Thor-Kourt's Great Dane Ebony and Ivory Life and Death
Ivy

Ivy

Thor-Kourt's Ebony and Ivory

The Great Dane, a gentle giant in the dog world, is truly a remarkable breed.

Thor-Kourt's Ebony and Ivory (Ivy for short) is shown here at 5 months old. Her coloring is recognized by the AKC as "Mantle" (also known as Boston). As a young child I would practice drawing Dane portraits and said I WOULD own one of these gentle giants one day. Each and every one prior to Ivy will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ivy
Ivy pictured not long after I got her. She was 13 weeks old when she came to live with me and weighed in at 46 lbs. Her ears were taped upon arrival and left that way for 2 weeks. Once the taping was removed, I have never had to touch them again! Thank goodness!

Ivy    Ivy
Look Mom! I have ears!!! 15 weeks old

Ivy Ivy Ivy

First photo shows Ivy and Baker at PLAY! Don't let the teeth fool you, they are best of friends! Second photo makes Ivy's legs look LONG! They are, but not this long! Then we have Ivy eating on her little baby stool along with Stirling looking for scraps! Stirling is the easiest going cat I have and he was a good teacher for Ivy to get "used" to being a lady around the kitties.

Ivy
When Ivy outgrew her baby stool, she graduated to a feeding stand which accommodated her height much better. Large dogs (any dog 60 pounds and over full grown) should have their food elevated as it makes it much more comfortable for them. This particular stand was homemade here and holds 2 stainless steel bowls 3 qt. size which is more than adequate. Danes are fed twice a day. At 6 mos. Ivy was eating 3 1/2 cups measured "dry" twice a day. This is soaked "slightly" and is alternated with adding vanilla flavored yogurt or Pedigree canned chicken. She also takes vitamin C everyday! NO table scraps!! She does get Iams Puppy biscuits as a treat during training sessions and when she "crates up" at night.

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Ivy's growth statistics:
Born May 15, 1999
August 19th, got Ivy 2 days before she turned 14 weeks...46 lbs. 22 1/2 " at the shoulder
September 4th...58.6 lbs (17 weeks)
September 24th...71 lbs 26" (20 weeks)
September 27th...73 lbs (20 weeks)
November 1st...88 lbs 29" (25 weeks)
November 22nd...98 1/2 lbs 30" (28 weeks)
December 13th...106.3 lbs 31" (31 weeks)
January 14th...115 lbs (35 weeks)
February 9th...120 lbs 32" (39 1/2 weeks)
February 17th...122.4 lbs (40 weeks)
March 15th...124.4 lbs (10 months)
April 15th...125 lbs 34 1/2" (11 months)
February 12, 2002...147 lbs 36" (2 yrs. 9 mos.)
May 15,2002....148 lbs (3 yrs)

Up until about 1 1/2 yrs. old Ivy was very thin for her height and bone structure. It wasn't until after she was spayed she began to really put on weight. At the time of spaying she was 131 pounds but after her surgery she refused to eat much and lost 11 pounds. Although I am against giving dogs table scraps, this was an exception! Ivy was offered everything from bacon grease, pasta, canned gravy and soups, cottage cheese, yogurt, to pretty much anything! Nothing enticed her to eat! Three weeks after her surgery her appetite finally kicked in and she slowly began gaining weight. She looks great between 148 and 152 pounds. She now enjoys her Iams dog food with the canned beef, yogurt, or cottage cheese on it, and I will admit I still give her leftovers but I also monitor her weight. It is unhealthy to have an overweight Dane as it can be extremely hard on their joints.

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Things you should consider before getting a Great Dane

A Great Dane puppy eats a lot and the food they NEED to be fed is considered expensive. The reason I say "need" is because they do have special nutritional needs. I have learned through experience the high protein puppy foods or large breed puppy foods are not the best for this fast growing breed. They can develop H.O.D (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy) or H.O.D like symptoms as Ivy did at the age of 4 1/2 mos.

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Crates are a wonderful training tool not to mention a safe place for your Dane puppy. A full grown Dane can stand anywhere from 30" to 37" at the shoulder and the crate must be large enough to allow him to stand up and turn around and of course lay down comfortably. Ivy's crate measures 44" tall, 53" long and 36" wide and she also has a waterproof soft pad the size of the crate. This is one major piece of "furniture" in your house! These crates can cost in excess of $200 not including the pad.

