I don’t know the family that surrendered their Great Dane nearly two and a half years ago. I know they had fallen on challenging times. A change in their financial situation required a move to a trailer home, and the landlord wouldn’t allow an inside dog. I know they tried to keep her outside, chained up near the trailer, because there was a 10 year old boy in that family who loved this dog. Loved her a lot.
Eventually, they realized that this sweet animal couldn’t live like that anymore, and surrendered her to the Humane Society.
I know that must have been a sad day for all of them, humans and canine alike.
A couple of days after Echo was surrendered, I got a call to ask if I’d be willing to foster her. I was told she was a big sweetie, a little under weight, and a lot scared. Steve and I loaded up our other dog, Moose, to go meet Echo and see if we could let her crash with us until she found a new home.
We weren’t looking for another dog permanently. On the contrary, we’d decided that being a one dog family was best for us. No one told Echo that, though.
We arrived at the meeting place and let Moose outside to sniff around, hoping that if they met in a neutral outdoor spot they’d be less intimidated by each other. Echo’s caretaker waited until we were all out in the open before leading Echo out on a leash to make introductions.
She pulled so hard that the caretaker dropped the leash. Echo started towards me at a dead run. I didn’t have time to react at all, let alone get out of the way. In mere seconds, she was up against me, nuzzling her head against my rib cage, then nudging her nose against my hand. She was forcing me to pet her head.
Amazingly, she and Moose had zero reaction to each other. My faithful Moo-Pie, who I have always known would protect any of his humans to the death, had not paid one iota of attention when some strange dog had made a bee-line for me.
My husband, the caretaker, and I all looked back and forth at each other. The caretaker said, “If I didn’t know better, I would swear this was your dog.”
Finally, we forced Echo and Moose to say hello. It happened again. Both dogs acted like they’d known each other since they were pups. It was amazing. We came prepared to spend a couple of hours getting everyone acclimated, and 10 minutes after our arrival, it was like we’d been a unit forever.
The question was in the air, and both the caretaker and my husband were waiting for me to address it. Was this really going to be a foster situation? If ever a human had been adopted by a dog, I had just been.
Finally, the caretaker said that if I was amenable, the Humane Society would like to give Echo some time to relax and maybe put on a pound or two before trying to place her permanently. I nodded. We all knew I’d be writing a check for the adoption fee, but at least I could wait a few days before admitting that Echo had already chosen her new home.
That was the beginning. For several days, she wouldn’t let me leave her sight. I took her to work with me. She laid on the floor next to my bed when I went to sleep at night, and I woke every morning with all six feet of her stretched out on the bed. She put on those couple of pounds…..plus about 20 more. She ate all the cupcakes for my daughter’s baby shower while we were in the other room opening gifts. She has intestinal challenges (due to situations like the cupcake incident) that require carpet cleaning on a regular basis. There was no “establishing Alpha Dog” in the house, she just automatically knew that Moose was in charge; there’s never been the slightest scuffle. She chases deer and squirrels out of her yard. When there are children here, she must remember that boy who loved her so much, because she is simply joyful.
I will be forever grateful to that family for doing the right thing by Echo. My entire family is grateful, too, because she’s brought so much to our lives. They surrendered her on faith that the Humane Society would find a good home for her, and I think they’d approve of the life she has now.
I’m sorry that they don’t know the rest of the story, but maybe, somehow, they’ll see this. I hope so.