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 Created: 01/30/06


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— Newton and Merlen —

January 30, 2006 – Newton and Merlen are giving us a little break from our Futurity coverage to remind us there's more to life than parading around a conformation ring. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) I met them at the 2005 GDCA National when Stephanie Holt commissioned this portrait. Newton was enjoying his first "big time" Agility trial, while Merlen was relegated to cheering from the sidelines due to a spinal problem. Both dogs were as sweet as could be, and it was obvious they would do whatever it took to please their momma, even if it meant sitting still in front of a camera. Stephanie writes:

Holtz Mr. Las Vegas NA, NAJ
DOB 10-20-03

Newton was my first Great Dane. I had always wanted one, ever since I was a child. He was rescued as a puppy from Las Vegas. We drove by Wayne Newton's place right after we picked him up, and that is how he got his name.

Newton has brought me great joy. Although his breeding may be poor, he has exceeded all my expectations. He exemplifies the breed's standard of fine character and good temperament. He is full of love and life, and he lets everyone he meets know it.

In the past I've competed in Agility with my Boxer and German Shorthaired Pointer. It never occurred to me that Danes could compete in Agility until I adopted Newton and began looking at some of the wonderful Great Dane web sites out there. I never would have imagined!

I had already started Newton in Obedience classes, but Agility has proven much more exciting for both of us. After less than a year of training and only a few months in the ring, Newton completed his AKC Novice Agility titles and he has legs in the Open level. I do not know how far we will go, but rest assured we will always be having fun!

* * *
Holtz Mr. Wizard

DOB 12-15-03

Only a few months after Newton entered my life, he had brought me so much joy, I knew I had to have another Great Dane. I picked Merlen out when he was just 4 weeks old and brought him home at 7 weeks, after his breeder decided to "kick out" the litter. He has grown into the sweetest, silliest, most loving dog I have ever had the pleasure of raising.

I knew early on that Merlen would be my competition Obedience dog. He just has that special personality and a strong desire to please me. I started him in Obedience classes early last year and hoped to debut him in Arizona at the GDCA National, but unfortunately Mother Nature had a different plan.

Merlen was diagnosed last May with Wobblers syndrome, which is caused by compression of the cervical spinal cord. In June he underwent surgery to to remove the C4 through C7 vertebrae in his neck and relieve the pressure that was damaging his spine. A second MRI, performed just before the surgery, revealed a disc protrusion in his lumbar area. Some of the worst things happen to the sweetest animals! Obviously our competition hopes were on ice.

Merlen's health has since improved. I have worked a lot on building his rear-end awareness, and tried to build muscle, too. Six months after surgery, he is finally starting to develop more muscle in the rear. Plus, I think various other supplements have helped – cholodin, fish oil, and some homeopathic treatments. Just two weeks ago Merlen returned to Obedience class and he's doing very well. He will never walk perfectly, but I'm more than happy to lose points for his crooked sits. It is more than enough just to be out there working with a dog who adores me so much, and I am happy to report that Merlen no longer falls down. In fact, he can run like the wind again!

* * *

Through my two Great Danes I have met many wonderful people and made many new friends. Dane owners seem to have a very special bond. Strangers will go out of their way to help each other any way they can, and they don't stay strangers for long. Of the several breeds I own, the Great Dane is the one I find most rewarding. You might say they are addictive!

Thank you, Ginnie, for loving this breed so much and for taking the time to celebrate them. It is truly an honor to be a member of the Dane community and part of this web site.

Stephanie Holt      

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