Bigger than Giant George

September 14, 2012

Less than a week after I read about Giant George, the dog recognized in 2010 as both the tallest living dog and the tallest dog ever, Guinness World Records has announced a new tallest dog. Another Great Dane, Zeus, is an inch taller – though nearly a hundred pounds lighter.

Fortunately George is taking this well, according to his Facebook page. He congratulates Zeus on his accomplishment, and focuses on how his own Guinness achievement gave him the opportunity to spread the message that it’s OK to be different.

I can’t help wondering if there’s a trend here. Are big breeds of dogs getting bigger, just as people are taller today than in past centuries? Or does the internet just make it easier to hear about the most unusual cases?

Books: Giant George

September 8, 2012

I got this book from the library because I knew my younger son would enjoy reading it. He likes reading about animals, especially dogs. And I thought he would find it interesting to read a sort of real-life version of the story of Clifford, the Big Red Dog.

George is not red, of course, and he certainly is not as big as a house. But he was the runt of his litter, and went on to grow so big that Guinness World Records officially designated him both “tallest living dog” and the “tallest dog ever.”

I don’t usually read books about animals myself, but this morning I was looking for some easy reading. I had a sinus headache, and I had to take my car into the shop to get some work done. Giant George looked like good waiting room reading material.

It did turn out to be both easy and enjoyable reading. A lot of it is less about George than about Dave and Christie Nasser, his human “Mom” and “Dad.” From my point of view, that makes it even better – I don’t dislike reading about pets but it’s usually the people who are most interesting. And I wondered what it would be like to have such a big dog.

People often comment on Kyra being fairly large; at about 85 pounds, she is a pretty-good-sized dog. But George weighs almost three times that much. If we find it difficult to have her share our bed, what would it be like to have an enormous Great Dane?

George, it turns out, sleeps on his own queen-size mattress (not that he doesn’t like being on the bed with Dave and Christie). He can reach food left on kitchen counters (or pretty much anywhere else normal-sized humans can put it) without even stretching, certainly without having to get up on his hind legs.

I am very glad now that Kyra is as “small” as she is – especially when it comes to cleaning up her poop. I wouldn’t mind having a dog as laid-back and gentle as George apparently is – and he seems to be typical of his breed. But I wouldn’t like the much shorter life span that is also typical of such large dogs. George is six years old now, and seven is apparently as old as he is likely to get.

I’m glad George has brought joy into the lives of so many people. And I’m glad the book was written while George is still alive and happy – I was so not looking forward to reading about his death at the end.