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The one single question I am asked most often is: "It must cost a fortune to feed her! How much does she eat?" As an example, Ivy at 4 mos. ate 4 to 6 cups a day, 5 mos., 5 to 7 cups. At 8 and 9 mos. she was eating 10 cups a day fed in 2 seperate meals. Also, I am often asked if I get a lot of things "broken" in my house because of her. Well, I can honestly say "no." Of course when you have a 90 lb. puppy go into a running play mode, it's a bit like a little steamroller! She has never broken anything, but my furniture has been "moved" around a little! Gentle obedience training comes in handy in these situations though. If she gets a little too rowdy, I simply put her on a "down/stay" until she settles down or she can be put in the outside "fenced in" area to run. Regardless of how much exercise Ivy gets, whether it be on long walks, or playing in the yard, she somehow has this early evening time where she really winds up! At other times she is the typical "couch potato" lounging and relaxing!

Are Great Danes smart? This is entirely up to you! ALL dogs are capable of "learning" as long as you are willing to "teach." If I got a dog and did "nothing" with it, it would know nothing! If you work with them, spend time with them teaching obedience and tricks, they WILL learn! So "my" answer to this question is YES!

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Toys are a must and boy do we go through them! Sooner or later they will be destroyed, but let's face it, it's better than having your furniture chewed! Choose a variety of shapes and textures and stay away from the rawhide! Ivy loves anything soft and squeaky but eventually my room is scattered with fluffy toy filling and the big prize...the squeaker! I am with Ivy constantly so I can monitor her but wouldn't advise anyone to leave a Dane alone with any toy that is not totally safe! The giant size Kong toy seems to be holding it's own!

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So do your homework prior to getting a Dane!! Proper diet is most important along with exercise, human contact, socialization, and "gentle" obedience training. Great Danes are "people" dogs and should be kept as a close part of the family, NOT a kennel dog! So the next time you are standing by your kitchen counter (36") ask yourself, "do I want a dog that could possibly be this tall at the SHOULDERS?" (Ivy is not yet 7 mos. old and is already "counter surfing!!") Females can be from 30" to 33" and males 33" to 37" tall. Also ask yourself if you want a 130 lb. plus dog who thinks she's a Chihuahua? They LOVE to lay on your lap! Or if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Know the background of your future puppy. Ask questions regarding temperament, size, and conformation of dogs in a puppy's background. A reputable breeder will be more than willing to answer any questions you have and be happy you are asking!
MOST IMPORTANT: Feed your Dane a proper diet so he/she can mature into the finest he can be! And be patient!! SLOW growth is the major factor. Your dog will reach his/her maximum height and weight in due time and be healthier doing so.

ivy
Ivy 8 months

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY IVY!!! MAY 15, 2000 1 yr. old
ivy

ivybaker ivystirling"
Ivy with her good buddy "Baker" and Stirling sleeping under Ivy's leg!! This cat totally trusts Ivy and they are really very good friends!

Ivy and Lacey Ivy and Lacey
Ivy with Lacey contemplating the "back scratcher" routine. Then the "blur" is Lacey, a 9 month old Maltese who loves to "dig" at Ivy when she's laying down! The little 4 1/2 pound Lacey makes a great back scratcher for the 137 pound plus Great Dane!

HAPPY THIRD BIRTHDAY IVY!! May 15, 2002

Ivy and Clover
Ivy with "Clover" my daughters 13 week old Boxer puppy. They get along great!

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***Sept. 3, 2002 Rest in peace Ivy, you will be greatly missed***

I cannot express enough how I will miss this dog! Ivy is now with Chelsea, Shaka, and Ayzha. Great Danes, great hearts, great friends, no one could ask for anything better and I'm only sad they all couldn't have been with me longer.

ivy

On Sunday September 8th. my daughters, Tara And Heather gave me a wonderful present. Some presents are "needed" some presents are a "surprise" and some presents bring "tears to your eyes." This was one of those presents. One of Ivy's favorite things to do was to "hide" toys! Not under a chair, not behind a door, not in her bed, but in her mouth! She would walk around with this look on her face and you just knew she was hiding something. You would ask her, "Ivy, what do you have in your mouth?" She would just continue to walk around like she had this big dark secret and no one was going to find out. Then you'd say, "Ivy, let me have it" and out of her mouth would flop the hidden treasure! One of her favorite toys was a big soft ball. A picture of her laying down with her big lips wrapped around this big soft ball is the picture that accompanies the following poem, written by my daughters and given to me today through tear filled eyes. I want to thank them both so very very much, it means the world to me.

