Most recently updated on 2018-06-23
This site began in the fall of 2008, when we got our third Great Dane, Danforth. But I slowly updated the site with some pictures of our 3 Great Danes. For reference, the two black danes are Deco and Kitty, whom we got in December, 2005. Deco is the shorter one, who's a little more grey in the face. Kitty is the taller, prettier one. The little guy, the fawn, his name is Danforth. Our first three have come from Great Dane Rescue, Inc. Polka, who was part of the 3greatdane pack from March to October of 2013, came from Toronto Animal Services. Guinness, who joined us in February, 2014, also came from GDRI. Monty is a permanent foster from GDRI, who joined us in March of 2015.
June 23, 2018: On May 21st, we said our most-upsetting goodbye, to Danforth, the catalyst for the creation of this site.
For some time, Danforth had been showing his age, and we felt that we could help him manage it. We felt as though we were having success, by doing things like taking him to hyrdrotherapy to build up strength in his back-end. But we couldn't go for a walk of any distance without there being a need to lay down to rest. On one walk, he needed 3 or 4 stops to take a break. These were walks of about a kilometer. But the weekend of the 14th, we needed to start having the discussion that no dog-owner ever wants to have, and that's whether we were doing it to keep up his quality of life, or if we were denying to ourselves his circumstances.
Its been a month, and it's hard to type about it without getting a bit weepy.
In the end, on Friday May 18th, we decided to treat him like the king that he has been to us, by doing things with him that he hasn't done in a long time, feed him things that he normally shouldn't have, and generally make him the centre of our universe for one last time.
Ok, I'm now crying while I type this.
There were a number of things that Danforth was a catalyst of. We bought a video recorder, so that we would be able to record some of his puppy-days, such as he was. I mean, he was 67lbs. at 4 months, when he joined us. So, the age of a puppy, but the size of, um, well what, exactly?
Like I started off with, this website was started as a way to periodically journal our dog-life journey. An early example of that journey was, before we first got him, we thought that we would need a bigger vehicle, and spent almost a year test-driving, researching, even though in the end, our car turned out to be the perfect car for our needs.
We never knew his birthday for certain, but early on, Sarah declared it to be June 22, 2008.
I will slowly put together a "Celebrating Danforth" page. It will like be huge, like he was, and yet still only scratch the surface.
September 29, 2017: As a long-overdue update to the site, the only noteworthy update would be that Monty is a Permanent foster with us. It's been 31 months with Monty. He's a blessing and a curse, and it's easy to change from hour-to-hour. He's both ridiculously cute, desperate for affection, but he should have been named Pinball, or Dog Who Steps On Your Feet.
March 26, 2016: This was originally going to be minor update, several times over this last year, with some additional photos in the Monty section. But it's been a year since we began this foster journey, so it felt like a reasonable time to give a bigger update.
Monty is now estamated at around 22 months. In size terms, he hasn't shown much growth, except for a touch around his waist. As a result of that growth, we've cut back his daily food by about a ½ cup less than what we have been feeding for some time.
Monty hasn't always been great around excited kids, and as such, is micromanaged around them. He loves ice and snow, so he seems like he is a very winter-friendly dog. He's quite tolerant of being walked in cooler weather without a jacket. Speaking of walks, he gets very excited to go for a walk. So we insist that he lay down when putting on the leash, and must "release" him to get ready to go to the door. There is a lot of up and down by him, to settle into this. But it's a work in progress, and necessary for his self-control. Speaking about that, he does a fantastic job of going into a "sit", right after eating his meals. Let's see, what else. He is improving with his walking, in that he is slowly improving with his pulling. He wants to pull, which we are trying to have his own self-control keep him at our side, and we know that he'll eventually get there, with enough patience and practice.
And he weighs about 120 pounds. He's very pushy, bouncing off of people, leaning against Danforth, and you need to have good balance around him. He really seems to love Danforth, BTW. Monty often engages with him, and will sleep near or against him, if you aren't around.
In the meanwhile, Danforth, I will walk with you until you can't walk anymore.
March 21, 2015: Just to give a quick update, there is a link about Monty's surgical status on the GDRI Facebook page.
In essence, the surgery went longer than they had anticipated, but they are happy with the result.
