History of the ‘Dane-a-Thon’didadmin
The first event was held on the grounds at Langdon Hall (Doon, ON) and was by invitation only. The original idea behind the Dane-a-Thon concept was let us to reunite with the Danes that had been recently adopted and simply have a fun day on a long walk around Langdon’s beautiful trails. There was a total of 28 participants and 30 dogs.
There were no booths or toilet facilities (I’m sure the grass at Langdon is greener because of that!) because the owners of Landon didn’t feel these fitted with the image they wanted to portray to their high paying hotel guests. We did, however, have Dr. Ken Burgess for vetting and St. John Ambulance in attendance from the very first event.
Arrangements were made with 2 breed clubs to participate in the annual Specialty Show held near St. Catherines. There, we were allowed to have a Sales table and conduct a Silent Auction (with restrictions as to how many items we could offer) to meet the increased financial burden of caring for rescued Danes. Our only sources of income up to this point were donations and the proceeds from Sales and Silent Auctions.
Invitation to the Dane-a-Thons was extended to the public and all breeds were able to attend.
The arrangement with the breed clubs continued until the fall of 2006. After the fall Specialty Show, they decided our tables were taking money out of the participants’ pockets, monies that could be spent on their own Silent Auction and we were told to cease participation. A sad reflection on the breed clubs when they won’t support rescue efforts!
After discussion, the owners of Langdon Hall allowed us to set up 2 booths for our Sales and Silent Auction, but would still not allow toilet facilities. (I’m sure they were still thinking of how green their grass had become!)
Through Internet exposure, extensive advertising and our solid reputation with the Dane community, our presence had become widely known throughout ON, and more people were attending our popular events.
The numbers of rescues had dramatically increased over the years and our costs were escalating dramatically. Pledges were introduced to supplement the funds necessary to survive.
The fall event saw a huge increase in the number of participants. Cars were lined up all the way down Langdon’s long driveway (about 1 kilometer long) to the Blair Road There were so many vehicles that virtually all the parking at Langdon was exhausted! It was, however, a fabulous event, but we could foresee problems with the venue due to concerns raised by Langdon owners about the lack of parking for their paying guests.
After a particularly wet spring (memories of this year!), volunteers had set up the trail signs around the Langdon trails on the Saturday before the scheduled event and were enjoying a celebratory meal that evening, pumping ourselves up for the following day. During the meal, we received a call from one of the Langdon owners informing us that parking could not be accommodated at their location.
Our only options were to either cancel the event (not possible the night before) or find an alternate venue. An organization called rare owned an adjacent property and the decision was made to change the venue to their property without prior permission, something we had never done before. Everyone piled in their cars and we set off for the second time that day to organize the event site. Parking would be done on a nearby unpaved, country road and we could use Langdon’s trails for the walk portion.
Throughout the event, everyone was blue in the face from holding their breath in case the police would arrive and stop the event from continuing, but fortunately that didn’t happen.
The event concluded successfully with media photographs appearing in the K-W- Record the next day, leading to a call from rare management demanding an explanation. A meeting was set up where I made up a presentation and appealed to them for permission to use the same area for future D-a-Ts, but it was a lost cause right from the start!
A new venue became the first priority!
A meeting was arranged with the owner (Tom Krizsan of Thomasfield Homes ) of the property, , where I had walked my own Danes since the spring debacle at Langdon and permission was obtained for the venue for future events until development started on the property.
Our first event at our current location, 2447 Victoria St. N, Breslau, took place and we were able to expand the number of activities at the event.
Each subsequent time, we introduced something new based on a critique of previous Dane-a-Thons and suggestions to accommodate the interests/welfare of participants and we’re constantly attempting to improve the event to attract more participants. Our goal has always been to make gradual changes to make sure we don’t overextend ourselves. The number of participants has gradually increased with successful planning.
This was our MOST SUCCESSFUL event EVER thanks to all those who attended, participated and donated their time, products or services! (Follow-up details are coming shortly on a separate web page on our site.) Preliminary numbers indicate there were over 240 people in attendance and in excess of 130 dogs of different breeds.
Some of the improvements suggested for the Fall, 2013 event include:
a) More shaded areas for attendees and their dogs.
b) Provision for poop-n-scoop drop-off along the trail section.
c) Preparation for many more participants than we had anticipated at this event! We expected a slight increase in numbers, but were pleasantly surprised to be totally overwhelmed. This led to a shortage of burgers, water and pop.
By attending our events, you help to fund another rescued Great Dane along the road to a happier life.
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We have an outstanding team of Board Members and volunteers who give up their time to make these events possible. I have never had the pleasure of working with a more dedicated, passionate group of people whose only interest is the welfare of the rescued Danes we take in with the eventual goal of re-homing them. No one in our organization receives any remuneration for the time, effort and products they devote to our cause – it’s a labour of passion, not financial compensation.
Many of our Board Members have full-time businesses to run. These are the key players in our organization. I am the only Board Member who is retired and can devote the necessary time to piddle (more, as time goes on!!) around for the part I play.
Our excellent Volunteer Team from across Ontario includes those who participate as event helpers, follow-up calling, foster homes, drivers, home checkers and for many other miscellaneous tasks that have to be done. There are too many names to mention here, but, without these dedicated people, none of it would be possible.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all of the above, and to everyone who has adopted one of our Great Danes.