Rescuing the Gentle Giants


That cute Saint Bernard puppy may be small and cuddly for a few months, but pretty soon you’ll see your feeding bill skyrocket as your dog grows and grows. We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing which breed will suit you best before you decide to buy a dog. Maybe you had big plans to feed your large breed dog a raw diet, but changed to low grade kibble as the dog started to eat you out of house and home. When it comes to your animal’s wellness, it’s a slippery slope from there.

True story: a close friend bought two large breed dogs- a Saint Bernard and a Newfoundland- before she had kids. The dogs got walks each day, slept indoors, and were on a top notch raw meat diet. Then she got pregnant and could no longer walk the dogs everyday. She made the tough decision to re-home the Newfoundland, and kept the Saint Bernard, thinking she could manage at least one dog once the baby came. But having a baby was more work than she expected. Next thing she knew, she was feeding her dog kibble, not taking her for walks, and having her sleep outside to reduce the amount of dog fur in the house. The once healthy dog developed allergies and skin problems and was constantly whining out of loneliness.

Sadly, this scenario is far too common. Many people simply do not understand that owning a dog is a great responsibility. You may want a certain breed because you think it’s cute, but can you really handle the special qualities that come with the breed?

Large breed dogs can also be difficult to re-home because they cost so much more to maintain than small breeds. This is why owners sometimes turn to rescue organizations specializing in large breeds. One such rescue is our January Rescue of the Month, Giant Paw Prints Rescue, Inc. This volunteer-run rescue saves large and small breeds alike, but their focus is on the big dogs.

Both young and old dogs can be found at Giant Paw Prints. Some have come from families who needed to re-home their dogs, but others come from situations of abuse and neglect. Thankfully, the dogs are well-cared for at the rescue. All of the dogs get new Kong toys and bones. When they are adopted by a forever home, they are sent with a new leash and collar, too. Also, all of the dogs are de-wormed and treated for any illnesses they may have. It’s a tough job for the volunteers, but these gentle giants have stolen their hearts! And who can blame them? If you’ve ever received a sloppy kiss from a Bull Mastif, or ran your hand over the velvety ears of a Saint Bernard, you can understand just how sweet these dogs can be.

Ironically, it’s the big dogs that non-dog lovers tend to be afraid of, yet these dogs are typically gentle and well-mannered. They tend to be good with children and with guests and other animals. In fact, a common complaint is that the dogs can be too friendly. It can be a sad site to watch your 120 lb dog be bossed around by your cat!

However, the large breeds require work: long walks, daily brushing to reduce shedding, and a high quality diet. And be sure to keep your breakable objects out of reach. Setting your glass of wine down on the living room table may seem safe enough, until your friend’s giant Retriever comes by and knocks it over with its tail! But we think a spilled glass or two is a small price to pay to be living with a giant teddy bear that will love you unconditionally day in and day out.

If you’d like to support Giant Paw Prints, check them out on Facebook, give them a like, and say congrats for being chosen as a Rescue of the Month.

Thank you to Ascenta Canine Omega3 and Herbsmith for donating to Giant Paw Prints with us!

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