March 18, 2015: Fostering is not something that we ever imagined doing. For several reasons. But a couple weeks ago, GDRI contacted us to see if there was anything that we could do to help to re-home a foster. While it was a broad question, i.e., "Do we know anyone that could help out for a very short term?", there felt like an unspoken question was being asked, "could you take him in?" Well, after looking around for help from people that we know, no one that we contacted was able to help by taking Monty in. So, Sarah, our friend Marilyn, and Guinness, drove out and ended up spending an hour and a half at Monty's, and it went well. A couple days later, Sarah, Danforth, and I went out, with a GDRI board-member, Deb, to see how it went between Danforth and Monty. It went well enough that Deb drove Monty back to our place, and we became been fosters to Monty.
Monty is approximately 11 months old. He weighs about 97 pounds. He is a harlequin. He is 32" at the withers, approximately. (he was quite squirmy while we were measuring him.) Monty is a hermaphrodite. He has no problems with being bathed. Wait, what? Hermaphrodite? Yeah, just one more thing to make this an unusual situation, all around.
But all around, it's working out well. He is going to have an operation today, and after that, he'll find his loving forever-home. He needs some obedience, but he's a lovely dog, and he'll easily find a home who will love him. He is going to need a lot of playtime with other dogs, if his Guinness engagement alone illustrates. He's pretty frigging charming. And here is the URL you've all been waiting for, the introduction to Monty. There aren't many photos in the gallery, and because he's a foster, it's unclear how much I'll be able to add. But it gives a snapshot of him. I have high hopes for him in his future permanent home, whenever and wherever that will be.
Oh, and Guinness, who is about 2.5 years old, is still around 125 pounds, and also 32" at the withers.
November 30, 2014: Putting together the photo gallery of Kitty was very hard. I would start, get emotional, and have to stop. I hate that it's taken me two months to put together. But I'm sure that you can imagine how hard it is to go through photos and then try to tell a condensed story.
September 20, 2014: We are heartbroken. It started to become clear last night that Kitty just wasn't okay anymore. I often take her for a short walk down the street to a parkette when she's lacking the motivation to go to the bathroom. We get down there, and her dog-brain kicks in, and she goes to the bathroom. Last night, I started to take her, and after only getting a few houses down, she stopped moving forward. I didn't want to take her back home, as she hadn't gone pee. But it was clear what the message was. So I walked her back to the house, got her inside and downstairs to the basement, and immediately went upstairs to blurt out, in-between sobs, that Kitty was giving up.
This morning, getting the dogs up to get them outside and fed, Kitty only made it a few steps before she decided that she couldn't make it, and peed. This was it, we knew, her way of saying that she just doesn't have the strength anymore.
We were looking forward to going to a great dane meetup down at Cherry beach, where some new members were going to get their first taste of an influx of the giants. But right now, that seems unimportant, since we wouldn't be able to take Kitty with us. And we know that she won't make it to tomorrow morning. And for that, we are heartbroken. She is 12 years old.
11:00PM update. She was 12 years old, and has had her last run in her sleep. Our house feels so empty right now.
September 16, 2014: Kitty. We first got her with her bonded friend, Deco, in December 2005. She is a remarkable 12 years old. Not unheard of for a Great Dane, but certainly not the normal age. But her age is, unavoidably, starting to show signs of impacting her quality of life. I've been convincing myself that her quality has reduced. That it has only been reduced, but not reached a point where the struggles are more often than not. She can still walk, and she stands to eat, and yet, it's clear that this won't last for much longer.
When Deco was ill, it happened so suddenly. But with Kitty, it's a constant evaluation. And I'm afraid that it's starting to cross the line of what is reasonable to her. I'm not ready. I haven't been ready. And yet I know that I can't pretend that everything is just fine.
How do we do this? I understand that it's responsible ownership. But that doesn't make it easy, and won't do a lot ease me when the time comes, or the months after the inevitable choice will be forced upon us. And so I'm sad as I type this, as I know that the short walks that we still have, and the nights of sleeping on the couch to make sure that she's comfortable, are, too quickly, going to come to a heart-wrenching end.
She still runs in her sleep. Most dogs that can no longer run will still run in their sleep. And no one who has a dog in such a circumstance ever wants to see that end.
