Thursday, January 16, 2014

The SHINER dog

The SHINER dog

I fell in love with my husband’s aunt’s Great Dane, Shorty way back when.  Shorty had such personality and was just a great “gentle giant”.  So, when their other Danes had a litter of puppies, I knew one would be ours.  We planned on getting a female, but when Jerry saw the sire/father, he HAD to have a male.  (All I needed was another male in the house)! So, we took one of the two males in the litter.  Before he was even “home”, I came up with his name….Shiner.  His parents both had “S” names, and we love Shiner Bock.  Yes, we named our dog after beer!  Don’t judge us!

I held 13-lb Shiner Blonde Fuselier in my lap as we drove home with him on Halloween 2005.  He was the cutest and sweetest little baby.  I spent several nights sleeping on the floor with him teaching him “bed” and many days and nights scrambling outside to “potty”.  He trained very easily.  He quickly showed us what a sweet and docile personality he had.

Baby Shiner

The twins were 1-year-old when we brought Shiner home, and he quickly outgrew them.  If they were outside playing, that’s where he wanted to be!  Shiner wanted to be wherever his people were. 

Almost 4 months old.  Growing like a weed!

Taller than the twins

Shiner and Asa

Shiner and Squirrels

Shiner was a trustworthy, kind and protective dog.  He never destroyed anything inside the house, but he would eat an occasional He-Man if it was left outside.  His favorite thing to do outside was to chase squirrels.  It was so easy to get him rowled up by telling him “Squirrel”!  He would barrel out the door and bark up the closest tree!  The squirrels would flick their tails just outside of his reach.

Chasing squirrels was his passion.  He narrowly missed a few.  As he got older, we would say “squirrel” and he would bark, but he didn’t give chase as much.  In the last year or so, the squirrels have figured out Shiner was an old man.  They would literally taunt him and eat his food while he sat oblivious a few feet away!  Saying “Squirrel” would only yield a muffled bark.

Shiner’s jobs:

Shiner had quite a few jobs in our family.  Some were self-assigned, some were given to him.

·         When the twins developed wild imaginations and were scared of monsters at night, Shiner was assigned the task of eating all monsters and bad guys.  He had to have a big appetite for that one!

·         Shiner took it upon himself to loudly protect his territory.  His bark was loud and bellowing.  He once caused a UPS man to drop his package on the sidewalk and run back to his truck.  Shiner loved barking at trick-or-treaters on Halloween, and we took great pleasure in watching them run.  Halloween will never be the same!

·         Shiner barked at the bus every day.  Same bus.  Same time.  Every day.  He barked.  I always knew when the kids were home.  I’m pretty sure he shaved years off of my life by his loud startling bark.  Regardless, nobody was coming in this house!

·         Shiner was a vehement protector of his Momma-dog.  He loved me.  Jerry would taunt him by acting like he was hitting me.  Shiner would bark, sometimes nip at Jerry’s hand, and place himself between us.  He’d sniff me to make sure I was ok. He didn’t care so much if I whacked on Jerry.  He loved his Courtney-dog almost as much!  He nipped Gage on the leg, requiring stitches, because he thought Gage was trying to chase and hurt Courtney.
Where'd you go, Courtney-dog?

·         When Shiner was about 3, a drugged-out hallucinating intruder came into our home one morning.  Shiner barked crazily.  This kid’s failure to acknowledge or respond to Shiner’s bark let me know he was HIGH.  Long story short, the cops were called, nobody was harmed, and the kid went to the hospital for detox.  Everyone asked me if I was afraid.  My answer:  NO!  Shiner kept himself between me and that kid no matter where the kid moved in my house (‘cause he was trippin’ out).  If he’d made one move towards me, I have no doubt he would’ve been Shiner’s snack.

Shiner, Age 3

Gentle Soul with Such Personality

When Shiner was young, we brought home two kittens.  He was huge.  They were tiny and they were hissing scared of him.  Shiner lay on the floor for a long time, willing those kittens to play with him.   He was bone still so as not to frighten them.  One got brave, stalked, approached and swatted his paw.  He didn’t flinch.  After time, they realized he was harmless, and he was in hog heaven to have some playmates!

7 month old Shiner wanted to play so badly

Shiner got a “baby sister” in 2008.  He was NOT impressed.  He was okay with kittens, but he wanted NO PART of another dog!  Shiner refused to sleep in our room or “talk” to Jerry and me like he usually did.  Once he decided Sookie was ok, he would still walk away and act like he wasn’t playing with her if we saw him.  Eventually, he came to forgive us and accept her.  He moved back in to our room.

Shiner did NOT want a baby sister!

But he came to tolerate her

Funny Anecdotes

Shiner was a local celebrity, and on many occasions people knew who I was or where I lived because of him.  It’s hard to miss a dog like him!  Shiner outweighed me and drug me whenever we went out.
Shiner was a nervous farter.  Anytime I loaded him into the van, he would fart the entire way to the Veterinarian or Petsmart.  He had to hang his head out of the window and gas me in!  Needless to say, we attracted a lot of attention driving down the road.

Shiner loved riding in the van and gassing me out!

Shiner loved the ride but hated going to the Vet.  Yet, as long as Momma-dog was holding him, he'd tolerate Dr. Jeff doing whatever he needed to do. It was less scary with Momma-dog there and he wouldn't even flinch.

