Since deciding that I would attempt to revive this blog and use it to write about Callie, I’ve had a hard time deciding where to begin. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to say; I could tell a little story about each and every day she’s been in my life. It’s a matter of beginning, a point of reference for a nonlinear narrative, a jumping off point. Since it’s best to meet new people with an introduction, I feel that’s a good place to start.
Callie is my 10-year old fawn Dane. She weighs around a hundred pounds, down from her heyday at 135 and her happy weight of 120. She stands over 32 inches tall at her shoulder and when we brought her home from the shelter she had one white toenail and one white whisker (still has the nail, but now many more white whiskers). She never had much of a mask and so the advent of grey on her face has been mild. She has two sweet black eyebrows that dance when she’s pretending to ignore you. Her ears were never cropped and she knows how to use them to frame her face for the best puppy expression you ever saw. She is our darling and my sidekick. While I don’t take her everywhere I go, my time at home is spent with her never far from my side. There are a lot of things I can imagine going without. Her company, particularly as I knit or weave, is not one of them.
Because she has a slender frame, we always felt confident that she’d easily make it to 10 years old, outliving the average Dane life expectancy by 2 years. As recently as 8, I thought it feasible she’d sail on to 12, which is rare but not unheard of. Her hips are amazing, as she demonstrates by still lying down sphinx-like, and she doesn’t have spinal issues. Her eyes are cloudy but her eyesight is still better than mine, and while her hearing appears to have diminished she is far from deaf. What is causing her aging, to the best of our guesses, is a particularly strong state of anxiety and the lingering effects of a knee injury she suffered 3 years ago.
I plan to write in more detail about her health and the choices we’ve made, in the hopes of helping other people who share their lives with aging Danes. We believe we have given her a healthy, full, and very well-loved life. To meet her is to love her, and I am sure other Dane owners would fully agree that sharing one’s life with a Dane is to share it with a unique and personable individual. I’ve been asked what it’s like to live with a large dog, and the best answer is it’s like having another full-grown person in the house who acts a bit as a toddler–sweet and loving, with a tiny feisty streak, independent and stubborn, and completely unable to hold a grudge. How do I describe my sweet girl in just a few paragraphs? I can’t. But this is a start.