August 22, 2014: Things are going well. Kitty seems to be doing very well, and we need to talk about taking her back to the hydrotherapy place, I think. Danforth and Guinness had themselves a good time, and I recently captured it and posted to Youtube: Danforth and Guinness play. Last night Guinness and I hopped onto the subway to accompany a friend most of their way home. Guinness has taken a wonderful liking to this friend, who is just as enamoured with Guinness. Guinness still isn't comfortable on the subway, but he seemed to be a little less terrified. There was some shaking, but he lay down on the floor most of the time, which is the practical thing to do. Also last night, Danforth did not steal the entire roast. Nevermind that it was because the roast was secured in the microwave while we were eating...
August 03, 2014: It has been a bacon day! Every once in a while, we have bacon for breakfast, and when we do, the dogs get a wee bit. I'll cut up a couple strips into pieces, then we add it to their breakfast. And then, normally, at the end of our breakfast, I have a little bit left, and we share it with the dogs. They love bacon.
June 28, 2014: Ok, Kitty is feeling it. Like a person who just went to the gym for the first time in years, we hope that this is what we're seeing, and that in a day or two, she'll be feeling it a little less.
We volunteered Danforth and Guinness to be used as models for the purpose of studying their bodies, by some artists at TAAFI. It was really neat, and all of the artists seemed to enjoy the experience. Guinness took longer to settle in, but Danforth was perfect, by our estimate.
June 27, 2014: Today we started to work with a company who does canine hydrotherapy. Specifically, we took her to a small pool, about 4' wide, by about 8' long. Kitty was nervous about getting into the pool, specifically, going down the ramp. Instead, she decided that she would rather the steps. While the ramp would have been a "safer" choice because the ramp has a rubberized walk, she recognizes steps, I suppose. She got in, she swam, took breaks, and although she was obviously nervous with this new activity, she didn't shy away. And as it went along, she seemed to find herself more and more comfortable. More importantly, several hours later, she doesn't seem to have been wiped out from the much higher use of energy that came from the swimming. Ultimately, we have no idea if this will help her, but it certainly doesn't feel like a wasted activity.
May 24, 2014: A photo-introduction to Guinness. I've put together a gallery of photos of Guinness, who is surprisingly difficult to get good pictures of. I attribute this to his colours, which make it harder to get nice detail of his face without some good light.
April 12, 2014: Guinness is troubling. But I'll leave that alone, for now. In the meanwhile, we went over to the Chadwick's this past weekend. We've had a cold winter, and although that normally isn't a deterrent, it's fair to say that it got into the way of our normal visitations. This past weekend was too good a weekend to pass up, so off we went, and you can see some photos from the visit.
March 9, 2014: Guinness is establishing himself. As Sarah's shadow, that is. She has taken to refering to him Velcro.
He seems to be understanding how to be a part of the mealtime system we have always had. Two weeks in. I'd love to see faster progress, but I have to remind myself that we've never had a dog like him, with regards to his nervous temperament. So I need to be ever-patient.
He is still learning to play. A couple days ago, he started running around, and even kept going after Danforth joined him.
Sarah let him sleep outside of the crate last night. Sorry, Grace.
March 06, 2014: Wow, is Guinness ever afraid. I am resistant to passing judgement on whomever the owners were, as I don't know their circumstances. But I just got home from work today, and Sarah is out on a walk with Danforth, and Guinness is not in his crate. While a discussion about that choice could be interesting, when I got to the front door, he came racing up to me, whimpering, and before I could get him out the back, he had started to pee. Now, I know that he has had pee-breaks during the day, so it isn't like he had been holding it for 20 hours. This was a form of fear and submission, and one that he had to have learned.
But it appears as though things are slowly improving. He attempts to play in the backyard, although when Danforth tries to play with him, he gets afraid. Today at the park he was happily playing with some smaller dogs, running like the wind and goofing around so much he landed on his butt.
February 21, 2014: Last Sunday we met with a Great Dane. He's part of GDRI, and is quite shy. We brought Danforth along, and although they took some time to figure it out, that they could play together, they did get a little bit of action going. It went well enough that, today, we've brought him home to be part of our household. Drum-roll, please, the name we've chosen is "Guinness". I'm struggling a bit with the name, because I don't want to come off as a lush. I had a couple of names that I liked, but Sarah just couldn't get past her suggestion. I'm sure that if I had wanted to, I could have pushed my suggestions, but the choice has been made, and Guinness it is.
