eet Our own deaf
Dane  Ambassador
About Us

Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. is an independent Great Dane rescue organization that services the needs of deaf and other special needs Danes exclusively. Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. believes it is important to give each dog a head start by not only having experienced people evaluate them, but also by jump-starting their socialization process through the use of immersion techniques. Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. uses a placement contract to protect the dogs and new owners in case there are any problems with a placement, and is always willing to take a dog back after placement for any reason. Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. will assess, train, and if possible, place any special needs Dane. Prior to placement, every Dane will be trained with basic hand commands. We encourage adoptive owners to continue and expand their Dane's training. We believe a well trained dog, that knows what tasks are expected of them, and how to perform those tasks, will be a happy and well adjusted dog. All Danes that go through the Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. program receive intensive socialization, both canine and human. We feel this not only aids in their development, but also helps them to adjust to new and stressful situations more easily. As anyone who has met Delilah, our deaf Dane Ambassador, will tell you, the myths about deaf dogs being nervous, unstable, and prone to biting, are simply not true. At least not if the dog is well trained and has been properly socialized. We include, with each locally adopted Dane, a series of post adoption training sessions, to introduce the adoptive owners to the hand signals their dog has been trained to, as well as to orient them to the needs of their Dane. Follow up assistance is also made available to adopters of special needs dogs. Deaf Dane rescue also offers dog sitting and training services on an as-available basis for any deaf Dane. 

It is the goal of Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. to rescue and re-home those deaf and other special needs Great Danes who are of sound temperament. Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. will take in, as space permits, all special needs Great Danes, regardless of age, temperament, medical or behavioral problems, although this does not necessarily guarantee that these animals will be placed. If an animal is found to be unsuitable for adoption, the animal will either remain with a member of Deaf Dane Rescue Inc. to live out its natural life, or it will be euthanized humanely with the dignity, kindness and respect afforded a cherished family pet. The criteria for euthanization will always be safety and quality of life. Whatever the situation dictates, we are dedicated to maintaining the safety and well being of our foster homes, their pets, our rescues, our adoptive families, and the general public.

Want to know what the weather is like up here? Click here.  (as you will see this is a forecast for our specific map coordinates and not a general weather forecast like you'd get on the news)
Need directions on how to find us? Click here.  (includes maps, photos and directions, plus warnings about mapping and GPS errors in our area)


Update August 2009
Lots of things have been happening around here since I last updated the page.

We have an annual open house and picnic each year now. 2009 was the 2nd year for that. We hold it in conjunction with the Northwest Deaf Dog Picnic which we host. Here's a shot for this year's picnic.

Our West dog room (what we call the Blind Dog room) is finished and the dogs are loving it. They especially love the AC when we get one of our rare but intense hot spells, as we had last week. 111 Deg F in the shade makes that AC look awfully good. Not that we treat the dogs well or anything, but they're the only ones who get AC, unless we go hang out with the dogs. And work is proceeding on our East dog room (which we call the Deaf Dog room) and we hope to have it operational before winter.

Our Barn is done too. And full of hay. We loaded up on 7 tons this year, in addition to the 4 tons or so we had left from last year. This should have been plenty of hay, even though we free feed hay to our two horses and so use a lot more than those who grain feed. But it isn't just two horses any more. We have added another mare. A Blue Roan Appy by the name of Gracie. Yes that's right she came to us with the name Gracie. When I told the seller about our dog Gracie, and that my domain name was Gracieland.org we both knew this horse was meant for us (well that and the fact that she is 100% idiot proof and I am a 100% idiot when it comes to horses). The seller will be moving next door to a dog rescuer, who does Pit Bull rescue. Turns out this dog rescuer knows me by name and gave us a great reference. When Kandace (our adoptions coordinator and 4-time DDRI adopter) and I went to see Gracie, we also met a stablemate of Gracie's named Cody, a Strawberry Roan Appy/Quarter horse gelding. Kandace was also looking for a horse and she fell in love with Cody. Unfortunately, Cody was already sold. But Cody was so attached to Gracie (and vice versa) that the seller decided to let us take them both. We all felt it would be easier on them if they went through the move together. So, long story long, we now have 4 horses again. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Gracie and Cody.

