My husband and I adopted Shadow, a Dane-Lab mix, the year before we got married. We loved him! He was our first child, our first decision as a couple. He was there when we brought home both children and when we moved in to all three of our homes, including the farm.
Sure, he had his faults. He was large (weighing in at 110 lbs), he wasn’t dog social, he was picky about the men he’d interact with. His stomach was sensitive but he’d counter surf non-stop (the joy of being a giant), resulting in piles of vomit greeting you when you came home from a long day of work. But, we loved him.
Last spring he passed away due to old age and we weren’t sure we’d ever be ready for another dog then Matt found Jax. Matt wasn’t super sure about him but when I met him I knew he was mine. We adopted him from an amazing rescue in Ottumwa, Iowa (Heartland Humane Society).
After having Jax, a we-have-no-idea-what-he-is mix, for almost a year we realized he needed a friend. Jax is high energy and really likes to romp, play, and swim on the farm. He loves socializing with other dogs but could really benefit from having a furry friend at home.
The other thing is Shadow was Matt’s dog. Dogs often bond with one person. For Shadow it was my husband, Matt. For Jax it was me. I could tell Matt was desperately missing his bond so we started a search for a friend for both my boys.
Sunday we added that friend, a 2-year-old Great Dane named Samson.
Samson lost his best friend this spring and as a result developed some depression and bad behaviors due to his loneliness. His original family wasn’t at a place to add another dog again so they looked to re-home him to a family with a dog . We were that family!
Samson is HUGE! He’s 135 lbs and stands taller than Matt on his hind legs! Although Matt and I are both over 6 feet tall he makes us look tiny (or at least normal-sized). With his size and breed come a variety of issues. His food and water need to be significantly elevated to encourage good digestion, he needs a grain-free diet, his kennel is a small house, his head rests comfortably on the kitchen counter, he can drink straight from the faucet in the bathroom, and he can take me out in a single bound.
Today’s mission is to find a temporary way to elevate his food and water until we can build him a permanent (and, most importantly, pretty!) solution. We also need to make sure we can effectively contain him when we’re gone and while he and Jax are still figuring out their relationship. Their safety is our priority. He came with a kennel but it’s a tight squeeze for our small horse and we want him to be able to enter and turn comfortably. Lastly, we’ve got some work to do on the relationship between Samson and Jax. Because Matt picked Samson, not Jax, they are still working on developing a working relationship.
We’re thankful to have experience with large-breed dogs, particularly Danes, but I would love to hear tips and tricks you have for not only housing such a large dog but also fostering a relationship between dogs!