TUCSON, Ariz. – When you're the biggest dog in the world, you make your own rules.
You cruise by countertops of an outdoor kitchen and adjacent barbecue and lower your calf-sized head a notch to sniff out any crumbs from a recent party.
You nuzzle up to a bystander, easing your floppy, foot-long ears into the middle of his chest to request some lovin'.
You saunter up to a couch, twist your 42-inch-tall, 245-pound body into a puppy pirouette and land your rump on your owner's lap to take a load off.
Such is life for 4-year-old George, the Greatest of Danes.
Realtor Dave Nasser, his owner — well, maybe "sidekick" is a better description — runs his fingers through George's turflike fur and talks not about the duo's big plans to etch their names into the Guinness Book of World Records, but of George's docile nature.
"Great Danes are inherently lapdogs. He really thinks he's a tiny dog and wants to sit on your lap all the time. He wants to be right with you," Nasser said.
"Danes aren't outside dogs. They're a little wimpy. You can't just buy one and expect to put it outside. They really are inside dogs and they want to be right with people."
It's good that George is a people person, because he's probably going to be seeing a lot of new ones in the coming months, and millions more could be seeing him.
Nasser and pals Paul O'Rourke and Dana Murray, both of whom have backgrounds in public relations and gather with their spouses at O'Rourke's back patio Friday evenings for happy hour, plan to make George into a canine colossus in the media. They hope to get him on talk shows, photo shoots, maybe even in the movies.
"Either (Jay) Leno, or (Conan) O'Brien seems to me a better fit," O'Rourke said. "You see dogs on all these shows on the circuit. Why not?"
George could probably use the ego boost, because he's adjusting to life with 1-month-old Annabel, the daughter of Nasser and his wife, Christine. George tries to sneak kisses with a tongue long enough to cover Annabel's head, but her parents are shielding her from the gentle giant for now.
The Nassers used to let George slumber with them in their king-size bed, but he's now relegated to a twin bed in the master bedroom because Annabel has taken his spot.
George wolfs down 100 pounds of food every three weeks, and his droppings can weigh 4 pounds or more. The Nassers keep a trash can in their backyard reserved for George's considerable waste.
When it's time to hit the road, George lumbers into the cab of Nasser's pickup truck, where he hunkers down behind the seats.
Before George claims fame, the first step is to be named the world's tallest dog.
A Guinness World Records spokesman said no dog is currently confirmed as the world's tallest. The latest edition, "Guinness World Records 2010," published Sept. 17, lists the tallest dog as Gibson, owned by Sandy Hall of Grass Valley, Calif. The Harlequin Great Dane was measured at 42.2 inches tall on Aug. 31, 2004, but Gibson died Aug. 7.
George's vet, William Wallace, said Great Danes usually range between 28 and 36 inches tall, and said George is the biggest dog he has seen in his 45 years of practice.
O'Rourke added that they're going public with their Guinness quest because of a recent news story about Boomer, the Landseer Newfoundland in North Dakota whose owner is trying to get Boomer listed in the Guinness World Records as the tallest dog. Boomer is 3 feet tall at the shoulders.
"Our hand has kind of been forced," said O'Rourke. He's a building products manufacturer's rep who used to run his own PR agency.
Guinness makes applicants jump through a number of hoops. Nasser is working through an application, which requires vital stats recorded by a vet, verification of the dog's statistics by other witnesses, a video and a press conference. Nasser said he'll finish his application within the next month.
O'Rourke and Murray are going a few steps further, planning a Facebook fan page for George. Murray, an account director at the Caliber Group, a PR firm, says the organization will be pitching in to spread the word about George. O'Rourke is savvy in the world of big media, having landed a former client, jockey Kent Desormeaux, on "The Tonight Show" in 1998. O'Rourke thinks he can get Nasser and George on the talk-show circuit.
There is precedent. Gibson made appearances on Oprah, Leno and other shows.
If George does go big-time, Nasser will have to get ready to adjust his life. He said any time he takes George to Udall Park, he gets swarmed by people.
"I have to listen to the same bad jokes," Nasser said in a good-natured, mock-complaining tone. "If I had a nickel for every time a guy asked if I had a saddle for him "