Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes

August 18th, 2014

Christian and I have a big announcement!

By Tara

Let me preface this by saying: no, I’m not pregnant!

It’s sad that I can’t say, “I have an announcement!” without people going, “OMG BABIES!” I understand why they think that (newlyweds = babies on the horizon), but still. There are a lot of other things couples can announce, like this:

Christian and I have been approved to foster Great Danes for Great Dane Love of Central Florida!!

Well, almost approved. I put in our application a week ago and everything has been approved so far. All they need to do is a home check, which they can’t do until we move in in September, but I’m more than sure we’ll pass it. Starting October 1st, our home will be available to take in a foster Dane!

This is a bit different than what we thought we were going to do. According to our plan, we wanted to get two puppies: a Great Dane and an English Mastiff. Now not only are we getting older dogs, but we are fostering.

Here is why we changed our plan.

My coworker happens to own a Great Dane and Bullmastiff. Over the summer, the Great Dane got pregnant and gave birth to 11 adorable little puppies a month ago. After talking with Christian about it for a while, we decided to adopt one of them!

We got super excited and announced it to our parents. We decided against announcing it publicly until we let it sink in for a while.

I went on DOL Forum all excited asking if anyone owned a Great Dane/Bullmastiff mixes. I got a lot of responses, but mostly from people asking how I’m getting this puppy, suggesting that this person is irresponsible for letting them breed, suggesting that this person is doing it just to make designer dogs, etc.

Then I got a response that really hit me hard:

I read your very first posts ever on DOL (and learned about Christian wanting an English Mastiff and you a Dane) AGES ago. I read your blog, and really liked it. I am from the SF Bay Area and respect your education Tara (go Banana Slugs!) sorry Christian, I respect your education too (both of my brothers are pilots) but I don’t know your school mascot!

At any rate, let’s just forget about the cost of the puppy that you have already very clearly fallen in love with. Let’s also forget about whether or not the breeding was intentional or not. Not that these items are unimportant, but in this scenario, let’s just pretend they are not.

You both fell in love with your respective breeds for very specific reasons, I am guessing, as it really takes a certain type of person to be willing and able to welcome a giant breed dog into their home, and handle and train them well to boot. You probably admire certain aspects of your chosen breeds after having met some stellar representatives of these breeds (hopefully).

What about the “accidental” parents of your new pup? Have you met and interacted with the sire and dam? Have they been shown or health tested? I am guessing not, as most reputable breeders would not let their pups go without a spay/neuter contract. Are you thinking that this accidental breeding of your two (almost) favorite breeds of dog will lead to the “perfect” pup for you??? (I say almost, as you said Bullmastiff X Dane rather than English but for all I know they could be the same…)

If you truly want a healthy and long living companion that represents the breed(s) you have fallen in love with, I highly recommend you hold out. Yes puppy breath and kisses are hard to resist, but when dealing with and owning giant breed dogs, the truly responsible owner should try to have the best representative of the breed possible.

I feel like you are both thinking with your hearts instead of your heads when choosing to accept this puppy – there will ALWAYS be more puppies – please don’t settle – you and your future puppy or puppies deserve more… Best of luck to you both.

The part about this mix of (almost) favorite breeds got me thinking.

  1. I’m not -that- familiar with Bullmastiffs. I immediately did research when we began thinking about adopting one of these puppies. I thought Bullmastiffs were nice, and I figured that was good enough.
  2. We fell in love with specific breeds because of their temperments and physical characteristics. The reason why we wanted purebreds is because we are more likely to get a dog that matches the breed standard.
  3. I remember going through Pinterest after we decided on getting the puppy and seeing a photo of an English Mastiff. I felt a pang of regret. I wanted an English Mastiff and I wanted a Great Dane, not a mix of (kinda) both.
  4. I wholeheartedly believe that life with a gentle giant is a lot different than life with any other dog. We’ve never lived with or known anyone who owns a gentle giant. Will we be able to raise this puppy and have him for 10 years, or will it be too much and we’ll need to surrender him? I definitely didn’t want to do that

I thanked her for her message. I opened up to her a bit about my doubts and after I saying it out loud (so to speak), I immediately decided to wait. Lisa, if you are reading this, thank you.

Christian and I talked and decided to be patient and wait for our perfect pups.

But I went back to the “are we fit to commit to 10 years of a gentle giant in our home?” thing, which brings me to us deciding to be foster parents! This way, we can get experience living with all sorts of Great Danes. Plus, we will learn how to train a large dog and we will learn how to rehabilitate a dog that’s been traumatized or mistreated. All this without committing to a lifetime of a dog until we are sure we can do it.

So basically, I’m counting down the days until October 1st, when the fun begins!

44 days to go!!

  • Lisacp75 August 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Aww – just read this after posting on another blog post – so exciting to hear this! Kudos for fostering – I’m looking forward to hearing more as one of my sisters is contemplating becoming a foster. :)

    • Tara August 19, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      <3 Thanks so much for following our story. Like I said before, I’m very excited to see what I have to learn from you!

      Is your sister looking into fostering a particular breed or dogs in general?

  • Farzad August 19, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Good luck, Hon.

    • Tara August 20, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I’m so excited!

  • Lisacp75 August 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    If she fosters probably pit bulls or pit mixes as the shelters in CT are full of them. However she met some rescue greyhounds that she fell in love with – so she might end up adopting instead!

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