People huddled on the floor between chairs, tables, puddles of drool and furiously wagging tails.
Although dogs are always welcome at Lone Tree Brewing Company, more than usual gathered in the tasting room on July 31, towering over patrons as they doled out pats and ear scratches.
Big Dogs Huge Paws, an organization specializing in rehoming giant breed dogs, had come to town to hold an adoption event promoting the 65 dogs under the group’s care.
The nonprofit places dogs in roughly 14 states and holds events like the one at Lone Tree Brewing to help people begin the adoption application process or learn about the organization.
The Larkspur-based nonprofit does not have a brick-and-mortar location and instead places dogs with foster families until a permanent home can be found. Dogs come into Big Dogs Huge Paws’ care from a variety of backgrounds and at different ages.
Vetting potential adopters takes between four and six weeks. Volunteer staff with Big Dogs Huge Paws speak with an applicant’s veterinarian, check references, conduct home visits and bring a giant breed dog to the location so both staff and the family can get a feel for a large animal in the home. Dogs can grow larger than 200 pounds, according to the group’s website.
Applicants with experience owning giant dog breeds are preferred, and most dogs have a waitlist, said Kati Harken, the organization’s community outreach coordinator.
“With giant breeds comes bigger health issues. Obviously, it costs more to feed them. Bigger personalities, behaviors,” Harken said. “So, we really do like folks to have experience.”
Harken said meet-and-greets with dogs also help people familiarize themselves with breeds the nonprofit works with.
Mike Webster, tasting room manager for Lone Tree Brewing Company, said the partnership with Big Dogs Huge Paws began several years ago as part of the brewery’s monthly charity program.
The local craft brewery is dog-friendly and tries to place an emphasis on community events, he said, making Big Dogs Huge Paws a natural partner.
“You can see how many dogs and people showed up,” he said. “Who doesn’t love dogs?”
Among the crowds fawning over great Pyrenees, great Danes and Newfoundlands were Emma and Colleen Shumate, a mother-daughter pair from Castle Rock. The family adopted two great Danes through the organization and came to Lone Tree to support them at the event.
Colleen said the family had a good experience working with the nonprofit after always having wanted a giant breed dog. The animals are “the biggest lap dog you’ll ever have,” Colleen said laughing, adding the dogs don’t know their size.
“The ‘gentle giant’ is true,” Emma said.
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