Monday, 16 April 2012

Spread the Love Giveaway

I'm having a giveaway on my Facebook page if anyone cares to join. Simply go to, become a fan and like the above picture featured on the newsfeed.

About a month ago Mum won a guessing competition on the Danes Downunder group and she was so excited to open the parcel. I loved my new toy and treats so we decided we should spread the love and have our own competition.

Entries close on Sunday the 22nd of April. Good Luck Everyone...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A Post by Stella's Human

I have thought about writing this post for some time now. It has been guilt and fear that has prevented me.
I ask that people put their judgements aside for a minute and understand that I only want good to come of this story. It is about ignorance and Stella....and where she came from.

Stella came from a Backyard Breeder. Stupidly, we paid for her. Until very recently, I was ignorant in regards to backyard breeders and never questioned what I thought was normal.

I have always loved animals. I grew up in rural NSW in a small country town, a farming community. The closest rural city was an hour and a half away. My father has always loved dogs and we always had at least two living at home at any one time. I never questioned where they came from or the circumstances. While most of the time our animals were purebred, unfortunately I now realise they all came from backyard breeders.

I guess backyard breeding is reasonably normal in a small, isolated rural community. Farmers want working dogs and families want pets. Most people who live in farming communities know that there is little money made from the land, particularly in times of drought. When I lived at home, the topic of buying a dog from a registered, reputable breeder never came up.

I moved out of home and to Victoria just before my 18th birthday. I missed having a dog in the house. For the first time in my life there were no animals to feed, cuddle or talk to throughout the day. When I was 20 a girl I went to school with moved into our share house in Bendigo and we became good friends. A few months later her parents relocated to WA and they were unable to take her dog. Tinka was a Golden Cocker Spaniel and I loved her. She also came from a backyard breeder, a birthday present for Mel's 10th birthday from a family that lived up the road.

Tinka and I formed a close bond and when Mel decided to relocate to her parents house in Kalgoorlie, there was no question who Tinka was going to live with. So at the start of 2007 Tinka came to Daylesford with me at the ripe old age of 12. She came everywhere with me and was my best friend. In September 2011 we had to have Tinka put down. She was 16 and a half.

Prior to her death Scott and I discussed getting another dog. We decided that it wasn't fair to her at the time as she was slowing down, blind and had become a full time inside dog. The last thing she needed was a puppy trampling all over her wanting to play. I had researched Great Danes and thought that they would be the perfect breed for us. Our decision was deferred until Tinka had gone and we had time to grieve. Not surprisingly, I struggled without a puppy around even though we had two cats. While I love them dearly, I find cats just don't give the same love as a dog.

So December 2011 rolls around and Scott went to a 1st birthday party while I was at work. He came home and said 'You'll never guess what was at the party...a Great Dane puppy...and there is more left'. I was excited. His comment indicated that he was ready for another dog and he wanted a Great Dane. If anyone reading this knows Scott and knows what our relationship is like, you'll know that Scott never makes these types of comments unless he's already in. I'm the dreamer and he is the realist. He knows not to get my hopes up.

We got the phone number of the breeder and made some calls. I had a list of questions I read out to her. Are the parents available to see? Have you had any health issues with either of the parents? How old are the parents? What do you feed them? How many litters has the mother had? Temperament. Measurements. Age. Colour. Vaccinations. I asked everything that I possibly knew about what I needed to know at the time. Unfortunately I was extremely naive and thought this woman would be truthful. I also did not have a full understanding of what a Backyard Breeder was and they in the responsible dog owners world, are a big no no.

For some time I had looked on websites, read articles, books. Everything possibly available to me on Great Danes. Scott was sick of listening to me telling him random facts and I think if he heard the term 'raw food diet' at 11pm one more time I would have copped an elbow in the face. Unfortunately although I thought I had done all the research, I didn't join any Great Dane forums and I had little understanding of the long term health issues dogs can face when they come from backyard breeders.

The only thing I really knew about was Oscar's Law and puppy farms. Sadly I thought to myself, 'I'd never buy a dog from a pet shop, what a hideous cause'. How stupid was I? Some backyard breeders are not far from the old puppy farm conditions...

The breeder sent us some pictures of the parents and the remaining pups from the litter. I arranged to meet the breeder at her mothers house, where both parents and the pups would be. I remember washing the car before leaving, doing my hair and putting on nice clothes. I wanted the breeder to know that the dog would be looked after and that we were responsible, financially stable, mature people. Little did I know this woman did not give a shit and all she was after was the coin. She never asked about our lifestyle or the type of house the dog would be going to at any point in time.

