DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 09/30/02


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– Calling All Angels –

September 30, 2002 – This sweet face belongs to "Gabriel," CH. Ragz Seventh Heaven Angel of Dixieland, CGC. His owner, Cindy Niske, is my friend and neighbor. I took this photo the day before Gabriel died. Ten days earlier Gabe had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He was barely six years old. Other than the fact he was losing weight and muscle mass, Gabriel's symptoms were not immediately obvious. GabeNone-the-less, Cindy and her husband, Glenn, made the difficult but humane decision to end Gabe's life while he still had some sparkle in his eyes and spring to his step. His untreatable lung cancer was advancing rapidly and soon he would be struggling for every breath.

Gabriel was Cindy's "heart." Letting him go was not easy. She had acquired him when he was nine weeks old, and for the next six years he never left her side. He followed her around the house and even went to work with her every day. He was Cindy's first champion in the show ring. Along with his conformation and canine good citizen titles, Gabriel was trained as a therapy dog. His steady, easy-going nature made him well-suited for visiting nursing homes, hospitals and elementary schools. One year he even assumed the role of "donkey" in the church's Christmas pageant, much to the amusement of both children and adults. Gabriel was the eldest Dane in a household of five. He set the standard of behavior for the others, and enforced his rules like a benevolent policeman. Above all, Gabriel was devoted to Cindy and ready to do whatever she asked of him. When it was time for Gabriel to take his leave, he did so peacefully – at home and in Cindy's arms – with the help of a caring veterinarian who had become a friend as well.

GabrielLosing a Dane
Not long ago somebody wrote me with a gently-worded complaint about the "obituaries" that appear from time to time on DaDane of DaWeek. She said they made her feel sad and a little apprehensive about visiting my web site. She said, "It just seems like no Danes have simple, carefree lives." To some extent I can appreciate her point of view. Compared to other breeds, Great Danes are short-lived and we lose them far too soon. Every loss hurts, but I think most owners would agree that they'd rather have their Dane for less time than a "fill-in-the blank-dog" for a longer time. It comes with the territory. It's part of owning a Dane.

I feel whenever I tell the story of one Dane who was cherished and lost, it represents the story of countless others. These stories really aren't so much about their deaths, but about their lives. They are reminders of how precious our Danes are to us and how fragile they can sometimes be. Each Dane is a gift, and we are caretakers of the gift. It is up to us to make sure our Danes are properly cared for both physically and emotionally, that their days spent with us are happy days, and when the time comes to let them go, they are put to rest with compassion and dignity.

Gabriel's life with the Niske's was a short on time, but long on quality. May he rest in peace.

©2002-2008 by Ginnie Saunders. All rights are reserved. No part of this web site 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 FAQ., Inc.   
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