The dog is a Great Dane and what he is obsessed about is trains! We have racked our brains to work out the reason for his obsession. He is not a rescue dog, looking for his previous owners who may have travelled on trains. In fact his owners have had him as a pup and they travel by car. The dog has never been on a train. As most of you know, he is an Apollo of dogs. We suggested Great Danes for Leos in AstroPups as there is no doubt that people with a Leo personality would be proud to own this dog and train it with a positive but firm approach. Great Danes are good problem solvers and the one I am talking about, who is obsessed with trains, rarely changes his mind set. The place he wants to be is the train station, and he always stands in the same place, by the tracks and watches the trains race by, or stop. He was led home countless times, but he always managed to get back to his trains the moment he had the chance. People complained, as they were scared of this huge, unaccompanied dog. Nobody thought of him as being Scooby-Doo’s cousin that’s for sure. All he did was wait for the trains, but he is formidable. He weighs, 160lbs and is very tall. When he stands on his hind legs, he is taller than most people. Children ran to what they thought was a little horse and parents panicked. His owners despaired of ever changing him and gave him away to someone who lived far from train stations. I often wonder if he found a way to go back, but have no reports to confirm or deny this. Any ideas why he is obsessed with trains?
Of course, could be he saw the love of his life – a Mastiff, Dalmatian, or another Great Dane at the train station one day and keeps going back to the same spot in the hopes of finding her. Now there’s a thought.
We had an obsessive dog, too, but she was far from being a Great Dane. I was teaching one day and saw a notice on the teacher’s bulletin board that a four month old pup was going to be euthanized the following day. Well, you know how I feel about that! The only detail they had on it was “my child is allergic to this dog and we need to find a home for it.” I put a note beside it saying to bring the dog to the parking lot the next day after school and I would take a look at it. Apparently the dog had been abandoned in a Michigan camping resort and found her way to one of my student’s parents’ cabin. They were at the camp grounds for three more days, but nobody showed up to claim her and she was content to hang around them. They brought her home, but her son was violently allergic to her, and they had to find another home for the pup.
Jackpot in the Parking Lot
At first, I thought she was a Golden retriever mix, but her black/purple tongue told me she was part Chow. Chows are quite large, but this pup was small for four months. She was sweet, friendly to the children who ran to her. I put her in my car, delighting her foster owner, and took her home. The director of the school told me that she had advised the mother of the little boy who was allergic to put the euthanized tomorrow note up as she knew I would never allow it. I called her Trixie. My husband loved her, but kept asking me when she would grow. As you know, small dogs are not his favorite. She filled out, but remained short
Trixie was a delight. She loved to run in the dog park and swim. Well, she didn’t really swim, but kept looking back at us for our cheers when she swam about close to the edge, with all four feet on the bottom. The summers are hot and her fur was thick. We encouraged her and never let on that we knew she had never actually gone for a swim.
Trixie swimming. Trixie with her best friend, Wrigley.
Chow like, she preferred to sleep in the den, far from others. Chows like their solitude times. Then she got this obsession which drove us crazy. We have a deck. It covers what was once a patio so there is little room beneath it. Mud, leaves, pine needles, rain, etc. find a way under it and so did Trixie. The first time she decided to live under the deck, we thought we had lost her. We drove around the block, frantically calling her name. The backyard gate was closed, but maybe one of the children had let her out of the front door. We searched every room. It was getting dark. People who have mislaid their dogs know how I felt. We even called the police and Animal Control to see if she had been picked up, on the loose.
Trixie, Safe and Sound
In the dusk, I stood on the deck. I didn’t know where else to look. My husband was out in the car hunting for our lost dog. I heard a scrabbling noise and hoped it wasn’t a mouse. The noise continued. Too much for a mouse or even a rat I decided. Could be it was a raccoon, but it came from under the deck and there wasn’t room for a raccoon under there. I got a flashlight to check it out. At first, I saw her nose, then her mud covered head and finally she wriggled out. She was filthy, but I grabbed her and hugged her so hard. My husband came back when Trixie was in the tub getting clean. He was as amazed as I was as to where Trixie was.
Trixie meets Sammi. She mothered her for the rest of her life.
From then on, our goal was to keep Trixie from getting under the deck; her prime goal was getting back under it. We used a concrete slab to block the hole she had used. She dug under the flower garden around the deck and managed to disappear again. When we couldn’t find Trixie, we knew where she was. We built a little concrete wall to block the access from the garden, but that was a mistake as she came in with blood on her paws and a torn nail.
Trixie had a bed in the den downstairs, as well as one in our bedroom, full access to any part of the house, a fenced yard, but for some reason, she wanted to be under the deck. I gave in. Unlike the Great Dane who could be injured by his obsession, Trixie was quite safe under the deck. I removed the concrete barriers, widened her access point, and even gave her a treat at her entrance.
About three months later, we noticed that she didn’t go under the deck any more. Whatever had caused her to need to be under there, was gone. I sure miss that little girl. We lost her just after her thirteenth birthday.
We got Trixie because a little boy had allergies and they had to find a new home for her. When it was discovered that one of our grandsons, Evan, had allergies to dogs, we were sad. The poor little guy sneezed and broke out into hives at our house. He could no longer come to see us. This was horrible enough, but I was more upset that Evan would be denied knowing the joy of a dog. When I went for a walk with him around the block in his own neighborhood, he shied away at the sight of a dog. He was afraid of them.
Sally came into our lives.
I knew Sally’s breed was non shedding, and I was advised that she would be good for allergic people, but when it came to my grandson breaking out in hives and gasping for breath, I wasn’t willing to test it.
It was Christmas. Party plans were afoot. Sally was invited to the children’s party, but we declined for Sally, too worried she would give Evan an allergy attack. All the kids begged to see her. Under pressure, we decided that since Sally was non-shedding and supposedly okay for people with allergies, we would give it a five minute try. Evan’s mom was consulted and she agreed.
We went to the children’s Christmas party, carrying gifts and Sally. If Evan sneezed just once, Sally would be taken home immediately. What happened was so special. Evan, his face full of awe, petted the little dog. Anxiously his mother and all the adults waited with baited breath. No sneezes, no red blotches.
Evan hugged a pup for the first time in his life. I will never forget the look on that little boy’s face. It was truly Christmas magic.
For those of you with allergies, there are a few breeds you could tolerate, but if dogs make you break out in hives, you are probably not reading my dog blog!
It has been fun sharing my stories with you. Thanks for visiting. Come back soon for more tips and tails! 🙂