The name comes from the visual that as a dark brindle, he reminds Sarah of the settling that occurs when a draught Guinness is poured into the glass. He's believed to be about a year and a half old, which would place his birthday somewhere in the August 2012 timeframe. His head doesn't quite fit the shapes that I associate with a Great Dane, so, personally, I think that he isn't likely a full GD. He pretty desperately needs some obedience work, and that starts today. He's very snuggly, Sarah reports. He prefers that once you start touching him, you don't stop.
January 27, 2014: Nothing substantive to report. We met with a Great Dane owner last weekend, the 19th, because the family had a household situation that meant that they weren't sure that they could keep their girl, Sohpie. Sohpie is a 7-month old black, with a tiny patch of white on her chest, Great Dane. We brought Danforth with us to meet her, and the two seemed to get along really well. They were outside in the bitter cold, and then went inside together, and Danforth was comfortable enough to lie down on his side, and play with people around him, while Sophie sat on the couch with Sarah. We spent about an hour with the family, and came away having to decide if this might be the right dog, and right time, to integrate into our house. Sarah and I talked about it a lot over the next day, but on the Tuesday, Sohpie's owner contacted us to say that they've had to chose to keep her. They have been advised to keep the home environment stable for the next month while an evaluation process occurs. I suppose it's possible that things might change in a month, but that's forever away, right now.
But on a much happier note, our friends, the Chadwicks, are going to be adding a new girl, Gracie, to their house, in a couple of weeks. Sarah, Marilyn and Stacie are going to make a mini-trip of it. We're all looking forward to meeting Gracie.
January 4, 2014: I wish that I had better news to post, but today is another awful day. Our wonderful friends, the Chadwicks, have had to say goodbye to their beloved Sady. She was their first Great Dane rescue, which is how we first met them. Sady was a wonderful girl. Though she started off a bit shy, she was happy to settle and embrace the Chadwicks as her new family. She joined them in 2008, and brought them so much joy that they brought a second into their home, Gideon. Gideon, naturally, like the Chadwicks, is quite lost without the reassuring comfort of Sady by his side.
We feel for them, and know their loss. We loved visiting with them, and Sady's friendly presence was a happy part of each visit. We hope that Terry & Marilyn can find comfort in Gideon, and know that they gave Sady a wonderful last 4 years. No dog could have been happier. Especially with their automatic icemaker, Sady's favourite treat.
November 4, 2013: It's been a difficult few weeks, as we slowly adjust to the loss of Polka. Here is a photo gallery that can barely capture the essence of Polka. It's 64 photos, although it feels like it should be 100x that, to reflect the size of his presence.
October 14, 2013: Today is another devastating day for us. Polka, whom we adopted on Tuesday March 5, 2013, has passed this morning. It happened suddenly, and although an autopsy is being performed, it must have been a heart attack. He was playing with Danforth, like he did every day, and then laid down. A couple of minutes later, he suddenly moaned, and that was essentially the end. And like any household would, ours feels so incredibly empty right now, without his overwhelming energy. And his need to be Sarah's shadow.
For a little while, I've been thinking about what to update this site with. Things had not changed much on the day to day, beyond some re-alignment of the house's rooms. But for the dogs, it was pretty day-in-day-out. We hadn't been on any particularly interesting trips that felt like compelling me to update the site with pictures, but now that we've lost Polka, I need to put some things up that didn't seem as interesting before his sudden passing. Sometime in the next few days, as I organize myself, I'll put a gallery up of Polka, as well as one trip that we took on Canada Day weekend. That feels so long ago, right now, and yet, I feel like I'm numb from this unimaginable loss.
June 16, 2013: Last weekend was the GDRI Fun Day, and Sarah took pictures of the dogs at the picnic.
While I'm doing this update, I think that it's a good time to provide an update on Kitty's state. Which is to say, she's doing quite well. She may not be 4 years old, but she's got all of her energy, and is walking well. We continue to put boots on her, so that she doesn't injure her back paws, but at this point, that's the only thing that we can point to as a health issue. And, well, that kind of injury is nothing, considering her age. We're overjoyed that she is doing so well. It is a relief.
