Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sav Goes Hunting

Generally when I take him grouse hunting, it's just an excuse to walk around with my doggy in the woods. He is usually off-leash, and it's difficult to calm him down if I were to raise the shotgun to actually shoot something. When Randy is with us it's easier because one of us can hold his collar while the other shoots. He'll go in the brush to retrieve the bird, but instead of bringing it to us, he'd rather play "keep-away". Still, I'd rather have him with me. Whenever I'm out alone in the woods I feel guilty if I leave Savage home, anyway.
He wears his blaze orange collar during deer hunting season (which happens during the middle of grouse season), but I put the orange camo hood on him in the truck just because it was cute. He's such a good big huntin' dog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Four Years Old!

originally uploaded by Paula.

A little grayer around the muzzle, one less tooth, many more hugs received, countless cases of raw chicken devoured, a few more pounds added (162lb right now), and he still acts like a silly little puppy. Here's to another year, my beautiful Baby Dog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Bed Of His Own

Savage received his new log bed as a gift from Randy's daughter and her husband. It was custom-made to fit in a corner of the living room in the new house by an Amish furniture maker from southern Minnesota. The only problem is that my puppy's old twin-size mattress didn't fit in the frame, so we got him a new mattress and then split open the end, cut and twisted the wire springs to fit, and then stitched the end closed again. I would love to say that Savage absolutely adores it, but at the same time we also got a new living room couch, so he spends most of his nap time on that. True to his Great Dane nature, he always wants to be right next to (or preferably sitting ON) his people.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Savvy's Truck

Savage's blue truck has come a long way from when we bought it in 2006. Not only has he completely destroyed the back seats to the point where we actually removed them, the back doors are pretty well permanently covered in dog slobber. Much to the disgust of any passengers who dare to ride with me and Baby Dog, they will find their headrests stiff with dried drool, and their seats covered in dog hair. And in short time there is sure to be a big Great Dane head resting on their shoulder. The truck has certainly seen some changes since then, and this picture really made me realize the extent my life has changed from the moment I brought my little guy home.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Savage has been struggling with allergies all season. It started with an ear infection and continued with itchy red skin on his tummy and inside of his back legs. Now we are trying something new. Temaril-P is an antipruritic medication; it's used to treat itching, skin disorders, and complications from allergies. It contains prednisolone, which worried me because of the side effects associated with corticosteroids, but I was hopeful that it would alleviate his symptoms in the recommended 14 day regimen. The doses start out higher (though the amount of cortisone in the pills is still very low) and then taper off, allowing his adrenal glands to resume their normal function. He is on day 10 of Temaril-P at present, and his swelling (the medication is also anti-inflammatory) and redness have all but disappeared. I'm treating his recurrent ear yeast infection with Malotic ointment, which has worked before. He only scratches and licks occasionally, and I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that this is the final solution to his allergy problems. My vet encouraged me to start giving him omega-3 fish oil daily to help keep the allergies away after this initial treatment.
The side effects were more pronounced in the beginning. He was noticeably hungrier and somewhat thirstier. The one concerning side effect I noticed the second day was heightened aggression. A little background on Savage is in order to understand this- he has always been a mellow, relaxed boy. When meeting other dogs he is either completely uninterested or very "puppy-like", enticing and displaying "play bows". On very few occasions he has got into dog fights, ending with no visible injuries. (I feel that it's important to point out that in all but one case, the opponent has always been an intact male adult.) After starting Temaril-P, he needed absolutely no provocation or stimulus to fight. He actually attacked two other dogs with no second thought on that day, drawing blood from small wounds on both. One of the dogs he knew well and had never had an issue with, even off leash together all day. The other was an un-neutered male that has displayed aggression toward him in the past, but I had never let them meet eachother face to face.
After those incidents I began keeping him away from other dogs, which will continue until he's finished with all his medications. Because he has been such a good dog in the past regarding aggression toward any other animals, I'm not really worried about that brief change in personality. I do think it's important to let dog owners know that this may be a possible side effect if they choose to put their dog on any kind of steroid. After researching the drug more, I found many instances where dogs had serious mood changes, irritability, and agitation. One site even listed "viciousness" as a side effect.
On a lighter note, Savage's symptoms are fading, and he has been acting normal (though he hasn't been exposed to other dogs for over a week). With his human friends he is the same lovable guy he's always been. We're staying optimistic and will keep everyone updated on his progress.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Slobber Contest!

