One cool canine |

One cool canine

Ellen DeGeneres held a huge Nevada County resident in her arms Monday afternoon on her show. And though DeGeneres is ever at ease with America’s biggest celebrities, she did – for a fraction of a second – look uneasy when this enormous guest put his arms (paws) on her shoulders and looked her in the eye.

And following the show another big celebrity, model and hotel heiress Paris Hilton, got a big surprise when the same guest from Grass Valley gave her a huge hug.

Well, who wouldn’t? For this very unusual guest of DeGeneres’ was none other than Gibson, the world’s tallest dog.

Gibson is a 4-year-old harlequin Great Dane who stands about 42 and a half inches at the shoulders, according to his owner, Sandy Hall. On his hind legs, Gibson stands more than 7 feet, 6 inches tall. He weighs more than 170 pounds.

“Gibson was wonderful; he loves the camera and the camera loves him,” Hall said about the DeGeneres Show experience. “It was a lot of fun. We were treated very nicely. Top accommodations. Hotel, very nice. The cars, very nice. Gibson had his own dressing room. All the producers and writers came and introduced themselves. They had pictures taken with him.”

Gibson has made other high-profile media appearances this month. He has made it to the pages of the April 2006 issues of Ladies’ Home Journal magazine and Life magazine.

In the past, he has been covered by “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Inside Edition” and many others.

“We have been called by Montel Williams, Martha Stewart and ‘Fox & Friends,'” Hall said. “Those are all East Coast shows, and transportation has been a very big issue. Airlines won’t ship him. They usually have to be 75 pounds or so.”

Gibson lives in Grass Valley on two acres of property off Brunswick Road with Hall, who also owns four other Great Danes. Hall is a breeder and trainer of Great Danes, and her kennel is called Great Danes Exclusive. Hall was also the owner of Gibson’s mother, who was killed in an accident in April 2005.

Hall confesses she usually cannot afford her own puppies – their prices start from $2,500 – but she nevertheless kept Gibson when he was born in 2002 because she long had a wish for a harlequin Great Dane.

On Monday afternoon, Gibson and his owner watched “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in the TV room of Meadow View Manor, the nursing home on Dorsey Drive, where Gibson – a certified therapy dog – has a lot of clients. The spacious room was full of people in wheelchairs, with walkers and sitting on the sofas – all waiting to see Gibson on screen.

When Gibson finally appeared on the TV, the audience was astir with excitement.

“It is very exciting,” said Maureen Betancourt, activity director at Meadow View Manor. “We all know Gibson, so now to also see that he is famous is very exciting for all of us. “

Gibson, who visits the facility with his owner about once a month, connects very well with the seniors, according to the staff.

“All I have to do is let everyone know that Gibson is coming, and they start gathering,” Betancourt said. “As soon as they hear his name, they all come out to see him.”

Joe Morphew, a certified nursing assistant at Meadow View, agreed.

“They love it when he (Gibson) comes in,” he said. “A couple of them are a bit standoffish, but he always brings a smile. He’s never snapped at any of them. There’s not a mean bone in his body.”

Hall is enamored of her celebrity pet.

“Gibson does wheelchair assistance and special needs,” she said. “He is a real gentle spirit. He is an absolute blessing, a gift. He’s the most awesome spirit I could spend my life with.”

This Saturday, Hall is celebrating Gibson’s fourth birthday at the Pet Mine in the Raley’s shopping center in Grass Valley. She wants to invite the whole community to the occasion. The party will be from noon to 3 p.m.

” We are actually previewing, debuting, his whole new merchandise line that’s being sold at the Pet Mine,” she said. “You can get your picture taken with Gibson. (The party will have a) birthday cake and surprises and prizes, things like that.”

For more on Gibson, which the Guinness Book of World Records lists as the tallest dog in the world, visit the Web site

To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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