eet Our own deaf
Dane  Ambassador

Special Ed

Adopted 5/8/09

  • Gender - Male
  • Age/DOB - 1/22/09
  • Height  at the shoulder -
  • Weight - 9 lb
  • Spayed/Neutered - Not Yet
  • Taken in on  - 3/25/09
  • Available as of - 9/25/09
  • Housebroken - working on it
  • Obedience trained - Not yet
  • Good with other dogs - Yes
    • with cats - Yes
    • with kids -  Yes
    • with the elderly - Yes
  • Temperament - Ed is so young and so undersized we can't really tell much yet. He is smart and very sweet. He is also calm and accepts life as it comes.

  • Comments
We got Ed from a couple in So. Oregon. He has a number of health issues in addition to his deafness. He was 8-9 weeks old when we got him. He should have weighed between 25 and 40 lb. at that age, but he was only 9 lb. He is deaf  and has some vision impairment, but sees well enough to get around just fine. His hips and back legs don't look or work quite right at this point, but again, that may be from malnutrition. We'll just have to wait and see. Ed is such a good little boy, he happily stays in his crate, chewing on his toys, sleeping, or just enjoying dozing in the sun.. He only cries when he is hungry or needs to go out. Most times he lets me know when he has to go, but sometimes, if I can't respond soon enough, he will have an accident in his crate. He has only had limited exposure to the big dogs, but has handled it well. He basically follows me around or places himself in a strategic position if I an coming and going past the same spot a lot. He is inquisitive, likes to play with me or the other dogs (as long as they don't get too rough) and is just an all around happy little guy.

Update 7/11 - As Ed grew over those first few weeks here with us, and he put on some much needed weight, his physical problems got worse. He was still undersized and underweight, but not anything like he had been. His back legs and hips got worse every week, as did his general build. His legs weren't growing at the same rate as the rest of his body and week by week they got shorter and shorter relative to the rest of him. His upper front legs (the bone called the humerus) was probably the worst, but it was clear he had serious overall bone growth issues. His ability to use his back legs properly, deteriorated until he was waddling along using both legs as one most of the time. And his spinal deformities got more and more pronounced each week as well. So we took Ed to our vet and had a series of xrays done. We and our vet were shocked by what we saw. His skeleton was so badly deformed it was amazing he could get around at all. He had a host of problems. He tended to use his back legs together because he had almost no hip or knee joints and only one of them really worked even halfway decently. His spine was bad too. Most of his vertebrae were deformed and the joints between them all looked wrong. He clearly had both bone and disc problems. The sway and the arch in his back were both getting worse as he grew. His poor skeleton was so badly formed, he really didn't have a single good joint or bone in his body. Our vet asked us why we weren't going to just put the poor little  guy down. The only answer we could give was that he was an amazingly happy little boy, who did not seem to be bothered by his limitations, did not ever seem to be in pain, and loved his life. His best case prognosis was he wouldn't likely survive to see his 6 month birthday. We said that was okay, we'd give him the best life we could for as long as we could. We called around and arranged for a donated cart, because the likelihood was he wouldn't be able to walk on those bad back legs for very much longer. But while his body was deteriorating, his heart and spirit were growing stronger every day. He came out of his shell after his first week here, and from then on his confidence and lust for life grew week by week. As if what he lost physically, he gained in spirit. You have to know this about Ed, to know why we were willing to go to these extremes, because this is not normal for us. We believe that rescue must triage its cases and spend its limited resources to do the most good for the most dogs. We also believe there are things worse than death, that a quality life is not just a goal, that it's a minimum  standard. And by some measures, Ed's life wasn't ever going to be of the quality one would want for their puppy. But once he came here, Ed has always been so happy and clearly loved his life so much. We just couldn't call putting him to sleep at that juncture fair to him or in his best interests.

Having decided not to have him PTS, we were faced another, even harder decision. Do we treat him as some frail, helpless cripple and protect him from possible injury and harm, or do we let him live as normal life as he can, for as long as he can, and risk an injury. Clearly he would be safer if we protected him and didn't let him take risks or play and act like a normal dog. But would his life be worthwhile? Would he have a quality life if we did that? This is a hard, hard question, and everyone will have to come to their own decision on this one. We wrestled with this question for several days. And while we all had a say in what happened to Ed, the final decision had to be mine. In watching him try to run and play over those few days, it was clear to me that trying to stop Ed from being a "wild and crazy guy," was not going to be easy. It wouldn't have bothered the reserved, withdrawn little puppy that first came to us, but this new Ed was not going to take it well. He was in love with life and wanted to go for all the gusto he could. That was clearer with each passing day. So my decision was to let him live as normal a life as I possibly could. Not to protect him any more than I would any other puppy his age. To "help" him as little as possible. To let him run and play and be a normal happy dog. We all steeled ourselves for the day he played too hard or had an accident. We all prepared ourselves to have to put him to sleep if that accident was bad enough. We all prayed he wouldn't get hurt, however, we all prepared ourselves for that eventuality.