Update March 2008

Well 2007 was a heck of a year. We were so busy all year it wasn't funny. We got lots done, but there was still a lot left to do when winter hit. It was a heck of a winter too. It came without much warning and brought a lot of snow with it. We got 101 inches of snow between Dec. 15th and Feb. 15th, with as much as 3 feet of accumulation at times.

Our 200 Sq. Ft dog room didn't quite get finished before winter hit, so it has been out of commission all winter and those dogs have been in the house. But we should have it finished before summer starts. We did get it completely framed, and sided, and all we have left to do is the interior, well that and put the safety railing around the deck. Yep that's right, the dogs get their own deck with a beautiful southwestern exposure. Actually the view from their deck is better than from ours.

We have also decided to build a dedicated dog room on the back of the garage and reclaim the garage as a garage and workspace. With this snowy winter it became clear we need to be able to park the cars inside, get to and from the house under cover, and have  place to work on things (like the cars and the tractor). It has also become clear that with our limit of 16 dogs, and two separate dog buildings, we do not need a space as big as the garage. We should begin work on the dog room addition to the garage this spring.
We trenched and laid  propane lines over the summer, and we bought a 500 gal tank last fall which is awaiting final placement and connection to the lines. Once this is all hooked up, we will be able to heat the dog building, garage, and future dog room off the back of the garage, with propane. In fact we got a propane furnace for the garage and dog room, and will set that up when we build the dog room addition.

We have added closed circuit video monitoring in the dog rooms and breezeway, so that I can keep an eye on them even when I am in the house. And we are working on plans to crreate a dog washing station. We dumped our old dial up internet connection. It was too unreliable and slow to maintain a website like this. Our only option for broadband was satellite as there is no DSL or cable internet way out here. We went with Hughes.net. It isn't as fast as our old cable internet down in Springfield, but it is a whole lot faster than dial up. And it has proven to be much more reliable as well.

We are down to only two horses again. Hyacinth died over the winter, and we found Westly a new home where he could get more attention and be ridden regularly. Our two remaining mares, Hera and Valley are both unsound to ride and are just pasture ornaments, but they are such pretty ornaments.

Update June 23, 2007

Hubba Hubba, Bubba!

Well three horses wasn't the right number. It left one horse as odd horse out. So we're adding another horse to our herd. Meet Valley. Valley is the granddaughter of Seattle Slew and goes back to Bold Ruler (Secretariat's sire) and Native Dancer a couple times on each side. In other words she has looks and bloodlines to die for. Plus she has a really good personality too (and no, I am not trying to set up a blind date). Valley is due to arrive within the next week.

Update March 2007

Our property is zoned Rural Residential, and the operation of a commercial kennel or dog rescue is allowed in this zoning designation, but you are required to apply for a Special Use Permit to operate any sort of kennel operation with more than 8 dogs at one address. We applied for a permit to opperate a rescue with a maximum of 25 dogs on site. In their infinite wisdom, Lane County's Land Use/Zoning agency has denied our application for a Special Use Permit. Their reason were predictable, and completely ignored the facts and 5 years of operational history. They did not bother to come out and see our facilities, or talk to the animal control agencies who have been out to our facilities over the years. Reality and fact seemed to have little to do with their decision making process at all (do not get me started on the problems with and evils of bureaucracies).

With 2 lots (and therefore two legal addresses) we can legally house 16 dogs without a special use permit.  When I pointed this out, they suddenly wanted us to appeal the denial and to work with them. But after seeing what it was like to work with them, and finding out that if we did get the Special Use Permit we would not be allowed to make any further changes to the property, we opted to simply limit the number of on-site dogs to 16 and bypass the Land Use/Zoning bureaucracy entirely. We have spoken to Lane County Animal Control and arranged to obtain two non-commercial kennel licenses, one for each address. Each non-commercial kennel license allows us to have 8 dogs. So we can have a total of 16 dogs here without having to mess with the zoning bureaucracy.

