Dogsters, we’ve done a story or two about George, the world’s largest dog, in the past. But now that he’s coming out with his very own book, I thought you might want to get reacquainted with this gentle giant. Below is an excerpt from his upcoming book, Giant George, which will be available August 4. You can sign up now at Amazon to be notified when it’s available.
Excerpt from Giant George: Life With the World’s Biggest Dog
By Dave Nasser, with Lynne Barrett-Lee
Though it didnt really register, Georges paws were comically large even then. But all we saw was this cute puppy.
We certainly never dreamed he would one day become the biggest dog in the world, standing nearly 4ft high at the shoulder, 7ft long and weighing nearly 18 stone. Right now, he just looked bewildered.
He came into our lives in January 2006, just a few months after we had married and set up home in Arizona. We both had busy jobs, Christie selling medical equipment while I was a property developer, but she had always planned that, once she had a house of her own, she would also have a dog.
She wanted a Great Dane as they make great family pets, so we tracked down a litter of 13, born 1,000 miles away in Oregon. Their owner emailed us a photo showing a chaotic jumble of paws, snouts and tails.
Twelve were entangled with one another, but our eyes were drawn to one pup standing apart from the rest. He was clearly the runt, endearing him to Christie immediately.
George made the long journey from Oregon to Phoenix by plane and we picked him up from the freight area, tired but unshaken.
As soon as George settled into our home, we discovered our plans to be fair but firm parents were wishful thinking.
All the things that make Great Danes wonderful pets their lack of aggression and their attachment to humans make them more emotionally sensitive than other dogs.
They need to be with their pack at all times and at night the cute pup with intensely blue eyes turned into a caterwauling banshee whenever we tried to leave him alone in the kitchen.
No matter how much we reminded ourselves that he had every home comfort (warm dog bed, warm blanket, warm kitchen, squeaky bone), each whimper created a picture in our heads of a tragic, abandoned pup, desperate for his mother.
Eventually, we gave in and shunted Georges dog bed into our bedroom. In the coming months, Christie really threw herself into being a mum to George. As well as a photo album, he had a growth chart we were soon reading it in awe.
At five months he still acted like a puppy, chasing his tail and playing games of fetch and tug-of-war with his favourite bit of rope. But he was already the size of a fully-grown Labrador.
He was putting on more than a pound a day and he bounded around like Bambi, skittering on our wooden floors and hurling himself at everything he fancied, including us humans. His displays of affection could leave you pinned temporarily against a wall or a piece of furniture.
His size did not go unnoticed in the outside world. Our local park had a section for puppies but we were bullied out of it by other owners, who were scared George would hurt their pups, but the opposite was true.
The smaller dogs ran around and under him, and hed be constantly sidestepping them, obviously anxious and jittery. Slowly we realised that our enormous puppy was a big softie. Besides his terror of being left alone, he had a fear of water.
Hed growl anxiously at the side of our swimming pool, alarmed that his pack members would so willingly place themselves in danger of drowning.
If the pool was his most-hated place, his favourite was our bedroom. Eventually he outgrew the single mattress we placed there for him and preferred instead the comfort of our king-sized bed sprawling between us like some over-indulged prince while we spent half the night clinging onto the edges.
In the summer of 2006, we solved this problem by buying him his own queen-sized mattress, which he still sleeps on today at the bottom of our bed.
But soon we encountered another challenge as George reached doggie puberty. Once he had grabbed life by the lapels, now he was grabbing onto legs table legs, chair legs, human legs, he wasnt picky and doing what all male dogs do with the vigour of a canine giant.
A sausage on the barbecue was like a siren to a passing sailor. You couldnt turn your back for a minute. And he was so tall that he actually had to bend down to pinch food off kitchen counters.
He could reach the high shelves as well, so we had to hide everything away in cupboards. Soon, he was getting through around 100lb of dry dog food every month.
As he approached his first birthday in November 2006, weighing about 14 stone, it was getting physically impossible to make him go anywhere he didnt want to including the vets surgery. He had not forgotten the time he went there in possession of his manhood and came out less than whole.
As soon as he recognised the entrance, he refused to move. So I had to take him around to the less familiar back door instead.
For all these troubles, George gave us plenty in return, not least the following year when Christie lost the baby she was carrying.
Evidently tuned in to her grief, George was a constant presence at her side. When she sat, he sat too. When she stood, he stood and padded alongside her to wherever she was going.
(Continued in the book, Giant George, by Dave Nasser, to be published by Simon & Schuster on August 4, Excerpt 2011 Dave Nasser. For more on George or the book, go to George’s website.)