Miss Ellie Mae is doing GREAT and we are loving life with her by our side! She and Rocky have become best buddies. Ellie loves finding small spots to snuggle in to in the apartment and she and Rocky love going on walks together. She *loves* getting brushed every Sunday and always stay close by my side, no matter where we are. She loves going for rides in the car and is the first to greet visitors at the apartment.
When poor Misty came to the rescue she had the WORST ear infections the vet had ever seen...bloody discharge coming from both ears...which lead to her hearing loss. Not only that, but the poor girl had breast cancer! Two mastectomies later she was cancer free, but still needed a home. After 7 months in rescue, Misty, now Ellie Mae, found a wonderful home with her new mommy and brother, Niki & Rocky.
This is our dog Klondike! He was a "senior" when we adopted him, but he does not act like it. His brother, Big, is sleeping on his back in the first pic, and the others are our boys, who adore him. He's the most adorable dog, his personality is so gentle and sweet. He does what we call the "Wild Rumpus" where he races around the table, down the hall, and back again, crashing into furniture and knocking kids down like bowling balls. It's so funny. Can't imagine life without him.
Kyna (formerly Stormy) has come a LONG way since we brought her home a year and a half ago. When she first became part of our family, she was so nervous, shy, & scared. Her tail was constantly between her legs and she hunkered down anytime anyone came near her. Now she holds her tail high and thinks she's a lap dog. Kyna has loads of energy and wants to run and play a LOT!
Fallon (formerly Callie) is still the mellow, love sponge we brought home. She would be perfectly happy to plop down next to me and have me rub her stomach forever. Fallon really does love getting love and attention (and doggie cookies.) We did have some troublesome medical issues for the first several months after we brought her home. Recurring and massive ear infections drug her down; which we figured out were caused by a food allergy. For many months we fought with getting it cleared up and after many tests, trials, and medications it's all good.
Both Kyna and Fallon love attention and thinking going for walks is the next best thing to doggie biscuits. They're always on the hunt for the next great smell! We've taken them camping with us, and they seem to enjoy that as much as we do. Although, the don't seem particularly keen to sleep on their beds, and much prefer sleeping with us. It can get quite crowded on a queen sized air mattress with two big dogs!
Again, thanks so much for all you do for the dogs in need of care and hope.
IZZY! Now Isabelle joined our home Aug 2010. Since leaving the rescue she has become an avid lover of the outdoors often spending time hiking, running and tearing things up at the dog park. Isabelle may have been through a lot but you would never know it. She is a kind dog with a very big heart. I call her the 65 lb snuggler & boy she sure can kick your butt on a snowshoe trip or on a run!
I adopted Layla (formerly Lilya) at the end of August 2010. She is my sweet companion who I love dearly. She is growing into an even more wonderful little lady and I couldn't ask for a better personality or friend. Thank you Great Pyrenees Rescue for taking care of her until her path home was found.
I adopted Blake in November of 2009. I had just moved to Colorado and was dead set on adopting a golden retriever. Then I met Dawn at an adoption event at PetSmart... I didn't know much about pyrs at the time, but in the days after I met her she stuck in my mind, along with the dogs. I went back to see her and the dogs again at her house and was so impressed with how passionate both her and Ken were about the rescue. I was interested in a different female, but Dawn insisted Blake was the perfect dog for me and she was 100% right. I agreed to foster him and the 1st weekend I had him, he managed to get out the door and run away. Of course I chased after him and eventually lost sight of him, going back home in tears. I walked in the front door, which I had left wide open, and there he was just sitting on the stairs smiling at me. He was just testing me...the next day, I let Dawn know I was going to adopt him.
I can't even begin to say how much Blake has changed my life for the better. Every morning, I wake up and am so grateful for him. Just seeing his face fills my heart with love. Everywhere we go, people stop and say what an amazing dog he is and I'm really not sure how I got so lucky! I am forever indebted to Dawn and Ken for saving him and choosing me for his forever home.
I returned from a trip back home, and found myself at Dawn's and Ken's "Pyr Farm" to take home a new foster. I expressed to Dawn that I wanted a foster who *really* needed me. Someone sick, for instance, would make a great foster, since at the time we had no other dogs at home to contract any illnesses.
Being the rescue that it was, there were often some sick dogs. They didn't become sick by being there of course (I feel i need to say), but Dawn and Ken took Pyrs of all needs. Too often, sadly, they had kennel Cough or other upper respiratory illnesses. "Staysha", it turned out, was no different.
