Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes

June 27th, 2016

Oppa Knew Them – Oppa’s Adoption Story

By Tara

Bear with me here. I know that the timeline of my blog posts doesn’t make any sense. I’m about to talk about the adoption of our foster Oppa and I haven’t even once mentioned him on OGG. And what happened with Anastasia??

I’ll go back in time and tell all of my stories from the first half of 2016. But right now, I want to tell you about Oppa’s adoption. It was quite a profound experience.great-dane-2

Last Wednesday, a young family (papa, mama, and 3 cute little girls) came over to our house to meet Oppa. We spent a while hanging out inside, gushing about how cute and sweet he is, laughing as his tail whacked the 2 year-old in the face, and screaming when he drooled on someone. They were absolutely smitten with him. They were smitten with him the moment they learned about him and the opportunity they had to potentially adopt him. They were so willing to go above and beyond just to lay their eyes on Oppa in person. He met and exceeded every single one of their expectations.

Photo credit: Trendy HoundsThe loop closest to the clasp is sometimes called a "traffic loop".

Photo credit: Trendy HoundsThe loop closest to the clasp is sometimes called a “traffic loop”. 

After a while, we all went on a walk. It started with me walking him by myself for a few steps. Then I let one of the girls hold the traffic loop on his leash. I loosely held onto the loop at the end of his leash. He walks really well on leash, so I wasn’t afraid of him running off and dragging a 6 year-old behind him.

We chatted and walked like that for about a block. There was a moment where it felt right to just hand the leash to the mom and slow down my walking. Roxie and Sarah, my sister-in-law, were walking behind us so I fell into step with them.

The sight in front of me was seriously magical. The 6 of them just seemed so perfect together. It was picture-perfect. Look!


It was so picture-perfect that it almost felt like we were intruding on their family time. I mean, they weren’t being rude to us or excluding us at all! It just felt so natural. The girls were so in love with him. It was adorable to watch. We passed by a couple of neighbors and one of them said, “What a beautiful dog!” I always get that comment when I’m out with one of my fosters. I start to say “Thank you” out of habit when the chatty 9 year-old, who was holding onto the traffic loop on the leash, proudly said, “Thank you!!!” It was heart-melting.

We go back home and continue talking about him and playing with him. The girls discovered the toy basket and took out the squeakiest toys and ran around squeaking them relentlessly. I observed Oppa to see how he’d behave in a high-stress situation like that. He was as cool as a cucumber. Not surprising at all, because he came from a family of 4 kids, ranging from ages 2 to 17. But it was so neat to see him so chill around happy, screaming kids.

Then came the question: well… what do you think? They unanimously said they want him.

The original plan was that they would visit us, then we would go up and see him in their home a few days later, and if I thought it was a good fit, I’d leave him there.

But after this first visit, I was convinced this was the perfect family for him. However, they weren’t prepared to take him home and more importantly, I wasn’t prepared to give him up that night. I needed to say goodbye. This first visit was on Wednesday. We met up at a halfway point on Friday (last week). It was interesting; I noticed he was kind of down after he met them for the next two days. I didn’t really think about why that was. We all get into funks from time to time. Maybe he was in a little funk.

Anyway, today, Sarah and I met up with this family, signed some paperwork, and handed Oppa off to them.


Then something happened that shocked me. This moment played over and over in my head for hours after the adoption.

While he was here with us for almost two months, he was absolutely in love with me and attached to me. He quite literally attached himself to me at the hip. We would walk into furniture and walls in the house because he had to walk right beside me. He wouldn’t run in the backyard when we let him out. He would do his business and come back and stand by me. Every time I shifted in my desk chair, he would immediately stand up, ready to follow me. The first time someone else walked him, he refused to walk forward and just looked back at me. At the Petco event he went to, I handed him off to someone else and walked out of his line of sight. Apparently, he just frantically looked for me until I came back.

Tonight, after we unhooked my leash and hooked their leash on him, he stood around while we talked a bit. Two of the girls were holding onto his leash. And suddenly, they’re walking away. Oppa was walking them away from us and to their van. And he didn’t even look back at me! The same boy who couldn’t stand to be apart from me for more than a second willingly walked away and didn’t look over his shoulder.

Now, I’m not saying this because I was offended. I was ecstatic.

This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.

He knew I just borrowing him the past couple of months. He knew he was with his family. He knew he was going home now.

I thought back to when he was a little down after he met that family at our house. He was sad because they left. He was sad that his family left.

He knew it was them!

His new mama texted me a bunch after they got home. He ate all of his food! He was so depressed when he came into rescue because he missed his first family. He didn’t eat for a week. I had to feed him by hand after a few days of him not eating. But suddenly with his new family, he’s eating immediately. He was running in their backyard! I’ve never seen him run!

He knew!


  • Jill June 27, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    First off, your storytelling is beautiful. Secondly, you have me crying AGAIN with this story. Simply wonderful. I’m so happy for Oppa and thrilled for his new family. I truly don’t have the words for how happy this makes me feel. Thank you for sharing. Your job as a foster family for these dogs in transition has been a privilege to watch.

    • Tara June 27, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      You are so nice, Jill! I’m always surprised every time I pump out a post like this lol. I just get carried away!

      I’m so glad that our experiences have brought you so much joy. I sincerely hope we can foster again wherever we move. I’m actually wanting to get into helping out with service animals. We’ll see what kind of opportunities we get wherever we go :)

  • Sarah June 28, 2016 at 5:15 am

    What a sweetheart Oppa (now Kristoff) is/was! I’m so glad that he got to find his forever home. It was just meant to be! I know I’ve been around to hear all of his stories from his new family, and he is just in love with them! Running, playing, eating, and just having the time of his life! They loved him being at your house, and now they love him with him being at his full-potential. He’ll be able to gain those last few pounds in no time!

    • Tara June 28, 2016 at 4:46 pm


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