Rescue Watchdogs(TM)People and Rescues working together for the betterment of Rescue
|I first started to write my story on Wednesday, February 7, 2007.
After typing most of my story I started to feel bad.
I just want to say that I do not fault the Ward's for some of the horribly wrong things that go on at their home.
Let me explain...
I have read people complaining about the flies, yes, I agree they had a fly issue.
I have lived my whole life on a cattle and horse ranch and we have friends that come over and complain about the flies. They are from the city so flies are not an issue for them like it is for us. We keep our place extremely clean. We also spray our animals with fly spray and set fly traps. We still have flies.
Norco, CA is an Agriculture town, livestock attract flies no matter what and so do dogs.
I feel that they could handle the flies better but I do not fault them for the flies because all of their neighbor's had cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and dogs running around. They themselves had horses, a goat, and ALL of those dogs!
I truly feel that when they first started this "Rescue" they had the best intentions for these dogs. They then got overwhelmed with it and the money and are now taking advantage of their position of who they are and to be quit honest they are being allowed to get away with it due to the fact of who they are
My story is not as bad as some of the others that I have read but I have told others not to go to Gentle Giants after what we are going through.
I heard about Gentle Giants through Animal Planet's Adoption Tale and loved what I saw.
I somewhat remember "Robin the Boy Wonder" I was born in 1972 so I do recall my Dad watching Batman and Robin in the mornings on occasion before going out to work on the ranch. It was few years ago when I saw Adoption Tale on Animal Planet and I had forgot about them.
My Husband and I had been talking about purchasing a Wolfhound or Dane. We did our research and bought books on both I even talked to Breeders at a local dog show in our area.
We discussed purchasing one from a breeder but I did not really want a puppy that was shipped to me, I wanted to be able to pick out my own puppy. So we decided to adopt a puppy from a rescue group.
I searched Petfinders website for a Great Dane/Great Dane Crosses and Irish wolfhound/crosses and ran across Gentle Giants ads for puppies.
I went to their website and saw all these wonderful stories and photos of their rescued puppies and dogs and I told my Husband that I was going to fill out an application for a puppy from them since on Petfinders they stated and had listed TONS of puppies.
Also fell into the guidelines of who they would adopted a puppy to.
I am an at home mom.
PERFECT I would be able to bring home a pup!!!
We were "accepted" to adopt a Gentle Giant in September of 2006. I was THRILLED!!
I talked back and forth via email to Burt we set up a date for a visit to Gentle Giants.
During the time between our visit to the Ward's place I spent a TON of time visiting their website and really enjoyed watching the new movies that were being loaded on their website.
I also bought the minimum four bags of their specially formulated food and had it shipped to my house. That way I had it for when we brought home our new puppy.
After a drive of over 5 hours.
We arrived in Norco on Sunday, November 12, 2006 at 3:00 p.m. to the Ward's house. We brought our 1 year old Chihuahua and three kids with us ages ranging on kids from 4 to 12 years old. It was a beautiful day and we were there with one other couple.
Burt came out to our truck and greeted us. He also told us where we could take our Chihuahua to go potty which we did in the grassy area beside the parking area as the other grassy area was for their puppies.
We were told where we could use the bathrooms which was back in a barn at the back of their property. We were also told to be quiet when going to the bathroom as the barn had Police Dogs that Burt was training in there and he did not want them hearing us and barking. Bathroom was not filthy it could have been cleaner but I was not worried about using it more then once nor was I worried about sending my children into use it.
He then brought us into the visiting area. It smelled of dog, not droppings just dirty dogs. It was also dusty Burt wiped down the chairs for us to sit on. I did not have a problem with that after all we were told we had over 45 dogs to choose from, I was shocked that we had so many to choose from. I also knew that with so many dogs living there it has to be hard for two people to keep it clean.
We were introduced to a small amount of the "Herd."
One, I believe was Sampson was the size of a sofa. He was Burt's dog.
My Husband and the other couple were joking and laughing about how huge that dog was and my kid's were having a great time petting the Herd. After that Tracy came out of the house. Yes, both Burt and Tracy were not the cleanest looking of couples but neither was their place and they even told us it was dirty and dusty.
So, our meeting of the adoptable dogs started.
