Polka. We were first told about Polka on Sunday March 3rd, 2013. A friend of ours who knows that we are very involved in Toronto's Great Dane community, as well as with Great Dane Rescue, told us that Toronto Animal Services was going to have a young Great Dane made available the next day. He was letting Sarah & I know, in case we knew of anyone that was actively looking at adopting a young Dane. I showed Sarah a picture of him, and she told me that she loved him. Well, we took Danforth down to meet the unnamed Dane the next day, and saw that the two got along. That pretty much sealed it. Sarah filled out forms to "reserve" him, and although we had other things to do that day, we quickly arranged to get our crate back, as it was on loan to another Dane household. The next day, March 5th, Sarah went with our Dane friend, Stacie, and they picked Polka up, and brought him home. We had tried to decide on the name, and it was essentially my turn, but I gave Sarah a couple of choices. She ended up intially registering him as "Panda", but couldn't stick to that, she preferred my first choice, "Polka". I was very happy with the name.
One of the first things that Sarah did was to bring Polka to our local off-leash park. We know a dog-walker there who used to be a judge at dog conformation shows. Toronto Animal Services had estimated that Polka was approximately eight months old, but the former judge suggested that he was closer to ten months. So from that point forward, we went with his birth being in June 2012. Polka had a lot of energy, and was eager to have other dogs to play with. Not all dogs were happy with him, but most owners seem sympathetic to our situation. Most important was that Danforth and he played together every day, in the house or in the backyard. It was a pleasure to see it in action.
Polka would often frustrate me. His energy often translated into moments of bumping into Kitty, who at 11 years of age, isn't at the full strength that she used to be. She would play with him or bark at him, as the situation demanded. And as I type this, it's an interesting observation on humanity that she wouldn't bark at him when he bumped into her, but she would when he needed to be pre-emptively told to not be a turd. It's strange to see that they knew how to get along in ways that humanity largely doesn't. But I digress.
It's at this point where it's hard to ignore the things that we never got to do. We took two trips with him. The first was to Michigan, where Sarah took Polka to the Great Dane Rescue Fun Day. It's an event that is held every year, and it gave Sarah an opportunity to share a bed with him. It was a sepcial event, and it has taken on a new meaning since his passing. The second trip was up to Rama, ON. It was up to our friend's place, which they had recently moved into. But we never got to take him to Nova Scotia, something we have done several times with all of our dogs.
In spite of my frustration, he was a wonderful dog. His affection knew no limit. He always wanted to be close to those he felt were his. I think that that's reflected in many of the pictures below. There is a tremendous loss in our house. He was not lucky enough to reach 18 months. We are not lucky enough to have had years and years to share with him. His was a wonderful energy in our house, which now feels incredibly empty without it. Polka's life came to a sudden end on Monday, October 14th, 2013. The autopsy wasn't definitive, beyond what I would characterize as a heart attack. The loss of daily play appears to have left Danforth a little lost. Needless to say, but Sarah and I are heartbroken. Making this page has been very emotional. We try to comfort ourselves knowing that we tried to give him a safe and loving home for the time he was with us. He played with Danforth right up until the very end. And because of that, we want to believe that he knew joy.