Just for fun; head on over to Honey's blog and check out the great photos entered in the Slobber Contest. For dane owners it will all seem quite familiar and laughable, and it will definitely give prospective owners something to think about. Savage himself is not normally an excessive drooler, but when he is excited, anxious, or hungry, he really turns on the "face faucets". After a drink of water, of course, he's a complete mess. You'll find Savvy's entry at #11 on the list. Don't forget to vote!
Update: Voting is now closed. To see the winners click HERE! Thanks to all who voted for my sweet Savage.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Monday, July 13, 2009

Bug Bites

This summer has brought with it a host of bugs (blackflies, ticks, mosquitos, etc.), and therefore neverending frustration for Savage and me. Each year he gets insect bites all over his groin area and the insides of his back legs, but this year it seems worse. Each bug bite gets red and raised and extremely itchy, so he licks the area a lot, which eventually causes more irritation. I've not found a safe, effective insect repellant to use on him, though I have experimented with making my own at home with essential oils and aloe. I started applying Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) to his bitten-up belly and in two days it improved immensely. I only apply it once a day and only when I can supervise him for a while so he doesn't lick the cream (though so far he hasn't tried). Savvy is allergic to hornet stings, and one of his vets prescribed oral Benadryl for such situations as what happened back in May of 2007. I've been cautioned not to use both topical and oral Benadryl at the same time, but the topical cream alone is working wonderfully right now.
On the other hand, while researching causes of skin irritations in dogs, I'm considering the possibility that Savage may have some kind of seasonal allergy. In addition to scratching, he nibbles on his feet and footpads often, and is chewing his butt area lately, which can be a sign of atopy or inhalant allergies. I've also read that dogs with seasonal allergies will often develop an ear infection. I'm planning on taking him to the vet very soon for his annual heartworm test, so I'll be asking for their opinions on the allergy theory. Further updates soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quote IIII

"You ask of my companions.
Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself."
~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ear Infection

It started a couple weeks ago with Savage shaking his head a lot and scratching excessively at his left ear. And then in a couple days he actually couldn't (or wouldn't) hold that ear up at all. His right ear stood up smartly, while the left hung out to the side, reminiscent of when he was little and I would take his ear tape off for a day before taping them upright again.
It's been quite awhile since he's been to a vet, and I realized immediately when we arrived at our local vet's office that Savage has become a lot more anxious about vet visits now. After coaxing, begging, and pleading with him (none yielded results) I finally had to physically push him in the door, with his collar tight on his neck and much frustration on my part. This refusal to see the vet will, I suppose, have to be addressed soon, but at the moment I was just relieved to have him in the door!
The vet allowed my puppy to stay in the waiting room for his examination, thankfully, and diagnosed him with an overgrowth of yeast in his left ear, and possibly in the right. After the diagnosis the decision was made to completely clean out his ears, which involved some kind of soapy cleaner and lots of warm water. Knowing my dog's never-ending capacity to drool when stressed, and his obsessive head-shaking when his ears are uncomfortable, I suggested we take the whole operation outside and the vet agreed. Savage was a little difficult to control while his poor ears were flushed with water, and he proceeded to show his exasperation with the vet tech and me by doing his best to drench us with water also. After that the vet gave him some MalOtic brand ear drops; anti-yeast, antibiotic, anti-imflammatory and advised me drip this into his ear canal twice a day for two weeks. He also prescibed an ear cleaner solution, OtiCalm, which may be more effective than the alcohol I use to swab out his ears bi-weekly, and I'm intending to use it after swimming to prevent swimmer's ear and further infections. I'm using the anti-yeast ointment up before I start cleaning Savvy's ears again, so I'll see if that works after this infection is cleared up.
The good news is that almost immediately after the MalOtic was administered (and after all the slobbering and head-shaking in the vet's office) Savage stopped scratching at his ear and started to relax a little. It's been a week or so now, and he is holding his ears up normally and the terrible ear itching has pretty much stopped. As we left the clinic, the vet was scrubbing his hands and arms in the sink and the vet tech was mopping up the linoleum with a Swiffer sweeper. At the very least, my dane left a big impression!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Savvy Summer