I asked about puppies she told me they had three but they were to young to leave, they were still nursing and that my Husband and I would have to come back in a few weeks for one but I could pick one out. My Husband shook his head "no" we had just drove for 6 hours to get there with three kids and a dog he did not want to do that drive again!
She told me she had young dogs, and shoved a few my way. They were all from the same litter she had nine of them to start with and was now left with about three or four.
I had actually seen some of those puppies on one of the movies she had filmed and had loaded onto her website so I was familiar with them. They were Wolfhound, Deerhound, Borzoi, Greyhound puppies. I had to admit they were a cute little crew of puppies.
My husband was not to happy with the wiry haired puppies that I so loved. So, we sat out there and watched as dog after dog come out to us. I personally did not notice any horribly thin dogs some were skinner then I personally thought they should be but not walking skeletons, and who was I to say anything about it I was not a rescuer for these breeds.
We sat out there for over 8 hours. Listening to Tracy talk asking her questions and petting and meeting dog after dog.
When Tracy went inside we chatted with the couple there with us he was complaining about how dirty his hands were and we did all of us have such dirty hands from these dog and they all smelt horrible they were dirty dogs. I showed them that if they rubbed their hands together it would roll most of the dirt off of their hands. A trick we learned growing up with cattle, and horses. They were happy to be able to get some of the filth off of their hands but the smell still lingered.
After all this time my two littlest ones were tired of sitting we put them back into our truck and turned on the TV for them. Plus, once it started to get dark the mice came out!!! As we sat there you could watch them scurrying about and hear them in the bushes behind us it was pretty bad.
These little buggers had no fear and my oldest daughter had two of them right by her feet and they did not care if she kicked at them, they just sat there. We mentioned it to Tracy she told us, yes they had a mouse infestation right now but did not want to poison because of the dogs.
UMMM yes, I understand that BUT they could go and get the live mouse traps and set them out for these pest.
We get on occasion mice infestations at our Ranch as well, but let me tell you we take care of it ASAP!! Mice droppings and urine can kill a baby horse not only that they are flea infested.
On and on the night dragged out I was tired, my Husband was tried, we sat there so long or battery died on our truck from the little ones watching the TV. The other couple had to jump start our truck. Tracy laughed and said this happens all the time with adopters.
We finally had our three dogs that we liked, a Female Dane, a Male Greyhound, and I secretly was in love with one of those Wolfhound, Deerhound, Borzoi, Greyhound puppies. The ones that were born there at Gentle Giants and at the time of our viewing them they were about 5 months old.
We asked Tracy to bring out the Dane and we when and got our two little ones out of the truck so that I could see how the dog acted with them. This Dane was a total bully putting her paws onto my four year old shoulders and knocking him down then stepping all over him and pawing him. I do not blame the dog she seemed like she never had contact with little kids before and just did not know how to act around them.
Tracy them told us she was not spayed and was going through a "False Pregnancy" also that this Dane would have to stay at Gentle Giants a few more weeks to "Train her" a bit more and to spay her. Tracy told us this Dane came in with her Unfixed "Boyfriend" a Dane as well and now she is having a false pregnancy. From what Tracy told us it was "common for Danes." I can not argue that point, but I do not recall reading that in my books anywhere although maybe I missed it because I had and have no desire to deal with a pregnant dog or the aftermath of a pregnant dog.
My Husband LOVED this Dane and asked me if I thought we could train her to be more gentle with the kid's. I am sure we could, was my answer but I told him that if we were going to drive back down here for her I wanted to see the puppies that were going to be ready in a few weeks. We asked to see the Greyhound I loved him. He to was very rough with our kids. Tracy once again told us that he had to stay a bit longer for training.
I was now getting confused as their website states....
"Our Gentle Giants and Little Giants are healthy, housebroken, and behaviorally trained and socialized to get along with people, dogs, cats, and other animals when properly introduced.
When you adopt a dog from us, you have the luxury of taking your dog home immediately and enjoying it the same day without having to go for medical care or training classes. "
YES, copied and pasted right from their website!!!
I figured my kid's were tough they could handle being bowled around by one of these dog's but I told my Husband that I did not think his 5 lbs. Chihuahua could handle these dogs.
