Greta Follow Up

For those of you who have followed the rocky road that Greta the Great Dane has taken, I have news.  I was told today that Greta has been approved to go to a family with no other pets or children.  She’s going to her new home on Monday.

You can’t even imagine how happy this makes me.  There was a good dog under all of that aggression, she just needed to be in a home without another alpha dog.  I really think she’ll do well and I’m thankful that she’s had another chance.

I also want to thank you all for being so kind while I’ve been dealing with all of this.  You’ve reached out and shown compassion beyond measure.  I’m so happy to give you all some good news.

I promise, the next posts will be humorous and I also promise that I will still be sharing Walter stories!

Losing Greta

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog for a while is that I’ve been trying to recover from the emotional trauma that has surrounded Greta.

We no longer have Greta.  It’s been agony, but she couldn’t live here anymore.   Walter would growl at her if she came near his food and she would go insane and attack him.  It was going well for a few weeks and then all hell broke loose.  She growled at Wendy, the gal who cleans here every week.  Fighting with another dog is one thing, but if the aggression is directed toward a person, that’s something else.  Around the same time, I was injured in one of the fights, but I still hoped things would settle out.  Of course, they didn’t.  The hostilities increased but the rescue didn’t have a place for Greta to be fostered so I felt like we had to give it every chance.

On Labor Day there was a fight to end all fights.  Walter had a serious gash on his leg.  Greta looked to be ok with no wounds on her face or legs.  We rushed Walter to the emergency vet who is an hour away.  There we sat waiting for him to get stitches.  I felt horrible.  I felt like I had failed them both.  By trying to make things work, I had only made things worse.

When we got home, I found that Greta had been injured after all…behind her ear.  She would need stitches, too.  At that point, it would be quicker to wait for our vet to open, rather than head back to the emergency vet.  I spent a horrible night knowing that something had to be done.  The rescue HAD to take her back.  She just couldn’t stay here anymore.  Late that night, sent an email to the rescue and let them know the situation.

The next morning we made an appointment to have Greta stitched up.  They couldn’t take her till 3PM and for the next few hours I made calls.  I got in touch with the rescue and begged for them to take her back.  When they realized the severity of the attacks they told me that if they took her back, they would put her down.  I was crushed.  I told them that I had an appointment that afternoon to treat her wounds and if she had to go, she was going while I held her.  The reason for that appointment changed quickly.  I felt so helpless.  I had a contract with the rescue; if the dog was to leave my care, she HAD to go back to them…and they were going to kill her.  I left a message asking them if I had my vet call them, would they consider letting me break my contract.

I called my regular vet and told her the situation, hoping that she would talk to the rescue and convince them that Greta could go to a single dog house and that she didn’t need to be put down.  This vet, who I trust completely, told me that she would be leery of keeping Greta alive because she had shown some aggression toward a person, even though it was only a growl.  She was very upset that she couldn’t be there for me while this was happening.  She had only recently euthanized Levi, a Dane I thought the world of.  I couldn’t believe we were facing another death so soon.

I talked to Wendy and told her about the situation and she was adamant that I take Greta to the Humane Society where her daughter worked.  She said that Greta would have another chance and her daughter could work with her.  But I couldn’t do that unless I was freed from my contract.  I should have just conveniently “lost” Greta and let her go to the Humane Society surreptitiously, but if it was ever found out that I did, I’d be in big trouble.

At 3PM we went to the vet’s practice.  Since my vet couldn’t be there, another one came in to do the deed.  I was beyond distraught.  As she was filling the syringe, she kept telling me that I wasn’t ready to do this.  I KNEW I wasn’t ready; I would never be ready.  This couldn’t be happening.  Greta was only a year old.  The staff at the practice came in one by one to say goodbye to Greta and to give me hugs.  It was unbearable.

The vet again said that I wasn’t ready, and she was right, but I had no choice.  There was no way Greta could come home to us and I wasn’t going to take her back to the rescue only to be euthanized by strangers.  If it was going to be done, it was going to be done with her in my arms.

Then my phone rang.

It was the rescue!  I told them I had a plan to get Greta some help where she could be ‘rehabilitated’ and be placed in an appropriate home.  Of course, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Humane Society could do for Greta, but it was her only hope.  They released me from the contract!!!

