DOG PARENT FAMILIES
India Lipton and Shirley Lesser with Charlton Dane India and Shirley have wanted a Great Dane for many years but waited until their lives would be a good fit for raising one. They did a good bit of research on the breed and learned as much as they could before Charlton Dane joined their family as a puppy. Now all of India and Shirley’s days start off with “What are we going to do with Charlton today?” India says Charlton has been in training since he was about 4 months old and they hope to have him compete in agility, rally, and obedience, with acting and modeling as hobbies, as he matures. For now though, they are having a blast building his foundation skills, doing charity work, and taking Charlton to all sorts of events around town. “He loves traveling no matter where we go and we love all the adventures we have found with him” India says! Like any parent, India and Shirley say that they are fully responsible for ensuring that Charlton is well behaved, confident, happy, and healthy. They spend time thinking of how to socialize him, train him, and keep his mind and body occupied. India and Shirley also mentioned that after watching the movie Marmaduke they were inspired to create a monthly Great Dane event, called Dane Day at the Park, in Richmond, VA, which is becoming quite popular. These ladies have a family motto, “celebrate everything,” and they found a dog that seems to agree. You can follow Charlton on Facebook at Charlton Dane.
Marianne Hymanson with Acuna, Mariah, Trista, & Danea After suffering a life-threatening medical condition and being in a wheelchair for several years Marianne says that her Keeshond Acuna was there through all of it and helped comfort her. “I couldn’t go back to being a computer software engineer, and I knew there had to be something more and better I could do still facing my own limitations.” She decided that raising and training puppies for a national service dog organization was the way to go. “Some of my pups didn’t make the program because there are always more dogs in the final class than there are people. I took all these wonderful pups I raised back into my home.” These fur kids include Mariah, a Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix, Trista, a small Yellow Lab, and Danea, a Golden Retriever. Marianne says they make wonderful therapy dogs for kids’ reading programs, autistic children’s class rooms, nursing homes, and hospice care. With four dogs, Marianne keeps a very tight daily schedule: a nightly dinner, then a game of fetch, and (with the exception of high summer) each gets a turn jogging/walking next to the bicycle. Next comes the nightly play session, then they all relax with a little TV or reading, if they’re not scheduled for therapy visits. “I feel really blessed to be helping others in a small way, and now to have that big family, all be that of the 4-legged variety.”
The American Dog Magazine | Fall 2011 103
MAGAZINE - FALL 2011