those things I just mentioned. If you look suspicious, he will LET YOU KNOW. Dozer doesn’t bark much, but if there is a mail man (UPS, USPS… it doesn’t matter) or a man with a beard, you will experience the thunder that is my dog’s bark. Which I’m okay with – because I don’t really want suspicious people hanging around. Dozer is also very protective of our truck. Don’t get close to it, or for goodness sakes, don’t reach into it! Of course he’s going to bark at you! Don’t go around sticking your hands into other people’s cars. Don’t be that guy.

Intelligent. These dogs are so bright! Dozer knows several commands and the names of all his toys. He not only listens to my husband and I, but when my sister dog-sits he obeys her too! He’s been taught to not eat food off the counter, to not push through a door that is only slightly opened, sit, lay, fetch… sometime’s it’s scary how well he listens to me. Often I find myself talking to him and feeling like he’s talking back with his gestures. I pretty much always know what he wants when he wants it. “Okay okay!” I say out loud. “We’ll go to the dog park in a few minutes”. He’s also really good at determining when dinner is almost over – probably because he watches me eat like a hawk. No, I don’t eat “like a hawk” with talons and such. I meant to say that he is focused when food is around. Sheesh.

I could go on and on about my pup. He’s the friend I can always count on to lick my tears away and make me get off the couch to take a walk. He protects me while my husband is gone (usually 3 days a week) and keeps the apartment warm and safe. He gives me nothing but his full attention and patiently awaits my arrival every day. Any dog can be trouble, but if you’re willing to give the time and the effort to train them properly and give them the love they deserve, then you’re well on your way to a new canine friendship. For more information on Great Danes, check out these websites!

Dog Breed InfoAmerican Kennel ClubPet Finder

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One response

  1. This is so funny and sweet!

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