Dogs in New Zealand
April 5, 2014
Mayan Crossroad
June 5, 2014

540 Good Dogs and Counting



After a year to-and-a-half together (already!), it seems impossible that Sir Thomas and I could come face-to-face with anything we haven’t already seen or heard. Together, we’ve encountered a wide variety of situations, including unleashed dogs, scorns of disapproval (What’s that dog doing in here?), toddler tail-grabbing, airport security pat downs, surprised drivers (cabs and ferries) and many friendly souls (including a chef at a rather upscale restaurant who delivered a plate of chicken she’d cooked up for Thomas when she saw us arrive). We’ve attended yoga classes (Tommy loves relaxation poses) and art classes (cerulean blue paint is a challenge to wash from white fur).

We’ve experienced people who hold the door for us (and one woman who held the door for only Tommy, letting it slam before I passed through), people who take pictures of him, people who insist he’s one breed or another (but certainly not a Great Dane), people who think I’m training him, people who question why I need him and people who remember him by name but have no idea who I am.

Though I daily warrior myself up against the potentially negative scenes that might enter our day, there is a positive that shines through. Interwoven in all of the different interactions we’ve had, there has been one constant. Each and every day in these past 18 months, we’ve met someone, somewhere, who compliments Sir Thomas. Every day. That’s 540 Nice Dogs to date, not counting the several per day he typically receives.

The praise floats in whispers between café tables: “Beautiful dog.” It leaps across the sidewalk from drivers who slow and call out: “Great dog.“ We’ve not passed a through a single day in our time together that we haven’t heard nice, beautiful, great, or awesome directed at Tommy. And every day, I nod in agreement that he is, indeed, quite handsome and respond with a smile and a “He’s a good boy.”

And just when I thought I’d heard it all, someone surprised me. “Gorgeous partnership,” she said. After nearly two years together, we do make quite a team. I nodded in agreement and smiled at Tommy. “Good boy.”


  1. Barbara Lee says:

    The highest complement. What a nice thing to hear. “Gorgeous partnership.” Lovely. A wonderful thing to lift your spirits to hear compliments abt your Thomas every single day. You must be very proud. But I will add, he is as blessed to have your love & companionship as you are to have his. Bless you both always.

  2. Duane Graham says:

    I’ve used two Great Danes for the past 9 years for mobility and balance. I so relate to your post. I was surprised when people would say ‘that’s not a service dog’. I thought, after I started walking again with regularity, a Great Dane would be just the right height and of the type of personality fit for my needs. I trained my own after a professional trainer said that Danes weren’t suited for service. I have been blessed with an opportunity for two angles of help and love. People are so stricken with the sheer size of the dog and , oh the responses as you have experienced as well are quite varied. I for one think that this experiment is long overdue. Danes will serve many in the future.

  3. Myrna Snyder DiCesare says:

    I’m embarrassed that I knew Sir Thomas and recognized that he was an SDP dog before acknowledging you! I was in awe of meeting one of the pups I had read about and seen pictures of, and who was part of a group I had followed for years. Your post brought tears of joy! Thanks for being so generous and gracious with me, and for letting me share him with others.

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