Tracy then started to tell me oh yes, I could train them to be gentle with the kids and our Chihuahua AND if I signed a Spay/Neuter contract either of those two dogs could go home with us ASAP, tonight even!
Now I thought I was suppose to get a dog that does not need medical attention (spay/neuter I feel that is medical attention) and that comes fully trained????
Honestly, my gut was telling me just to leave, no dog, just GO!
I normally listen to my gut but this time I did not.
I knew my Husband would be pissed we drove all the way here to pick out a dog and then after he and I sat here for well over 7 hours looking at dogs I go and tell him lets just go.
Tracy went back into the house to bring out a Dane for the couple to re-look at.
I told my Husband I honestly did not like how those two dogs acted with our kids and that I did not want either of them. He told me it was my choice since it was going to be me dealing with the dog since he is at work all day. I knew to that if one of those dogs hurt his precious Chihuahua I was going to take the blame for it! After all it was going to be "My Dog." :)
I asked Tracy to bring out one of the Wolfhound mixed pups, Georgie.
She brought him out, actually she carried him out because he ran away from her all the time. We knew that because he was in the front yard when we showed up and when she tried to get him to come inside he would run away.
I figured it was a puppy thing after all he was only 5 months old.
Once she would catch him she would pick him up and carry him to where she wanted him to go.
I remember my Husband laughing and asking her how much he weighed since he was such a big pup she said over 80 lbs!!
She brought him outside and flopped him down in the visiting area and my two little ones sat next to him and he just laid there with them. I looked at my Husband and told him
"we are taking this one."
We were petting him and my middle Daughter said to me "Mom why can I feel every bone in him?"
You could not have noticed this from just looking at him since he had a Wolfhound looking coat but once you felt that poor guy he was THIN!
I was again informed that he was not fixed and that he was going to be fixed in a few days because she caught him "Humping" another unfixed dog. I believe, she said it was one of his sister's. I once again looked at my Husband this time I must have made a funny look at him because she said "OH do not worry you can have him fixed here OR you can sign a contract to get him fixed and I will reimbursed you the cost of his neuter.
Well, actually the amount we would get back would be the cost that HER vet would have charged her not what our vet charged us.
Fine, no problem we asked what his adoption fee was it was over $700.00 for him. I was actually shocked, because I believed since he was born and raised there at Gentle Giants how could he have possibly racked up serious medical bills. I was under the impression you just had to pay for their medical bills and I could understand a bit more for the food they consumed while there. I could have sworn I read that as well on their website...
Tracy assured me that with our refund for the neuter it would be a smaller amount for the true adoption fee. OK so we handed her the whole amount IN CASH!
She asked if we were staying in a hotel we informed her that yes, we were. She told us that he, Georgie, could just stay there at her place for one more night and that we could pick him up in the morning around 10 AM. Perfect, we would be there.
As we left my Husband said "good maybe she will wash him before we pick him up since he smelled so bad." I laughed. We could be so lucky....
We went back to our hotel put the two younger kids in the shower and scrubbed them then our other daughter took a shower then myself and my Husband took showers.
I took all the trash bags out of our hotel rooms garbage cans and also used the 'Dirty Clothes" bag that the hotel provided and stuffed all of our clothes that we were wearing that day to Gentle Giants into the bags and tied them shut.
We smelt HORRIBLE after leaving Gentle Giants as did our clothing it was so bad the smell. I was glad they told us to wear clothing that could get dirty because I honestly thought about just tossing all of the clothes into the trash.
I did not want to drive home with them in our truck!
The next morning we returned to the Ward's to pick up our new family member. It was a whirlwind of chaos it seemed. Dogs ran everywhere Tracy kept trying to get us to "Foster" some of the dogs running around. We took our photo she told us she wormed him so he might have diarrhea for the next week. We got our bag of food, she called her vet so that on our way out of town we could swing in there and get his rabies shot and certificate and also another 7-In-1 shot.
She put in his Microchip I asked where the paperwork was for it so that I could put our info into the chip company.
She told us that her info was going to be the only info on the chip in case he gets out and we can not be located that way she could make sure he comes back to them. What?? She said it is because she needs to be able to prove that she owns the dog.
So, no, our info was not allowed on the chip.
