Pyrenees dogs waiting patiently for their furever families. Maybe yours is one of them.
By Leigh Ann Mitchell | KATY MAGAZINE, September 2017
Four-legged canine friends come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but nothing catches an eye like the Great Pyrenees. “Great Pyrenees are traffic-stopping dogs,” explains Cynthia Nesser, a volunteer at Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue (TGPR). “When walking one of these large, white, fluffy creatures in public, you will be stopped often with a myriad of questions.” Many want to know what breed of dog it is or how much it eats.
High Class Gentle Giants
The Great Pyrenees is considered a giant among the working-class dog breeds. This breed originated in the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain.
Their weight ranges between 80 to 130 pounds. What sets them apart from other large breeds is their unique appearance. They have a thick, white, double coat primarily made of long hair with an undercoat of fluffy, nearly waterproof fur. These dogs also have webbed feet and double dew claws. “With regal good looks, they easily demand attention at any gathering. In fact, they were named the official ‘Court Dog’ by Louis the XVI of France,” Nesser shares.
Loyal and Loving
Despite their great size, the temperament of the Great Pyrenees is shrouded in loyalty and love. They are known to be great with children and pets and also make great guardians for livestock.
Since Great Pyrenees have such a thick, fluffy coat, frequent brushing and grooming is very essential. “This is very important as matted hair in southern climates can hold moisture and result in hot spots,” Nesser points out. This breed also does not require any more food than the average large dog. “Due to their slow metabolisms and general lazy nature, they do not require a large amount of food and a twice a day feeding will suffice.” The laid back nature of Great Pyrenees generally enjoys walks and easy routines.
Pyrenees Safe Haven
Founded in the 1990’s, the TGPR is a non-profit volunteer operated organization. Dedicated volunteers protect and rescue Great Pyrenees in Texas and surrounding areas. “Most of the shelters in Texas will contact TGPR when they receive a Great Pyrenees as it is very difficult to adopt out large breed dogs,” Nesser clarifies. “Additionally, if they are not in great shape, if their coat is matted and they are underweight and unhappy, they are not as appealing to potential adopters.” The rescue helps give these dogs time in a family environment where they heal emotionally and physically. Medical attention and basic training are also administered to help them become adoptable. The outcome is truly remarkable.
A Lot to Love
TGPR exists to help those dogs who have been abandoned or relinquished by their owners to shelters. “In our point-of-purchase society, many people will buy a Great Pyrenees puppy without regard to the time and dedication any worthy pet requires,” Nesser explains. “A Great Pyrenees puppy, which resembles a baby polar bear, can weigh significantly more than a human newborn. But, in just a few months there is a bouncing, chewing 40 to 50 pound puppy wreaking havoc in the house.” Many times unfortunately, the new puppy craze wears off and the dog becomes a permanent fixture of the backyard, is brought to the shelter or abandoned. “Most of the Great Pyrenees TGPR rescues are over a year and already show signs of neglect,” adds Nesser.
Freckle's Finds a Katy Family
Over the years, the Katy Area has helped tremendously with Great Pyrenees fosters and adoptions. Many in the community have opened their homes to several dogs. One dog, Freckles, was fostered and then later adopted by Savitha Rajan and her family in Katy. He came from a sanctuary and wasn’t used to living indoors or having human contact. His life is now completely different and Freckles is living a happy and healthy life now. “He has become part of our pack, home, and hearts. He is a total mama's boy,” explains Rajan. “He walks to school with our daughter, goes to coffee shops and shopping, loves to hang out next to the pool, and wherever you are.”
The Great Pyrenees is a unique dog breed with a calm temperament and a heart of gold. Special care and attention is essential in keeping these gentle giants happy and healthy. The Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue of Texas is dedicated in rescuing, rehabilitating, and adopting out these canine friends.
LEIGH ANN MITCHELL is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University. She is an avid animal lover and supporter of pet adoptions.
Photography courtesy of Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue
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