We want to thank the folks at Lane County Animal Control for being so patient in all this and working with us to ensure we were able to remain in operation through all this. I regularly hear about the problems other rescues have with their area Animal Control agencies, and I am so very thankful that we have such a great AC agency here in Lane County.

Despite all this silliness, we are still looking forward to 2007. We now have our quarantine area with a motor home for a shelter. The motor home gives us over 200 Sq. Ft. of heated, air conditioned, ventilated quarantine shelter in a secured, isolated yard that is almost an 1/8 acre. We have also begun work on a 200 Sq. Ft dedicated blind/convalescing dog building, with its own 100+ Sq. Ft. raised deck. These guys have it good around here. And we have plans in the next couple years for an additional 432 Sq. Ft. general purpose dog building that will be part of a 1700+ Sq. Ft barn/shop. The two additional dog buildings will more than double our existing dog facilities. And the 200 Sq. Ft. building nearing completion now, will give us the ability to better serve the needs of blind, deaf/blind, and convalescing dogs who really need a space separate from the general population. We are also be almost doubling the size of the two dog yards, and more than quadrupling the size of the horse pastures.

Which is a good things because we have also adopted another horse. We've added a one-eyed gelding named Westly to our "herd." Wes was about to be sent to slaughter because he had lost his one eye. He is a former 4H horse and the sweetest thing you can imagine. He is ridable, well mannered (as you'd expect from a 4H horse), and is not spooky because of his sight impairment. We just could not stand the thought of such a great horse going to slaughter so when a friend in horse rescue asked, we agreed to take him. We are so glad we did. He is a gem and quite the clown. He has really brightened up the place with his shining personality.

As we said last month, we are extremely excited about the upcoming year.
2007 looks to be our best year ever.

Update February 2007

We just completed negotiations on purchasing a 2.5 acre lot next door to our property. So we now have 5.5 acres! This additional space will let us give the dogs and horses a bit more room. We plan on building a real barn too. This also ensures we have some space around us, which not only will give the dogs some privacy, but will also stop anyone from building too close to us and so help maintain the rural nature of our property.

We are also planning on expanding the rescue facilities as soon as we get our Special Use Permit. The application is in the final stages and we are hopeful that we will get a favorable ruling in the coming weeks. Once that is approved we want to add a special building for the blind and deaf/blind dogs, improve the quarantine facilities, and build some additional privacy fences to protect the dogs and ensure they will not disturb the neighbors. The nice thing about deaf dogs is they tend to bark only at what they can see, so if you control their lines of sight, you can effectively control their barking. Even now they are quieter than most of the other dogs in the area, but we want to take it that extra step and be the best possible neighbors we can.

We are extremely excited about the upcoming year. 2007 looks to be our best year ever.

DDRI Has a New Home!
August 2006

Well we finally found that new place we were looking for. We actually purchased this property back in December, and have been getting it fixed up ever since. There is still a lot left to do, but it is all more minor stuff. I moved up here with the rescue dogs around Christmas. And my wife moved up here back in June. We sold our old property down in Springfield in July. We have 3 beautiful acres up in the mountains above Oakridge, OR, about an hour from where we used to live. The dogs have a building all to themselves now, and full time access to a nice big yard. The "dog house" was originally a 600 Sq. Ft. 2+ car garage that we converted for the dogs. It is now fully insulated and sheet rocked, and has a 3/4 bath. It is heated, ventilated, and has forced air filtration. The dogs really love their new digs, and all the room to run in the yard. We hope to expand their yard even further in the near future.

We will soon have a quarantine yard, with a dedicated motor home we'll use as the quarantine building. In addition to the "dog house" we also use the main house for any dogs that have special needs, as well as for dogs who are recovering from surgery, etc.. Our main rescue office is in the house too. When we bought this place it had an old mobile home from the early 70s that was not really even livable anymore. We tore that down and put a brand new 1900+ square foot manufactured home down in its place. That's the main house. It was way bigger than what my wife and I needed, so it gave us some rooms we could devote to the dogs that couldn't be out with the main population for some reason, such as when recovering from surgery, while still letting us get away from the rescue dogs now and again. We love them to bits, but after 5 years of nearly 24/7, we find we want an occasional break now and then.