I called Wendy and told her that if Greta could be kept from other dogs and the public, AND get some training, she could go to the Humane society.  We sent Greta off to be stitched up and within minutes, Wendy arrived in the vet’s parking lot and took Greta away.  I was still a sobbing mess, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

Greta is now in her own kennel at the Humane Society.  I get reports about her every few days and she is doing great.  The staff there love her and  she is in the care of a vet and two trainers who will help to prepare her for a home with no other animals, and no children.  Wendy’s daughter is the director of the dog division there and made sure everything was done right.  Under the circumstances, I couldn’t ask for a better solution.  It still hurts and I’m crying as I’m typing this.  At the time, I just retreated from everything as I tried to recover.  I am still trying to get over the loss and the guilt. Things are a little better now.  I’m making peace with the situation and Walter is getting used to being an “only dog.”  I think we’ll keep it that way.  I’m not sure I could bear another alpha dog showdown.  I can’t deal with any more aggression, and I certainly can’t stomach any more injuries.  It’s time to leave the blood, guilt, and tears behind and look toward a calmer life.  I think Greta will have one, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Gumby Is Dead

I think Walter and Greta’s relationship has taken a turn.  When Greta first came to us from the rescue, she and Walter had a rough start.  She wanted his food, he bit her ear, she wouldn’t back down, he bit her in other places, she bit him.  There was a lot of bloodshed and a couple of stitches.  We won’t even talk about the little notch Walter created at the tip of her ear.  I had no idea an ear wound could be that bloody, but, let’s just suffice it to say it was bad.  It really was a pretty serious thing to the point where I was seriously thinking of returning her.  Experts told us that it would never get better and they could harm each other or us seriously.  I was devastated.

I did call the rescue to see if they had any ideas and when I mentioned that it might not work out, it was a problem because they had no foster home for a dog as big as Greta is.  Maybe that was fortunate because things have been getting better.  I can give them treats at the same time!  There was one snarl recently when Greta dared enter Walter’s eating palace, otherwise known as the pantry.  He snarled for about two seconds and then they just sat there looking at each other.  No bloodshed. Progress!

Those of you who have been around for a while have heard my tales of the crazy things Walter has eaten.  I think the SOS pad was his most impressive meal, but there were others that were right up there.  No matter what he chose to devour, there was never any real animosity involved.  Walter just ate whatever was available in his ‘zone.’  If something wasn’t seven feet off the floor, it wasn’t safe…and even then it might be in peril.  So he basically trolled the area and ‘tasted’ this and that.  I figured that Greta would be that same type of indiscriminate grazer.  Tonight I realized just how wrong I was.  Greta has an agenda.

This is only a hypothesis at this point, but I think she knew what she was doing when she ate Gumby.  Gumby was Walter’s very first toy when he came to us when he was 8 weeks old.  He never mutilated Gumby like he did so many other toys.  Gumby was untouchable…until Greta joined the fold.

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It was only a few days ago that I realized Gumby had been decapitated.  That elicited a frown from me, but I really felt bad for Walter.  It was as if a bit of his puppyhood had been desecrated.  I really didn’t think any more about it until tonight.  Tonight Greta regurgitated Gumby’s dead limp body right in front of Walter.  It looked like one big soggy mess of spite.  Was it a hate crime?  A crime of passion?   Perhaps she is just feeling stifled in her desire to physically hurt Walter and has taken on a more nuanced approach.  Whatever it is, Gumby is dead and Walter is not happy.

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Greta, on the other hand, may look like she just can’t be bothered but under that sweet face is the mind of a devious schemer.  Greta definitely has an agenda.

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Stuff

No, not the ‘right’ stuff, just plain old ordinary stuff.  Mostly.

First off, I want to apologize for not keeping up with comments and emails and other stuff.  See?  It’s all about the stuff!  I think I’m caught up…maybe…sorta. I’ve been pretty disjointed so I never know what I’ve answered and what I haven’t.  I keep feeling that I’m missing things.  If I’ve missed something you wanted me to see and I ‘ignored’ it, just push me forcefully in the right direction.  Be like Walter and push me from behind.  No, that is probably not a good idea because Walter does it by using his nose to push me along.  Someone might get the wrong idea so a good shove using another part of my anatomy would be just fine.

