DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 02/16/04


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– Trike's Hell's Angel at Jeda (Noel) –

February 16, 2004 – This week's DaDane features a commissioned head study of a lovely young Dane named Noel. I met Noel's owners, Tracy and Mike Higgins, at the Great Dane National Specialty last fall. Noel was lounging around at Tracy's show booth with her Uncle Bart, a six-year-old fawn who you'll meet next week. Tracy and Mike were interested in commissioning a formal portrait of Bart. We later decided to add some informal shots of Noel to the project. And I'm sure glad we did!

Noel, at 9 months of age, displayed typical "puppy alertness" – she was interested in watching everything around her, but at the same time she was quite mellow. Neither the camera, nor I, seemed to disturb her. As soon as I began shooting, I realized that Noel was one of the most photogenic dogs I've ever encountered. Her high, dark muzzle combined with her wonderful sculptural qualities, inner calm, and engaging facial expressions made her a very pleasing subject. The camera loved her. Indeed, it was harder to shoot a bad photograph of Noel than it was to shoot a good one.

Noel and her family live in Dewey, Illinois. I asked Tracy to tell us a bit more about her. Here's what she wrote:

Noel was born in 2002 on Christmas day. We had relatives visiting for the holiday, but Noel's mother kindly waited to start delivering until 5 minutes after everyone had left. Noel was the first puppy to pop out, so we called her "the first Noel." She was soon followed by three brothers.

Noel wasn't all that impressive as a young puppy, or so it seemed at the time. I had her promised to a pet home, but there was something about her that made us take a second look. My friend Jessica Dile also took an interest in her and agreed to co-own with us.

Jessica has done all the wonderful training that is seen when Noel is in the conformation ring. She took her first major (3 points) from the 6-9 month class. Jessica is also working with Noel in Agility and Obedience, which she loves.

Noel knows no stranger and has no fear. She is a joy to live with but she can be a little headstrong, hence her papered name "Hell's Angel." Her favorite trick is opening whatever closed doors might be separating her from something she wants on the other side – usually people or food, depending on her mood. She has been known to jump double-high baby gates to get to her people. (She ought to do well in Agility, don't you think?)

Noel celebrated her first birthday this past Christmas. I guess you could say she's been the "Christmas gift" that keeps on giving.

– Tracy Higgins,

Happy News!
A few weeks ago I introduced you to Luna, a Great Dane rescue undergoing somewhat risky, but necessary, heartworm treatment. Luna's new mom, Jackie, reports that Luna is continuing to gain weight and her treatment is going well. Her final injection will be on February 19, just 4 days from now. Jackie promises to keep us up-to-date on Luna and her progress.

Last year I told you about Dianne Powers' Gracie. She had developed Canine Lymphoma (cancer). Dianne refused to give up on her, so Gracie underwent months of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Dianne writes, "I just wanted to let you know that Grace just turned 9. I'm feeling particularly blessed since it is now 13 months since she went into remission and she looks GREAT. I was so afraid that she would not see 8, and here we are at 9 – and still counting!" Congratulations to Dianne and Grace for reaching such an impressive milestone. May there be many more!

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