Sunday, September 16, 2012

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The Great Dane

By Fred
Human friends and dog friends at a
restaurant before the dog party.
Yesterday our friends invited us to a dog party in St. Pete. And because they were taking their dog, Jackson, a big and wonderful yellow lab, we decided to take Coach and Willow. Of course, Willow, our 11-year-old chocolate lab, rarely gets to go anywhere in the car, much less to a formal dog party downtown, so she was very exited.

After a meal, we walked over to the enclosed square for the dog party. Just like at most human parties, this dog party had a character who was soaking up more than his share of attention--in this case, a giant Harlequin Great Dane. Otherwise, it was a pretty normal collection of breeds and owners, all there to raise money for some good cause, I'm sure.

The Harlequin Great Dane
For Willow, this was sensory overload. So many people and dogs, all acting very poshly, with a minimum of barking and butt-sniffing and leash-tugging. The high point of Willow's evening came when the Great Dane (the prince) wandered over to give her forehead a sniff. I've never seen such a look on her face: such a mixture of heart-struck love and terror. She literally trembled as she dared to look up into his dark eyes.

A very fussy photo of Willow
as the Great Dane reaches down to kiss her
For Coach, this was something new. He was out of uniform, a civilian. And while he already has more social skills than most of those other dogs, he was accompanied by a very protective mom (Cheryl) who kept him on the fringes.

We always are careful when it comes to our guide dog puppies and dog socialization, whether on the sidewalk or at PetSmart or at a big dog party downtown. We want Coach to be accustomed to being around other dogs, but we also need to be protective of him. After all, he is a special dog (if not a prince). So Cheryl watched over him like a nun escorting a young girl down a dark alleyway. Needless to say, Coach didn't get to meet the Great Dane.

And Willow. From now on whenever we leave the house with Coach and she has to stay home alone, she will think about the party she is missing and the Great Dane who is waiting for her there.


  1. Fun post! The whole thing with the Great Dane was clever, lol.