In 1994, after numerous requests from my husband to own a giant schnauzer, I caved. He’d wanted one while we lived in California, but I didn’t feel we had a yard large enough for such a big dog. In retrospect I realize that, with all the walking trails in our neighborhood, owning a giant would have dragged me away from the computer for some much-needed exercise, for when this breed wants something, they relentlessly demand your attention until they receive what they want.

The giant schnauzer is a working breed, and they must have a job to do to channel their high energy or they will find “work,” and you, the owner, may not appreciate the form their self-employment takes. Ignored, they will become bored and destructive.  They must work and you must work with them, as their focus in life is you.

Knowing this tendency, we did our research by reading up on the breed’s characteristics, and we visited several giant schnauzer owners who had litters but who also owned adults so we could see just how large the dog would be at maturity. Still, nothing quite prepared me for the energy level of the high-spirited puppy about to enter our lives.

Because we wanted our new “kid” to have a good start to life, we thought it best to clear our calendars in preparation for her arrival in early 1995. We wanted plenty of time to crate train, housebreak, and socialize her—and when the time came, to enroll her in obedience classes.

Part of clearing our calendars involved moving our 1995 vacation into 1994, so right on the heels of our trip to the US and British Virgin Islands, we flew to Brussels, Belgium, to start a whirlwind, three-week tour of Europe, an ambitious agenda that we would not do again. We actually needed a vacation after our vacation, but time didn’t permit. We had to prepare for the new addition to our family, one that would prove as challenging as our trek across Europe but, thankfully, would last much longer.


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