Now wait just a minute did I not just pay an adoption fee of over $700.00 for him PLUS sign an adoption contract??? Is he not now my dog???
Once again I looked at my Husband shocked. Now I know microchips.
All of our furry and feathered family members have them.
I know that you can add any information onto the chip. The chip just holds the number that gets scanned and the company name and number come up for someone to call about finding the animal. The computer system of the company holds all the information. I know that you can add more then one contact info also the animal's doctor information and any medication the animal must be on.
I was shocked that she did not think it was in her "Babies" best interest to have our, the new adopted owners information on the chip. Plus, the information of his vet that would now be treating him and know him.
I could not help to think, what if he did happen to get lost?
What if he got lost and hurt badly what the hell could she do about it over 5 hours away?
If he got hurt really bad he could DIE before she could even get here for him.
How could she do that to her "Precious Whiskery Wolfhound Baby?"
Plus, she does not even drive anymore she told us that she has not driven in years and she no longer has a valid license.
We finally got out of there, took Georgie to her vet they came out of the office and gave him his shots right there in our truck, thank God because he was so stressed out I was worried about even trying to get him out of the truck for his shots.
On the road finally. With our horribly skinny scared to death and smelly dog.
We just could not wait to get home, we drove with the windows rolled down for most of the trip due to the smell of our poor new dog. Potty breaks were hell for him he slinked around like an abused thing, I choked it up to the stress of taking him away from his home?
We got him home late. Turned him loose into the yard to go potty get a drink, he was scared to death of us. He would not come back into the house he slinked around the yard with the whites of his eyes showing. Poor guy was terrified. She told me he was house broken, doggie door trained, and crate trained she said we did not need a crate because of his "extensive training."
We finally got him inside he just could not settle down he raced around the house panting low to the ground I am sure you have seen a scared to death dog run.
Low to the ground tail tucked head down. It was sad to watch.
After about two hours of this I went to our local pet shop and bought him a crate just so that he had somewhere he could go and call his place. While I was gone my Husband and kid's caught him and put his collar and leash onto him. OH, I do not think I told you that in all of his EXTENSIVE training he was NEVER introduced to a collar OR leash.
Tracy did apologize for this lack of training.
Once again I choked it up to having to many dogs to deal with she had no time.
Then again maybe he was collar trained by her....
I do not remember how we got him into the "crate from hell" that is what we called it the first couple of nights. WAIT, my Daughter just told me I just said to him "get into your crate" and he raced into it peeing the whole way there. She, my Daughter is reading this over my shoulder :)
Next morning we had to carry him outside to go potty. He had the WORST diarrhea and gas I have ever seen. I called his poop "Cow Pies" and they had worms in them.
Puppies hey, they can have worms, at least she treated him.
The next couple of days were the same thing repeated over and over carry him outside shooting diarrhea, gas that was SO foul he could clear the room.
I also washed him he stayed yellow in coloring but he smelt a whole lot better.
He was suppost to be white.
Around the fourth day he was better about going outside for potty time. Our Chihuahua started to warm up to him. He started to settle down and he either figured out the doggie door due to our Chihuahua or he had been doggie door trained. He spent less time in his crate, we did not have to lock him up because of his stress level. His fear was somewhat easier to deal with.
He loved the kids and he was good for me, scared to DEATH of my Husband.
We have no idea why.
My Husband is not home much the kids and I are. That is what we figured.
Diarrhea continued he consumed vast quantities of this wonderful food, then he started vomiting. He would spend a lot of time outside with our Chihuahua. After that he would come inside and puke the FOULEST crap I have ever seen.
It was crap he was...
Coprophagous=consuming his own diarrhea and possibly our Chihuahua's feces.
I cleaned the yard twice a day sometimes three due to the huge amount of diarrhea this poor guy was shooting out of his behind. He still, between cleanings would fine some and eat it.
All of it.
If I was gone all day I would come home to him with an extended belly and pools of feces vomit on my floors. I would then leave him in his crate while I was gone I would come home to him so stressed out he would be panting and his tounge would be an odd color. He was also tearing up our gate outside and I was scared to death that he would get loose and that THEY would be called because of that chip.
I called Tracy about the poop eating. I have never had to deal with a dog that eats his own feces. Left a message, no return phone call, I called a few more times the machine was full so I could not even leave a message.
