Protecting spurned dogs

Rescuers: Maryland volunteers care for abandoned Great Danes, place them for adoption.

Bright Lights

September 23, 2001

WOODIE, a 3-year-old black Great Dane, was badly emaciated, bitten and scratched, when he was found tied to a tree in Harford County woods last November.

Thanks to months of care by volunteers of the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, Woodie has regained his health, weight and regal composure. He's about to move to his new permanent home.

Last year, the rescue league cared for 133 unwanted Great Danes. Like Woodie, some had been abandoned or mistreated. Others had been given up by owners who were moving, getting divorced or simply had decided they did not want to keep a 140-pound dog with a voracious appetite.

Some Great Danes may seem intimidating because of their size: they can be as big as small ponies. As a rule, though, they are not aggressive.

Nevertheless, great care is taken in screening potential adopters.

The league so firmly believes Great Danes are house dogs that it insists adopters regard the dog as part of the family and do not keep it isolated outside or in a basement. "Dogs must never be chained or tied outside," it advises.

The league's newsletter and its Web site (www.geocities.com/magdrl) feature several Great Danes in need of a good home.

"Everything is special about a Great Dane," the rescue organization claims. "Tail wags that knock your socks off, slippery kisses full of joy, wet noses in your face."

The Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League merits recognition for its tireless work on behalf of some truly exceptional dogs. It is a bright light.

Bright Lights spotlights people and organizations that make a difference in the quality of life in this community. It appears periodically in this column.

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