Alumna Seeks Great Homes for Danes
They’re not all stars of the newspaper page or big screen,
but Karen Philips Randolph ’03
thinks they’re truly great.
Made a household name by the Marmaduke comic and more recent
summer film, Great Danes are a big part of Randolph’s life as an owner and rescuer.
She’s headed the Smoky
Mountain Great Dane Rescue for nearly two years in addition to continuously
keeping four dogs in her Knoxville,
“They really become family members more than other breeds of
dogs do,” said Randolph, who owns three Great Danes and fosters one at a time.
“Someone put it, ‘Most dogs love you, but Great Danes fall in love with you.'”
Despite their amiable personalities and lovable mugs, they
also take up quite a bit of space.
About 90 percent of the Great Danes Randolph receives are
from people who can no longer support the pets. They go from puppies to
150-pound pooches quickly, she said.
“They’re incredible dogs, but you have to be consistent with
training,” said Randolph.
A zoology major at Oswego,
she started her career working in a cat shelter and returned to animal welfare
as a volunteer while working at a zoo and, currently, in animal control.
With a base of about 30 active volunteers and roughly 100
supporters, the Smoky Mountain Great Dane Rescue placed about 20 dogs last
year. Randolph and her staff — which includes her husband, Rory — do thorough
interviews and follow up visits with adopting families.
“We take them in, we really work on them, we make sure they
are healthy,” the city of Knoxville animal control officer said. “We do a lot of training.”
The organization does numerous events for awareness and
fundraising each year, including a weekly Great Dane walk for current and
potential owners. They were able to use the Marmaduke
movie as a catalyst for media interviews and public awareness in June.
— Shane M. Liebler
Randolph ’03 and her dog, Appa, handle the Smoky Mountain Great Dane Rescue
booth at a recent event.
Back to July front page • Next story: Alumni Award • Previous story: Reunion 2010