Fido… Come… Sit
By Yvonne Passmore
Yes, I have a Great Dane and you don’t know how often I’ve heard that line. Great Danes can stop traffic quicker than a beautiful woman. Officially, he’s the height of a miniature horse. I could put a saddle on that thing. When I walk Zuma, I hear the usual references about horses and ponies. I don’t mind. Truth be told, I like the attention he gets. It impresses me when I see someone walking a brute of dog that is in control and I know that Zuma is impressive when we are walking through town. I adore my Dane and I don’t mind at all showing him off for other people that are amazed by his size (36” at the shoulder) and his wonderful personality. You need to be an attention hound yourself to like having an extra large dog. I really didn’t realize how much attention he would get before I brought him home.
Right now there is a lot of construction going on in my hometown. The main park is getting revamped, trees are being trimmed, gardens are getting beautified, roofs are being replaced, fences are being installed and all that stops when I take my Dane for a walk. A 15- minute stroll can easily turn into a 45-minute outing. Everyone wants to touch him. Everyone wants to know what he eats. Everyone wants to know if I have to refinance my house to feed him. Everyone wants to know how much he weighs. Everyone remembers someone who used to have one, or does have one, or is getting one but I rarely see Great Danes out and about.
There is a huge misconception about having such a large dog. There are many that say they’d love to have one but they don’t have a big enough yard or house. This is true for people’s opinions about most extra large breed dogs.
If I lived in an apartment, I’d get a Great Dane. I’d even consider a Newfoundland Dog, a Leonberger or St. Bernard. I personally have a harder time relating to toy breed dogs, which is the number one choice for most people that think they want a low maintenance dog, especially for smaller living quarters. Extra large breeds are typically quiet. They don’t bark at every thing they hear. They love to lie around on something soft and spend time with their owners. In the case of my Great Dane, he loves his daily walks and romps through the bush but he doesn’t demand exercise like my Retriever girls do. He’ll walk for as long as I want him to or for as little and be satisfied with whatever I choose. Obviously a large breed dog needs training to walk nicely, and needs to be well socialized to put up with all the attention it gets from strangers.
Of course there are some other things to consider if you want a large dog. In my home, coffee tables are banned. Knick-knacks become projectiles. Unless you place your television up a little higher you’ll miss half of your shows. Dog pillows are larger than the chair I sit in. He can keep me warm in bed, but the snoring can keep me up. Men that visit my household need to protect their ‘stuff’ from the wagging tail. Absolutely no one is walking into my house if I’m not home. I get the biggest, fattest, wettest kisses ever, but not from my husband. Alas, my husband’s dream of a ‘mid-life crisis mobile’ won’t be happening anytime soon and he wishes they made beds bigger than king size. Sadly, most extra large dogs have extra small life spans, but it’s a pleasure to able to share those few good years with such a wonderful creature.
You can contact Yvonne through her website at www.fidocomesit.com.