Stasha came to the rescue with what seemed like her entire litter. They were all 10 months old now, from Oklahoma. They were all coughing and snotty, and fearful, to say the least. Dawn described Staysha as being the most brave. Still, when i met her, she pulled from me and didn't want to stand up. I was worried; did this dog have mean tendencies? When they are sick, do we really know what they are like?
I had 4 cats at the time,and the dog needed to be pyrfect with my cats. I had a foster previously who loved them (as Pyrs are tend to do) but she was hyper and freaked them out a lot. My best friend cat, Mr. Gink, peed when he looked at her!
Dawn pulled Staysha up just enough to 'cat test' her with Dawn's cat, Molly. Staysha looked at Molly, sniffed her nose, and that was it. 'Okay', I thought.. good enough for now. In the car, Staysha tried to crawl up front to drive, as sick as she was. Naughty Staysha! I should have known she'd be alpha!
She wasn't eating at all. She just slept and was sick. I took puppy food, blended it in my blender, and fed it to her with a syringe. I did this several times a day, in addition to her dose of anti-biotics and her nebulizer treatments. It seemed like she'd never get better. She ignored me, the cats, everything. I worried that all this nursing would make me too attached to her. I was right.
Finally, one day, I offered her a treat. She still couldn't eat it. She took it in her mouth and stood at the back door for potty. She took it outside and buried it for later.. when she felt better. Sure enough, she eventually did. We learned that Staysha, who I had been calling "Ana" ( for Anastasia), still was amazing with my cats. She wasn't, however, house trained. I assume her and her sibs may have been livestock guardians, who never had to figure that out. It took months of frustrating "oppsies" until she figured it out. Honestly, she still has mistakes. But, we need patience with our babies.
I call her my "broken" Pyr, because she absolutely never barks.. almost ever. I think an intruder would find her smiling if they were to break in. On the other hand, she loves everyone and everything, and is a dream on the leash. And, like a true Pyr, can never get enough hugs and kisses!
In my last semester at my vet tech school, we reviewed toxicology in detail. I thought the whole time, how I wished I'd had this info before. I, for one, don't trust the internet too much. It was great learning it first hand, in class. Case in point, one day, we realized a tiny bottle of anti-freeze for our motorcycles managed to find itself left in the back yard. Not in a place we thought accessible to our dogs, but.. they found it. They found it, because it smells sweet and tastes even sweeter. Rat poison is like that too.. it's meant to seem attractive to the mice, so it's attractive to your pets. I about had a heart attack that night, when my boyfriend told me they wrangled off the lid. He caught them fresh in the act, and assured me that no one got more than 1 lick, if that. But, I had heard so many horror stories, so I kept checking my dogs all night for symptoms. When I learned the reality of the toxicity, i felt kinda stupid. Not stupid for my concern, but stupid that i wasted so much time freaked out over a potential lick.
When I finally took my class on the subject, I created this cheat sheet for my friends. It's not inclusive of toxic plants and veggies, but it addresses some other concerns. As a rule of thumb, always research all the flowers and plants which grow in your yard to exclude any potential toxins, and of course, never feed your dogs grapes, onions, or garlic. Grapes can cause kidney failure, and onions/garlic can cause hemolytic anemia. I don't have the lethal doses, but just keep them away!
In addition, if you are moving into a new house, patrol the garage and basement.. any other nooks where previous owners may have set out traps for rodents.
Signs: vomiting, diarrhea, yellowing of mucous membranes
ETHYLENE GLYCOL (anti-freeze)
Lethal dose 1.5 ml/kg cat, 6.6 ml/kg dog
Signs: vomiting, difficulty walking “appears drunk”, lethargy, excess drinking/peeing, seizures, coma, fast breathing, fast heart beat (dogs can have these symptoms and then seem to improve but it’s not real)
XYLITOL (sugar substitute found in sugarless gum, diabetic candy, diet yogurt, chewable vitamins, baked goods)
Toxic dose: 0.15g/kg
Signs: weakness, depression, seizures, coma
Home methods to induce vomiting
*do not induce vomiting if your animal is having seizures, difficulty breathing, appears to not be getting enough oxygen (blue gums) or if known substance is caustic (acidic) Okay to induce for chocolate, anti-freeze, Xylitol, Tylenol, toxic plants, and rodenticides
Ipecac syrup (especially in cats) Oral administration
0.5 to 1 tsp per 10 lbs – dog, 1 tsp- cat
Hydrogen Peroxide 3% Oral administration
1 tsp/10 lbs by mouth; do not exceed 3 tbsp
(Kilograms are your animal’s weight in pounds divided by 2.2)
ANIMAL POISON CONTROL CENTER 1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435)
I think most dog owners are familiar with the term "kennel cough". We are mostly familiar, because before we board our dogs, or let them play at day care, we need to get them vaccinated against it. The vaccination is called Bordetella, and it is named precisely after the bacteria which causes it.