Is That “Your” Toy?

Every journey begins with a step,
And every day is a chance.
You stood by me, you brightened my days,
You gave me reassurance.

I want you to know I’m in Heaven now,
My body feels no pain.
I run and jump, the toys are all mine,
And I’m happy once again.

When you think of me, I want you to smile,
Don’t let the teardrops fall.
“It is better to have loved and lost,
Than to never have loved at all.”

Until we meet again,
I love you.
Ivy

On July 7th. Ivy started scratching and was taken to the vet and put on prednisone. At the same time she started limping on her right front leg. We all thought she had sprained a muscle and the prednisone would help that also. It was not to be. Her limp became progressively worse and she was then put on a pain medication. Still not improving I insisted on x rays and then came the bad news. Ivy had osteosarcoma (primary bone cancer). From the day Ivy started limping until the end, it was only 2 months. Two months that I cherished every day with her. When the time came to let her go I was there with her head cradled in my arms and kissing her the whole time. She was very relaxed and knew she was loved a lot. Everything was peaceful. The previous night as I sat with Ivy trying hard to hold back tears which didn't work, I asked Ivy if I was doing the right thing. By asking I mean I was talking to her in pictures, not words outloud. No sooner than I was finished she gently laid her head in my lap. I knew she was tired of the body she was in. I did not allow Ivy to suffer, I swore I wouldn't do that as no animal deserves to suffer at any time. When things are over and a sense of peace falls over you, you know you've made the right decision. Her and I were true friends and yes, I still grieve over her, yes I still think of her a lot, and yes I miss her so very much. I don't think you ever stop missing them, you just learn to live without them. Ivy will be creamated and her ashes will be placed under a brand new pink flowering tree. I will forever have a beautiful living memorial to remind me of the wonderful life we shared together.

I am not going to attempt to go into great detail on this devastating disease as there are numerous internet sites with detailed information. I will say one thing. For anyone having a large breed dog (any dog over 60 pounds) that develops a limp, please insist on x rays! Unfortunately in most cases by the time the symptoms show (limping) the cancer, although microscopic, is already in the lungs. This disease primarily affects the large breed dogs such as Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Mastiff or Rottweiler. But it can affect ANY dog. Great care should be taken in raising any large breed dog. They should not be allowed to jump off furniture, long walks are not advisable, and most important of all, grow them slow! They will reach their genetic weight and height and getting them to that point slowly is crucial! No high protein dog food! Your dog is better kept on the thin side than heavy as he's growing. It may look like a large breed dog is built like a truck but they are not...their bones are fragile and any trauma to them in the growing stages can cause serious problems when they are adults.

Take care of your "friend"...love them every day for tomorrow may never come but yesterdays memories will last forever.

On Sept. 12th. my grandaughter, Danielle, (age 9) gave me a beautiful memorial poem for Ivy. Within these words you can see the bond the two of them had. Thank you Danielle, I couldn't be more proud of you than I am right now.

Ivy

Ivy is my light
Ivy is my heart
I thought I had promised her
We'd never be apart

But now that she has died
I can not help but cry
none can replace her
No matter how you try

I didn't want her to go
But goodbyes aren't forever you know

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Ivy

Thank you Barb for Ivy's memorial. I'm sure you will miss her "pushing" you across the kitchen floor and so will we.

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**I have received many emails about Ivy and appreciate each and everyone. There is one from a man named Aaron that recently lost his precious Dane, Petri, that brought tears to my eyes. The love for this dog was so apparent in his email that it brought back many, many memories for me. I replied in hopes I could bring some peace to this man. I repeat the email here for "everyone" that has lost that special friend and from the bottom of my heart, I mean every word.**

"I am so sorry to hear about your loss, and I too can feel your pain. When we lose a friend so close to us, they may be lost in our lives but never, ever in our hearts. We will never forget them, ever! We just learn to live without them physically. Time does heal the wounds of such a loss, but the heart will forever bear the scar. My thoughts are with you."

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To see Ivy's tricks and learn how to teach them, visit the following pages

BOW

WAVE & SHAKE

PRAY & CRAWL

TURN & ROLL OVER

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"Play Dead" "Leave It"

If you have a mixed breed dog and would like to show him/her off on the net, please visit All Mixed Up and send in your photo!!

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Email franb222 at embarqmail.com (use the normal @ sign in email)

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