Finally I got through to her.
She told me she had never seen this problem with him...
She asked if I was feeding him treats because that could be the reason for him eating his poop, because she never gives any of the dogs treats.
She did however tell me that she had adopted out a few dogs that did do this.
She ask me to send her an email so that she could talk to her vet about it.
I did, never heard back from her.
I also told her he had horrible Diarrhea she told me it is due to his change.
The move, water, stress, worming, and shots he got could do this to him.
I agreed but I had to tell her his diarrhea was BAD I have had dog's that were stressed but none had diarrhea like this.
Two weeks of isolation were over, he still had his problems of shooting diarrhea eating his poop not as bad because we were always out there cleaning. I canceled all my plans and spent my time watching him poop then going out and cleaning it up. But, if he could find anything left behind he ate it!
We could smile at him now and he did not run away in fear or cower. The more I dealt with him the more he reminded me of a dog that lacked human contact. Tail was always tucked head always low the only time we saw him wag his tail is when our Chihuahua came into the room.
He was scared to death of us throwing toys for our Chihuahua, he was scared of toys and the squeaker's inside of them. He was just plain scared, scared of everything.
Fast movements, us raising our voices to the kids, my husband could barley touch him or even look at him, if we bent down to fast to pet him he would run away peeing.
Feet, my God our feet are the scariest things in the whole world he is finally now allowing us to pet him with our feet if we are laying on the couch but you better move them slowly to him. Before he would just run peeing.
His crate he hated it he would go into it when asked running and low to the ground he would pee the whole way there and then get himself shoved far back into the back of it and shake. His collar and leash we got the same reaction about it. Run away out the doggie door peeing.
The day after his two weeks of isolation were up, he got fixed.
My vet asked about shots, worming, health etc.
I did tell her that he had his shots Tracy gave them to him and they were listed on his adoption paperwork.
She asked if I had seen worms in his feces I told her yes but that he had just been wormed the day we took him home from Gentle Giants.
She was worried about worming him again since she was not sure what dewormer Tracy had used on him so we did not re-worm him.
Also he had been wormed four times, according to Tracy so he should be fine.
Our vet agreed four times of worming he would be fine.
My vet gave me my paperwork for his neuter.
Our vet was concerned about his weight after all he stood over 2' at the shoulder and only weighted 55 lbs.
HUH, Tracy told us 80 lbs. and I know he was eating at our house because he ate so much food I was home and feeding him exactly what the bag of Gentle Giants food told me to feed him and how many time a day he should be fed. He was an eating machine!!!
People started to come over to see him. He ran away in fear peeing the whole way out the doggie door. He would stay outside in the yard until people left. I called Tracy.
Left a message, and another, finally...
Burt answered the phone and I asked for Tracy. He told me she was in Florida and would be back on Sunday, (I believe) morning so to call her about the dog late on Sunday.
Fine, I asked him about faxing over my proof of neuter so that I could get my deposit back. He told me that he had just got a new fax machine and it was in a hundred pieces and that he would not be able to receive a fax but to mail it to them. OR better yet talk to Tracy about it on Sunday since these are her dogs and her dealings she would know better what to do about the contract and deposit.
I called the day Burt told me to no answer, left a message. Called the next day left a message, called later that afternoon and got a hold of a human.
Talked again to Tracy about my new dog's fear of people his diarrhea his eating his poop his HORRIBLE gas problems.
She did not help out on the diarrhea or poop eating but went right into how to handle his people fear because he NEVER had that problem at her place... once again hummmm...
She told me to make him stay inside put him on his leash and keep him there inside with you. That made sense to me but I did not agree that I had to force him and to shove him into people's laps and to let people get into his face and pet him. He was scared not just shaking scared, terrified. She also told me to scan and email her Georgie's neuter info and gave me her email address as she was scared if I mailed it to them via the post office it would get lost in their house. I did scan and email it to her the next morning.
WE HAVE NOT HEARD BACK FROM HER OR RECEIVED MY DEPOSIT BACK!!!