Your friend can contract Bordetella not unlike how we contract a cold. Someone sneezing in our faces, sharing a glass of water with our cootie friend, using a pen after someone wiped their nose and wrote with it. Your pet can share his glorious spit with a buddy during play and come down with the bacterial infection. But think of it like a cold.. we don't all *get* something due to exposure, but we are at risk.
The myth about this infection, is that "kennel cough" describes all things which cause respiratory distress in our friends. The reality is, is that there are thousands of viruses, bacteria, and fungi which can enter their respiratory tract and cause comparable symptoms. Kennel cough merely suggests infection of the Bordetella bacterium specifically.
While you can take your dog to the vet and treat this bacterial infection with anti-biotics and such, it doesn't mean that your dog's Bordetella vaccination didn't work. Many owners return from day care, their dog gets sniffles in a week, and they assume it's kennel cough. It could be any number of other nasty critters which can be passed to our dogs from other dogs. So.. they didn't contract Bordetella, they got something else. (with extreme, especially prolonged coughing, always see a vet).
Kennel cough isn't serious on the whole, and untreated it can go away by itself. This is not to say that what I've learned in school should ever replace the sound advice of your vet. I had a foster dog, diagnosed with kennel cough, who was anorexic and extremely lethargic. For her, it was likely her condition progressed to pneumonia before I had her, or it was something altogether different such as Canine Influenza. I will never be sure, but she certainly was on anti-biotics. Even if your vet suspects it's a viral infection, they may still prescribe anti-biotics to ward off any potential secondary viral infections while your dog's immune system is compromised.
Bordetella, like most bacterial infections, is contagious. If you are a big-hearted person who takes dogs into your home, beware the signs of coughing and runny noses. Isolate that dog until they can be checked out by a veterinarian. No owner should ever diagnose their pets, and no one should ever read anything and take it as gospel over the sound advice of your doc!
I've met more pet owners than not, who are baffled by seeing their dog (or cat) scoot their little behinds along the ground. Often, at first, we assume we have some unsightly "dingleberries" who have not relinquished their hold on our precious pet's hairs around their bottoms. More often than not, we now become educated about the reality of anal glands! These glands are at 4 and 8 o'clock around your friend's.. well, shoot.
I have noticed, with pet grooming becoming more common, that owners are made aware, as most groomers list that they are charging you to "express the anal glands". I grew up in the early 80's.. we knew my dog had a bottom.. but, that was about it. I can't even remember the luxury of amazing anti-parasite meds; my poor dog did his best to fend of unwanted critters with his flea collar and that was about it.
For many owners, they may be fortunate to never have to know, or care, about their dogs anal glands. For others, it can become a frustrating challenge. For the average owner, it may come up once or twice.. or never. Anal glands are there to mark your animal's scent on their feces as it's being expelled. It aids them in marking their territory, and in theory, a normal defecating dog's glands will be expressed with every potty break and it might not become an issue. For others, the glands are not expressed, and therefore we need to do it ourselves (and by ourselves, I mean, we pay someone else to do it!)
It's imperative the material in the glands finds it's exit. If normal dog "time" isn't doing it, we find our friends scooting their butts across the floor. It's irritating to them, and if it goes unchecked, it can become impacted and infected.
If you see your buddy scooting, don't brush it off. It doesn't have to figure itself out; a trip to your vet or your groomer may be all you need. Severe reoccurances of impaction can sometimes mean surgery. Understand however, that most groomers do what we call an "external" expression. They press on the exterior of the location and some contents are expelled. For a proper expression, see your veterinarian where a veterinary technician will happily do it the "right" way, which is to palpate your pet internally and ensure all the material is removed. Unless there is an infection or impaction, this shouldn't hurt. And on top of it, you make your vet tech's day.. ;)
It's not common in cats, but one of my cats needed this done, so don't misread their signals either. And of course my cat, being a cat, screamed bloody murder while they attempted to do it. They gave him a light sedative to ease his emotional state during the procedure, but he was fine.
During your routine veterinary visit, your doc will check that region to ensure they don't feel a build up, but you can always ask them too. Most vets will express the glands for free, or for *almost* free.
