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|"Tank" is not exactly a ladylike name, but that's what this lovely blue Great Dane always answered to. Tank was 7 years old when this photo was taken. She lived barely another year before she developed terminal cancer and had to be put down. As you are about to read, she was quite a dog.
Tank, whose call name was "WYSIWYG's Twice As Nice K," got her nickname almost by default. Her breeder and owner, Teresa LaBrie, said she had planned to call her Tinkerbell but the name just didn't fit.
"She was born huge and as she grew, she almost waddled," Teresa said. "We thought she looked like a little gray tank. From the very start, she was a strong-willed puppy. She was not petite and ladylike and definitely not a Tinkerbell. I tried to think of other names for her but only the nickname Tank seemed to fit her personality. TANK. It wasn't just a name, it was an attitude!
"Tank quickly developed into a sassy puppy who loved to grumble and snap behind your back. She would bark at everyone and she constantly harassed poor Gulliver, her father. She never did what she was told and was always taking off into the woods to hunt or chase deer. She would chew through her leashes, her beds, our furniture, etc. Simply put, Tank was a wild woman in the house... always zooming around and banking off the furniture and walls. She was a natural for Agility Training, and that's where she excelled.
"Despite her eccentricities, Tank was very friendly. She had a sunny disposition. She loved everyone and everything. She did, however, have a strange way of showing affection at times. After we started Agility Training, Tank became enamored with our agility instructor, Terry Brown. I attended an all-day Agility workshop once with a different trainer. At one obstacle Tank didn't do what the new trainer wanted and the trainer yelled at her.
"At the time, Terry Brown was sitting in a chair on the sidelines quietly observing the match. When Tank reached the next obstacle, she took off in the opposite direction, jumped the fence, and dove straight into poor Terry's lap. Tank flipped his chair over, broke Terry's glasses, and gave him a bloody nose. She sat right on top of him, showering him with kisses, until I dragged her off.
"Tank's very first Agility trial was in a torrential downpour. She was quite the little princess and hated to get her feet wet or dirty. She was not at all happy with this situation. She had to sit in ankle deep mud at the starting line. The rain was coming down in sheets but the wind was forcing it sideways. Tank took the first 3 obstacles much better than anticipated and then headed into a straight away. It was up and over the cat walk... over the broad jump... then she was supposed to lie down on the pause table. The table was cold and wet. Tank she refused to lie down on it. She hopped off the table and gave me a very annoyed look. Then she jumped over the table, over the fence, over the NEXT fence, and kept right on running! She found my van in the parking lot and sat there until I came back to let her in.
"Fortunately, her subsequent trials were much better. She would regularly get disqualified for slamming the teeter and she tore apart the tunnels on more than one occasion, but she did earn a leg in both Standards and Jumpers with Weaves -- and she took home a placing ribbon each time as well.
"Unfortunately, time ran out for Tank. Having just turned 8, she was in terrific condition for a dog her age when she suddenly became ill at a trial, experiencing frequent urination and restlessness. The show's veterinarian figured it was a UTI/bladder infection and started her on meds. She finished out the trial but seemed very tired.
"Tank was never tired a day in her life so I was worried. I took her to my regular vet for an x-ray and full physical and blood/urine workups. Something was a bit off but they didn't know why. They sent her home on antibiotics. A day later I knew she was really sick. She was just so tired. I made an appointment to go to Cornell on an emergency basis for a full body ultrasound. Tank hoped right up on the table and was wagging her tail and giving kisses all around. She was very good while they shaved her down. She lay quietly on her back and they turned the machine on. I couldn't believe my eyes... her liver was 99% covered with bullseye lesions. Her spleen was massive and also covered with large tumors. They really didn't bother to look any further. They said that there was no hope and that she should be put down immediately.
"I said no, that I would bring her home. They told me I would only have a day or so before she became very ill. I really didn't believe them. We went home that night and Tank was normal except for being tired. She went to agility class that Monday night just to visit with her friends. She wanted to work so we let her do a couple of her favorite obstacles. By midnight she was vomiting. Twenty-four hours later she couldn't eat or drink and started to look unsteady on her feet. She was a very dignified dog and this was far below her. She was always the little princess and very dramatic when it came to pain. It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do but she deserved this. She looked to me to stop the pain. So, five days after she was diagnosed, I had to put my baby to sleep.
"Tank is survived by her sister Lilli who turned 9 in September, and her many beautiful (but somewhat wild) puppies. People may remember Tank from the 1997 GDCA National in Atlanta. She did some of the agility demos and she performed to 'I'm So Excited!' in the Veteran Parade."
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