Mike and I used to have friends over for dinner and pie on Sunday nights when we lived in Chicago. I love to bake pies (see this movie for all the crazy deliciousness that pie can be).
One Sunday I had baked an apple pie. Out of all the pies, this is the most labor intensive to make. It’s a lot of peeling and a lot of very thin slicing. The pie crust is my grandma’s recipe (Looking for a good apple pie recipe? Let me know and I’ll send it to you).
I made the pie in the late afternoon, and for safekeeping, i.e., out of the reach of certain canine inhabitants, I put it on top of the refrigerator in the pantry to cool. Claire and Charley were visiting the downstairs neighbors’ Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Bo was hanging out at home with me having recently been banished for bonking the freakishly large Rhodesian Ridgeback Taylor on the head in an exciting and nail-biting match of canine wits. Hours later, I went to get something out of the freezer and tragedy struck. The apple pie tumbled to the ground, landing facedown, of course. Alas, there was no way of saving the pie. Thinking that there was only one way to make the best out of this miserable situation, I got a fork, called Bo into the kitchen, and while I ate the portions not touching the kitchen floor, Bo ate those that were. I cried a little bit, but it was a perfect exercise in symbiotics. And it was a pretty good pie if I do say so.
Bo came to us by way of Iowa, where he had been kept in someone’s front yard on a chain. I believe this life hardened his stomach and gastric accoutrements into steel. To give you an idea of his size, his head, if hollow, could have comfortably slept two Chihuahuas, plus bunk beds. Bo provided hours of entertainment for us, not all of it food-centric. He inspired a line of crocheted hats that I make for my husband, Bobo Hats, because his poor ears flopped down on top of his head and made it easy for him to wear a hat.
One day Michael and I came home with friends Chris and Dan in tow. As we entered our apartment, everything seemed normal. We were greeted with the usual canine enthusiasm of Claire, Bo and Charley. We all settled in and very slowly things started to come into focus. Like when you are looking at something and it all seems fine until one little detail stands out and alerts you that something is terribly awry and you become increasingly more alarmed as your eyes adjust to the scene. Little flecks of reddish brown littered the floor, creating a trail from the living room into the kitchen.
Chris shifted in his seat on the couch, which made a crackling noise, and then extracted an empty, chewed through bag that screamed “IDAHO POTATOES 10 POUNDS.”
We followed the trail into the kitchen, but alas, nary a potato did we find. Upon entering the kitchen we also discovered an empty bag - ONIONS 5 POUNDS - the dry crackling skins sticking to the walls due to winter’s static electricity. Now that I think back on it, I cannot come up with a good reason to explain what I was possibly doing with 10 pounds of potatoes and 5 pounds of onions.
It’s interesting – if you look up toxic foods for dogs, onions make the list. One would assume that a whopping five pounds might have a disastrous effect on a dog. Even in a 175-pound dog, one would assume that 5 pounds of raw onions would at least cause some sort of gastric distress. And that’s on top of 10 pounds of potatoes. I mean, come on – 15 pounds of raw vegetables?!? But I believe Bo did sleep well that night.
And I do mean the whole ham. When I went home to visit the family for Christmas, I found out that I probably needed to adjust the level of complacency I had surrounding leaving food out on the counter. Claire was 9 months old. She was a big girl, with a cavernous maw that we soon found out could accommodate an entire ham. While helping my mom with Christmas dinner, we were running back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room. As you have most likely guessed by now, upon one ill-fated return to the kitchen, we found that Claire had the entire Christmas ham in her mouth. My mother, ever the perfect hostess, quietly and without fear delicately extruded the ham from Claire’s jaws and promptly placed it in the sink, whereupon she began muttering to herself, "the ham, the Christmas ham!" The calm way that my mom handled it, the clandestine task of “washing off all this slobber” seemed an every day event. As I stood watching, slack-jawed, my mom simply said, “Be glad you’re a vegetarian.” If my family does indeed read this blog, then Mom, I’m sorry, but everyone will probably want to eat out for a while.
From left: Milo (hiding), Michael, Claire, Emily, and Charley (trying desperately to escape)
This blog is for:
Anyone considering adding a Great Dane to the family.
Those who have Great Danes and those who have loved them.
Those whose grocery bills are at least four times that of a normal person with a dog under 120 pounds.
Those who run to the internet to type in "Great Dane ate [insert appropriate food product/building material/wildlife/etc.]" to see if the dog needs to be rushed to the emergency vet.
Those who just want to know what Great Danes eat. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me that question. Evidently it is fascinating.
Those who have a dog who feels kind of bad that he or she isn't as big as the Great Danes in the house.
I can't be sure, but I am guessing that topics of discussion may deviate from those things allegedly comestible by large canines.
About the dogs:
Claire came to us from southeast Kansas. Iola to be precise. I do not remember where Iola is or the roads I drove to get there. But I'm glad I went. Claire left us recently, but she pretty much sits her 130-pound self on my right shoulder at all times, or so I have been told by Terri O'Hara, our animal communicator.
Milo is definitely a big dog. As you can see, he has alien eyes. And he slouches.
Our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Charley, has his own slogan, created by friend Dan: "I'm not gonna bite ya, but I don't like ya." It's true, he won't bite you, but he won't exactly make you feel confident of that fact either. Charley is sweet, but he was abused as a young puppy, which has kind of formed his worldview.
Ivy is our newest addition. She is half sweetheart, half demon Dane from the underworld. We love her. She is 13 weeks old and 40 pounds in this picture. Ivy eats rocks, flagstone benches, tile, wood, and rubber, that we know of.
We live in the mountains of Colorado with our Great Danes, Ivy and Angus. Our Great Danes Milo and Claire, and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Charley, live with us in spirit. We recently adopted two cats, Eli and Uma, who are really more like dogs. We also have many chickens of varying breedage. They do not seem to like us.