Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Gentle Giant — Sampson’s Story

IMG_1708Have you ever had a giant breed? I am currently fostering this guy named Sampson.  He’s 138lb male.  I call him “My Little Pony.”  Or Sammy. Or Dude. Or Dudee.  Sampson is a handsome boy but he’s sad.  He’s maybe the saddest pup I’ve met.  He’d lived his whole life with his mom and a few weeks ago was signed over to us to find a new home.  His mom has terminal cancer and a lot of other medical issues.

Sampson is such a people dog.  He just wants to be with his people.  He’s not food motivated or toy motivated.  He’s people motivated.  Sam is a lover…maybe a cat in another life.  He has a little bit of joy rubbing his massive head all over your legs.  If he sits next to you and your are standing, he will lean in so he can be touching you.  If you stop petting him, his robustly giant nose will whack you to continue the stroking.  Besides the love, if you are welcoming a giant breed into your home you’ve got to understand their needs.  Sampson does go through eight cups of food a day…about 20lbs a week.  He loves snoozing on the couch but he also needs exercise!  If you are not a fan of drool, then the jowly Great Dane may not be for you.  Expect to fill up a lot of water bowls and to mop up water dribbles from every drink.  While he is a gentle giant, Sampson will challenge you so continual training is a must and honestly, not something he’s been exposed to a lot.

Yesterday was his first foray into open adoptions at a large Pet Store where we have weekly adoptions.  Usually we set up crates and sometimes pens if we have puppies either inside the store or in front of the store and people searching for a new pet wander around looking at the dogs and cats. We don’t have something large enough for Sampson so I set up a folding chair and had him with me.  Boy did he get a lot of attention!  People usually have initial fear reaction to him because of his size but then they are on the floor hugging him and scratching him and stroking him.  It made him happy to have all the attention.

IMG_1704Then something caught Sampson’s attention, a noise that was familiar to him.  His massive head tilted as he recognized the noise and he stood up and started to get very excited.  He wanted me to take him closer and then we understood what made him so overjoyed — a woman in a motorized wheelchair rounded the corner of the aisle in which we were camped out.  I saw light in his eyes and he dragged me over to the wheelchair where he was trying to climb into a startled woman’s lap. Sampson thought Mom had come to get him.  My heart broke for him.

Sampson, while extremely handsome, does not have great genes.  He’s got Anisocoria, or over-sized pupils and I’m convinced that he doesn’t see in detail.  Hence, he knew a motorized wheelchair but couldn’t see that the woman wasn’t his mom.  Ethical Great Dane Breeders will not breed a “Merle” dog because of the chance of having puppies with double Merle genes and a higher propensity for health issues like blindness, deafness and even stillborn puppies.  Predominately white is not a recognized coat color by the AKC either because of the genetic propensity for deafness and blindness.  But at seven years old, Sampson is considered an old man for a Great Dane.

Sampson is being offered for adoption through Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue in Acworth, GA.  Adoption fees are $175 and every applicant is carefully screened.  Our top priority is getting the best home for the dog that he will prosper and be successful in.  Do you have room in your heart and your home for this Great boy?IMG_1711