Museum Musings: the Great Dane

great Dane in showring pose

 Great Danes aren’t the kind of dog you expect to see working as a service dog, they’re so large they look more like a horse than a dog, so I wasn’t the only person staring at the middle-aged woman who walked slowly and carefully into the museum gallery, cane in one hand, and a brown Great Dane wearing the blue “working dog’s” identifying vest in the other.

When a man asked her about the dog, a circle of people instantly gathered around her.

“Toby and I are always a side show wherever we go,” she said with a sigh.

“I’ve seen several breeds of dogs working as guide dogs, but this is the  first time I’ve seen a Great Dane,” said the man.

“I was in an accident, which left me with no feeling in my right leg, which means I can easily lose my balance and fall over,” she said, “I have a dog this size, because he’s the perfect height for me to lean on. If I had to bend over to reach a smaller dog, I’d lose my balance. I can’t lift anything or use a walker, so I use Toby like a walker.”  and she patted the dog who looked at her and wagged his tail.

“My word that’s really interesting,” said a man in a wheelchair.

“I’m also a teacher, and Toby carries my books on his back. With this bad leg of mine, I can’t get up once I sit down, and he is trained to pull me up from a chair. These dogs are strong enough to do that,” said the woman,  and we watched her slowly walking away leaning on the patient dog.

An assistance dog is trained to aid or assist a person with a disability. According to Wikipedia there are three general “types” of assistance dog
  • Guide dogs assist the blind and the visually impaired.
  • Service dogs refers to dogs trained to do other work, such as mobility assistance dogs, or seizure alert dogs.

Great Dane on hind legs, paws on master's shoulders, is taller than a man!
Caeser, a year old puppy, is already taller than his owner, who is 1.9 m

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in Museum Musings, The Natural World, Tutto va bene and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Museum Musings: the Great Dane

  1. Erin says:

    Lovely story! Great Danes are such gentle giants, it only makes sense that they would be wonderful assistance dogs! Thanks for sharing this story!

    • dearrosie says:

      They are gentle giants. There’s a Great Dane on the corner of our street. Even though I know what a sweet and gentle dog he is, every time he comes up to me I get nervous because he’s such a huge fellow.

  2. Pingback: Museum Musings: dogs at my cash register | Wondering Rose

  3. nrhatch says:

    We had Great Danes growing up ~ 3 in a row. Lovely dogs. My sister has trained service dogs for the past 11 years ~ usually labs or golden retrievers..

    • dearrosie says:

      You’re the first person I know who has had three Great Danes in a row. Erin called them gentle giants – they must be really good with children.

      I guess your sister only trains labs or golden retrievers because she knows the breed and how to work with them.

      Have you ever heard of a Great Dane being used as a service dog?

      • nrhatch says:

        I haven’t ever seen a Great Dane as a service dog . . . they have a pretty short life expectancy (about 8 years on average). By the time they are trained, they probably only have another 4-5 years to live.

        Smaller breeds that have a longer life expectancy are used more often.

        My sister works with New Horizons and Paws for a Cause. They provide her with the dogs to socialize for 1-2 years. So the agency chooses the breed and my sister can accept or pass.

      • dearrosie says:

        All that training even though they don’t live very long… It was worth it for that woman in the Museum because the dog gave her her independence.

        Your sister does such an important job socializing the dogs for the first couple of years. It must be so hard to love a dog and then have to let them go…

  4. nrhatch says:

    I love looking at blog rolls and seeing familiar names.

    In addition to BreatheLighter/Debra, I see you know Amy (SoulDipper) and the Only Cin. I’ve followed them both for the past 2 years. Small world.

    • dearrosie says:

      It is interesting that though there are millions of bloggers out there we both follow Debra, Amy and Cindy! Just six degrees of separation!

      I’ve been over to your blog several times in the past year. I think I came the first time after you said something interesting on Cindy’s blog.

  5. Great Danes are beautiful and smart. They are huge and tall. That makes them a great assistance dog. A beautiful and inspiring story. Thanks.

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