The property is located at about 2500 foot elevation, which is high enough to give us significantly different weather than we used to get down in Springfield. It is drier up here, and cooler. Plus we get snow regularly in the winter. The area we live in is fairly flat, with large prairies surrounded by areas of heavy woods. There are mountains around us, but we are basically on top of the immediate area where we live. So we do not get any flooding or standing water problems like we used to get down in the valley.  Even during the records floods this last winter, the property was well drained and dry. We have a number of really large trees on the property, mostly in the back, including a few old growth that are just amazing. And the view out the front door is just incredible.

We are in the county now, and under the jurisdiction of Lane County Animal Control. They have already been out here and inspected the property and the dogs, and were quite impressed. We are working with them and the county zoning and land use people to get a land use permit to run the rescue here. And as soon as that is done, we will be working with Animal Control to get a commercial boarding kennel license, as that is the closest thing they have to a license for rescues right now.

We want to thank our friends at Oakridge Real Estate, who helped us find the property and the financing for this move. Without them we could never have done this
. The dogs send out a big wet smooch to Sally and Pat, and to Amy Jo and all the critters at Tired Dog Ranch, who regularly inspire us.

In fact they inspired us so much that we have added some new critters of our own. With this much room, we have added a couple animals that actually fit the "does she come with a saddle" line. Meet Hera and Hyacinth, our newest permanent residents. We just adopted them from a rescue in WA that saves horses from the slaughterhouse. The horses they can't save end up being slaughtered for their meat. There is a big market for horse meat in Europe and Asia, for human consumption! Yech!! Anyway, we now own these two big beautiful Thoroughbred mares and they're not going to end up on anyone's table. They are both around 18 years old. Hera is around 15.2 hands, and Hyacinth is over 16 hands.  Not being horse people, my wife and I are learning as we go, but luckily for us "The Girls" as we call them, are very patient teachers.

Animal Control Inspects DDRI Facilities

August 2005

The city animal control inspected DDRI this month. A full site inspection was performed and DDRI passed with flying colors. The inspection was a follow up to a complaint by an anonymous source about DDRI being over the legal limit. DDRI has never hidden the fact that we were in technical violation of the city's 3 dog limit. But because none of our neighbors had ever complained, we were below the radar so to speak, and there was never any reason for compelling us to comply. With this anonymous complaint, animal control was forced to require us to come into compliance. We were given 30 days to achieve that. Our plight generated considerable interest from the local newspaper, who did a front page story about us and our situation (it's a nice story, a few factual errors and a couple misquotes, but nice enough overall). And that peaked the interest of a local TV station's news department.

It also generated an offer of help from one of our adopters who had recently purchased an 18 acre property about a half hour out of town. So our new official location is a beautiful bit of forest and pasture nestled against the Willamette National Forrest, called of all things, Tired Dog Ranch. The location is so quiet and peaceful, and the dogs can run their hearts out. Unfortunately, there is no internet connection on that part of the property, nor phone service. And our cell phone does not work anywhere on the property. So we arranged with animal control to be allowed to bring dogs back to our home here in Springfield during the day. This way we have phone and internet access, and folks can still come meet our dogs right here in town. It is a win-win situation all around.

But things may be changing again soon, because our adopters have also agreed to help us find property we can relocate to permanently. We are currently shopping for acreage near Tired Dog Ranch to move to. We have some specific requirements, including expanded facilities for the dogs, so it may take a while to find the right property at the right price. Sadly we just missed out on a great property last week. By the time we tried to make an offer, there was already an offer in place. But we will keep looking.

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community. It really touched my heart and I hope it will yours too.

How Could You?
By Jim Willis 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I "was bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" -- still I welcomed her into our home, tried
to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their
worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness.

You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers."

You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash
with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream ... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room.
A blissfully quiet room.

She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her.

The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay
down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her.
It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

The End....

A note from the author...

If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice. Please use it to help educate, on  websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious.

Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Copyright. All rights reserved

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog.  
-- Edward Hoagland

Website © Copyright DDRI, 2002-2011