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Tanner's Story

Fri Jan 31, 2003

Whew!  What an evening!!!Got two emails yesterday - thanks Heidi and Tracy!!!Olga Gagne of GSCC contacted some folks about an owner surrender in the area and this poor boy is really going to be a work in progress. I called his owner this morning and it seems that she tried to dump him in a local shelter but after they saw the size of him they told her that she had to first prove to them that she had contacted the breeder (another story) GSCC and Rescue before they would even consider taking him as his looks would have made him very hard to place.   She started crying this morning telling me that if he wasn't gone by today her hubby was going to kill him. I don't know if perhaps I lost something in the translation as she has a very thick Russian accent and has only been in Canada for two years. They purchased him from a Russian breeder in King City, apparently the same place that the Tanner's boy Steve was whelped.  He has been with them since he was 8 weeks.  They live in a small apartment in a pretty scary area of Toronto, (5 people, 1 giant ... and get this -2 bedrooms!!)  She told me that they are hoping to purchase a home but when I offered to foster until they move she fessed that they won't be in a financial situation to move for about three more years, so that option went by the wayside.

So off we went to pick up "Tano" (Bob is already calling him Tanner though - Hope that Terry, Steve and his gang don't mind).Due to the husbands working hours Tano only has been taken out of the apartment between 3-4 in the morning for a walk daily.  He has been doing his business on a 12'x3' balcony, 14 floors up for his whole life.  They don't get many visitors so socialization is gonna take a while.

He was very growly and she put a muzzle on him while I was in the apartment (can't imagine the warning bells rattling through my brain) she said that she does this everytime anyone has ever come into the apartment, she insisted he has never bitten or snapped and explained that it is something that she always did with her Giant in Russia because he was trained as a guard. I'll be honest and say that my heart was in my throat bringing him home with his crate strapped to the SUV (It is taking up half of my dining room a the moment).

I was shocked when I first saw him. Tano is without doubt the hugest Giant that I have ever encountered. Will measure him tomorrow but he is a full head taller than Molly and as most of you know, she is a very large Giant Girl. ; He is so tall and has such a big head that I asked her repeatedly if he was really a Giant or if he was a Black Russian Terrier. I guess I will find out tomorrow when I shave off some of the matts. He has apparently had only one clip in his year and a half life. His height is incredible but beneath his tons of soft fur you can feel his hipbones and his ribs, and he looks like he probably has a few skin problems lurking below the surface.

He has tons of thick furnishings, that I hope I can salvage if they aren't too matted, and he is cropped and docked. I have never seen a cropped Giant with this much hair before and I swear his face somewhat resembles a Skye Terrier with the amount of "plummage" on his ears. I have yet to see his eyes but figure they are buried in there somewhere.Bob met me at the park near our home to meet me and introduce Molly and Tano/Tanner in a neutral area. Well, here is another problem... NOT NEUTERED!! I already have an appointment for Tuesday. Guess he thinks Molly is the hottest babe he's ever seen because he has tried to mount her all evening. I was so scared at first but he learned quickly that in this house Molly runs a close second to my "Top Bitch" status. He is so much bigger but after she got fed up with his nonsense she gave him a piece of her mind and a nose nip so he knew she meant business, he rolled over at her feet and whined like a tiny puppy.He only "speaks" Russian but we have figured out sit and he is now very aware of the word OFF.

As soon as I say it, I pull him back from whatever and make him sit, his head goes right down as if I was going to smack him but once he is in the sit, I have given him a treat and said good boy. He will catch on fast I think but we are really going to have to start from scratch with this boy. I had to put him in the crate about 6 times, but he has figured that I'm not going to hit him. It has been like he has been fascinated watching what goes on around here, while her ladyship Molly surveys all from her perch on "her" loveseat.

He has been raised with a little 7 year old boy and it was clear from the word go that he loves kids. I was really apprehensive at first and wouldn't let the kids go face to face but then Alexandra just reached down and grabbed his big face and hugged. He kissed the face off of her and then laid his head in her lap. He is also really enjoying going out to the yard for his duty.

He is in his crate at the moment in what looks like an exhausted sleep, we're hoping that he'll forget about his 3 am walk.I have two different families at the moment that I think would be great homes for him, so I am going to begin his training and assess him for a bit, and his neuter of course and hopefully he will make someone's life as joyful as Molly has made ours.Thanks for listening!!  I have attached a couple of his "before" pictures here (yep I have a great virus scan on outgoing so it won't cause a problem) and I will send some "after" shots once I get him cleaned up a bit.


Fri Jan 31, 2003
Believe me Tracy, I really wish that you could have been proven right on this one but I just returned from the vet and this boy is in much worse shape than even I was initially anticipated. I wasn't trying to be judgemental after being in their home yesterday and I agree with Marina that some of what I experienced came from not understanding the cultural differences in dog rearing but....

With all of the mats I decided to start on him at 6 this morning, while the house was quiet. I couldn't get my hands on his skin through the hair and knew I was going to find problems because of the stench. After scissoring as many mats as I could, I started with the clippers and killed two blades in about five minutes. That is also when I started feeling the welts and growths on his back, hocks, elbows and thighs. By 7:30 I knew I couldn't finish the job without help and was lucky enough to have a girlfriend who is a groomer open her shop early to help out.

