A new breed


The Indie Ink Writing Challenge is back, and this week was rather pleasant for me to write. The stupendous Supermaren answered a challenge from me, and my challenge this week came from xtinabosco. The challenge is at the end.

We were going to get a rescue Great Dane, but my husband really wanted a puppy. I put the word out to all of the rescue groups I knew of, kept an eye on several websites, and figured it would be a long wait. I saw an ad for Great Dane puppies, no papers, for $700, which was ridiculous. It was a backyard breeder. I mostly avoid these like the plague, but I was pretty sure she would not be able to sell all of the puppies for that amount. I sent an email saying that if she couldn’t sell all of the puppies, we would be willing to buy one for $250, since that was about what we expected to spend on a rescue. A few weeks later I got an email saying “I’ll sell a puppy to you, but it has to be now and you have to promise to love it and take good care of it.”

We promised, of course. I’ve worked enough with dogs in my life and we’d done enough research that we figured we had a handle on taking good care of a puppy, even a giant breed, and love was not a question. I’m a sucker for puppies, and I was pretty sure I’d love it by the time we got it home.

When we got to the house, we saw the sire and dam in the backyard. They were both rescues (though I’m not sure from where, since most rescue agencies I’ve dealt with make sure the animals are fixed before finding new owners) and the dam was not very fond of people, especially since she had puppies to protect. Both parents looked very nice, possibly even show quality. The mother was blue and the father was harlequin, white with markings.

The puppies, at five weeks old, were already being fed dog food soaked in water. Not only that, the dog food was Purina. Giant breed dogs need low protein food to start with because otherwise their bones grow faster than their tendons can keep up with and they end up bowlegged, which can do serious damage. The first puppy we were drawn to was a merle male, the only male in the litter. He was white with grey markings and quite friendly, but he was already spoken for. We wandered around a bit, talking to the breeder and watching the puppies. We liked the look of one of them but it seemed very worried about people and not very comfortable, which, in a puppy that young, was a bit worrisome.

Our final decision had more to do with the puppy’s choice than ours. A little dark female with white markings started playing with Xander’s shoelaces and would not let go. She was having an absolute blast, and she had no fear of anything. She was outgoing, bounced on all of her littermates, and seemed comfortable and happy. We chose her partly because she was so friendly.

We took her home, switched her food, took her to the vet, and started training immediately. She did beautifully. She is now three and a half years old, a beautiful girl with a glossy coat, and we do love her. We named her Nyx after a goddess of the night because of her coloring. I wasn’t sure about working with a Great Dane, but she has been the easiest dog I have ever trained, and she lives up to the sobriquet of “Gentle Giant”. I am now hooked on the breed. My first love in dog terms will always be English Bull Terriers, but Great Danes are definitely in my future.

My challenge this week was “Write about a memory of something red. Or black or blue. But don’t use the name of the color in your piece.” Nyx is a black dog with white markings on her toes and chest.

6 thoughts on “A new breed

  1. We don’t pick pets. The pets pick us. Nyx sounds very special.

    My cousin had a Great Dane that was huge. My dream dog is even bigger–an Irish Wolfhound.

  2. I foster with the local collie rescue and have adopted two dogs from there as a result. There’s something ridiculously fulfilling about the process of working with rescues and I, like yourself, had had little prior experience with the breed with which I’m now working. At this point, however, I can’t ever imagine owning anything other than a collie. It’s sometimes ambiguous as to who is benefiting more from the rescue process, as they seem to be rescuing us as much as we are them.

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