Rainbow Bridge

A Poem For the Unnamed Dogs
We cannot say how many flowers died today
Unpicked, unseen-
Or how many died to frosty change or trampled
Under human feet.
How many petals, plucked with regard to
Only their second’s reward-
We cannot recall the names of those flowers,
Their colors, their scents.
But like the fallen soldier, whose name was never sure
We can recall that tragic pass
And give pause to the things which lost you.
Ignorance and apathy, selfishness and the like,
We can build a sculpture in our minds
Wrought with those horrible things,
And never forget your plight.
Each day we lose you, each day you suffer
And for all our world’s worth of care
We cannot save each flower bloomed
But we remember that you were there.
-Shannon Murphy

Dawn M. Meaney
June 26, 1964 - December 29, 2010
"Our Guardian of Rainbow Bridge"
Dawn & Mya

In March of 2008, Dawn, with the support of her husband Ken and daughter Brianna, started The Colorado Great Pyrenees Rescue.  Between that time and her death, Dawn and her family rescued over 500 abused, neglected, and abandoned Great Pyrenees, Great Pyrenees mixes, and a slew of other dogs who needed to be saved.

“When we began searching for another family pet, we found that there were too many abused, neglected, and abandoned Pyrenees.  Now our family works together to bring home, love, and place unwanted Pyrs into forever loving homes.  They are very special dogs, deserving very special people.”  

When the rescue began, Dawn anticipated helping far fewer dogs, merely due to the constraints of everyone working full time jobs, in combination with the financial challenges.  At any given time, the rescue had between 20-50 dogs at Dawn & Ken's house (The Pyr Farm) and others that were in foster homes.  They had originally planned to contain the rescue at 18 dogs, but Dawn had a hard time not saving more.  Dawn & Ken converted their entire downstairs of their home into kennel facilities, which had rooms for sick dogs, puppies, and then the rest.  As a practicing nurse, Dawn never found any illnesses or potential disease conditions as a reason to not save a life.  She took in dogs with tumors, gun shot wounds, upper respiratory infections, broken & deformed limbs, heart worm, and geriatric dogs.  While some donations came in, the majority of the resources to support that many lives came out of pocket for the Meaneys.  They went to great personal and financial lengths to restore the rescued dogs to their best potentials, inclusive of heart specialists and orthopedic procedures.

Dawn had the support of her veterinarian, Dr. David Schulman, who treated her dogs at deeply discounted prices and was always able to help her dogs even if she didn't have the money at the time.  She always said, "I couldn't do it without him."  Working as a full time nurse, and running the rescue, Dawn still found the time to help out at Dr. Schulman's.  There was a time when he was understaffed, and Dawn showed up in her personal time and helped out.  "It's the least I can do", she said, "for all he does for me".  All of the rescue's volunteers remember Dawn as a woman who felt deeply grateful and moved by all the volunteer support she received.  Like she, we all loved every single dog that came into that rescue.  A heart larger than most, she took a deep, vested emotional interest in the outcome of all of her rescued dogs.  She offered a lot of owner support and guidance, and a ton of breed education.  Self described often as "having no tact", Dawn was equally known as a woman who had no problem expressing her opinion to an owner whose dog was being surrendered or confiscated due to lack of care.

Dawn passed away in December of 2010.  Naturally, none of us felt we had feet big enough to fill her shoes, nor the courage, spirit, and fire inside to do half of what she did every single day.  To honor her memory, and to continue to help keep dogs in homes, we created this blog site as a resource.  Lack of training coupled with lack of owner education is what leads to dogs being surrendered.  We know she looks down on us with continued gratitude as we continue to try and give the Great Pyrenees dog community a place to share insight and offer their dogs the best, forever homes.

Outside of the dog rescue, Dawn was an inspiration as a woman to all who met her;  Persistent, stubborn, protective, empathetic, and honest.  I write those 5 words and realize that Dawn and her precious Pyrenees were more alike than we will ever know, and that is why she felt compelled to save so many.

Dawn & Zoey
Brighton Christmas Parade 2010 
Dawn & Winx
Brighton Christmas Parade 2010
Dawn on the top right with Misty
Puppy Up! 2010
Dawn and her Pyrs! 

1999 -10/13/2012

Lacy was adopted by Ken and Dawn when she was already a girl of considerable age.  Ken estimated Lacey lived to the impressive age of 13, when she had to be put to sleep.  Lacey saw so many Pyrenees come and go through the rescues days, and found great comfort and love being rescued by Dawn and Ken.  Lacey is the first dog to pass on after Dawn's death, and the first of "her true dogs" to meet her on the other side.  I hope Lacey will tell her everything we've all been up to, and ask her to continue to send her luck and love to all the Pyrenees who still need rescue.  Lacy's ashes will be placed with Dawn so they can rest together, and keep each other company.. doing whatever it is that angels do...


