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Burt Ward

Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions - Caring For Your Gentle Giant and Little Giant

When we began rescuing and adopting Great Danes in August of 1994, we found that these Gentle Giants were only living an average of 7 to 9 years.

In the more than 10 years of rescuing and adopting Great Danes and the many other Gentle Giants breeds and Little Giants breeds that we now rescue and adopt, we have found that we have consistently been able to DOUBLE the life spans of our Gentle Giants to an average of 14 to 18 years (see the photos and letters below).

To accomplish this requires your close attention to a number of factors.

We cannot guarantee the longevity of any dog, but we can provide you with recommendations that we utilize every day and that we have found to be successful with the thousands of Gentle Giants that we have rescued and adopted.

"Princess Leah" 16 years old (left), "Marble" 8 years old (center),
and "Sadie" 2 years old (right) with Ed and Lindy Kalpakoff


Hi Tracy,

Just wanted to let you know that your 16 year old "Princess Leah" acts like she's a puppy.

She's Ed's baby. Follows him everywhere and loves her walks.

She's awesome!!! 

I take "Marble" with me to the park on the weekends. All she wants is to be by my side.

YIPPEEEEE, I have my own dog, ha! ha!

"Sadie" is always causing some kind of ruckus. She's just like "Holly" in so many ways.

We will take some good photos of all of them and send them to you.

It just melts my heart to see "Princess" enjoying life in our home.

She's soooo happy!

And, so are we!!!

Lindy Kalpakoff


Hi Tracy,

They are all doing awesome!!!

We are sooo happy.

And "Princess Leah" owns her own couch now.

She found her forever home with us. More later.

We love you guys.

Lindy Kalpakoff


Hi Tracy,

Just a quick note to tell you that we love our three girls soooo much.

I finally have a dog - "Marble."

She loves me and wants to be with me every second.  I take her everywhere with me.

I took her to the park (I never let any of my dogs off leash), and everyone loved her and thought she was beautiful.

She is such a sweetheart and gets along with every one and every dog.

"Sadie" and "Princess" just love Ed.

They are with him every second.

They love their nightly walks, especially "Princess."

She's like a 'Spring Chicken.'

"Sadie" is still a little wild, especially when someone rides by on a bike or skateboard, but we are working on that.

She's great with our other three now.

They all love each other, even "Boomer" loves her.

We'll send more photos.

Lindy Kalpakoff

P.S. I attached a photo of "Sadie" on our bed.  That's her favorite spot.

"Sadie" relaxes on her bed

To make sure that your Gentle Giant and Little Giant lives the longest,
healthiest life, we recommend that you do all of the following:

Longevity: Our Physical and Emotional Care Has Doubled The Average Length Of Our Dogs Lives! Nurturing The Physical and Emotional Needs and Instincts of our Gentle Giants and Little Giants Our Gentle Giants Can Live An Average Of 14 To 18 Years!

Because we have been enormously successful in prolonging the healthy, happy lives of our Gentle Giants, we have strict adoption requirements so that our adopters can hopefully enjoy the same amazing success that we have had. Everyone wants their dog to live the longest, healthiest, happiest life, and if you agree to comply with our requirements, you will have the opportunity to love and enjoy a Gentle Giant from us and have your loving canine family member be with you nearly twice as long as you would have otherwise.

Our Gentle Giants and Little Giants are house dogs, not outside dogs. They must live inside your home as a member of your family, day and night, and go outside only to eat, to go to the bathroom, for short periods of play, and to be with you and your family whenever you are outside. At all other times, they must be inside the main living area of your home.

Many people have traditionally left their dogs outside during the day, and brought their dogs in only at night. Their dogs usually live short lives (in the case of Gentle Giants, usually 7 to 9 years). Some people leave their dogs outside day and night, and their dogs usually live even shorter lives.

We cater to the physical and emotional needs of our dogs and they live a lot longer.

For example, we allow our dogs the freedom to go outside whenever they want to, and conversely, the freedom to come back inside whenever they want to. These are the same freedoms that a human has.

So, it does take a little extra effort to pay attention to what your dog is trying to communicate to you. And by doing this, your dog feels that he or she has some say so in their life and they don't give up and resign themselves that they are either “cooped up” outside or “cooped up” inside. This freedom we give them enriches their emotional needs and their spirit, and they are happier. Happier dogs live longer.

Our dogs go outside every few hours (or sooner if they want to). Yes, they frolic and play in between feeding times. You can see that in the many photos on our website. But, after about 15 to 20 minutes, they've had enough and that frolic and play gets old for them and they want to come back into their "den" (figuratively speaking), which is their house (and if you adopt from us, your house).

We say in our literature that a “doggie door” is optional, not required. What isn't optional is leaving your adopted dog outside other than when it is eating, going to the bathroom, briefly playing, or being with you or your family when you are outside.

