Giant dogs suffer more discrimination that any other. “They need space”, “my house is not big enough”, “they need too much exercise”, “they feel oppressed in an apartment” are some of the erroneous beliefs and stereotypes that follow them, preventing many amazing giants from enjoying the life they deserve.
My Tina was one of those dogs. As we later discovered – not that it makes any difference – she is a Central Asian Shepherd, bought 12 years ago and stuck from the inside of a fence for her entire life, guarding a property and barking at everything and everyone.
Once she got old and sick with mange, she was one day moved to the outside, and left to survive on her own. She was wandering as a ghost near the neighborhood where her home used to be, trying to find a place to rest her tired body and to find a relief from the horrible itch that mange causes, and that leaves dogs sleepless for entire nights.
Tina’s rescue video:
One day she found shelter in the offices of a company. She lied there and slept for hours. Thalia, the company’s owner has 15 dogs of her own, and the only thing she could do at first was let Tina rest and then put her back on the streets until a permanent solution could be found.
But that photo of her lying there, safe and sound broke my heart. How can you explain to an animal that the safety it is enjoying is only temporary? I picked her up the same afternoon. Once I put the leash on, she got up and followed me as if this is what she always did. At 12, Tina adjusted to everything that was new to her: the dog pension at first, Linda’s place, my small apartment.
Wherever she was, she felt at home, as long as people were there. At 12, she learned to be the perfect pet dog, house trained since day one, excellent on a lead, excellent with everyone.
Tina never needed a big enough space, she never needed a garden of her own, she never needed anything more than people beside her. I used to walk her twice a day, and after the a while, she chose her favorite “petting spots” and was leading me right to them, to where people were. The cafe, the gas station, the local bars. Wherever people were, she wanted to be, and expected to be petted and loved by everyone.
She even learned to coexist with other dogs, walk by them or beside them. She learned to live with my three dogs in a two bedroom apartment as if she always lived there. She even made a couple of friends, and i saw her wag her tail for the first time in her life to some of them.
I never looked for a big enough house for her. I never cared if there was a garden or a porch. I only wanted her to spend the last years of her life being loved and petted and spoilt, and i am the luckiest person in the world, because my wishes came true.
Tina is now Luisa’s “little dork”. She lives in a small apartment in Germany, she enjoys her walks in the park and she is starting to like the feeling of the grass underneath her paws – something she never knew since she spent her entire life walking on cement.
At 12, Tina is a puppy again. She even started playing with toys – and if I hadn’t seen a video of her I wouldn’t have believed it. Luisa calls her Ms McSmartypants because she learns so fast. You heard right, she learns fast at 12, making the typical “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” just another stereotype, preventing amazing senior dogs from finding homes.
Tina’s life has just started. For dogs, time does not matter. They do not look back, they do not think “Oh look, I just started playing. Too bad it happened so late in my life”. Tina loves her new life, and she loves it more than the life she had before – who wouldn’t. She never needed space, or a garden, or a property to guard. She just needed Luisa, and she found her.
Tina was rescued by SCARS. You can follow the charity’s work here. Huge thanks to Linda, for fostering her when I couldn’t, Frieden für Pfoten for being there for her since day one, Penny Marathon for supporting our huge girl, and everyone who stood by her one way or the other, to the strangers who petted her on the streets and to Luisa who chose Tina as her first pet dog!!!