Malibu was my first Great Dane. His legacy is a life of Great Dane foster care, mine that is.
Little did I know when we got him from Danes in Distress back in July 2003 that this long lanky 18 month old bundle of energy would change the course of my life forever. He sadly passed on April 8 2011. But his legacy continues on to this day through my foster work with Great Danes.
A Foster Hero is Born
After Malibu passed I contacted Jim Wood to inform him of the news. At which point Jim asked if I would like to foster dogs. It would be as a means to not replace but ease the heartbreak of the loss. At the same time, it would help some dogs that were seriously in need. I agreed.
Since then, I have had 27 dogs go through my home in two years, Some of their stories tore the heart right out of me. Knowing the breed as I do, how could I not continue? How could I stop knowing Great Danes are the first to go in SPCAs due to their size. And they don’t tolerate confinement well, especially if they were never used to it in the first place. So when hard decisions need to be made, Great Danes are often the first on the PTD list.
27 Foster Dogs in Two Years
But its not just the foster work that keeps me in the Great Dane rescue game. I’ve done behavioral assessments in Ottawa on aggression, and showed those who need to know the difference between aggressive and terrified behavior. I’ve taught people how to guide correct dog introductions; dog park do’s and don’ts as it pertains to the large breeds; how to read your Danes body language and signals to prevent unwanted behaviors even before they start.
I currently own a Black female named Gypsy - she’s the first female version of my Malibu I’ve come across. I also have Odus who is owned by Danes in Distress (DiD) but has a few issues on which he needs to work, so I’m working with him for the rescue. Although I do not officially foster or work with DiD any longer, Odus was an exception – his chances for survival were quite bleek without my help.
Great Dane Foster Care
All of this from one amazing ambassador to the breed named Malibu, my big loveable goofy nut that loved to run. He loved to run so much that he helped put 50,000 kms on my car’s odometer in one year – that’s because he would run beside my along the ditch line on our daily “hunting trips” (in his mind, we were hunting!) All the country folk loved to see my big 185lb male on the back roads running, trotting, chasing raccoons, and all in all having a great time out free with Daddy.
Right up to the day he died in my arms from a massive stroke, just before one of our daily runs. At 9 years old, he was in better shape than most Danes are at 5. I attribute to that to exercise, proper nutrition, love and all his needs being met. The photo I choose of him most often shows him in his last days, doing what he loved to do — lay on the hot asphalt of the laneway while the sun beat down on him.
Unknowingly, Malibu made me what I am in dog rescue today. So many dogs since have enjoyed, and shared, his passion of running beside the car along the back roads of Winchester, along the beautifully cut grass runways of the cornfields. I never not think of Malibu when running other rescues thinking of how much he’d love to be running with them!
Thanks for allowing me to share.
- Contributed by Furever Member Bruce Jones @luvdanes