Our dogs are house dogs, and they must be allowed to stay in your house, or more pointedly, they must be left in your house and not left outside, whether you are home or not.

When we started rescuing Great Danes 11 years ago, our dogs were living an average of 7 to 9 years. Now, along with the many other Gentle Giant breeds that we rescue, we have many of them living an average of 14 to 18 years. A significant attribute of our success in doubling the length of their lives is to nurture their needs and instincts, and living inside has shown itself time and again . . . in fact, thousands of times with the giant breed dogs that we've had living here during the last 11 years, to be a key ingredient, if not the most important ingredient, in lengthening their lives.

Keeping Your Gentle Giant Out Of The Sun and Out Of The Heat

Giant breed dogs need to stay out of the sun. Most giant breeds have a single coat of fur, and have no protection against the harmful rays of the sun. They can develop skin cancer very quickly. Once the skin cancer develops, the dogs usually develop internal cancerous tumors as well. This can quickly lead to death.

Other breeds of dogs have a short, thick inner coat of fur that protects them from the sun. Because most giant breeds do not have a short, thick inner coat of fur, they should not be allowed to lie out in the sun at all.

Giant breed dogs also need to stay out of the heat. Their bodies do not dissipate heat well, and they can get heat stroke, which can cripple them or kill them.

If someone wants to keep their dog outside, whether it is during the day or at night, whether they are home or not, we will not adopt to them.

Our Successful Feeding and Care Procedures

Our care and feeding program has worked magnificently for the thousands of giant breed and many small breed dogs in the last 11 years here where we could see and experience and tabulate the results first hand. No one else in the country that we know of who cares for dogs has accomplished this or anywhere near this to our knowledge.

It is our love for these dogs and our total commitment to saving, enriching and lengthening their lives that has provided us with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these magnificient animals.

That is why we do what we do and why we have (what may seem strict to some people) the requirements that we have. In the end, the dogs we adopt have proven to be living longer, happier lives in their new adopted homes, and that has made their adopters happier because their loving canine companion is with them longer. You can read this first hand in the many emails that we have posted on our website. And, you can see a loving, healthy 16 year old Great Dane named "Princess Leah" that we adopted (please see photo and emails above ).

Our Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine

Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine dog food is now available and we require it or its equivalent to be fed to our dogs (This requirement may be modified if your veterinarian prescribes a special diet while under medical care).  We formulated our Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal Recipe with the highest quality ingredients and with the proper balance of protein and fat content to maximize the longevity of our Gentle Giants and Little Giants (our dog food is excellent for all breeds and for all ages). If you haven't already done so, please see our Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine section of our website for further details. 

We have our dogs living far longer than is traditional for our giant breeds.  Our program for increased longevity combines early spay and neuter, special feeding and care, and our high nutrition, low protein, low fat dog food.  Because our dog food is so nutritious, our dogs can obtain all the nutrition they need by eating less food than with other dog food formulas.  This provides your adopted dog with increased protection against bloat and torsion, a major killer of giant breed dogs.

Included with your adoption fee is one 40 lb. bag of Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine dog food at no charge.  Each bag should last you about one month (lasting 2 to 3 months for our Little Giants).  Thereafter, you can order four bags at a time (a four month supply) as you need it.  The delivered cost to your home is $43.50 per bag (inside Southern California) for a total of $174.00, or $49.95 per bag (outside Southern California) for a total of $199.80, or you may pick up one or more bags from us here at our facility at a cost of $36.50 per bag. The cost for feeding your giant breed dog amounts to about $1.41 or $1.61 a day, considerably less than feeding any of your other family members.

The Bonding Process

All adults and children living in the same home must attend the adoption appointment.

A comment from a potential adopter: “Our granddaughter will be 18 years of age in four months and will be moving out of the household. We can bring her along if you wish, but it will probably have no bearing on the matter.

Our response: "Yes, it will have a bearing on the bonding process with your newly adopted dog. The reason that we want your granddaughter here if she is presently living in your home is not to have a bearing on your selection of your dog, but because we require all our adopters to take their newly adopted dog that they adopt from us directly home and NOT introduce it to anyone (other than to the members of their family who were here at the adoption appointment) for two weeks. This is to cement the bonding process. If during the first two weeks that your newly adopted dog is at your home, someone comes to your house, we want you to put your newly adopted dog in another room where it will not meet or see anyone other than you and your wife, and your granddaughter. After two weeks, your newly adopted dog will have properly bonded with you and your family, and you may then introduce it to the world. Leaving your granddaughter at home while she is still living there would foil the intent and success of the bonding process. That is why she must come."

