Yesterday morning – even though it was the weekend – we didn’t have our usual “lie-in. Instead, my humans said that we were going on a big adventure: a Great Dane Walk!
The Sydney Great Dane Owners Group (on Facebook) meets up every month or so to do a big walk together. We went on one way back in Feb, which was great fun but we’ve missed most of the walks since – either because my humans have been busy or overseas or whatever…but this time, we were free! And what’s more – Paul is not on-call this weekend so he got to come too! Yay!
And we went to a really cool place this time…the Sydney Olympic Park! Paul had visited the park when they were still building it – back in 1999 – but me & Hsin-Yi had never been there before. It is HUGE and has lots of interesting sculptures and big buildings (stadiums) in weird shapes.
It was so nice to catch up with old Dane friends and make some new ones. There were some new doggies that I had not met on the last walk – some of them had come in their car machines from really far away on the Central Coast, just to join in our walk!
There were even a couple of Dane Wannabes! Well, one was Little Man – the little black Lab-cross, who I met back in Feb – he belongs to Sacha who is the lady who coordinates Great Dane Rescue NSW and he’s a “foster fail”
Little Man lives with Leila the Black Dane, who I also met on the Feb walk and who is 12 yrs old now and amazing – a real grand, old lady! She is the oldest Dane in our Sydney group – I think I’m the next oldest after her! But sadly, Leila didn’t come on the walk yesterday coz she has been a bit sickie lately and is still feeling a bit “frail” – so Sacha thought the walk would be too much for her.
Little Man & Leila have a new temporary foster brother, called Wally, who is staying with them while looking for a forever home. (You can see him in the picture above, sitting next to Sacha – he is white with a cute brown patch over one eye! And he’s in this picture on the left too).
Little Man was very excited to see me – and I love boisterous, happy little doggies like him. I always get on really well with them ‘coz I like their confidence and we both like to play “rough”!! Wally was a bit more timid and quiet – and he can be a bit shy about meeting other doggies and people – so Sacha thought it was very good practice for him to come on walks like this and meet calm, well-behaved doggies (like me! ) to help him learn to be brave when meeting new things.
I was most excited, though, when I saw that there was another FAWN Dane there!! Woohoo! At last! You see, although fawn is supposed to be the most “common” Dane colour, since we have moved to Australia, we have hardly seen any other fawn Danes! We see mostly blues & blacks – and lots of merles as well – those seem to be the most popular colours, especially for pet owners. So whenever we have gone on Dane group events – even back in Brisbane – I’m often the only fawn there!
So it was so nice this time to see another fawn Dane at last…and what a gorgeous fawn boy he is too. Tall, blond and handsome! His name is Scooby and he is only 21 months…but hey, you know how much I like my ‘toyboys’!!
My humans said they were a bit shocked ‘coz it wasn’t until they saw me next to Scooby that they realised how grey I had become! I used to have a mask as dark as Scooby’s but now I’m practically starting to go white!
Still, Scooby didn’t seem to mind my grey hairs. He was hanging out with me the whole walk…I guess he must like “mature ladies” – hee! hee!
It was really cool meeting the other Danes too. There was Sparkles, who I met on the Feb walk…
…and Orbit, whose human is a vet nurse with my lovely vet, Dr Ian Murdoch at the Pennant Hills Vet Hospital…
…and Brumby, who has also been going to training classes at the same place we’ve been – so we’ve met there a few times…
…and a young blue Dane boy called Optimus…
…and finally 3 Danes I had never met before: Fletcher and Libby who are brother & sister:
… and their half-brother, Willis:
As you can imagine, we were quite an impressive sight when we were all walking together! People were all stopping to point and stare…
Some people might be wondering how such a big group of strange doggies all managed to get along and have such a nice time together…well, it’s because all the humans are very sensible and responsible about their doggies. They make sure that they always stay a polite distance away from other doggies (unless the doggies already know each other really well) and don’t let their own doggies push into other doggies’ personal space. They only let strange doggies say hello one-on-one, after asking permission – not everybody mobbing in together. And they don’t let their doggies do rude things like dragging them/rushing up to other doggies or humping other doggies or stuff like that.
All the humans are alert and watching their doggies’ behaviour all the time – not just gossiping and stuff – and nobody gets complacent. They understand that “dogs are dogs” – and respect their natural behaviour & instincts. And they are honest about their own doggies’ behaviours and personalities.
Sadly, a lot of pet owners are NOT like this – they have this stupid idea that strange doggies ought to all “group hug” when they meet and behave like characters from a Disney cartoon. They think all doggies should be playing crazily with each other as soon as they meet (when actually, it is much better for us to get to know each other calmly at first, like in a group leashed walk) and they often don’t make much effort to watch their doggies or control their behaviour – or they come up with stupid excuses for their bad behaviour.
This is why – although we used to go to a lot of pet events (like the RSPCA Million Paws Walk – that kind of thing) – now we DON’T anymore, because there are just too many stupid, irresponsible, un-educated pet owners spoiling things and we have had too many bad experiences (and you know, of course, that if anything happens, I always get blamed coz I’m always the bigger doggie! ) So now my humans have decided “quality over quantity” – it’s better to go to fewer doggie events & meetups but at least you are with sensible humans and well-behaved doggies.
My favourite part of the walk was when we stopped by this really cool water place. It had been getting hot on the walk so it was really nice to stop for a drink and have a rest and enjoy the breeze by the water…
Oh! Except that Hsin-Yi suddenly started trying to drown me!! Help! Get away from me, you crazy woman!
Well, actually she said that I was panting a lot and she was worried I would get too hot – coz us giant breeds can get heatstroke very easily and especially now that I am getting older, I don’t control my body temperature so well – plus, it’s not good for my heart – so Hsin-Yi decided I needed to get completely wet to cool down. She made me get into the water and then splashed water up so that it soaked my tummy and chest and throat, then my back and legs and neck and even face as well!
Oh! It was so awful! I could barely stand the humiliation! And in front of all my Dane friends too!
Still, I regained a bit of my dignity afterwards by showing off my Advanced Drooling Skills…none of the other Danes there could drool like me. Look, I can even make it go sideways!
And I had to admit, I did feel much better & cooler after Hsin-Yi wet me down. For those who are wondering – yes, I do actually have a “cool coat” – my humans got one for me soon after we arrived in Australia, that first year we were in Brisbane. But my humans find it is a bit of a hassle sometimes – so often it’s easier just to wet me down completely and then the evaporating water keeps me cool on the rest of the walk!
Well, I had a wonderful time on the walk and it was very sad to say goodbye to all my Dane friends – hopefully we’ll all meet up again soon!