May 20, 2013: It was a perfect day for Polka to meet Terry at the the Chadwick's.
May 16, 2013: Last week was a very stressful week. On the afternoon of Sunday the 5th, Kitty suddenly started to have a problem. She wasn't comfortable, and was clearly looking to Sarah and I for relief. Despite it being a gorgeous day, Kitty didn't want to go outside to lay in the sun, something she really enjoys doing. We noticed that her front-right paw was swollen, and she was clearly uncomfortable walking. We took her to our vet, and they took some blood for tests, and prescribed a painkiller to help her with her discomfort. We were suddenly having to confront the possibility that Kitty, at 11 years old, might be suddenly seeing her last days. We slept downstairs so that we could be near her in case she needed our help.
She wouldn't eat anything for dinner, and in the morning, she didn't want breakfast. Monday was a very nervous day, and there was no news from the vet. Because she was experiencing being lame in her hind, as far as walking is concerned, we considered something that we hadn't needed to, a chiropractor. We felt that it might be necessary to relieve the pain in her back end, which would make her more mobile, even with the swollen paw. So we made an appointment for late in the afternoon the following day.
Tuesday morning, our vet calls and asks us to bring Kitty in for early afternoon, so we bring her in, and after further examination, they prescribe two new medications, replacing the first. They are an anti-inflammatory and painkiller combination, and an anti-biotic. They do many X-rays, which are causing more stress to Kitty, but we allow it, since we have to believe that it will reveal something. At this point, the only thing that we know is that her blood-sugar is a touch low, and that's all. They quickly review the X-rays, and see that she has some fusing in the lower lumbar, but not enough to explain what is causing her pain in the back-end.
We head to the chiropractor, who gets info, and we try to get the x-rays to him, but it isn't happening. Technical problems. He looks at her, makes what appears to us to be minor adjustments, and we schedule another appointment for 2 days later. In the span of time between the two chiropractor appointments, Kitty is walking again, and the swelling is going down. From that point forward, Kitty appears to recovering, and days later has proven that out.
But I'm cautious on how to explain this. How much can the two separate practitioners be credited, if not both? I have a general caution towards the chiropractic profession, but no matter what, Kitty wasn't harmed, and, in fact, can easily be assumed to have been helped by him.
March 15, 2013: Well, just to shake things up, we have decided to adopt another Great Dane: Polka. Up until now, our Great Danes have been adopted through Great Dane Rescue, Inc. Polka, however, came to us through Toronto Animal Services.
While I have your attention, I'd like to draw it to a blog, The Dogs of Toronto Animal Services South, run by a volunteer of TAS. He volunteers by taking the dogs there for walks, and then posts photos of the dogs, so as to give them a fighting chance to find a good home. "to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals". We here at 3greatdanes.com believe that this applies equally to both groups. It just requires a different, or bigger, spolight to help bring attention. This was the original post on the TAS volunteer's blog, when he was as yet unnamed. There have been two updates on Polka, here, and here.
Returning to the subject at hand, Polka was originally thought to be 8 months old, though after a couple of other opinions, we believe he's at least 10 months old. He weighs 95 pounds.
Polka gets along very well with our other two Great Danes. He loves to kiss everything, and has the attention-span of your average puppy. He's keeping Danforth on his toes with all of the play, but thankfully, Polka adjusts his play for the size of the dog. <knock on wood.> Here is Polka's introductory photo album.
March 2, 2013: A couple of weeks ago we went to Nova Scotia, so I've added an album of some of the fun. Oh, and Danforth is about 196 pounds.
October 31th, 2012: Kitty is 123.2 pounds. We know this because she was weighed when we took her to the vet. What? The vet? Why was Kitty at the vet? Well, she sometimes drags her hind feet when she walks. When she does, she seems to rub her outside nail to the point of exposing the quick. For a while, we thought that it was under control, but it reached the point where we weren't improving it or even fixing it. So, we took Kitty to the vet, and in the end, they cauterized the problem nails. We're restricting her walking, which is driving her a bit nutty. But we'll be taking her and Danforth to the country on Saturday, and she'll get a chance to run around there. Which will, emotionally, reconcile her current restrictions. November 8th, 2012 - Kitty is doing well. We haven't noticed any bleeding, and her back paws are looking good.
