Water's Edge Great Dane Rescue

Water's Edge Great Dane Rescue
Rescuing animals is a tough yet rewarding pursuit. In this month’s Rescue Spotlight, I try to find the answer to this question - Does a bigger dog mean bigger rewards? You can’t get much bigger than…...a Great Dane! Waters Edge Great Dane Rescue’s (“WEGDR”) director, Michelle Reinke, tells me that they really are, well, great!

Rescue Spotlight - Waters Edge Great Dane Rescue

WEGDR began 12 years ago, after Michelle discovered what a huge need there was for help in the world of animal welfare through her work at a local animal shelter.  She formed a charity in order to help any way she could.  “We took in pitbulls, stray cats, or just about anything that needed our help.  We spayed and neutered them, microchipped them and nursed many back to health through the years.”  One day, a 4 week old Great Dane puppy named Domino came their way, Michelle said she fell in love and WEGDR was born.  “We love all breeds,” she explains, “but being a rescue with limited funding at the time, we decided to go breed specific…”  The main focus of the organization is rescuing Danes,  However, there are times when they find other breeds (called “Honorary Danes”) who need help as well.  

Michelle grew up on a farm in Nebraska so her love for animals started at a very young age.  The farm was filled with stray cats that she would feed and care for - “I would work with them daily feeding them little pieces of hot dogs or cat food to get them to come to me.  It was my mission to make them my pets...and I did!”  Her love of helping animals carried over into adulthood and eventually became her life’s pursuit.

Currently, there are 32 animals in the care of WEGDR, although numbers change often, depending on need.  Their animals come from shelters, are found as strays or are owner surrenders.  Michelle said that it is common to hear the former owner say They got too big!  “Great Danes get big!!!”, she told me, “[They] can be a very misunderstood breed.”  Along those same lines, Michelle says that their adoptions fees, which can be as high as $450, may seem expensive but she wants people to know what they are getting into when they welcome a Dane as a new family member.  “Danes are an expensive breed to own and we want people to be aware of the daily costs of the dog.”  The adoption fee includes spay / neuter, microchipping, vaccinations and a full veterinary exam.    

The rescue understands that the animals have likely had a rough start to life and do all they can to ensure the comfort and happiness of the animal for the future.  When an animal comes to WEGDR, they are given veterinary care and placed in a foster home until they can be adopted into a loving home.   The adoption process is rigorous and careful.  First, the potential adopter must fill out an adoption application.  (This can be found on their website - http://www.watersedgegreatdanerescue.com/)  After the application is reviewed, there is a phone interview and a home visit is done to ensure the Dane goes to the best place possible.  If the rescue determines that the home is a good fit, they will set up a Meet & Greet with all existing pets and family members.  If all goes well, an adoption contract is signed and the animal goes to live in its new “furever” home!  

WEGDR loves all of the animals that cross their path but every now and then, the universe will send one their way who leaves a special paw print on their hearts.  Michelle had a story about one of these animals.  One Sunday afternoon, they rescued a beautiful Great Dane who was found lying in the dirt, in terrible shape.  Michelle recalls, “That’s how she got her name - Sunday!  She had a body score of 1 out of 10, meaning she was severely emaciated, full of intestinal parasites, heartworms, fleas, ticks…”  Despite her terrible circumstances, she was sweet and loving, as is frequently the case with rescue dogs.  WEGDR rushed her to the vet to begin treatment and they realized that on top of all her health issues, she was also pregnant!  The veterinarian worried that none of the puppies would be able to survive, due to the poor condition of the mother.  One week later, Sunday was able to deliver 5 of the puppies but in her weakened state she could no longer handle it on her own so she was given an emergency C-section.  Sadly, the remaining puppy did not make it but Sunday was finally stable.  She had 4 beautiful puppies and she loved and cared for them all.  Thanks to WEGDR, Sunday made a miraculous recovery.  “She gained weight [and] was an absolute sweetheart with so many great qualities.  An absolute perfect girl!”  Sadly, Michelle said there was very little interest in Sunday, in terms of adoption.  “Then one day, the perfect family came - I knew right away she was meant for them and they were meant for her.  Sunday is now over 10 years old and still doing great.”  Her puppies all found wonderful homes as well, and they will turn 5 this year! 

Making amazing stories like Sunday’s come true is the reason WEGDR does what they do.  However, in order to continue rescuing, they need your help.  The rescue is 100% volunteer based and funded completely on donations.  Daily operational costs can run as high as $250, and do not include all of the veterinary care and countless other expenses that come with such a mission.  If you are interested in helping, there are several things you can do:

- Become a foster!  You can find the application here: http://www.watersedgegreatdanerescue.com/#!become-a-foster-home/i8jbu. The rescue provides food, a crate, dishes, beds and toys.  Fosters provide love, socialization and a safe place for the dog to be until finding its “furever” home.  Other duties may include making arrangements for pick-up / drop-off to vet visits, adoption events and getting the animals wherever else they need to be.  

- Volunteer!  Help is always needed with transporting dogs, picking up supplies and medications, supporting foster families and working at adoption events.  

- Donate!  Monetary donations as well as donations of supplies, food, etc. are welcome.  Local donations can be dropped off at Animal Medical West in West Ashley.  They have an Amazon Wishlist and a Paypal account, as well.  You can mail donations to:  WEGDR, PO Box 71, Bonneau, SC 29431.  More information about donating can be found here: 

http://www.watersedgegreatdanerescue.com/#!donate/ctzx

- Share!  Use your social media skills to help animals in need.  Follow WEGDR on Instagram and Facebook and let your friends and family know what this wonderful organization is doing for the rescue community.  

For information about upcoming events, adoptable animals and other ways to help, please visit the website.  


As for what is to come, Michelle foresees many years of rescuing.  “Our future goal is to one day have a facility with some land.  We are currently a foster home based rescue.  It would be awesome to have a facility where volunteers could come and help with the dogs daily!”  For all of the people of WEGDR and their big hearts that love some VERY big dogs...I hope all of your wishes come true.