Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life with a Giant.

A question was posed recently by a curious party about the pros and cons of owning a Great Dane.

I watched as comments came pouring in on the post.
 "What cons?"...
 "Pros:You have a Dane, Cons: Nothing is sacred anymore....everything you have, they have."
"Snuggle buddy but, no more room on the bed."
"Pro: A best Friend. Con: The food and vet bills keep you broke."
The comments went on and on with cons about the bills and yard bombs.
The pros were usually about how Great Danes make great pets, best friends and snugglers.
I personally feel a list of pros and cons about owning a Great Dane over any other breed is highly subjective. There are simply some things that Greats Danes have and do that some people love and others despise.
 So the real question is... What do you consider pros and cons?
For me anything that seemed like a con about owning a Great Dane, was evened out by a pro that only Danes have or do.

For example: As a woman who has battled depression and anxiety, I find the food bill to feed a Great Dane that keeps me calm and happy, way cheaper than a prescription and therapy. Sure, I could use another breed of dog for the depression but, the size of my giant is part of what calms me. I cannot simply make a pros and cons list that is black and white.  So, I am going to share what it means to me to own a Dane, the good and bad. 

When I take my Great Dane Kyle out to walk or just run errands he attracts as much attention as he discourages. I personally like this. I am more calm on walks when Kyle is with me. I feel safe to take my toddler in the stroller and go anywhere. Well, anywhere dogs are allowed.  People see a big black dog with a tiny twig woman and her son and they side step us on sidewalks or engage us with a smile and sometimes a silly comment like "Nice horse". 

I have heard all the jokes, I know Kyle looks like batman, if batman were dog that is. I know he is the size of a horse... actually a mini horse at best, which by the way is actually a pony or foal.  I know when he squats to do his business he looks like some kind of gargoyle, so I have been told.  I am aware people have thought I was harboring a baby black bear. Although, black bears have longer fur, even bigger paws and are not always actually "black" especially with white markings. But, hey... they thought Kyle was a bear cub so, whatever.   I just assume people get so excited when they see Kyle, that their ability to talk without something silly coming out of their mouth, is lowered to the same level as a high school girl talking to her crush for the first time. Hey, I must admit the first time I saw him, I instantly fell in love too! I have made peace that while it's not always the most intelligent attention, Kyle attracts well meaning nice people for the most part. Kyle is also very in tune with me and when I feel even a little cautious about someone we pass on our walks or trips, he does the "stare".  His ears point straight forward in total attention and his eyes lock on the person making me nervous, but he keeps his pace the whole time we pass them. It is like he is trying to mind meld with his pointy Spock ears "Don't make any sudden moves bucko... I am on to you!"

It is both easier and harder to be a stay at home mom with Kyle and my three year old son. I have mastered what homemade concoctions remove poop and pee (and vomit) stains and odors. My walls get a nice wipe down every day because of the drool "loogies" that Great Danes tends to splatter after a good drink of water or anytime they get excited and pant. I am a professional animal odor remover. As I type this I have wiped off my computer screen a total of five times since starting this post because Kyle is nosy and keeps walking up to me and pressing his nose on my screen like he knows I am typing about him... Told you he is intuitive. 
 I could complain about how I am always cleaning up after my Great Dane and son but, the truth is, I am a better house keeper now. 

Being a stay at home mom to both a human and fur-kid also means I have to run a tight ship. This means sleeping in, is a no go... ever. When the sun is rising, so am I.

When I worked in the medical field we always joked about never taking a lunch hour, it was only lunch minute because of our demanding work. Now, I have breakfast and lunch minute. If I am lucky I get to indulge in animal crackers for a brunch second. 
At the end of the day I am usually tired but, my son and dog are happy, healthy and you know what? So am I. 

Great Danes are inside dogs. I know, people who do not have Great Danes usually think they are too big to be inside but, they don't have a coat to be outside, be it hot or cold. They don't have a neck to handle a chain, (asophogus and vertebra are too sensitive) they do not have a personality to be away from their people. Working dogs with jobs may fair to that kind of life (hopefully WITHOUT a chain) but, a Great Danes job is to be there for their people. When you separate them from your family in everything, everyday... they don't cope well. You take their job away and break their heart and spirit. Because Great Danes are big on family they also a huge part of some of the best and worst memories in my life as an adult. 

For instance, my first Great Dane, Phil helped my son learn how to walk. Phil would stand like a statue next to my son and let that little wobbly, drooling noisy baby pull himself up, steady himself against Phil and together they would take steps. My little noisy, pinching, cooing baby took his first steps with my Great Dane, Phil.  It was not graceful and I am not sure Phil really got much enjoyment out of the pinching and pulling man child. But, if my baby fell and cried it was his big pink tongue that dried... well, licked his tears away while also restyling the few little curls on top of his head.  I would not replace memories like that for the world. 

Even now with Kyle, if I chastise my son for being naughty, I also have to console Kyle because he will whimper over his boy being upset and want to coddle him.  It does this mothers heart good to know my boy has a dog that will comfort him when he is upset.  There is more of that in-tune spirit our Great Dane has with our family. 

Kyle enhances and adds character to my life, he makes more messes for me. but he causes more laughs and smiles too. He gets a case of the "Zoomies" and everyone ducks to the nearest couch for cover so he can run and pounce and get the sillies out. Having a Great Dane means cheap entertainment at any given moment. I love the sound of laughter and my head has yet to get sore from shaking it at the latest silly/dumb thing Kyle has done. Trust me, there are new things every day. 

Having a Great Dane with a toddler may mean more work but, it is also full of great opportunities. 
Here are a few...
My toddler holds the food bowl while I fill it and Kyle has to sit and stay until my toddler gives the "eat" command. My toddler can give Kyle the "crate" command from anywhere in the room and Kyle will go put himself in it. When I am wiping down walls the man-child has his own rag and works over the baseboards. It is never perfect and often I have to go behind him but, he is learning in a fun way. My son is learning responsibility, leadership and communication with Kyle in his life. He boldly gives Kyle commands, cleans up with mommy after Kyle (and himself more and more) and he is not afraid of this 140+ pound puppy.
 As a mother I find this to be wonderful and invaluable to our family. 

For me, owning a gentle giant is so much more than bigger poop, vet and kibble bills.
It is so much more than, loogie-fied walls, windows and T.V./Computer screens. It is more than the extra vacuuming of dog hair or bleaching the tub from bathes. Owning a Great Dane is different from owning any other breed. Great Danes are NOT large breed dogs. They are giant breed dogs. Kyle is larger than life in our house and many Great Dane owners can say the same about their own gentle giants. 
This is my life with a giant. 


  1. Love your post... thanks for sharing...

    I have two Danes and I would not have any other breed...

    Much more Pros than Cons in my house... :-)

    1. Thank you for reading! I agree about more Pros than Cons! Love my Great Dane.