Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes



March 19th, 2015

Our First Potential Adopter Home Visit

By Tara

If you missed the news last week, you should know that Bubba has been adopted! We are all so happy for him and he is doing wonderfully in his new home.

There were so many things I wanted to say in my post last week, but once I started writing it all down, I realized it was long and a little jumbled up. So I left the details of our home visit for another post: this one!

We drove Bubba over to the their home with some food, joint supplements, and his favorite toy. Not every home visit leads to an adoption, but if does, you want to be prepared to leave the dog.

Once we got there, someone took him for a walk to burn off some energy. He was in the car for and  hour and going to a new environment with other animals. We didn’t want him to go in all hyper and have any sort of negative experience in, what would hopefully be, his new home. While he was on his walk, we were inside, talking with the family and being shown around their very lovely home.

Bubba was brought in on leash at first, but then taken off leash and allowed to walk freely and explore on his own accord while we stood in the living room right next to the front door. He eagerly sniffed everything he could, including the cat, but he moved on very quickly from him and didn’t give him much attention. He was very excited and curious, but he wouldn’t explore the rest of the house by himself. He stayed where he could see us.

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So the family tried gently encouraging him to go into another room while Bill, Jayme, Christian, and I stayed in the other room. He refused to go. He would ignore their efforts and just look back at me. I didn’t realize how attached he was to me, and frankly, I liked it. But I wanted him to let go of his attachment!

Anyway, when we realized he wasn’t going anywhere, I walked up to him and started to go into the other room which made him stop resisting. After a few steps, I stopped and he continued going through the house. He warmed up quickly and was exploring the rest of the house. They took him into the daughter’s room but he wasn’t exploring much because I was there. Bill ushered me and Christian out and closed the door. Bubba whined a little and apparently wouldn’t do much except look at the door. Christian and I were right outside the door talking to the husband. I guess our voices were only adding to Bubba’s anxiety because Bill poked his head out of the door and told us to go away.

We went back to the living room and talked more about him. I believe this is where Jayme came out and started telling me the details of how she met him and his time at the shelter. There wasn’t any reason why she didn’t tell me before; we just never got a chance to really talk about it.

I got really emotional. I explained a little bit about it in my first post about his adoption, but long story short: he had a family most of his life, they died and he was sent to a kill shelter. He looked physically and mentally not-so-great. He would have been put down because nobody would take a look at him. Jayme saw this and reached out to Great Dane Love and that’s how he came to be a part of our lives.

Back to his home visit: they let him out in the backyard and let him run around, which he really enjoyed. When they came back in, he did quickly return to me, but he was much more confident in his surroundings and didn’t attach himself to me very much.

We were all talking when we heard a little growling. We turned and saw that Bubba was laying next to the food that we brought and was growling at their dog, Onyx, who approached simply because she was curious. I was alarmed at first, but then we realized he probably was cranky because it was passed his dinner time and he is very, for lack of a better word, mentally aroused. We decided to feed him, but only the family was to feed him and while we were in the other room!

When he first came to our house, didn’t have much of an appetite. He definitely didn’t eat the first day and for a week or two after, he wouldn’t finish his meal (2 cups a meal, 4 cups a day). Apparently, when they went to feed him, they put him in a sit-stay (I’m proud to say that I taught him patience at dinner time :’) ) and once released from that, he gobbled up his food. That was awesome!

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Besides the momentary tension between him and Onyx, they did wonderfully together. He didn’t pay much attention to her while we were there, but according to his family, Bubba and Onyx play so much and he acts as if he’s been there his whole life (a quote from the family’s teenage daughter!)

Then we all sat around talking about Bubba and how the visit was going. And we all decided that this was an amazing situation for proceeded with the adoption. I filled out some paperwork with Bill and the husband and that was it. We took some “goodbye” pictures with him, and then did a little photoshoot with him and his new family, and then it was time to say goodbye.

Bill thought that to keep him from being too anxious, we should leave without him knowing. So they let him in the backyard, came back in and said “Goodbye” to us and we were off. The husband called me about half an hour after we left which freaked me out (did something awful happen?!), but he called just to update us. When Bubba came back in the house and saw we were gone, he wandered around and it looked like he was trying to find us, but after a few minutes, he settled in and continued exploring.

They’ve texted and called me a few times since the home visit and it has all been good news. Him and Onyx play like long-lost siblings, which I am so happy about. Occasionally, Onyx will get tired and Bubba will keep trying to get her to play. She gives a quick bark at him and he immediately respects that and stops.

Him and the cat occasionally have tense moments, but the family is very confident that they will sort themselves out, which is a great attitude to have. When Bubba gets a little too jumpy for the cat, the husband will make a sharp sound and Bubba stops immediately and looks up at him. This is exactly what you want a dog to do.

He pulled on leash with us and we were working on those manners, but apparently, he doesn’t pull at all for them! They walk him once a day, sometimes twice a day, and he does awesomely on leash. I hate to admit this, but we didn’t walk him every day. It makes sense that he wasn’t pulling on leash because he was 1) regularly getting his energy out and 2) going out wasn’t such a big, exciting, mind-blowing treat. This has really taught me that consistency is key.

We only get good news about Bubba’s new life and it’s awesome. We just had another Petco event last weekend and unfortunately, they weren’t able to make it, but I really, really hope they do come to the next one.