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Great Pyrenees Rescue
By Mary K. Cassidy

How would such a large, wonderful and loving dog need to be rescued?

This is a very good question. Many of the people who have rescued these dogs ask that very same question.

I know that my husband and I do on many occasions. We will look at our dogs and then at each other and say, "Why would anyone give up this magnificent dog?" (We are so lucky that they did.)

Great Pyrenees

Here are a few reasons that we hear: 1) too much hair; 2) too much barking; 3) must move and cannot take dog with; 4) allergies; 5) they roam; 6)dealing with adolescent dog behavior; 7) stray.

Some are legitimate, but from our experience, many rescue situations occur because someone (the owner or the breeder) did not do their homework. Let's address these issues.

1) Too much hair.

Well, of course they have a lot of hair. This is not disguised or hidden from view. These dogs require and incidentally, enjoy being brushed.

Once a day is great, but for most Pyrs a couple times a week would be sufficient to maintain a reasonably clean dog and a relatively hair free house. Do people just lose that dedication or do they become lazy or just too busy?

Or perhaps, that particular care requirement was not taken seriously enough. Great Pyrenees do need to be brushed, so I look at this as a relaxation ritual for both of us and it can be done while watching your favorite TV program. Not really a very good reason for relinquishing your companion.

2) Too much barking.

It is the nature of most dogs to bark, but Great Pyrenees are supposed to bark at anything that appears to threaten their charges. Indeed, this can be annoying, but it can also be of great benefit as in the case of our llamas breaking out of the pasture and heading down our driveway at about midnight one spring night.

We would not have been aware of this were it not for the barking alert from our Great Pyr and her jumping on the windowsill (only time she has ever done that).

3) Owner must move and cannot take dogs with.

In many cases, this is just an excuse that people use to justify getting rid of their animal(s). I just wouldn't go to a place that I couldn't take my dogs.

4) Allergies.

Sometimes people will find they have irresolvable allergies to their pets and must relinquish ownership because of the health problems caused by the allergy.

In addition, owners may have a pet who has skin/stomach allergies and/or other health problems that may become too cumbersome (financially or time consuming) to allow them to keep their pet. This is unfortunate but sometimes relinquishing their pet becomes a last option.

5) They roam.

With proper fencing and attention, they can only go as far as your containment will allow. It is our responsibility to prevent them from doing what has been bred into Great Pyrenees for centuries.

They do not roam as such, but patrol as far as they can see, because this is their job. It is our responsibility again to provide them with a safe and secure outdoor situation.

6) Adolescent dog behavior.

Dealing with adolescence in any creature is usually a challenge, if not (at times) downright difficult. As with most creatures (including humans) it is necessary to persevere thru a period of mental and physical growth to become adults.

With Great Pyrenees, this once cuddly 30-40 lb puppy has now become a 80-100 lb dog with a mind of his own and the hormonal drive to use it. This phase is sometimes tough, but by working on a regular basis with your dog..."this too shall pass".

Consistency, vigilance, patience and a sense of humor will help tremendously during this period.

7) Stray.

This is the worst issue of all to deal with because we are starting with a blank slate and have no idea what has happened with or to this animal.

It is also the most despicable and cowardly (other than abuse) way to "rid" yourself of an animal. THEY ARE NOT DISPOSABLE!!!!!

Is this harsh? Perhaps…but it is reality. These dogs are often referred to as gentle giants and for good reason. Most of them absolutely love the idea of being the guardian of young children and other smaller pets and animals.

It amazes me how our Nashoma's eyes light up when she hears the voices of our grandchildren announcing their arrival. This love and admiration is reciprocated and we witness a calming effect and gentleness emerge from even our loudest and most energetic grandchild.

Why were our two girls found wandering as strays? We may never know the reason(s)….it doesn't matter because we are so blessed that they are with us.

So to conclude, I would say that aside from just a few honest circumstances, I cannot understand why anyone would relinquish one of these loving, giant, gentle companions.

Do your homework, learn about and get to know the breed, accept the challenges and above all love them. You will be rewarded many, many times over.

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