The "bottom" line (ha ha) is that don't let it go. If you see your buddy scooting, help them out! A quick trip to the vet, for little or no money, should make it all right again!
When the Colorado Great Pyrenees Rescue was still fully functioning to take in dogs, Dawn & Ken hardly turned a dog away. Some rescues only take "highly adoptable" dogs, and that was never the case with CGPR. They took dogs with broken legs, tumors, heart worm disease, gun shot wounds, you name it. And, of course, dogs with heart conditions.
In 2009, two tiny pups came into the rescue. They were found abandoned in a snow storm and left to fend for themselves. Affectionately named Fluffy (the girl) and Tuffy (the boy), they entered the rescue and quickly found homes, as puppies are tend to do. Tuffy had a heart murmur, and needed further diagnostics before he was adopted out. Upon taking him to a specialist, it was determined he had severe Subaortic Stenosis, and a grade 6 murmur. His prognosis was to live to be 2 years old. In a nutshell, Aortic Stenosis describes a condition where there is narrowing (stenosis) in the heart which causes jet lesions and thickening of the heart wall, which eventually leads to sudden death or congestive heart failure. Dogs with mild conditions can lead relatively normal lives, but severe cases can be marked by fainting, lethargy, and exercise intolerance prior to true heart failure. Naturally, they need to be on medication to slow their blood pressure, and blood work done every 6 months to ensure optimal liver & kidney function which can be impaired by prolonged drug use.
Tuffy found a woman who loved him, and he lived with her for 5 months. She was unable to keep him, and he returned to the rescue. By this point, he was 10 months old and had, in theory, a year of life left. I took Tuffy, renamed Cahota by his previous owner, and agreed to foster him. Fostering is hard in general, but very rewarding. I took Cahota to adoption events, where he quickly won hearts of many. He is sweet, handsome; a great boy. When I disclosed his condition, people retracted and lost interest. I can't blame them.. to love an animal so deeply and intensely, knowing your time is so limited, is tough. I told Dawn when he was over 1 year old, I would keep him. He deserves to know a real family, and sitting up for adoption too long was more heartbreaking than his prognosis.
I recall the last adoption event I attempted to take him to. It was time to go; to throw on the "adopt me" vest and meet Dawn at the event. He was playing in my back yard, in the snow, with our 2 other dogs. Nope. I'm not asking him to stop playing today. Not today, not ever. Cahota became ours. Before truly committing, I had to run it by my boyfriend who I live with. Concerned, because I am a big softie, he was sure to ask me all the key questions. "Are you sure you can do this? It's not going to be easy." I answered, no.. I wasn't sure. But, it didn't matter. Nothing was going to lessen my grief when that day was to come, but also, I am in school to be a veterinary technician and have a clear understanding of his condition.
Cahota, who I affectionately call "Coatsy", is now 19 months old, and doing well. As a lazy breed, I am not quick to see signs of lethargy or exercise intolerance, as that pretty much can look like most Pyrs, especially ones a little older. Cahota already also has allergies, but in addition I learned shortly into having him that he has bi-laterally luxating patellas (both knee caps pop out). At first it was just one, but now they are both luxated. My sweetie is from the land of misfit dogs! Typically this condition is never left untreated, and surgery is the best option for correction. Without correction, they are at risk of tearing the ligaments there, should their knee pop out at the wrong time. He cannot undergo surgery due to his heart, so we had to get him on an anti-inflammatory/analgesic drug to help alleviate the swelling. His drug has worked wonderfully, and he only pops out infrequently now. My veterinarian assured me that I can pop them back in as needed, and Cahota actually will look to me and lean in for me to do this for him! He knows "mom" always makes him feel better. For his allergies, I give him fish oil pills and they work wonders. I didn't want to give him Benadryl or any other drug, as his poor liver is already processing two other drugs as it is. My Coatsy is made of spare parts, but it's okay because I have a ton of spare love.
Through all the special needs dogs we have seen with this rescue, I wish more people were inclined to consider them. The reality is, is that we never know how much time we have. Certain disease conditions, such as cancer, can hit young and we can never anticipate them. I wouldn't suggest a special needs dog whose condition is fatal for someone as their first dog, as I fear the experience may put them off of dogs forever once the inevitable happens. In my head, I remind myself that every creature has a life expectancy, and Coatsy's is 2. It's sad he, and dogs like him, won't get more.. but they still need you. And you never know.. he may give me a lot more years! Coatsy's gift to me every day, is that I am constantly reminded of how little time we have together, and I always give him an extra hug and kiss, on top of the approximately 1,290 he probably already gets! I look at my other 2 dogs, and then I give them extra ones too.
