This picture of Blue and Elkie was taken
not long after we got Blue.
A Great Dane was not a dog that I ever expected to own. My wife had said a number of times that she would really like one
but as we already had a dog, a Norwegian Elkhound, and with three kids in the house I didn't think there would be room for
a giant dog like that and that was OK with me. One Spring day in 1979 we went to visit friends and as soon as we entered
the house we were greeted by a huge dog with a lethal tail that I soon found out was a Great Dane. The story was that our
friend's sister-in-law, from Detroit, was trying to find a home for him. He had been in seven homes and they always brought
him back. The problem was that all of their friends lived in apartments and didn't have room or they couldn't have pets.
So they brought him to Saginaw with the hope a home could be found for him there. Before I could argue against it, we were
on the way home with this, way too big, eight-month-old puppy. We knew nothing about Danes and all we knew was that he was
called a "blue merle" and his name was Blue. As it turned out, I have since found out that blue merle isn't correct,
it is just merle, but Blue was the name he carried the rest of his life. He had some papers that came with him. A record
of his shots and a registration application for the AKC. It had been filled out except for the registered name and we put
all that aside. Many months later we came across them and thinking registration was a needless affectation and so never sent
it in. It didn't take long to realize that if he was to live with us he would have to have some training and fortunately
there was a flyer at a pet food store telling of a new class starting in a couple of weeks. So on the first day my wife went
off to the class as it was her dog so she would have to train him. When she came home she said that she didn't think she
would be able to control him and would I go the next week and see if I could handle him. Agreeing to give it a try I went
and before the course was completed he became my dog! I don't know what happened but I have often thought it was a set up.
We went on to more advanced classes and I became a confirmed Dane addict. I learned all of the things that Dane owners learn
about the breed. The leaning, the sitting in your lap with the front feet on the floor, the slobber and to beware of the
tail that could bend you right over with a strategic hit. Also we came to know the wonderful temperament that most Danes
have and found that he loved everyone he met, and he met lots of people. I found that when you took a Dane for a walk, wherever
you were, people would find you. I have been known in my neighborhood ever since as the "guy with the big dog".
I found people would stop to ask about him whether they were on foot or in a car. Many times a car would pull to the side
of the road ahead and I would go to it and the person would be greeted by a head through the window and after the usual questions
Blue would have made another friend and another person would know a little more about those giant Great Danes. Oh yes! The
comments. All Dane owners know them and we hear them over and over. Just a few of them are: "Who is taking who for
a walk", "That's not a dog, that's a horse", "Do you have a saddle for that horse?", "How much
does he eat?", "How much does he weigh?", "How much does it cost to feed him?" The one I enjoy to
hear and do hear often is a child saying "Hey mister, can I pet your dog?" I found that to have a Dane as a companion
requires a level of dedication that exceeds that for most pets. A dog that can weigh more than 150 pounds is a responsibility
that must be taken seriously. Things that, if done by a smaller dog, are cute or not a problem are, if done by a Dane, are
at the least annoying and in some cases dangerous. It is important that he is comfortable to be surrounded by people all
touching him and he must learn to stand and not turn around because he can knock a child down very easily. He must never
jump on people and I have never taught them to "shake hands". This can be quite dangerous as his feet are very
heavy and his nails can scrape you easily. I watch out with children so that he doesn't step on their feet, as he is heavy
enough that it hurts. I did teach Blue to stand with his front legs on my shoulder but he would do this ONLY when I would
command him to. I have done this with all my other Danes and they have never jumped on a person without a command. It never
fails to get ooh's and aah's from the crowd and I do love to show off with a Dane. There comes, if you are lucky and your
Dane lives a full life, when the decision has to be made because they just can't get around anymore or some other infirmity,
that you are going to have to have your beloved Dane put down. This is one of the hardest things you will ever do but if
the day comes consider yourself lucky since your Dane will have lived a full life. Make no mistake about it, this is something
you will have to face but the years you have with your Dane will be with you always. Take LOTS of pictures.
It was with Blue that we learned all the typical things that most Danes do. Such things as leaning against you when they
stand next to you, sitting on chairs or your lap with their rear on the seat and their front feet on the floor, and avoiding
the wagging tail.
Blue loved camping and he had his own rug to sleep on. He always went camping with us and like most Danes he loved to meet
people. One day in a state park and everyone knew him and he would be petted by most of them.
Blue on the shore of Lake Michigan at Ludington
Blue was the only Dane I've had that liked the water
Blue would very gently play with kittens.
Blue loved to ride in the back of the Chevette and I would always look in the rear view mirror at stop lights to see the reaction
of people when they would see him.
Blue was about 8 years old when this was taken
This is the only picture you are likely to see of me with that beard but I couldn't resist including this picture