Some of you may remember a dog I had a while back. She was a solid white Great Dane named Ella, and she was the primary reason I became involved with Great Dane Rescue. Ella’s time with me began when I worked at the Kentucky Humane Society and I came in very early one morning to do a TV spot. I heard a horrific howl coming from one of the offices, so I opened the door to find a terrified 110 pound creature staring up at me. From that moment on, Ella would not let me out of her sight. I got in trouble for bringing her to meetings, taking her to television interviews, and keeping her next to my desk. Ella was deaf and had been bred within an inch of her life, which had been spent in cages, for the most part.
Over the course of 7 months, I fattened her up to a semi-healthy weight for a dog of her breed and size – a whopping 160 pounds. She still suffered from separation anxiety and hated to be away from me for any length of time.
I was renting a house at the time, and my landlord decided to check in at some point (to this day, I have no idea why he was trying to get in the house at all, but that’s creepy speculation best left alone). He caught sight of Ella and was terrified, as she was a large and imposing animal. He told me that if I didn’t get rid of her, I’d be evicted. I’d mentioned to him when I moved in that I worked for the Humane Society and that I might foster animals from time to time, but he didn’t seem to remember that conversation.
Heartbroken, I took Ella back to KHS. I sat outside crying for ages because I simply couldn’t imagine that she might bond with anyone the way she had with me, and I was worried about her health.
Three days later, I was at Cherokee Park with a friend. I spied a couple who had a pair of Great Pyrenees with them, and I struck up a conversation while their dogs submitted to excessive petting. As we were talking, the couple’s daughter came over and said something about “Ella.” I asked if she was, by any chance, talking about a white, deaf Great Dane. She was. We talked, and she ended up adopting Ella. She changed the dog’s name to Duchess (and really, what did the dog care – she was deaf anyway) and I helped her and her husband with the transition of taking this large, very dependent dog into their home. I even got to visit every so often. We lost touch after a while, but I knew that this incredible dog had found her way to a wonderful home.
When I was caring for Ella (Duchess), she was well into her fourth year. Great Danes have a life expectancy of roughly 9-11 years, and that’s if they’re healthy. I figured she passed away a couple of years ago – she wasn’t in good health at any point, really, and I figured she lived out the rest of her life happily.
Tonight, while walking down Bardstown Road, I spied a pair of Great Pyrenees. They’re hard to miss. I immediately recognized them as the same dogs I saw in the park so many years ago, and I asked their owners if they might, by chance, have a daughter who adopted a crazy, white, deaf Great Dane from the Humane Society. It was the same couple, and they assured me that Duchess is still with us and doing extremely well. She weighs about 180 pounds now, and while she has had numerous health problems, she is 11 years old – several years older than I ever expected her to be. Her “mom” is still completely smitten with her, and she has, obviously, ended up precisely where she was meant to be.
I call that kismet.