Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Danes and Donkeys

I realize that I have been slacking, terribly, with this blog.  I have good excuses (holidays, work, stress, general poor mental health) but you don't really want to hear them.  Rather, let me catch you up on what you've missed.  Picture the following images being accompanied by a rapid voice over (a la Glee recaps).

Pauly started coming with me to Green Chimneys about three weeks ago.  This meant tons of new exposures (think guinea hens, horses, camels, cows, kids, cafeterias).  Of particular concern, at least to Pauly, was the dreaded donkeys.  On his first day of school, as we were arriving at our classroom which happens to be situated adjacent to the donkeys' home, the donkeys welcomed us with a loud and excited "yee haw".  If you've never heard a donkey up close and personal, they are rather loud.  Poor Pauly heard this, took one look at the evil beasts, and hit the ground hard.  He sprawled on his belly, tail tucked tightly beneath him, ears flattened against his head, and convulsed from the tip of his tail to the tip of his nose.  In the two years I have known this dog, I have never seen him so afraid.  In the three weeks since that encounter, Pauly and I have made a point of saying good morning and good night to the donkeys every single day.  It helps if we bring a more donkey-friendly canine companion to reassure him.  As you can see, we've made great progress.  We can now be in donkey vicinity, with our backs turned to them, while simultaneously not cowering under mom.  Admittedly, the donkeys have been quiet for us and I'm not too confident Pauly would do so well if they vocalized. The funniest part?  In the middle of my class, if we hear the donkeys, all of my students turn and say to Pauly "Quick!  Hide!  They're coming to get you!".  Poor Paulus.

160 lb, 2-year old Yoda sits on my lap in the vet's office
Shiloh is 1/2 Dane, 1/2 lab
A few years ago, ECAD started mixing Great Danes with Labradors in order to create a taller, stronger service dog for veterans.  This means that we have a couple of pure Danes that hang out around the office.  It wasn't until I posted a photo of Yoda on Facebook that I realized how unusual and exciting these dogs are for all you folks.  I guess I've just gotten used to 160lb puppies hanging out all day.  To answer all of your questions, the Dane Labs look like large, sturdy, muscular labs.  The Dane in them makes them mouthier, smarter, stronger, and way more one-person-focused. For example, Yoda, who is not a service dog because of his ridiculous size, can open any door, break out of any kennel, and snap any chain to get to his owner.  He will chew round doorknobs into squares in order to open them.  He will spin a tie-down chain around his body until it snaps.  He can essentially get into and out of anything he wants to with minimal effort.  It's impressive, but seriously high maintenance as he needs a strong-willed babysitter any time his owner wants to  leave him alone.
Uno is 3/4 lab, 1/4 Dane, 10 months old, 60 lbs
Happy Holidays

Honey and Spezzano are great at "hold".  Pauly needs work.