Lots of people are keeping up on the Greta/Walter sitch.  Better, much better, but still a ways to go.  They went days with no incident but last night there was a very short skirmish and two seconds later they were licking each other’s faces.  Stay tuned.  Right now Greta is using Walter’s leg as a pillow.  Baby steps.

For the first time in my life, I think I have an allergy to something other than a med.  I have the coughing and a throat tickle.  But no cold symptoms.  The field was hayed yesterday and today.  Coincidence?

Got a health newsletter in the mail yesterday from my insurance company that sort of made me take notice.  It was talking about SUDEP.  I had no idea what that was but was rather unhappy to see that it stands for Sudden Unexpected Death in EPilepsy.   Oh great!  I knew that epileptics had a shorter lifespan but unexpected?  Sigh…

Old flip-phone Bill has bitten the bullet.  His old relic of a phone finally pushed him over the edge.  Texts would come through with the first paragraph missing.  He had to text back to ask what the sender was he/she was saying and then the answer he got back was also truncated and I watched as he went into meltdown when trying to explain his plight to the very nice foreign customer service fellow.  Bill does very poorly with foreign accents and this poor man was unintelligible, even to me.  Texts wouldn’t come through until another text “pushed it through.”   Arggggh!!!  SO!  The big news is that Bill is the not-so-intrepid owner of an iPhone.  That’s BIG stuff!

That’s pretty much all the stuff in a nutshell.  I’m not sure what kind of shell it’s in but ‘nut’ is the operative word here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Greta’s Birthday!

 

It just occurred to me that it’s Greta’s birthday!

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Surprisingly, Greta has survived long enough to celebrate her first birthday.  We’ve had two days without murderous conflict.  That was her birthday present to me!  Of course, a little Trazadone helps a little, too.  Nothing like doggie chill pills. 😉

 

Peace In Wartime

Guilty!  I’ve stolen a Talking Heads song title, but it seemed so apt.

Dreadful photo, but I think it’s enough to show that the two combatants have reached a detente.  Like any war, the fighting could erupt at any time.  But for now, I am pleased there is peace.

 

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Thank you all for your kind words as I work through this situation.  Who would have guessed that we would go from perfection to horror in such a short span of time?  This is a story that will unfold in the fullness of time, I am sure.  In the meantime, I am still finding blood in the most unusual places!

Bloodlines

Remember when I said I was going to get a female Great Dane to go along with Walter, my male Dane?  Remember when I said that would mean less swaggering about with doggy testosterone and there would be peace in all of my canine kingdom?  Yeah, I remember saying that, too.  I was an idiot.

Everyone told me that females always rule the roost and Walter would be happy to give in to the wishes of his new sister.  They were wrong.  Walter is not happy letting Greta do whatever she wants to do.  He’s not happy at all.  If on a whim she decides to drift over to his food bowl, he will snarl.  He’s always been somewhat food aggressive and I was always careful to feed them separately so there wouldn’t be any arguing.

Tonight, I don’t even know what they were fighting over, an errant piece of kibble maybe.  All I know is that I heard vicious fighting and as I flew into the kitchen I saw Walter backed into the bathroom with Greta going after him with murder in her eyes.  I got in between them and shooed Walter away.  That’s when I saw the blood.  LOTS of blood.  Blood spattered all over the bathroom walls.  Blood dripping from the toilet and smeared on the door.  Big splotches of blood on the floor.  At this point, I wasn’t sure who was bleeding and what body part had been torn off, but as I followed Greta out to the kitchen, she brushed against the white refrigerator and it looked like some macabre abstract painting.

I was steeling myself for the worst.  I mean it was a LOT of blood.  One personality trait of mine that you may not know is that I am extremely calm under pressure.  I do what needs to be done at the moment and I fall apart later.  This was one of those times.

Greta seemed to be oblivious to the fact that she was seeping her actual life’s blood all over creation.  This was a good sign.  Not the blood-seeping, but her obvious state of oblivion.  She wasn’t dead and she was moving; both good things.  She was headed to the couch for a snooze.  Nope, don’t think so.  I aborted that mission and finally corraled her back in the bathroom and looked for what had to be a gaping wound of some sort or other.  I saw the steady drip, drip of the blood on the floor and looked up to find the source.  Walter had bitten off the very tip of her ear and she was bleeding like she’d had major surgery!