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Internet Access

Savage and I are having some problems with our satellite internet equipment, and have not been able to update the website for the last few weeks. I'm working with my internet provider to correct the problems, but it may be a while before I can devote any quality time to The Story Of Savage. In the meantime, my boy is doing well and enjoying the warmer weather (ticks and all!). Please check back next month when I will hopefully start posting again. As always, thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Spiked Collar

Here's Savvy's new "Rodeo" brand dog collar I ordered online from Hot Dog Collars. It's a full 2" wide with two stitched layers of black leather and rows of metal spikes and studs. I got it to replace the old spiked collar, which was only 1" wide, and this one seems to be better quality. At the wearable length of 21" to 25" it's a bit large on my dane, but looks fantastic and cost me under $30.00! This collar is also available in brown, and for an extra charge; pink and baby blue!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A candid "family portrait" of sorts: Paula, Savage, and Randy.
I put the pillow on the console of the truck so Sava can rest his big head on it while we're driving. The back seat in the Dodge is getting even more uncomfortable, even though I've covered it with blankets and pillows since my puppy destroyed it back when he was a little guy. The upholstery keeps ripping even more, and the stuffing is almost nonexistent now. I'd like to take the seat out entirely, but Randy's already talking about a new truck or SUV. Savvy must have convinced him...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A New Look

Changes are coming to The Story Of Savage website! Starting soon I will be working to convert the blog to an entirely new layout, and it may take some time before I get everything in order. This post is just a note to let Savvy's loyal site visitors know that during the transition there may be some broken links, missing content, and no doubt other problems I haven't even anticipated yet! The graphics and templates will probably also be changing frequently. Hopefully things will go smoothly. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 06, 2009

New Boots

Yesterday I bought Savage another (!) pair of booties, foolishly hoping that they would fit. In the package they looked pretty big, and they were the largest size the company made (XXL) so I figured we'd give them a try. The weather is significantly warmer up here now, but I'd like to find warm, durable booties with good traction for next winter's below zero weather. These ones seemed like the answer.
Sadly, though I can get them on his paws, they don't actually fit correctly. First of all, they are just too tight. Second, they are not tall enough - the two velcro fasteners wrap around the top of his foot instead of the pastern. This causes them to slip off within minutes. My boy was patient with me having to put them back on, tighten them, etc., but after a while I decided that these ones just won't work either. The failure of these booties is especially disappointing, because they look well-made and the sole and toe are covered with a material the company calls "elephant hide", which, in the half-hour or so he wore them, gave Savage great traction on hard-packed snow, deep snow, and slush. For $14.95 in the store, these dog boots were relatively inexpensive (and my baby dane looked very handsome in them!). If you want more information you can visit Kondos Outdoors. They also manufacture sled dog gear and accessories, and human stuff, too!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nail Trimming

Dane toenails are extremely thick and tough to cut, and I've been using a scissor style Miller's Forge "Large Dog Nail Clip" on Savage for years. He's always been a little uncomfortable with getting his manicures, but lately he's gotten a lot more sensitive about it. I have to assume it's because after a couple years, the blades have just gotten dull. When I first started seeing television ads for something called the Peticure, a rotary nail-clipping tool, I was interested, and did some research online to figure out if it would possibly work for Savvy's big toenails. What I heard from some dog owners is that the actual Peticure tool tends to have a somewhat wimpy motor that won't stand up to clipping all the nails at one sitting, but I also found that the company sells a product called the Peticure Safe Guard, which simply threads on to a Dremel rotary tool and gives you the control of the Peticure and the speed and power of the Dremel.
I ordered the Safe Guard, then went out and bought my own Dremel kit, excited about an easier nail-trimming alternative but apprehensive about my dog's willingness to let this thing near his feet. Well, as predicted, Savvy hated the tool from the very beginning. It took both Randy and I to hold him down so he wouldn't bolt, and that was before it even got near his nails. After the near impossible task of filing two toenails, I gave up, concerned that I was causing my puppy too much anxiety for no good reason.
Around the same time I also ordered Savage new booties from, a local manufacturer that features booties and harnesses designed for sled dogs. I decided on the fleece booties because I thought they would provide traction; I wanted to avoid the disappointment I experienced with the Muttluks I bought him last winter. However, as soon as I ripped open the package I was disappointed again. The largest size made by, XL, is made to fit a dog paw 3 1/2" across the widest part, but doesn't even begin to fit onto Savage's giant feet.
Therefore, the Peticure Safe Guard and his new fleece booties now join the list of products I've bought for my dog (with the intention of making our lives together easier) that he either refuses to use, or that don't work for him specifically. Ironically, now that I have my own Dremel, I can easily sharpen the blades on my Miller's Forge trimmer, and it's making nail cutting quite a bit more efficient. I guess that's the best I can ask for.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Savvy's Tooth