I called our Chihuahua's trainer and talked to her about Georgie. She wanted to see him. I brought him over to her and she was shocked about his weight and his body mass or should I say lack of body mass. He would not get close to her he would not let her pet him. If she made eye contact he would cower and try to run. She worked with him for over an hour no eye contact carrying treats she would feed him a treat when he got close but NO eye contact. By the end of the hour she could barely pet the top of his head, she could look at him but just a glance anything longer then that would send him running and peeing.
We went over how I should work with him at home.
Christmas Break came for my kids we spent a lot of time with him at the local kid park.
He did not have a lot of fear with kids in fact he really enjoyed going to the park all day.
He would run away if he heard his collar tags jingle but he wanted so badly to go with us and wanted the treats that he would come when I called him and sit there and suffer through getting his collar snapped on.
We still go through the same thing as of today with the collar and leash.
But no more peeing when he hears it just trotting off WHOOOOHOOO!! :)
My Sister came to visit from out of State she was the first person that walked into my house and Georgie treated her like he does me. By Christmas time he was a lot more comfortable with us even my Husband as he had time off work. Georgie would wag his tail and smile at us if he saw us. He came when called instead of running to the opposite side of the yard. He was learning how to sit. He learned that if he heard the keys for the truck he needed to get into his crate, he was chewing things he is not suppose to while we were gone.
He would trot into his crate and lay down instead of trying to make himself shrink into the back of it. When we came home we would find him sleeping with his belly up on his back.
He still had diarrhea and he was still eating his feces when he found the ones I missed.
I had talked to our trainer again and told her about how he was getting better I told her about the horrid gas and diarrhea.
She asked what the base was for their Specially Formulated food was. Chicken, we switched his food to a lamb base one. She felt we should try and see if it was an allergic reaction to chicken.
It was worth a shot I figured...
Within 24 hours the HORRID gas was gone.
He also started to put on more weight.
I talked to our vet about the diarrhea she was concerned he still had it and asked me to bring in a stool sample. He was infested with round worms and he also had Giardia.
We started treatment on him and of course because both roundworm and Giardia is contagious we had to treat our Chihuahua. Her lab results were negative for both but because she was in constant contact with him they wanted her treated as well.
I also talked to the vet about him eating his feces we put him on "For-Bid" it has helped no more poop eating. But, switching his food also helped slow down the feces eating.
I asked why he would even be doing this and she said some dogs just do it.
Others because they are sick.
Then she looked at me and said and some dogs start because their enviorment is not clean and they are trying to clean it up.
I guess I must not have a good poker face because she looked at me and said "by no means do I think he started this because of your care, I have just heard things about the rescue you go him from."
WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS BEFORE HAND!!!
Now, almost three months of Georgie being here our deposit was never been returned to us they also do not respond back to our numerous emails or phone messages.
I figured I would kill them with kindness every email I sent to them I always thanked them for allowing us to adopted Georgie I even sent them photos of him.
Every one of my emails I always asked about my deposit still we have heard nothing.
I held up my end of the contract and they have not response back on their end.
I have had Georgie's Microchip that Gentle Giants put into him removed and we replaced it with our own chip and our info and his vet's info just in case he gets lost. I also removed his tag that they put on his collar with their information. I figured they broke their end of the contract. After everything we have gone through with him there is no way they will ever get him back!!!
I gave away for FREE all of the Gentle Giants food since he is doing so much better health wise not eating it. He now stands 29" at the shoulder and weights 70 lbs. you can run your hands over him and he feels so much better, everyone who has seen him before and now see him always compliment on how great he is looking.
His wiry coat is now soft he is shedding a lot less. He is WHITE with caramel spots now not yellow. He smiles, wags his tail when we talk or smile at him he plays with the squeaky toys he is learning to play fetch, eating less food even though he is still growing and his is just acting more and more like a happy normal dog.
He still is a bit skittish but he is only going onto his third month with us. We can tell him "no" now and it does not send him racing out the doggie door peeing. It has been a lot more work then expected and we are still working with him on his issues but in the end I am glad we got him out of there.
This is my story/life with Georgie like I said not as bad as others. I am not out to
"Get Them" I just thought I would tell you my story so that if you follow through with your end of the contracts and you never hear back from them you are not alone!
To everyone else who has a Giant from Gentle Giants just love them and remember you rescued them!
Lisa and Georgie
See Lisa's Adotpion Contract and Neuter Agreement on our Documents Page