You may think that this is a grey-muzzled, Great Dane wallowing in the afternoon sunshine just about to lean into the ground on his back so that he can enjoy the warm sun with his eyes closed and there just might be a soggy, yucky tennis ball tucked between his paws.
And, you’d be right.
But there’s more.
This is Jasper and he is eight years old. He is a purebred, black Great Dane. He was hand-picked for us by Vinnie – Vinnie is the genius behind Country Run Great Danes – after I explained to him that the dog we wanted was the male puppy that, at 8 weeks, already had a “sense of himself.”
I spent a LOT of time looking for a breeder like Vinnie. Jasper would be our second Great Dane and this time around, I knew the kind of breeder to look for.
I wanted someone who had incorporated holistic practices into their breeding program.
After3-4 years of going to dog shows, talking with my dog-lover friends, researching breeding programs and not being in a hurry – knowing that with patience and in the time frame that everything was supposed to happen the right breeder would be there – I found Vinnie.
We brought Jasper home when he was between 8-10 weeks old. He makes my husband VERY happy just because he is a Great Dane. Our neighbors REALLY like him because he is big, low-key, well-mannered and good around their dogs.
When Jasper was not quite a year old, he qualified for and got his Canine Good Citizen’s certification (CGC).
He likes to play soccer and he likes to chase tennis balls in the yard.
He likes living with his harem — that would be Josephine and Tessa. In his own house, he insists on being the ONLY male dog.
Like most Great Danes, Jasper has always had a sense of his own size. I don’t know how this happens, but even when they’re puppies, Great Danes know that they are BIG dogs. And, Jasper is no exception.
Combine his physical size with his easy-going temperament and the end result is a lovely dog. One that is great with people and FANTASTIC with puppies. Whenever one of our neighbors got a new puppy, Jasper was one of the first dogs they got to meet and socialize with.
Jasper would put himself into a down and let that puppy crawl all over his face and sniff around his huge body. He would stay very still.
I knew when I offered to be Mia’s pet nanny while her human family was on vacation that all of the work of taking care of her would naturally fall to Jasper. And, so it did.
Jasper was Mia’s teacher. He taught her how to play, showed her how to pee outside, and how to relax after play time was done.
Where Mia’s human mom hesitated a little bit when we were introducing Mia to the pack that she would join for 12 days, I knew that Jasper would be completely trustworthy and that Mia would adjust faster to our home because of his influence.
And he was. And she did.