Update, March 3rd, 2012:
I have been working for a veterinary cardiologist. We took Coatsy in recently to get him a check up. We learned that his condition had not progressed very much, and he was doing good! I attribute the lack of disease progression in part to his breed: Great Pyrenees are sleepy dogs, so he doesn't frequently exert his heart. He still has severe subaortic stenosis, mild mitral valve regurgitation and mild aortic insufficiency. While still at risk for sudden death and bacterial endocarditis (part of his heart is thickened, not allowing for 'safe' passage of bacteria that may enter his blood through an infected wound... so infections or surgery are still potentially life-threatening) my board certified Cardiologist feels he is not at risk for Congestive Heart Failure for up to 3 years!!!
The most important thing I've learned working in cardiology is that heart failure isn't an immediate death sentence. It sounds ominous, but it can be treated and controlled for potentially considerable lengths of time. A dog can come out of failure for a period of time and live somewhat healthy. While his heart can never be 'fixed', I know with great care I can manage his condition and manage his disease through heart failure and get more time with my Coatsy.
Great Pyrenees are famous for their double dew claws. Most dogs have a dewclaw; what seems to an "extra" toe on their limbs that is more proximal to the body. Some owners have these removed often during spay/neuter. The theory is that they are vestigial appendages and can cause damage if they are left on the dog. The dog may snag or tear them during their normal play or work.
For Great Pyrenees, these appendages are a breed standard. They are often a breed disqualifier in show circuits if they do not have them. Functionally, the extra "two toes" are there to offer more leverage and grip while they are navigating their terrain performing their livestock duties. As non-livestock friends, we keep them because they are a breed trait and often owners find no drawback to retaining them.
Some dewclaws (and double dewclaws) are more "floppy" than others. Some dogs with these appendages can use them quite effectively to add extra grip to their step. Other dogs, they seem more non-functional and seem to hang. Either way, they are not "dead" appendages, and have an adequate amount of blood supply and tendons nonetheless.
Personally, I feel that the argument for removal is tantamount to that of dewclawing a cat. They are natural parts of the dog's body, and can serve a function in the case of these working dogs. I have read several articles, and spoken with many experienced Pyr owners, who claim they have never had a problem allowing their dogs to retain their dewclaws. As an avid Pyr owner and lover, I adore nothing more than seeing double dews on a Pyr mix...a sure piece of proof they may be of this distinguished bloodline of amazing dogs.
I have two Pyrenees myself. My Ana has only one slight remnant of double dew on one of her back paws. My Cahota has typical double dews on both back legs, though they are more the "hanging" type of double dews. In my experience with the breed, I have met several Pyrs whose dews seem highly functional and not "hanging".
Some things I've read suggest if your Pyr is absent of double dews, that they are not a pure bred Pyr. Experience has taught me this may not be true, as we have witnessed dogs of clear Pyr bloodlines have puppies without. All the same, we have found dogs that have "an aunt Pyr in the wood pile" who clearly do not look exclusively Pyrenees, yet have retained that double dew.
Either way, anything inherently Pyrenees is a beautiful thing, because Pyrenees are beautiful and are a gift from nature and breeding. In my opinion, leave your double dews as they are. They are a special little reminder of how amazing Great Pyrenees are!
I originally started fostering Reg in September of last year (2010). I wanted to see if getting another dog would help bring my other pup, Reese, out of her shell a bit. Reese was used as a bait dog for dog fighting and terribly abused and terrified of everything to the point where she would have stress-induced colitis flare ups when I wasn't home because the upstairs neighbors would get loud.
I met Dawn at an adoption event one weekend when I was getting Reese food and met some of the pups needing homes, but I didn't find a match. The next day I went up to the rescue and met lots more doggies, but fell in love with Reg!
Ken brought Reg to my apartment the next weekend to see how he and Reese got along. Reg learned quickly not to touch Reese's treats, but other than that they love each other. Reg had been with Reese and me for about a month before we realized he wasn't going anywhere, he had found his forever home with us! It's been almost a year and we all couldn't be happier. Reese hasn't had a single colitis flare up since Reg has been with us! She loves her big brother and protector!
I am truly so grateful for Dawn and Ken for rescuing this sweet boy and bringing him into my life!
This picture was sent to us by Kathryn, Buck's former foster mom. Buck got adopted by one of Kathryn's co-workers, so she gets frequent updates on how he is doing! This is from Buck's first camping trip with his family! Turns out, he LOVES camping!