Danforth. Allow me the opportunity to exaggerate a bit and suggest that there has never been a bigger canine rescue. Okay, that's a high bar. But just wait until you see some of the photos of the big guy.
In the summer of 2008, I had suggested to Sarah that we could introduce a puppy into our household. Sarah warned me to not suggest it, as that's akin to opening Pandora's box. I said that I was ok with suggesting it. We were in Nova Scotia at the time, so Sarah got in touch with Dr Alison Jones, of Karador Danes, who was in Nova Scotia at the time, and we went to visit with her and her pack. While Sarah talked with Dr. Jones, I lay in the middle of her kitchen being snuggled by half a dozen or so puppies.
Sarah got in touch with Lyndsey, who we know from Great Dane Rescue Inc., saying that we were considering getting a puppy. Lyndsey suggested that we get in touch with the GDRI adoption coordinator, as there was a puppy coming into the Rescue. The photo of Harrison, who was renamed Danforth upon joining us, soon followed. We said yes.
On Friday October 3rd, Sarah and I were at our friends Ros and Scott's wedding. They looked great, it was a wonderful night. The next day, while I was on pager-duty, Sarah drove down to the U.S. by herself, to pick up Danforth. The drive home was uneventful. But this was where our adventure began.
Danforth was big. To us, he's one of the most handsome Danes that we've ever met. But the standout was his size. He was tall, he was barrel-chested, without being oversized on his own frame. He was 41" at the withers, and although he had reached 220 pounds, most of his life was spent at 200 pounds.
Danforth was a challenge. Danforth was wonderful. Dichotomy, right? Anyone who has ever lived with and cared for a dog, knows that they all have personalities. Danforth's size amplified the good and the bad. When he was bad, it was bad. And the rest of the time, you were just in awe. No bias, I promise. Ask anyone that met him.
And the final year, like any other person that cares for a dog, knows how challenging it can be. You're awareness is heightened. Are they struggling? What can I do to reverse this? How do I mitigate?
Because Danforth appeared to be struggling with his hind strength, We started taking him to a chiropractor that had helped Kitty, as well began taking him to a nearby Hydrotherapy centre. He loved the swimming, and had a prominent place on their gallery. "If this guy can do it, so can yours." On a side note, stop me if you want to hear the story of Danforth's first swim, which was unrelated to the hydrotherapy.
We don't have any way of knowing if, or how much these practices helped, we can only hope that it did help him. But in the spring of 2018, we could see that our help was having limited success. And by May, we were running out of options. He was nervous to navigate stairs. We couldn't avoid stairs. The heart-wrenching decision was made, and that on the Victoria Day weekend, we would say goodbye.
That weekend, we treated him like the king that we perceived him to be. (I'm crying as I type this. I've tried to write this page so many times over the last 4 years, and each time, my eyes well up. It's March of 2023 at this point.) We took him to parks that he hadn't been to in a long time. We bought food that were essentially off-limits to him. Fine meats. Chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
An aside, he loved ice cream. We would go for walks just with him, stop off at the Baskin Robbins, and I would get a double-scoop. The top scoop was for me, the bottom scoop was vanilla, for him while we waslked. And he loved peanut butter. Any jar that was "empty", was given to him, and he would polish it like it was going to be given to Her Majesty, the Queen.
It was a beautiful Monday, and we said goodbye.