Its’ Great To Be Around GREAT DANES!!

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Aug
27
2010

It’s Great To Be Around GREAT DANES

So say several Webster Groves residents who work with Great Dane Rescue organization by Linda Jarrett

Marc Hornkohl can be seen regularly walking his Great Danes — Aspen, Cannoli, Lumi and Scooby — through the streets of South Webster.  While Marc and Kim Hornkohl’s Webster Groves backyard may seem big, it shrinks when six Great Danes, a shepherd, and a corgi take to playing tag around the water garden and patio. On a warm Sunday afternoon, The Hornkohls and fellow Webster resident Lili Calder talked about Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks, formerly of Springfield, and now of St. Louis. When Calder and Marc Hornkohl met, she had a Great Dane and he had a shepherd. “I asked her about her Dane and she turned us on to the idea of going through a rescue instead of a breeder,” he said. It was then they found Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks.

Founded in 1999 by Kathleen Keethler, the organization takes in Great Danes from any breeder, family or individual who, for whatever reason, cannot take care of the animal. “I had gotten my first Great Dane, then I heard from a couple of animal welfare groups,” Keethler said. “It was like ‘She has a Great Dane, maybe she can help this one’ and I said ‘Yes.’ That was a lot of Great Danes ago. It’s a slippery slope!” She said they now have nine in foster homes. “They’re waiting for a forever home.” It is not uncommon for Lili Calder and her son, Jordon, to have to share the couch with their dogs, Theo, Camille and Maybe.  Keethler received three Danes this week. “One from a breeder in Joplin who is going out of business,” she said. “This boy was in horrible condition with mange. He’s three years old and his legs are swollen with edema. It will be six months before he’s ready for adoption.” One of the others was an eight-week-old female from a “backyard breeder” who did not want her, Keethler said. Keethler, a project manager for Scottrade, said she juggles her day job and rescuing obligations. “When I was 14, I worked in a veterinarian’s office, and I fell in love with a beautiful Harlequin (black and white) Great Dane. I knew when I grew up, I would have one,” she said. “I never realized I would have this many!”   Keethler keeps three Danes in her Shaw Neighborhood home. Hornkohl’s Danes are Cannoli, Aspen, Scooby, plus Lumi, the foster dog, and Callie, the Lab/shepherd mix. Calder’s are Maybe, Camille and Theo, plus Bear, the corgi. “They’re like Lay’s Potato Chips,” Keethler said. “You just can’t have one!” Calder got her first Great Dane when her parents divorced. “My mother said, ‘Come get this dog out of here,’ and that broke my heart. She was my first, and I got another one in 1997,” she said. “A lot of people call me to place dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, so I built up a good track record during the year of placing animals. Why? Because I just love animals.”   Lumi, who is about one, was born blind and deaf. With surgery she now has partial vision in one eye.

Probably unbeknownst to the general public, Great Danes, despite their size, which can range from 120 to 150 pounds, are very adaptable to apartments and small homes. “These dogs won’t leave your side,” Hornkohl said. “They are very loyal. Despite their size, they don’t have a high metabolism. They’re not runners, and not hyper like a Lab or a Jack Russell. Despite their size, they don’t eat nearly as much as you think – four to six cups a day is not much for a 150-pound dog. “There are so many misconceptions about Great Danes,” she said. “They’re very gentle. They just want to be on the sofa next to you.” As she spoke, one Dane tried to get on Kim’s lap but only managed one leg. The organization is funded by donations and volunteer efforts. Hornkohl said they held a fundraiser in May and have had garage sales. “It is a true labor of love for all involved,” Calder said. Since they do not have a place to board the rescues, finding foster families is crucial to their organization. “When the dogs are rescued, they are checked out by the veterinarian, who gives immunizations if there is no record and takes care of any medical issues,” Hornkohl said. “The adoption fee is $300, and $250 for those over five years. The fee doesn’t begin to cover it, especially if they have any conditions. We do have vets who give us a discount.” The current economic climate is not beneficial for dogs, Calder said. Many people have to give up their pets because they cannot afford them, or they are moving and cannot take them. “Divorce is a big one,” she said. “And size. One couple said they didn’t realize how big the dog was going to get. Come on! It’s six months old and 100 pounds and they say they don’t realize?” “Also when people have babies, they say the dog might hurt the baby,” Hornkohl. “So you’re living with a dog that might be dangerous to your baby?” Calder praised the Kirkwood Dog Park where, she said, some other Great Dane owners walk their dogs. “It’s a great place for socialization,” she said.

Those wanting to adopt need to complete a written application, Hornkohl said. “If no red flags appear after the review, we contact the individual to schedule a home visit where we look to see if all is as claimed,” he said. ” If the individual is already interested in a particular Dane, we will also try to arrange for the dog to go with us and see if it is going to be a good match.” Sometimes it does not work out, he said. “We did one recently where we both liked the couple very much and they seemed very capable for taking care of a Dane, but the situation was just not right,” he said, adding that they had been rejected the first time they applied for a Great Dane. Keethler praised the foster parents who take in rescues. “It can be hard to give them up,” she said, “especially the first one or two, but the foster homes are the core of rescue. If they weren’t there, we couldn’t do this, and it’s a critical step in the process. It’s helping these dogs get to where they need to be.” Calder, Hornkohl and Keethler encouraged those wanting a Great Dane or any kind of pet to go to www.petfinder.com. “Then you can put in Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks and it will lead you to us,” Hornkohl said. “Or you can search for any breed.” Those interesting in fostering or finding these “big hunks of love,” can also e-mail danerescueozarks@gmail.com.

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