I stayed about 2 hours, talking to the mother and daughter duo. I asked some more questions as I watched the pups and their parents. The parents looked to be in good health and so did the pups but a few of their comments left me somewhat concerned about their values and whether or not these two should be dog owners, let alone breeders. It wasn't until I was leaving (this was around 3pm) and I had Stella in hand that the mother thought she would give me 'the heads up' and tell me, 'you might want to feed her when you get home, they haven't been fed today'. Holy fucking shit. I could have dropped dead then and there.

Many knowledgeable dog owners, rescuers and breeders will say I should have said 'No thanks, have your pup back, I want no part of this.' But I couldn't. I couldn't leave this little puppy there when I was  becoming increasingly aware about the poor conditions, obvious lack of food and clear lack of love. I put Stella in the car and drove away. Thankful that one little puppy was going to go to a good home.

Weeks after we got Stella home I continued to research, read and join different Dane forums. One night I was looking at Great Danes for sale (I can't remember exactly what for) and came across an old advertisement on a website. It was a litter of Great Dane pups that had been posted in February 2011. It was Stella's Mum in the photos and the same breeders phone number. I kept searching and was horrified to find that there were more previous litters. I cannot describe the feeling I felt. I was disgusted in myself.

A couple of months ago, Honey the Great Dane posted a link to a Facebook website called 'Danes Down Under'. I asked to join the group and found there was lots of interesting posts and information on Great Danes from Australian owners. There are people in the group who love their Danes as much as I love Stella. It's a great site where people are friendly and the more experienced owners, rescuers and breeders are happy to help you out with any questions or problems. It wasn't until I joined DDU that I became aware of what a true backyard breeder was and the dangers of supporting such people. Since then I have felt so much guilt about where Stella came from. I worry about her health and what problems we may come up against in the future. After discovering that this breeder told me a number of lies regarding previous litters I wonder what real health issues her dogs have come up with that she didn't disclose.

The other day I was searching the net, looking at Great Danes for Sale in my area, wondering if Stella's mum had had another litter yet. Again, devastation hit when I found her father for sale. The ad was posted in February with the asking price of $650! Obviously no one was interested as the price had been dropped to $500 in an updated post. A large part of me wanted him. I wanted to take him (without giving that woman another red cent) and show him a good life. One that Stella now has. I spoke to Scott and we discussed the cost. There was no way we could financially sustain keeping two Great Danes and feeding them both the way we do Stella. Scott suggested we review her diet, give her lower quality food, maybe then we would be able to do it. I wasn't prepared to make this sacrifice. I want Stella to have the longest, happiest life that she can possibly have.

I couldn't bring myself to phone the breeder. I have so much that I could say to her and I'm not sure I could bite my tongue hard enough. I have made contact with someone who may be able to help Stella's father. I just hope that he hasn't been sold for another quick buck.

I want people to know about the dangers of buying dogs from backyard breeders. I want to turn my stupid, uneducated decision into something positive. I want to educate people like me who grew up thinking buying a puppy from a BYB is normal and okay.

Anyone who has been to our house, had conversations with me about feeding and health care and training, knows that I make every effort to give Stella the best possible home that is filled with love for her. Our world revolves around her and she is our number one priority. I am ashamed to admit that we supported such an awful cause however I am determined to spread the word about the dangers of backyard breeders and will never make the same mistake again. Any future animals that enter this house will either be rescued or from reputable, ethical, registered breeder.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Smokin' Sunday Sessions

We all had a big day today. This afternoon we went to visit my human aunties, Connie and Kyla. They have a shop in Hepburn Springs called Portal 108. It's a great shop full of Nancybird, Goorin, Najo jewellery and lots of other fun things, some which are made by local people. 

Then we went out for lunch at Ego Culinaria. Mum didn't take very many photos as there were lots of wasps around and she was trying to make sure I didn't try and play catch.

Wasp patrol and fine dining is really hard work.

Then we came home for a short rest before we went down to Vic Park to play with Arkie, Casey and Dolly. They are all Golden Retrievers. Unfortunately I got really excited and was really rough with my friend Dolly. 

When I was little Dolly and I used to have the best time running and play biting....but today I was excited and Mum says I got a bit too stupid for her. 

I also don't listen that well when there are other puppies around because there is just SO much going on. It's something my humans are really going to have to work on.

I spent most of our play time on top of the other dogs, with my legs wrapped around them making it difficult for them to move. I wasn't trying to be mean. I just find it really hard to move my legs around as they are so long!

Mum says she is going to spend this week reading up on socialisation and doggie manners because when I am fully grown there will be lots of doggies that are scared of me and we don't want that.

This last shot is of me walking across the oval back to the ute. The tongue says it all....

I hope you had a great Sunday. Stayed tuned for this weeks adventures...

