Wednesday, November 22, 2006

One Year Old!!

Looking back through the time my Savi and I have spent together (about 10 months) so far, what first comes to mind is what a learning experience it has been, both for him and for me. My puppy and I have forged a relationship that is probably the most rewarding one that I've ever had. We've loved each other, fought, played mind games, bonded, shared new experiences. We've hiked, biked, snowmobiled, went driving in the truck, and riding in the motorboat. We've watched Fourth Of July fireworks, swam in Saganaga Lake, bartended together (his job is schmoozing the customers and eating ice cubes), and cuddled on the futon. He was there when my boyfriend R. and I poured the cement for the foundation of our new house, and when I shot my first grouse ever. I was there when he fell off the dock at my parents' boathouse, and when he first met his best dane friend, Ted.
He's helped me through trying to quit smoking, and arguments with my boyfriend, and he has a way of laying his big head in my lap and looking up at me with his big amber eyes that always makes me feel like everything is going to be all right. In some ways I know he has changed me into a better person. My priorities have changed from me, me, me a lot of the time, to taking care of him and his needs. For example, working at a bar, I naturally do my fair(?!) share of drinking. When I started having to get up early in the morning to take Savage walking, I drastically cut back on partying. Not only is it difficult to drink all night and then go out for a brisk two-mile walk at 7am, it's downright vomit-inducing preparing his hearty breakfast of raw chicken necks with a hangover. I actually quit drinking alcohol altogether for about 3 months, though now I drink a few whiskeys maybe once a month. Having my puppy also forces me to get out and exercise, rain or shine. I've lost ten pounds since I've reduced the alcohol in my diet, and I'm getting in much better shape from walking at least an hour every day. Thanks to Savi.
I've started to view R., me, and Savage as a little family, and I think it makes the humans' relationship more solid. For someone who distrusted all dogs (after being viciously attacked by a St. Bernard when he was a child) and viewed pet ownership as completely uneccessary and generally a big pain in the butt, R. has changed his mind after getting to know our baby dane. Now when I get home from work it's very normal to see them both cuddling up on the couch watching TV. He brags to his buddies about how smart our puppy is, and readily jumps into discussions about gastric torsion, training methods, and the price per pound of chicken quarters. After 3 years of R. and I being together, I see more of the tenderness in him since we got Savvy.
It hasn't been all fun and games, though. Ear-taping and nail-clipping and ear-cleaning and exercising and food-preparing and training gets exhausting. R. and I took the stitches out of Sava's ears after his crop and hearing him cry in pain broke my heart. Like most puppies, he got roundworms, which had me forcing medicine down his throat and shivering outside waiting for him to take a dump so I could collect a stool sample for inspection. I did his vaccinations myself. In January he ripped his toenail halfway off, and in March he bled all over my friend's store after impaling his nose on a metal display peg. Though his potty-training was a breeze, I still clean up a pile of dog puke every now and then. He's destoyed the futon, chewed up the trim on the doorways, and made the backseat of my truck a complete mess. He's eaten plastic bread bags, paper plates, shoes, and ripped up a few perfectly fine comforters.
I've spent a ton of money to make him happy, healthy, and entertained. The main reason I chose to buy a four-door truck is so he had a large, comfortable place to ride. I just spent $500 on a treadmill hoping he'll eventually maybe someday walk on it. I've bought him a $300 crate, a $100 dog bed, a $200 chest freezer, and countless stuffed animals and toys. I stay at crappy hotels when I travel because they allow big dogs. I buy chicken backs by the 50lb case and cook things I myself would never eat (liver, sweet potatos, mushy oatmeal) so he can get his vitamins and variety in his diet. Next up I will be spending $300+ on a radio fence to surround our house and keep him in the yard. I take him to the vet next week for bloodwork and x-rays (because I'm concerned about blastomycosis in our area) and expect a $270 bill. And then he'll need to be neutered in the future. I haven't even mentioned the cost of actually buying him and the flight from Indiana. A puppy should not be an impulse purchase, for sure.
In conclusion, I think getting my Great Dane was the best thing I've done for myself. He makes me happy simply by being. If I'm the source of his health and happiness that makes me feel awesome. Because of him I've learned so much about danes and puppies in general. I've met a lot of people who share my interest in big dogs, both on the street and on the internet. And I get this huge, goofy, furry boy to spend my days with, hopefully for a very long time.
Savage turned 1 year old on November 17th, 2006. He is now 131lbs and 34" high at the shoulder. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY DOG!!


  1. Kim said...
    I love it when you said "he's changed me into a better person." They do that don't they? Change us for the better, celebrate our happiness, comfort us when we're down and love us unconditionally.

    Even though I've only had my girl a short time I can't imagine my life without her.

    Happy belated Savage.
    sm1021 said...
    Beautifully written and perfectly said.

    Happy belated birthday Savi!

    Sandra and Gunther
    Emily said...
    Happy belated Birthday Sava! That is a beautiful pic of him!

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