Ethel is Home!

We drove from Maryland to North Carolina to adopt Ethel, a 5-year-old brindle Great Dane. She looked so happy in the picture, we were unprepared for reality.


My first thought was how thin she looked, her sagging teats telling the story of her years as a puppy mill breeding machine. We walked towards her, treats in our hands, but only took a few steps before she crouched, cringing, against the fence and starting an eerie crooning.

Her foster mom said Ethel “sang” whenever she was frightened. Moving slowly and not looking directly at her, I stretched out my hand for Ethel to smell. She sniffed, grabbed the treat, and backed away, wide-eyed and singing.

We learned Ethel’s story. She was in a puppy mill and, when it closed, she was given to a man who hit her, tied her up outside and let his other dogs attack her. The man moved away, leaving Ethel tied in the yard. His neighbors fed her and finally called the authorities.

Ethel wasn’t sure about getting in the back of our Explorer for the trip home, but she finally jumped in and settled down.

At our house she relaxed, but bedtime was a problem. Ethel had never seen stairs! Shaking and singing, she refused to go upstairs to sleep.

Michael coaxed her with treats, but once they were gone she bolted back to her loveseat, wild-eyed with fear. I slept on the couch that night so she wouldn’t be alone.


The days went by and Ethel settled in. She mastered her fear of the evil stairs, took over our loveseat, a corner of our bedroom and our hearts. She discovered the joys of chasing squirrels, romping with dog buddies and tasting people food.

She is a constant joy and we love her dearly.

Story submitted by Joan of Annapolis, MD.

Ethel’s story was originally shared on Share your very own rescue story here!

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