Absolutely Fabulous Strlng (Tess) –
August 25, 2003 – This week's DaDane
features Joanna Kimball's uncropped blue
puppy, "Tess," who I photographed at last year's GDCA National Specialty
when she was just five
old. She is pictured here against a backdrop that I shot in Hawaii while standing
at the edge of a steaming volcanic crater. With so many shades of gray, the
background and Tess just seemed to
go together, so with the help of Adobe Photoshop (my favorite software) I was
able to make it happen.
As is usually the case with a featured Dane, I asked
the owner (in this case, Joanna) to fill me in on the latest news. It seems
that Tess – who appeared so sweet and innocent – has proven
to be anything but. In Joanna's words:
Tess was part of our very first
litter, and was named “Absolutely
Fabulous” to bring her good fortune and buoy our show ring hopes. At
this point, we often joke that we should have named her “Absolute Disaster” — Tess
has been in one scrape after another over the past year. Tess takes incredible
joy in destruction, and this, combined with a very underdeveloped sense of
guilt, makes her the naughtiest puppy we’ve ever had of any breed.
combined her puppy uglies (which were considerable) with the demolition of
a section of chain-link fence and the consumption of six dog beds, hundreds
of books, the noses and eyes of every stuffed animal in the house, and, in
one particularly memorable morning, a two-by-three-foot section of drywall.
was the show pick of her litter, but finally, “Sell her!” we
declared, and we had a wonderful pet home waiting.
But then, a week before this
lanky, butt-high, cow-hocked bitch was to leave our well-chewed house forever,
she began scratching. And scratching. A red
patch became visible on one flank, then another. We put off the new owner
for a few
days and went off to the vet. The vet shook her head — Sarcoptic?
A Staph infection? A massive allergic reaction? Nothing cultured positive.
were few; Prednisone or perhaps some Ivermectin, but nothing concrete to
fight. And suddenly this oft-accursed puppy became the most important member
pack. Food changes, herbal concoctions, yeast creams, all came and went
with little change, and now the oozing red monster had spread from her tail
her first rib. Vet visits became a weekly event, but aside from the Prednisone
(for which there was no real justification) there was nothing new they could
us. The potential buyer/owner was now long gone, sent off to other breeders
with our best wishes.
Finally we gathered up our
frantically scratching baby and the well-worn credit card and threw ourselves
on the mercy of a homeopathic vet outside
DC. After four months of fighting, this was our last-ditch effort before
steroids. Thankfully, six pellets of Arsenicum later, the horrid itch began
It’s been a month since; Tess is now marked only by the minor scrapes
she gave herself during her latest escape attempt. We’re reinforcing the
fence, putting the stuffed animals up higher, and repainting. Whatever happens,
whether her destiny is the ring or the dent she’s making for herself
on the couch, this absolutely fabulous young lady is here to stay.
Way to go, Tess!! She conquered the cursed
itch, outgrew the puppy uglies, and she's
now looking as good as she feels. What's next for this irrepressible creature?
Joanna tells me that in a few months they hope to get her into the show ring.
What happened last week?
Some of you wrote
to ask why there was no new DaDane last week. I was off on a brief vacation,
family in Vermont. Since I wasn't able to complete a new illustration and
story before my
departure, I decided to leave Maggie's
story up for another week. Many thoughtful
comments were posted by visitors who read the article on Maggie. I know
that Maggie's owner, Paula Stebbins, really appreciated all the compassionate
responses. Dane owners know how to comfort each other during times of loss.
I guess we have a lot of practice with this much-loved, but short-lived,
Archived comments (7) |
by Ginnie Saunders. All rights are reserved. No part of this web
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by
any information storage or retrieval system without written
permission from Ginnie
Saunders. To learn more about copyright issues on the web,
visit the Web Law
PO Box 50314
Columbia, SC 29250