Friday, 23 March 2012

In the lane way

We live 5 minutes out of town and at the end of our street Dad's family own some property. There are lots of big black cows and heaps of green grass for me to run and play in when we go walking in the paddocks. 

The paddocks have lots of funny names that Dad's grandmother has called them over the years. Mum is still learning all the names and they often giggle at the strange ways the names have come about. Here are some photos of us on Monday when we went to the 'Lane way' as you will be able to see, it is hardly a lane way...

So many yummy smells...

Hurry up...its running time...

This is when I knocked Mum over...she's so clumsy...I thought it was the best thing ever...

Hey, there's my cow friend Daisy! 'Hey Daisy'.

Nothing like some paddock prancing...

It was a beautiful afternoon in the sunshine...

Here I am playing one of my favourite games. Mum and I run away and then Dad calls me back, then Mum runs again and I chase after her. This one was a tough one though because Dad was all the way up on top of the big hill!

This shot is clearly taken after we played the chase game...

One of my cow friends...

This is post electric fence encounter. If you follow my Facebook page, you will know that I've played Sparky the Fence gets Stella twice this week. Mum was really upset here as I let out this big scary yelp. I got a big fright when the fence thing went ZAP!

Fun in the sun...heading back up the big hill again...

Hopefully over the weekend and next week I'll have some more stories to tell about my adventures on the farm. We've still got 'The 8 acres', 'The Racecourse', 'Down the Mount', 'Up the Farm' and 'The Ridge' to blog about....I told you there were lots of silly names. Ma is a funny lady!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Charlotte Reeves Bark Stars Competition

This morning I was entered in the Charlotte Reeves Bark Stars Photo Competition. Mum's gone crazy and posted the link all over Facebook. First prize is worth $650 and is a photography package by Charlotte. She is a brilliant photographer that lives in Queensland and she loves doggies. Mum says if I win a prize that we are unable to have she will be donating it to the Great Danes Rescue in Queensland.

I'd really like to win Second Prize which is a Puppy Hamper. I have lots of toys and teddies but you really cannot have enough!

Third prize which is a harness. Mum says I will need one of those soon as I am getting really confident when I go for my walks and because I am over 25 kilos it is hard for her to maintain my attention all the time. I try to be a good puppy but I just get so excited when I go for walks and there are so many yummy smells.

Here is the link to vote for my picture. We would love it if you popped over to Charlotte's page and voted.

I already have four votes at the moment. The doggy that is winning has 31 votes! Looks like Mum has a lot more work to do so I can be in with a chance!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Daddy's Favourite Walkie Place

Every night we all go for a walk together. Mum makes sure it is somewhere different each night so no one gets bored. Sometimes Mum has to work until 8pm so that means on those nights she misses out on walks. 

When Mum doesn't come Dad normally takes me down the lane next to Nanny and Poppy's house. It's really great down there. 
I can run off lead, have races with Dad (he likes to run away from me when I'm not paying attention and then I have to chase after him) and I get to see the cows (they kind of freak me out a bit when there is lots of them). 

This afternoon after Mouse went home and after Mum got back from shopping with Aunty Tracey, we all went down to the lane. Here are some pictures.

Action shot. You can see my ouchie on the side of my face here. We found out on Saturday that it is Puppy Strangles....but I'm getting better with my medicine and Emma tells my humans that I probably won't scar! Yay!


Me...and the cows...

My goodness you humans are SLOW!

Hurry up! Those big black cows are gonna get MEEEEE!

Nothing like the wind in your fur....

Run. Run. Run.

Hey Mum, like my ears?

Chillout 2012

Every year our town is the host of Chillout Festival. Mum says this information from their website best describes what Chillout is:

'From humble beginnings, ChillOut has grown to become the biggest and longest-running Country Queer Pride event in regional Australia, and the largest festival in Hepburn Shire. While events in the capital cities might be a lot bigger, ChillOut retains a relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to let your hair down, and has found a special place in the hearts of gay men and lesbians across Australia – and the world.'

On the Sunday morning of Chillout they have a really big parade in the main street where everyone dresses up and gets on motorbikes and cars and sometimes even stilts. This weekend Grandma Mouse came to visit so we all went to the Parade to show her what it was like. I think she had a great time.

I got dressed up in my bright green t-shirt. Mum and Mouse tried to find me a 'pride' bandana for the parade....but they only discovered one AFTER all the people saw me...Mum says it's not the proper Pride colours but I still represent!

Here are some pictures that Mum took from the Parade.


There were lots of dogs and their humans at the parade. I was by far the biggest one...there were lots of little dogs, which I don't always like. I need to get better at being nice to little dogs. Mum's not too sure how we do this though. 

We hope you had a great weekend!