October 16th, 2012: We went to a cottage for Thanksgiving weekend.
October 12th, 2012: Although it's been more than a year, I feel like I need to put up a page in honour of Deco.
October 4th, 2012: On December 23, 2010, Sarah and I had intended to take Danforth to visit with Keith's Grandpa at the old age home. But we got caught in traffic, and it was dinner-time, so we made an impromptu visit with Keith's Granny. Here are a few pictures from that visit.
August 19th, 2012: We went to our friends, the Chadwick's, for a visit. As always, we had a good time there.
June 06, 2012: I am always of two minds when it comes to bringing a new rescue into the house. Can we give the rescue what they need? An example of of this is found in Miya. I want to save them all. Somehow, like the many who have come before me, I was one who needed a new home. I can only say that I need the right fit. What was the past is past. I only want to find the way to show my personality. I have a need to run, whether it's while I'm awake or asleep. Give me your care and I'll show you my loyalty. It won't be that hard, no matter what you think. I'll enrich your life, and in return, you'll give me hope. It's a fair tradeoff, and one you will never forget.
Oct 27, 2011: A couple weeks ago, Danforth and Kitty took Sarah and myself out to rural Nova Scotia for a month. We spent a couple of weeks at one farmhouse, then the latter half at a second farmhouse. The dogs had a mostly good time, though both dogs did themselves a little self-inflicted injury. Cow-fencing can be dangerous! The gallery is here.
July 31, 2011: Today is a sad day in our house. There is a massive hole in our hearts and in our house.
Early this morning, we said our last good bye to Deco. She came down with pneumonia on Friday, and her strength, no matter how much love and medicine we gave, would never recover.
Deco, we will always miss you, and will be thankful for the time that you shared with us.
June 20, 2011: We are sad that Danforth's favourite playmate, Phoenix, a 2-year old Boerboel, has had to be put down due to congenital heart disease. Phoenix will be greatly missed. One of several examples of the kind of fun that Danforth & Phoenix would have can be found here: Danforth and Phoenix get together, pt.1
May 5, 2011: Added a section for when we visited Nova Scotia for Sarah's Nanny's 90th birthday. We had a good time there.
May 3, 2010: Added a section for when we've visited the Chadwick's. We have good fun there. Also, Deco is 132 pounds (60kg). Kitty is 141 pounds (64kg). Danforth, well, it's been a couple months, so we guess around 220 pounds (just under 100kg). Total weight: around 493 pounds, or just about 223kg.
Mar 19, 2010: Danforth is now 21 months old. He was weighed today, and is 213.5 pounds (96.8kg), and 38" (96.5cm) at the withers. The girls are both doing well, at a stable 130 pounds each.
Jan 27, 2010: Danforth is now 19 months old. He was weighed today, and is 190 pounds (86kg).
Dec 27, 2009: Danforth is now 18 months old. He was weighed a couple of weeks ago, and currently is at about 180 pounds (81kg) and 37" (0.9398m) at the withers. Kitty and Deco are both around 130 pounds (59kg). This translates into about 440 pounds (190kg) of dog, roughly. Also, we went to Greenhawk Harnesss & Equestrian on the 24th, and they measured him at 9.2 hands, whatever that means.
Feb 05, 2009: Danforth (7.5 months old) has not been weighed in a few weeks, so we are estimating him at around 135 pounds (61kg). He was measured at 32.75" at the withers, so he is closing in on being all-around bigger than Kitty, who is about 125 pounds (57kg), and 33".
Nov. 16, 2008: We weighed Danforth 2 days ago, and he was approximately 96 pounds (43.5Kg). Sarah tells me that he was born the week of June 22, 2008, so she's using that as his birthdate. Which means that the little (!) guy is close to 5 months old.
Oct. 21, 2008: We weighed Danforth. He's 76 pounds (34.4Kg). He's around 18 weeks old, I think.
I have put up some videos onto Youtube. The channel is here: YouTube - tmotu15's Channel. On it you will find several videos with our dogs.