Balanced Complete Nutrition in Our Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine

Meat, Fish and Egg
Vitamins and Nutrients
Carrots, Celery, Beets
Brown Rice
Vitamin A, Vitamin B12
Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin C, Vitamin D3
Vitamin E, Vitamin K
Parsley, Lettuce
Glucosamine, Chondroitin
Watercress, Spinach
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Spirulina, Taurine, Niacin

Increased Nutritional Benefits

  • Guaranteed Levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids for a Healthy Skin and Coat
  • Contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin for bone, hip, and joint benefits
  • Enriched Levels of Antioxidants (Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene) to help support the immune system
  • Sequestered Trace Minerals (SQM) for Improved Mineral Bioavailability
  • Contains Real Garden Vegetables and Fruits
  • No Poultry or Meat by-Products
  • Ingredient Specific formula for Dogs with food intolerances
  • Naturally Preserved with Vitamin E

Our Unique Procedures For Feeding And Care That Have Proven So Successful For Us

Here is how we feed our dogs to maximize their life span . . .

We feed our Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine only, because it is highly nutritious with low protein and low fat content* **
We feed dry food only - Only if a dog is severely underweight or upon the recommendation of a veterinarian, do we add canned food
We elevate all of our food and water bowls at a height so that our dogs don't have to lean down to eat, they just tilt their heads down to eat*
We feed our dry food for 10 to 15 minutes only, and then we remove all food* - We never free feed* - We always provide fresh water daily
We do not allow our dogs to exercise for 1 hour before and 1 hour after each feeding* - We do not feed for 1 hour after riding in a vehicle*
We do not limit the amount of dog food that we feed at each feeding. If our dogs are hungry, we feed them more.
We feed our puppies under 6 months of age 7 to 8 times a day*
We feed our puppies 6 months of age to 1 year old 6 to 7 times a day*
We feed our puppies and adults over 1 year old 5 or more times a day*

* We do this to avoid bloat and torsion
** Heart Healthy

Dear Tracy and Burt,

We wanted to thank you and express the happiness that our adopted Giant Harlequin Great Dane now named “Nemo” has given to us.

He a great dog and has since taken over the den and Big Screen TV.

When we were looking for a Great Dane to adopt, we searched the local papers, etc.

Then one day I caught an Episode of “Adoption Tales” on Animal planet. (This happens to be Nemo’s favorite show)

We finally came upon the right source, The Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions.

What your family does is amazing.

Your dedication to the large breeds is not only about keeping them from harm and finding them new homes, but you continue to find ways to prolong their lives.

Our Nubian goats share a health issue with our Dane.

If not fed properly, they can also bloat and unfortunately turn their stomachs leading to a fatal result.

We appreciate the education you give regarding care and feeding.

This was certainly a critical piece of information, yet it is so easy to do.

We hope all adopters understand the value of the guidance and information that you give along with the opportunity to adopt one of these fabulous dogs

We also understand that you have developed a new line of food that is designed to enhance the large breeds health.

This is wonderful news.

And makes their care even EASIER!

You are all an inspiration, not only have I become one of your happy volunteer’s, but we are coming back this week to be second time adopters.

Thank you for the work your family does and for letting us be a small part of that.

Kat, Steve and Nemo

Would You Like Our Help Training Your Dog?
(Our Special Training and Total Wellness Programs include Training You as Well)

Would You Like Our Help Year Round In Handling Behavioral Problems With Your Dog?

Would You Like To Be Able To Ask Questions and Get Answers Year Round On Properly Caring For Your Dog?

Would You Like Our Expert Giant Breed Veterinarians to Provide Medical Care and Treatment to Your Dog?


Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions - Caring For Your Gentle Giant and Little Giant

Available Dogs
Adoption Info

Meet our 45 Different Breeds

Our Available Dogs to Adopt

Adoption Info/Application

14,000 Happy Adopters

Our Special Care
and Feeding Program

Extend the Life of Your Dog Using Our Feeding and Care Program

Learn the proper methods to help your dog live a much longer, healthier, happier life!

Make a Donation
Save a Dog's Life!

Please make a Tax Deductible Donation to Save the Life of an Innocent Dog who otherwise will Die in an Animal Shelter

You Kind Donation Can Help
with the Cost of Surgeries

Join Our Gentle Giants Family

Receive ongoing
video tips to help you care for your dog

Gentle Giants
Dog Food

Gentle Giants Dog Food

Where to Buy Gentle Giants Dog Food


How Innocent Lives are Saved

Working with Animal Shelters

Working with Other Rescues

Our Facilities | Our Training

Expert Medical and
Surgical Care

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Please Note: Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc. reserves the right to make changes, additions, deletions and/or modifications to its website, documentation, requirements and policies at any time.
All such changes, additions, deletions and/or modifications to its website, documentation, requirements and policies may apply retroactively at the discretion of the company.

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