But it hasn't come. Ed is now 2 1/2 years old. My wife and I adopted him because we became so attached to him, and because his needs were so "special," just like him. Our Adoptions Coordinator argues with us every day about whose dog he really is. She is as attached to him as we are. Ed is still very small, well his legs are mostly. He is nearly as long as a Dane and his body and head are mostly sized like a Dane, if a bit on the small side. But his little stubby deformed legs look all our of proportion to the rest of him. He's sort of the Dachshund of Danes. His back legs, especially his right one, still have limited function and range of motion. He can now walk on both back legs independently, in a wobbly sort of knocked kneed gait, but he still uses them as one when he runs. His spine has arched even more and has a distinct sway to it. It is pretty much fused that way now. He can't straighten his back out or do the typical head down/butt up stretch that Danes are known for. In fact he can't even lay down normally. To lay down, he walks his front legs forward, keeping his back feet in place and stretching his back legs out until he is on his knees, getting as low as he can. Then he sort of plops over onto his side. And he can't get up on the couch normally either. He gets his front end up on the couch, takes a short break, and then hoists his whole rear end up using just his front legs and tummy muscles. He has to toss his rump to the side when he does this, because he really can't get his rear end up high enough for his knees to clear otherwise.

Sounds like he has a terrible life doesn't it? I guess somebody forgot to tell him that, though. He is still the happiest creature on this earth. He is top dog around here, and he makes sure everyone, canine and human knows it. And while he can't do some things the normal way, there is almost nothing he can't do and do on his own. Although he is extremely people oriented and affectionate, he is very self sufficient. He has a very "I can do it" attitude. About the only things he can't do on his own are getting up onto my bed, which is quite high off the ground, and jumping into the back of the SUV, which is also quite high off the ground. Other than that, he manages to do pretty much everything, though often his way isn't the "usual" way. He can run, and I mean run full out, with all the other dogs. He is faster than some, and slower than others, but he can hold his own in the pack or one-on-one. He loves to run, I mean really loves to run, and he does it a lot, sometimes all by himself. He runs with wild abandon and this crazed joyful look on his face, as if he knows he wasn't supposed to be able to do this, and he wants to not only enjoy it as much as he can, while he can, but also to thumb his nose at the gods and show them he beat them and beat the odds. He can and does roughhouse and play with all the other dogs, even those that are easily twice his size. He can run up and down the stairs on the back deck (about 6 or 7 stairs) and he can do it at a full run. We have never treated him like he couldn't do things and he has never even considered the possibility that there were things he couldn't do. Sometimes he takes a while to figure out how he can do them, but most every time, he has found a way. He can even jump completely off the ground now. And as for the getting on the bed or in the SUV, he does manage that too, in his own special way. His way is to put his front feet and chest up on the bed or SUV and then look back at me with this help-me! look and then just wait for Daddy to come lift his butt up for him. He developed this method when he was younger and couldn't get up on the couch on his own (see lower left photo below). Being the creative dog that he is, he has adapted it to other similar situations now that he is a "big boy." But most of all, he has this can-do attitude that carries hm through everything. If he slips or falls, he simply picks himself up and keeps on going. No big deal. And on those rare occasions when he can't do something easily, he finds a way or a solution. Nothing bothers him or stops him. And he never sees himself as handicapped or limited. Fact is he'd probably bark you right out of the house if he could hear you saying such things.

It is likely Ed will not live all that long, not that Danes are all that long lived to begin with. But remember, it was also likely he wouldn't live to see 6 months of age, so who knows? What we do know is that when his time comes, Ed, will have lived life to the absolute fullest. That none of us (him included) ever let his "handicap" hold him back. And that he loved his life as much as we loved him. And that is one hell of a lot. Believe me. Ed is loved beyond all reason. And not just by us. Everyone one who meets him is amazed by his spirit and his heart (and the truly observant are amazed by how spoiled and self centered he is). He is a shining light to anyone one who thinks their handicap defines them or limits what they can achieve. Our little Special Ed is proof positive that you are only limited by your own mind.

Update 8/12 -- Ed is now 3 1/2 yrs old. He is a tough, strong, resourceful little guy. He is still constantly happy, constantly amazing us, and always up to any challenge. He runs and plays with all the other dog, he goes out to the barn with us each day while we work with and care for the horses. He climbs up the hay bale piles, shares a bit of grain with his horse buddies, runs around the field while we ride, and is the best barn dog ever. Who would ever have imagined that sad, tiny pathetic little pup we first saw, would turn out to be such a big hearted, "big" dog with such a wonderful life.

Ed says, "Just remember, your dog will always live up or down to your expectations. The more you look for in your dog, the more you will see from him. Don't make your dog handicapped, by thinking of him that way."

Click on any of these three stills above, to see the movies they were taken from.

We will post additional photos of  Ed as time goes by, so check back often.
And if you have any questions about Ed or any of our dogs, email us or call us at 541-782-2242
Click here to fill out an application to adopt Ed or any of the DDRI dogs.


click on images above to see full sized versions
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion"
- Unknown

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