We thought that you might like to get to know us. There are a host of volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and energy to Great Dane Rescue Inc.
Some of our volunteers home foster our Danes, others help transport our Danes to their forever homes and others perform home visits and help out at fundraising events. We have volunteers that match our Danes to their perfect forever home and others that help out with behaviour issues. Volunteers come from all walks of life but what they all have in common is a love for Great Danes.
This quarter we're featuring Sherrie and Don.
Don and I met in 2003, both divorced after lengthy 20+ year marriages and divorces. The very first thing we had in common was our love of dogs. Don had 2 (1 was his) and I had 3 (1 was mine). We had inherited dogs our adult children no longer wanted. We both agreed that 1) anyone who loved dogs we would also love and 2) anyone our dogs did not like we could not tolerate! At one point, we had SIX. I was a teacher of children with severe Autism and one of my students (age 5) had broken the leg of a 2 year-old teacup poodle. This dog literally weighed 3 pounds. I was irate to say the least and asked if I could have the dog and the mom said no way. A few weeks later, the mom called me saying the dog had just peed on her basket of clean laundry; “come get this dog or I will set it free”. (This little dog went on to live to the age of 12 with my wonderful sister.) This was the beginning of our rescue career.
Today, 16 years later, we just took on our 19th Great Dane (foster, failed foster, adopted…There have been times when we looked at each other and said “what were we THINKING??????”) and other times we cried together when we picked up an emaciated, cowering Dane covered with sores, teeth worn down from chewing on a wire cage, calluses from being housed on concrete. (That was our Stella. My husband said it is a good thing we did not get her from the owner or I would still be in jail.
We have a heart for the 3-legged, one-eyed, deaf, deformed, aged….We’ve become a throw-away society from babies to the elderly to the dogs. If truth be known, we’ve often joked that we should have had dogs instead of children…way fewer heartaches, way more loyalty.
Don and I are both retired now, in our 60s, living in our own piece of paradise on a country property. We enjoy our screened in back porch, watching birds, going to the nearby Kankakee River State Park, and just loving doggies. The sad thing is, we realize that the older we get, the less able we are going to be capable doggie parents. For right now, we have vinyl floors (inside poop and pee don’t mean a thing in this household), we decorate in modern yard sale (so who cares if they chew a couch?????), and we manage groceries with half our list for us, and half for the dogs (they do need hot dogs and liver ya know).
It is an honor be have been part of this great organization for so many years. I honestly didn’t think I could ever handle fostering. Don’s biggest fear was that we would end up with every dog as a foster failure. Through tears, we realize that the more we foster and give up, the more doggies we can take in and help. With that said, I admit we’ve been foster failures twice. Our Gunner ate through wooden doors and broke through two windows; no one else was ever going to put up with that. We loved him until the end. And Miss Stella Bella Boo was the one who came to us emaciated and covered in sores. I promised her I would be with her until the end. She just went across the Rainbow Bridge in March at the ripe age of 10 years and 8 months. I hope we gave her Heaven on earth.
We’ve also suffered the unfair loss of young Danes. Our Gracie Loo Hoo (previously Powder) was wonderfully trained by Delores Carter. Through tears, she entrusted Gracie Loo Hoo to us. One day, at the age of 4 and after only 1 year of her love, we noticed a huge belly and weak legs. That day we left for the vet visit and came home without her - what a shock. We had to let her go due to a spleen tumor. The sobbing lasted two days before we could face the world. We’ve all been there. We deeply love. It’s hard to let go. But the alternative, as Don so wisely says, is to not have had their love at all. Our Dane babies (puppies or 8 years old) give us way more than we give them. And in the end, it truly is just simply about love. I wish we had a million dollars to save them all, but we give of ourselves in our little corner of the world. And I know we’ve made a difference to the ones we’ve been blessed to love.
We feel very appreciated by this group – thank you all for the insights and memories.