DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 01/07/08


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— A New Year Begins —

January 7, 2008 — I'm always happy to see the New Year because after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, January brings calmer days. Before we return to the topic of Great Danes, I'd like to tie up some loose ends concerning our predation problem.

The slaughter has ended, so we hope
We've had some positive developments. First and foremost, we've lost no more birds. Heavy rains in December brought our pond back up to a reasonable level. It's still about 18 inches below normal but the "beach" has almost disappeared. We're pretty sure the predators were attacking the birds from the left side of the beach, using the dock for cover. That approach is no longer available to them. We're keeping our fingers crossed that there'll be no more nocturnal violence.

Charlotte is living with Ted Turner!

Charlotte, our Mute swan

Many long-time visitors are familiar with our Mute swans. Much has been written about them over the years. To recap, we relocated Mr. Big because he was so dangerous during breeding season, but we kept Charlotte because she's so nice.

However, last week we shipped Charlotte off to Georgia to live with Ted Turner. I kid you not. It turns out Mr. Turner had long been seeking a companion for his lone swan "Huey" who had previously lost his mate. As it happens, Mute swans are rather hard to come by. One of Mr. Turner's land managers, Steve, contacted me a couple months ago to see if we'd be willing to sell Charlotte. (He did not disclose the identity of his boss.) At the time, we were reluctant to let Charlotte go. Steve was persistent though, checking in from time to time to see if we had changed our minds. After the predators showed up and we started losing our birds, we realized Charlotte might be safer elsewhere, so we reconsidered Steve's offer. Only then did we learn the identity of the buyer.

Charlotte is now living on Ted Turner's 28 acre pond just outside of Atlanta, protected by 100+ acres managed and patrolled by Steve. He reports that she is adjusting well to her new home. Huey is happy to have a new companion and I'm sure Charlotte is happier making goo-goo eyes at Huey than pecking at her reflection in my studio window. Maybe they'll get married.

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Missing Charlotte
Although we miss Charlotte, we feel good about letting her go. She'll be well taken care of. Steve is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. The first time we met him he'd driven four hours to pick up the bird, only to leave empty-handed. Charlotte refused to be caught that day. (It was so embarrassing!) Normally Charlotte spends her morning hanging out by my studio window, pecking at her own reflection. We figured it would be a simple matter to grab her before she had a chance to run back to the pond. But that particular day Charlotte had other ideas. It's as if she KNEW what was coming. As such, she would not leave the water. In desperation we tried to round her up using our boat, but she was an artful dodger. To add to our pain, a veterinarian was present and waiting. He was supposed to examine Charlotte and issue a health certificate. Well, it didn't happen. Luckily, Steve — and the vet — could not have been more gracious about the fiasco. We rescheduled. Five days later Charlotte found herself on a big new pond with a big new boyfriend. We wish them well.

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