For the morbidly curious, here is a picture of poor Savage's extracted canine tooth. Because it was so damaged already, the tooth broke in half during the beginning of the surgery. Dr. Hanson said it was badly infected and probably the worst case he's seen.
On a lighter note: Savvy's swollen nose returned to normal soon after I started giving him more aspirin, and is now acting like himself again. Yesterday he got his first post-surgery chicken back meal, which he ate without hesitation. Today we played fetch for a bit, and he had no problem carrying around his tennis ball. I've been giving him smaller doses of aspirin every day now, and he'll soon be done with the antibiotics. I'm hoping that this is the end of his dental problems.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Recovery Update

Yesterday morning we noticed right away that Savvy's entire right cheek and muzzle had become very swollen overnight. Prior to having the tooth extraction done, Savage was on a 7 day course of an antibiotic called Clavamox, and then cephalexin (500mg 3x per day). He finished the cephalexin yesterday morning, so I was advised to switch to another antibiotic (!) because the first two might not have been effective against this specific infection. Currently I am giving my dog 500mg of Ciprofloxacin 3x per day, and have upped his aspirin dosage to two regular strength buffered aspirin tablets 3x per day. He'll be completely done with medication on the January 21st, providing the swelling goes away and he's no longer in pain.
This morning his nose looked much better than yesterday (the picture above is from yesterday afternoon), and he seems almost back to normal. He's got lots of energy and wants to get outside and play, though the weather is not cooperating with his plans. He's eating his meals eagerly and will chew on a tennis ball if I allow him to. He doesn't seem to even notice, or care, that he's missing one of his big teeth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tooth Extraction

Savage and I picked possibly the coldest day of the winter to drive 2 1/2 hours to the vet so his tooth extraction could be done. On the way I periodically let him out of the truck, hoping he would go to the bathroom before his appointment, but at -35 degrees Savvy hit the ground, turned around, and immediately leaped back in. Savvy went into surgery shortly after we arrived at the clinic so I didn't get a chance to stress him out further by crying and worrying. I did that as I left the clinic. But he was already very anxious; he had started shaking and trying to get back out of the room as soon as we got there. I've never seen him more nervous.
The extraction (and tooth-cleaning) didn't take long, and when I got back to the vet's office a little over 2 hours later, he was ready to go. That's not to say he was normal; Baby Dog was still coming out of the anesthesia and staggering when he walked. I thought I might need help to get him into the cab of the truck, but he was very relieved to be out of the clinic and I only had to help him get his back legs into the seat. The pictures in this post were taken on the drive home. I stopped often to check on him and see if he was agitated or in a lot of pain, but all he wanted to do was go back to sleep. Most of the time he spent resting his head on a pillow I placed on the truck's center console, with his butt on the seat and his front legs on the floor.
By the time we got home he was more awake, and anxious to get his dinner (I had not fed him since 8:00pm the night before, on doctor's orders). I was cautioned to only feed him a small amount of food that night, so he got a little fish and mashed sweet potato. Since his surgery on January 13th I have been giving him only soft foods; oatmeal, liver, lean ground beef, etc. His appetite returned to normal, though he was very thirsty. I had to allow him only a cup or so of water at a time, to minimize the possible risk of bloat if he were to gulp a lot of air into his stomach along with the water.
I was very optimistic about his recovery, since he was acting lethargic only that night and the next morning, and I had him on anti-biotics and small doses of aspirin. Everything was progressing smoothly until this morning. Overnight, his muzzle and lip had swelled up considerably, which had me quite worried. Having been on the phone with my breeder and my vet most of the morning, I have to save the rest of the story till later this afternoon, or even tomorrow, but I'm still optimistic and not as worried. Please check back later to for updates on my boy.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Savage And Kita

My puppy looks like he has my sister's german shepherd "in his sights". Photo credit: Laura Marxen.