I don’t allow my animals on the furniture, and Shiner knew he wasn’t allowed on the couches.  I kept noticing fur on the new leather couch and I could not figure out why.  When arriving home one day, he was in a deep sleep….past out like a college frat boy on the couch!  When I shouted his name, he jumped and scrambled to his feet like Goldilocks!  He never slept on the couch again.

If I was asleep during the day, Shiner had to sleep with me.  If Jerry was home and my bedroom door was shut, he’d lurk by the door and pace back and forth between Jerry and the door so Jerry would let him in.  He wouldn’t get up until I did.

Shiner in his bed...he hated when I took his picture

Shiner absolutely LOVED my dad!  He was SURE his Grandpa-dog were there to see HIM and him only!  I think he may have loved Dad more than he loved me!

Grandpa-dog was one of his favorite people!

Shiner had the most expressive eyes and could follow a conversation.  He’d alternate lifting eyebrows as he looked from one person to the other.  Almost every night, Shiner would come and put his head on my shoulder to be petted and let outside.  “Shiner!  I’m tired.  Go ask Daddy-dog to let you out”.  He’d go to Jerry and do the same thing.  And, if you stopped petting him, he would lift your hand back up and replace it on his body.  Clearly he wasn’t done being petted.

Shiner was the gassiest animal I’ve ever known.  He burped and farted like a grown man.  I never heard a dog fart until Shiner, and I didn’t know you could make so much noise without butt cheeks!

We have a “Shiner voice” we used to translate his doggy words into English.  He always knew when we were talking about him.  In addition, he knew everyone’s name.  I could say, “Go tell Kyle-dog” and he would walk to Kyle.  He was just so smart and perceptive.

Shiner wasn’t allowed in the kitchen because his head was counter level.  I placed freshly cooked steaks on the counter one day and stepped away momentarily. When I returned a steak was gone.  Jerry denied it. When I asked Shiner, he just averted his gaze away from me and licked his chops.  I think I found the guilty party.  At Thanksgiving this year, he lurked around the kitchen until everyone was gone and stole the carcass out of the trash.  Kyle had to chase him down to get it back!  He thought he was slick!

If Shiner got in trouble, he would refuse to look at you.  His eyebrows would dance, but he would keep looking away.  Also, he had a wicked sixth sense when I was up to something.  Just gathering the supplies to clip his nails or clean his ears would send him into hiding!  He hated it, but he would let me do it.  He was such a big baby!  If Sookie was getting a bath, you’d find Shiner hiding in the furthest corner of the yard or peeking out behind the shed.  He was hoping we’d forget about him!

Finally, Shiner loved grocery store day.  We tried every fancy brand of dog food, but he would puke it up or refuse to eat it.  I gave up and bought normal dog food, but I had to switch it up weekly or he would get bored.  His favorite was Ol’ Roy Dinner Rounds.  Fancy dog, crappy cheap food…he loved them!  Shiner would stand by his new food until I ripped it open and gave him some, or he would look at his food then the door…food,door; food, door. 

The End

Great Danes are prone to Cardiac problems and Hip Dysplasia.  Shiner’s ticker was strong.  But, as he got older, his hips got weaker.  He didn’t run as much and he slept more and more.  He was slow to get up.  In the past week or so, he wasn’t eating as much, and he was losing his footing as he rose.  We knew eventually we would have to put him down, but we thought he would live another year or two. 

On Wednesday morning, when I tried to let Shiner out (like I do every morning when I get up), he wouldn’t get up.  I thought he needed coaxing or a little help, but he wouldn’t rise.  I lifted him up, and he fell back down.  After sending the little boys off to school, we put Shiner on a blanket and loaded him into the van.  I sat in the cold van just holding him, petting him, and telling him how much I loved him.  I knew the vet wouldn’t have good news or a miracle cure.  Shiner couldn’t move.  I made sure the big boys told him good-bye.  Kyle broke my heart as he petted him and talked to him about chasing squirrels.  He was hoping it would make him get up.

The Vet knows me well, as I mentioned, because Shiner stands out in a crowd!  Jerry and he carried Shiner inside and it was determined he had nerve damage and was basically paralyzed.  We don't know what caused it. We could have done things to prolong his life, but he would’ve just had to lay there.  He wouldn’t be able to walk, or get up to go outside, or follow his Momma-dog around, or chase squirrels.   That’s no way to honor his life.  So, with Jerry and I both holding him, petting him, and telling him we loved him, Shiner was put to sleep and my heart was broken in two. 

I’ve had many dogs in my life, but never have I had one like Shiner. I know none of these words will do justice to the way I felt about him.  I felt safe and secure with him around.  He had the most fantastic gentle and loving personality ever. He loved being wherever I was, and I loved having him there.  He really thought he was a people. I’ve never felt such a bond with an animal, and yes, he was the “favorite”.  I’m going to miss those big brown eyes!

If there really is a Doggy Heaven, I know Shiner will be the King and he’ll finally be able to capture all the squirrels he wants!

Shiner, you were much loved and will be terribly missed,


Aka Momma-dog
Shiner on his 8th birthday

1 comment:

  1. I think you did Shiner GREAT justice with your wonderful description. I feel like I know him!! I can tell that he was not just a family dog, but a Huge member of the family. I'm so sorry for your pain, but I know 2 things. 1) In time - the pain will lessen and you will look back on all those wonderful memories with joy. 2) He is waiting for you and you will see him again.