I stemmed the flow of blood as she acted like nothing happened.  Her nonchalance was a little disconcerting.  It was then that I looked at her and just sobbed.  Here we were getting a rescue dog to give her a good home and this was the second time in a week that she’d had an ear bite.  Walter broke her and it was on my watch!

Last week when she had a puncture wound in her other ear I was furious that Walter would do such a thing!  I hadn’t seen the altercation, but I could imagine what happened.  I was upset that she didn’t back down and ended up with a couple of stitches.  But it was even more disturbing to know that he could be dangerous as far as she was concerned.

Once I stopped my sobbing fit and had a minute to think about it, I realized I owed Walter an apology.  I probably would have bitten her, too!   If she had me cornered in a bathroom snarling and lunging, I wouldn’t have been gentle either!  As much as I was horrified by the ear bite, it occurred to me that it could have been SO much worse.  It was his warning shot and she still didn’t back away.  Not good.  However, I was really happy that Walter was not the aggressor.  I’m sure it was over a piece of food and he probably snarled at her, but she was the one who went in for the kill.  Walter was cornered and defending himself.

Now I’ve gone from sobbing to sighing.  Over the last few days, sweet little Greta has shown a different side to her personality.  Maybe she was a warrior princess in a previous life.  Whatever the reason may be, she is a scrapper!

By the time they figure out their dominance issues she’s going to look like a junkyard dog and I’m going to be more of a basket case than I am already.   At least I know that her injuries are the result of her own ill-conceived actions.  I guess that makes me feel a little better.  After all was said and done, and I let the two of them see each other, Walter went up to Greta and licked her face.  He then went to his toy bin and brought his favorite toy to her.  Knowing what I know now, I almost felt bad for him.

It is such a joy when I see them playing together, and I know they get along great most of the time.  I also know they will continue to test each other’s limits until they figure out the pecking order.  I now have my work cut out for me to make sure they get through this process with as little bloodshed as possible.

In the meantime, does anyone know how to get blood out of every surface known to mankind?  If not, I’m going to have to start a GoFundMe account to hire one of those services that specialize in cleaning up murder scenes.  This wasn’t a murder, but if blood spatter is any indication, it sure looked like one!

 

Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever

Remember when you were first in love and the idea of taking a shower together seemed like such a romantic thing to do?  That is until you realized that only one person could get under the shower head at a time.  Plus, there really wasn’t enough room and soapy elbows polked soapy “insert your favorite body part here.”  Ever since I came to that realization I have had wonderful, solitary showers…until now.

You know that moment when you’re just starting to rinse the shampoo out of your hair and your eyes are closed and you suddenly get licked on the tush?  Oh?  You don’t get licked on the tush in the shower?  I never have, either…until we got Greta.  Let me tell you, that is one weird sensation when you aren’t expecting it!  At least she wasn’t coming after me with a knife “Psycho” style.  Though I think the yelp of surprise that came out of me would have made Hitchcock proud!

Greta loves water.  I’ve never seen anything like this in a Great Dane before.  Danes drink water out of a bowl.  On a hot day, they might walk into the lake and get their legs wet.  This is how a Great Dane should act.  Great Danes are not water-loving dogs.  Danes are not Labradors!  Apparently, Greta never got the memo.  Apparently, Greta thinks she’s a Labrador Retriever.  So far she’s only licked me, but if she tries to retrieve me, we’re both in for a surprise!

Anyhow, back to the shower situation.  After trying repeatedly to keep her head from poking around the shower curtain, I finally pulled the curtain around so she couldn’t get to me.  I figured she’d get tired of being thwarted in her tush-licking endeavor and go away.  That’s when I heard the noise.  She was climbing into the tub!  It was my turn to peek around the shower curtain and sure enough, her two front legs were in and she was just about to climb in completely when I stopped her!  I’m too old to share a shower, especially if my shower buddy is a Great Dane who thinks she’s a Labrador!

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What A Day!

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TODAY!!!

I should probably start at the beginning.  I’m Kota and I’m a Great Dane.  At least I was Kota till Linda started calling me Greta.  Linda says I should call her Mom because I’ll be here forever, but I’m not sure about that.  In the last few weeks, I was kicked out of the only home I ever knew and then taken to a nice place with other dogs and then I was shipped off in a truck that moved for a whole day and night while I was cramped in a small cage.  No one wanted me anymore, that was for sure.  Then after four days in another little cage, Linda came and got me.  I thought I was going to live in cages forever.

