Walking into the kitchen one afternoon, she was at her corner desk surfing the net. I brought her something to drink when I got a glimpse of what was on the screen and all I can is it was gigantic. It was Goliath, a very large Great Dane that was available. I gulped in dismay, remembering as a boy when my folks took me with them to visit friends and I was trapped sitting on the sofa with a Weimaraner. I told her of my concerns but she said that we were just going to check the big fellow out over the weekend with no commitments made. I knew in my heart that meant she had already made her mind up but I went along with it, taking the simplest course of action. To do otherwise would make for a very quiet weekend.
We made the trip south on a bright weekend day and after two hours on the road we found the house where he was fostered. As we walked up the walk to the front door, there on the other side of the glass storm door stood Goliath, barking heartily while wagging his tail. He was huge, probably the most massive dog I had ever seen and after talking with the very nice lady who was caring for him, we took him for a walk with me holding the leash. Actually, he took us for a walk and I must confess I had reservations. Well, my guess was correct and within one half hour we were on our way home with this massive dog in the back seat. Stopping for a bite on the road at a fast food establishment, keeping his nose out of the bag was tough so we gave him a burger and he settled down.
Arriving home, the horses took one look at him and walked down the pasture while Goliath barked from the other side of the fence. He met the cats and other dogs, it went fairly well but then when we took him in the house he had an accident. Thankfully, it must have been his christening and never happened again. But then, he calmed down and really learned his place and was a great dog. Oh, vacuuming up his fine hair was mildly annoying and scrubbing floors to remove a few slobber marks was necessary on occasion, but he knew we loved him and he responded in very quick order. And we had a number of wonderful years together until the big mistake, one partially my fault and also partly the fault of Molly, or jack rat terrier.
Putting hay out in the pasture for the horses one morning, I left the pasture gate ajar. Little Molly followed me out as she often did, but I forgot that Goliath was in the yard and he followed her. When I told Molly we were going back, she looked at Goliath and the two of them went on a adventure into the woods. I told Charyl, she was off work that weekday and she headed out into the woods to call them back. Ten minutes later I heard the blast and surmised what happened and Charyl did not come back. Very soon thereafter, Molly ran lickity split toward me out of the woods and that confirmed my worst fears. She was shaking like a leaf. I called Charyl on her cell and found out she was lost and she heard the shot, so I next called the Sheriff's Department.
The Deputy linked my wife with their helicopter pilot who was flying in the general area and using her GPS coordinates they located Charyl from the air and gave her directions for getting home. In the meantime the officer said he would check about the dog, for me to stay where I was and he'd return. He returned with the bad news that Goliath was dead and he told me to follow him in my truck to retrieve him. The farm owner told him Goliath was on her porch when he was shot, but the only blood present was beneath his body, where he instantly dropped. It was forty yards from the house and it was clear that he was running across the property. I could have filed a complaint, but I knew that since the big fellow was on her property there was no point, so the officer helped me load him in the back of the truck. I took him home and together, Charyl and I laid him to rest near the barn by a big tree. We were numb for the rest of the day.
Charyl mourned for a day or so and then, about a week or two later, she said she wanted another one. Using the same organization, she found Kaz on line and they offered to bring him to us. He was completely different than Goliath. Leaner, not so massive and a very quiet fellow, with eyes that had a questioning look as if he was asking if this would be his final home. He was easier to acclimate than Goliath, going out to take care of business and returning quickly. He was a real people dog, wanting to be wherever we were. He would follow me around as I carried out my animal chores and he loved all of the action. He bonded with the other animals quite well, even the cats.
We had a little over four wonderful years with Kaz, but one spring day Charyl noticed he was favoring one front leg and grimacing a bit. Charyl examined him and found a lump. It's one of the pitfalls of the breed, that with the bones and joints of a Dane trying to keep up with the quick growth of the animal makes them more susceptible to disease. When the pain became much more noticeable, it was decided that the vet should put him down. She came one morning, said she could give him medication that might help him for a short time or we could even try amputation. Neither of us felt it would be fair expecting this big fellow to get around on three legs, so the decision was made to put him to sleep. With Charyl holding his head as he began to show weariness, he breathed his last and he was buried in a spot where he used to watch me carry out chores.
So, this being the last of my blogs about rescue dogs, what can I pass to others about all of these wonderful dogs? First, they make wonderful pets for anyone with the love in their heart to take the time to bond with them. And secondly, if you are looking for a pet because they look so cute as a puppy, remember that big dogs like Great Danes became massive. If you don't think you will feel the same when they grow up, don't get one. To do otherwise will largely mean another beautiful dog will end up with either no home or a period of short-term living arrangements that make adjustment to his life. It breeds a very unhappy dog through no fault of his own and no dog deserves that. So, here's to rescue dogs, both big and small alike and I hope that some of you will consider the gift of giving a needy dog a home when you look to add one to your household membership. That was the chief reason for writing about those glorious animals.