A couple of things are apparent...
First and foremost he is definitly ALL Giant! He is probably taller than any Black Russian Terrier out there but there is no doubt now as to his breed. I am sad to say however, that the scars of his short life are well documented on his body and Lisa (groomer) and I were both in tears when we finally reached his skin. One of the largest mats was actually formed from crusted blood from a huge festering gash on his right flank. The ends aren't even close to being together and it should have taken many stitches to close but was obviously never treated. He has Golf ball sized growths on his elbows and has three large cysts on his back. Our Molly is a huge Giant girl and weighs well over 100 lbs., but is lean and the most amazingly muscled dog you can imagine. Tano/Tanner towers over her by a full head and weighed in at 68 lbs. His hip bones are hollow and you could count the contours of each individual vertabrea. He is only 1 year, 5 months and his teeth are encrusted and two had to be pulled. He is grossly undernourished and is in some serious trouble due to two major factors. He is so malnourished that his coat is brown and his blood work is wacko and our vet (who knows rescues well) believes that he has been crated constantly his entire life and his joints may be impaired for life.

At 10 am we went straight from the groomers to the vet. He was in the OR by 10:15 as the growth on his right elbow was impeding his circulation and he is in danger of losing some of his toes. The wound on his flank has been debrided and is sutured with two drains in place so that the green crud can clear out. He was neutered and had 6 cysts removed from his back, chest and thigh. His re-hab is going to take some time and if I knew yesterday what I do now about the treatment this sweet boy has suffered, I would probably be the one charged with abuse because I would like to choke them at the moment!!

I just returned home for sitting with Tano at the vets, he is receiving a unit of blood at the moment and I will go back after supper to spend more time with him. We likely won't get him home until Monday but thankfully our vet's home is attached to his practice and I know that he is going to receive the best care possible.

Damn, tears again... you would have had to have seen it to believe it and through it all, I got my face licked and his little tail wagged. He almost looked proud leaving the groomers as if he knew how much better he looked. I am posting the before and after pictures in an album Tano/Tanner. You can see two of the cycts on his chest and one on his right haunch, couldn't bring myself to take a picture of his back or the gash.

Sorry for rambling but I am just so sickened at the moment that I know I am venting. I will give him hugs from everyone when I return to the vet.


Feb 1, 2003
Thanks to EVERYONE!!!!! I am overwhelmed by the well wishes and wonderful support and prayers that are coming our way. I haven't yet had a chance to answer any of the mails but definitely will.

I ended up staying with Tanner until about 11pm last night at the vets. Just before I arrived after supper last night, he had apparently lunged at one of the vet assistants who entered his run to check on his IV. With Tanner's size I think all but the vet were terrified of him and it showed, Tanner knew it and was so confused with all that has happened in the past two days and the effects of the anesthetic that he lashed out. No damage was done but they were very concerned. When I got there, with a comforter and a soft toy, I heard him growling as the vet tech preceded me to his cage but as soon as he heard my voice he started to cry and stood up in a bit of a stupor, I stayed with him and loved on him most of the evening. Each of the techs joined us and was properly introduced to him and he has realized now that he is among friends.

Poor guy has stitches all over him from the growths being removed and has chewed through everything they have covered the gash and his elbow with. The vet said that the growth on his elbow was filled with synovial fluid that protects the joints, so he will likely continue to have problems with this until he is much stronger and can undergo a more invasive surgery to help correct it. From the x-rays he seems to have an old fracture to the area which is likely the root of it. They have flushed the open area on his flank twice and one of the drains came out with Tanners help. The vet was able to debride and close most of it but there is about a 1 and a 1/2" inch area where it was still too exposed for the ends to meet for suturing, so it will have to continue to be flushed and covered and at some point sutured when there is enough healing to bring the ends together. His white count is quite high so the major concern at the moment is watching him for sepsis. His temperature is being monitored every hour and fortunately hasn't spiked so that is a good sign!

Hubby went in at 8 this morning and spent an hour with him and says that he is still giving the vets girls the business but layed his big head in his lap and lapped up the attention. His CBC is much better now after the blood last night. I have been organizing the kids this morning and am leaving with the Molly-Monster for a walk, can't leave my girl out in all of this and then I am going to spend the afternoon with Tanner.

Elizabeth and the Molly-Monster and Tanner too!

Sun Feb 2, 2003
I just now returned from visiting Tanner.  Much to my shock, they told me that Tanner's current bill of $642. Canadian has been paid in full...  The donor requested to remain anonymous?????Please, Please, Please whoever you are, email me privately so that I can give you the tremendous thanks that you deserve!!!!!!!!!The only people that know where Tanner is located are on this list or from my Vets rescue group.  If you are out there reading this please accept my gratitude, I have a lump in my throat as big as all outdoors and know that I shouldn't be this surprised with the Giant hearts out there.Tanner looks awesome today!  He still has not developed a fever and his IV has been removed.  We were allowed to take him out behind the vets for about ten minutes and you should have seen him!   He was kinda wobbly at first but loved being outside for a bit.He is wearing a cone which he hates, it was put on after he pulled his second drain out.I brought him some minced chicken and rice yesterday and today.  He threw up twice this morning but was so ravenous that he"re-ingested" it again before anyone could clean it out.  He hasn't thrown up since this morning so I think it is "on board".  If he doesn't spike a temp. tonight, we can bring him home tomorrow and I just can't wait!!!!

He really needs to get some weight on his bones, he looks like a greyhound the way his tummy tucks up. This guy is the biggest lover ever, he just lays that big head in your lap and soaks up the attention.  He still shies when you reach down to pat his head but he is learning that "hands aren't for hitting". I would really appreciate any advice on getting some weight on him. He was being fed kibble but I don't know if I should try him on the modified barf that we feed Molly or if there is something else that may be better for the time being. This pup has the most soulful eyes I've ever seen, when you look at them you can see that he has suffered but you can also see a spark of hope.  I'm really looking forward to finding his real personality when he is feeling a bit more secure with the world.  By all indications he is going to be a big huggy bear :)

God Bless his Fairy-God Giant!!!


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