Excuse me if I don’t believe any place is truly home.  Every time I thought someone wanted me, they made me leave.  It’s nice here, though.  I hope they don’t send me away because there’s this big Great Dane named Walter and he likes to play with me!  It’s really different here.  I get to sleep on the couch and play as rough as I want as long as we go outside.  There is a cage here but it has the thickest bed ever!  It even has a cover so it feels like a cave.  The best part is that the door is always open so I can just go in and have a nap if Walter is being too much of a pain.  I never get locked in!  You should see the toys I have here, too.  Dozens and dozens of them!  Not only that, I don’t even get scolded because Walter gets blamed for everything.  It’s a pretty sweet deal!

Oh wait, I was supposed to tell you about today.  You will never believe it!  I got to ride in Bob Watson today with no cage!  Walter and I got to ride in the back together and it was soo much fun!  Who’s Bob Watson?  That’s Linda and Bill’s Honda Element.  It’s the only vehicle they have that would fit us.  Linda has weird names for everything.  Don’t even get me started.  Anyhow, we drove along for a while and then we stopped to talk to this nice man on a dirt road.  We talked to him for a long time.  Walter barked at him like crazy at first, but Linda said it was ok and he stopped.  I didn’t bark at all.  I was a good girl.  Linda said so!

After we started driving again it seemed like we were going further and further into the woods.  We finally parked and Linda and Bill let us out with no leashes.  We were free!!  There was some weird stuff on the ground as we made our way down to this little house but I didn’t really pay attention because Walter and I ran and ran and ran.

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When we came out of the woods there was this big flat field and I started running across it and Linda was calling me back.  When I was getting really close to her the ground crumbled and I fell…into water!!!   It was cold!!!  I’d never felt that cold before.  Next thing I knew, Walter was running over to another place with more water and I had to go splash him!!

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When we finally slowed down and took a breath I saw more of that weird stuff we’d seen where we parked.  I sniffed it and it really didn’t have much smell to it.  I tasted it and it was cold and made my tongue feel funny.  I tasted it a bunch of times and then Linda saw me and rushed to get her phone.  She wanted to take a picture of me experiencing snow for the very first time!!!  I had learned about cold, I didn’t even know snow existed before today!

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It was so much fun!  I got to chase Walter all over the place with no leashes or fences.  I got to run on ice and play in the cold water.  I even got to eat snow!  I got to do the best stuff ever!!!

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Mom says we’ll be able to go back there again and again as soon as the snow is gone.  I can’t wait.  Yeah, I guess I’ll call her Mom.  She’s done all sorts of stuff around the house and bought a bunch of stuff just for me.  She wouldn’t do that if she wanted to send me away.  I think I have a Mom and Dad again…and a Walter!!

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THE END(S)

 

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Walter Graduates and Greta Sees The Vet

Yay!  Walter graduated Advanced Obedience yesterday!  Check it out! We weren’t there to pick up his diploma, but he graduated!  I would have been there but I sprained my wrist.  Which wrist you might ask?  My left…my leash-holding wrist.  Any guesses on how it was injured?  Yup, it was from hauling Walter around during the Advanced class of which he is now a graduate.  Sigh…

If you look at the photo above, you will see that all of the dogs are staying without anyone holding their leash…except one.  See that big Great Dane in the back on the left-hand side?   The one with the ears extended making him look like he’s about to take flight?  Yeah, that’s Walter.  See that leash that is NOT on the floor?  That’s because I was at the other end of it, just in case.  The most advanced student in the class…he is not.  Sigh…

 

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The bright news of the day was that Greta went to her first local vet appointment.  Before we picked her up, just a week ago, she had been poked, pilled, and prodded…and caged.  Yesterday was meant to be a fun visit to set her up as a patient and give them the copious amount of veterinary paperwork that came along with her.

As you can imagine, Greta’s first vet visit was a hit.  Everyone at the practice came out to meet her and they LOVED her.  She acted like a perfect lady as she was checked over and her nails were clipped.  The vet and staff took extra time to just marvel at her wonderfulness.  They kept saying how well-mannered she is.  I know they were thinking “in comparison to Walter.”  But you know what?  A win is a win!