Today’s guest post comes to you from my gal Marcy Kennedy. Like me, Marcy’s a writer, a farmer’s daughter, and an animal lover. Her blog is one of the best I’ve read – you should definitely stop by and give it a look – and I’m totally honored to have her here today!
It’s all yours, Marcy!
A few months ago in her hilarious External Crazy post, Myndi wrote, “Something about a woman in the later stages of pregnancy brings out the crazy in people around her. Not just the crazy, but the stupid. The ridiculous. The outstandingly inappropriate.”
Strangely enough, a similar thing happens to big dog owners. I’ve survived four consecutive Great Dane puppies: two family dogs while growing up, and two I’ve raised on my own. You’d be surprised how a dog who weighs as much as a human negatively affects the IQ of passersby.
People I meet while walking my Danes either cross to the other side of the street or they stop and ask some of the silliest questions I’ve ever heard…
Passerby: Do you have a saddle for that thing?
To myself: ‘Cause I haven’t heard that one a million times.
Out loud: *insert fake laugh* No, I let her pull me behind her on my bike. Saves peddling.
Passerby: What do you feed that thing?
To myself: People who ask stupid questions.
Out loud: Anything she wants.
(I don’t know why they always say that thing.)
Passerby: How did he get so big?
To myself: She’s a radioactive mutant. And it’s contagious, so you might want to keep moving.
Out loud: I put Miracle Grow in her food when she was a puppy.
(I also don’t know why they always assume my dog is a boy. I’ve owned three girls and only one boy.)
Passerby: Why would anyone want a dog that big?
To myself and out loud: Why would anyone want a dog that small?
Clearly my filter still needs a little work 😉
Along with the strange questions people ask, owning a human-sized dog also comes with some unique challenges.
She can hide entire sticks of deodorant (or packages of gum) inside her jowls and still give me a completely innocent look saying, “What? I’m not eating anything.”
We had to special order a crate because the “extra large” crates sold at the pet store only worked for dogs up to 80 pounds.
I’ve had to explain to people that the strange bruises I sport aren’t from abuse—they’re from taking a whip-like tail to the legs or having a head come up too quickly and connect with my eye.
Food isn’t safe on the dining room table. Or the counter. Or pretty much anywhere if it’s left unattended.
So with all that craziness, why am I on my fourth Great Dane, and why does my husband tell people, Once you go Dane, you never go back? Danes have taught me a lot about how I want to live my life.
Fun is a matter of perspective. So is joy. I think this is true of most dogs, but Danes especially. They get “the zoomies,” where they run just for the sheer joy of it. Anything can turn into a game, from vacuuming to obedience training to playing fetch in the back yard. They approach life with so much joy that it’s contagious.
Greet the ones you love as if you haven’t seen them for months, even if they’ve only been gone for the day. Unlike some other breeds that can easily be left alone for long periods of time, Danes need a lot of people-time. They thrive on your presence to the extent that one of the questions the Great Dane Rescue asks on their application is how long the Dane will be left alone during the day. It’s also one of the questions Luna’s breeder asks any potential owners before she considers selling them a puppy. You always feel loved and needed by your Dane. And you always get a boisterous greeting when you’ve been away. I want my loved ones to feel that valuable in my eyes.
If something is standing between you and what you want, you can find a way around it as long as you work at it. Danes are infinitely creative. If I place the baby gate high enough that Luna can’t jump over it, she crawls under it. If I put it down low enough that she can’t crawl under it, she can jump over it. Anything else, she figures out how to move. Let’s face it—she’s big enough to just push my dining room chairs out of her way. When my previous Dane was a puppy, she learned how to work the doorknob on the back door to get back inside if I tried to put her out.
Give people a chance to be your friend. All my Danes have lived their lives under the assumption that everyone they meet (dog, human, or cat) loves them and wants to play with them. One of Luna’s best friends is my tiny Siamese cat. Sometimes we don’t take a chance on friendships because we think “we’re just too different.” The truth is that we don’t know whether someone who seems to be our opposite might not turn into a great friend if we gave them a chance.
What life lessons have you learned from your pets (cat, dog, or otherwise)?
Marcy Kennedy is a fantasy author who also works as a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, and non-profits and a freelance editor for both businesses and individuals. Her current work-in-progress is a co-written historical fantasy about Amazons. When she’s not wrestling unruly commas, she spends her time with her equally nerdy husband, her Great Dane, and more cats than she’s willing to admit to in public. You can visit her at her blog, Life At Warp 10.