Our sweet boy...You are missed every day.  Caleb wanted nothing more than to lay with one of us and rest.  We thought his heart would last much longer than it did, but the repercussions of puppy mill breeding ultimately lead to his death on November 28, 2008.  There won't ever be another boy like Caleb, and we wish that his death would encourage one less person to continue funding puppy mills by purchasing pets from pet stores.


You were abused so badly your spine was injured, but you were able to pass peacefully with us.  
We miss you!



Moses was adopted by a wonderful family in September of 2009.  He was able to live out the rest of his life in a loving home, and passed about a year after adoption.

Sadie came to us weighing only 46 lbs.  She was tall, skinny and had almost no hair.  The people who had her said she didn't eat.  Well, she ate like there was no tomorrow, into a healthy and loving companion to me.  She was the sweetest girl I ever knew.  Right from the start she was MY dog.  After about a year, she got Osteosarcoma in her leg.  The vet told me to take her home and feed her steak, and love her all I could, and that I would know when it was the right time, because her leg would break.  She was with me for another month, and she was the best friend anyone could ask for.  She is resting on the side of the hill, and the last time I went to see her, she was pushing up some daisies...for real.  she used to love it there, so that's where I buried her.  When I go, I plan to have my ashes spread near there and we will walk together on the other side.  Dawn made it possible for me to have the best friend I ever had.
-Donna Cooter

Friday passed of pneumonia.

Sally was with her wonderful family for almost 2 years before she passed in November 2010.  
Sweet Sally had osteoarthritis, neuropathy, and finally cancer.

Adoption Day
Tinkerbell's first day in rescue

Tinkerbell was my first foster.  She was found alone and starving, and was full of ticks and fleas.  She was also deaf.  A lady driving through the mountains found her and made her get into her car.  She called us (the rescue).  She was in MO.  When I got her, she had been shaved and was so thin she could barely walk.  Of course with her not being able to hear, we started teaching her some signs right away.  She was so lovable, and sweet.  She heard vibrations of you walking toward her.  She quickly learned that if she went in the kitchen she would get a bowl of cottage cheese, or yogurt, or oatmeal.  She was fed a diet of high calories food until she got better.  The vet said her uterus was so thin, from being bread over and over, that she almost hemorrhaged.  They took her and dumped her in the mountains with a chain tied to something.  She chewed through the chain, and it was still hanging around her neck.  She was so scared, but she had an awesome angel with her.  She broke all her teeth to the gums, chewing on the chain.  She also had boobs that almost drug the ground from being bred so much.  

Above are both pictures from when I got her and then the day she finally got a furever home.  She was a great Christmas gift for Mark, who adopted her and loved her the same way that I did.  We have missed her so much, but Mark had her for 2 years.  She started getting tremors in her back legs, and also got a huge lump on her chest, and it was just too much for her.

Mark called her Madge.  She was an angel to all who met her, and I felt blessed to be her caretaker until that perfect man came along to love her.
-Donna Cooter 

Lilly was rescued from a man who threatened to kill her, unless Dawn go and get her right away.  Clearly abused, Lilly would shrink from hands and scoot backwards, especially from approaching men.  Always described as a "Labrador trapped in a Great Pyrenees body", Lilly was very high energy and very playful.  Lilly didn't have a mean bone in her body, doing the "play with me" stance to all she met.  In other ways, she was as naughty as naughty could be: barking, counter surfing.  Lilly's enthusiasm was, I assume, welcomed when she left this world; whatever place loving dogs go to when they leave here.. Lilly is there, kissing and begging everyone to play with her. Lils never found her "forever" home before she left this world, but she knew many who loved her deeply, me being one. I tear up just a little bit every time I meet a dog named Lilly.  I look forward to seeing her again one day, and we will play together again, forever.  -SM


Formerly "Babe"
2001 - August 6, 2011
Babe's first owners were moving out of town and were going to have her put to sleep because "she was just old and deaf".  Luckily, their neighbors graciously took Babe into their home and gave her second chance on life!  They grew to love her so much!  They okay-ed everything through their apartment, paid their deposit, etc.  Well after a year, the apartment management was no longer okay with it because they "didn't realize how big she was" (even though her family told the apartment manager she was a Giant Breed).  Babe's family talked to Dawn who took her into the rescue.

When we got her in September of 2010, Babe was 9 1/2 years old.

One of our wonderful fosters, Donna, fostered Babe for less than a week before she decided that Babe had found the PYRfect place to live out the rest of her life!  Donna gave her a new name (Sophie) and a new home!  Sadly, Sophie was only with Donna 5 months before she passed, but during those 5 months she sure did get a lot of love!

Formerly "Mississippi Charlene Gordon"
? - Spring 2011

This senior girl found her new mommy, Krista, in the Spring of 2009.  Krista provided the perfect home for Missy to live out the rest of her life in luxury!
"I only had her for about 2 years, but she was just perfect." - Krista

Rocky 1999- 2/15/2012

Rocky lived a very long (13 and a half years) and happy life- he may have been the most spoiled pup around. A New Yorker at heart, he had come to love Colorado and, truly, he would have been happy wherever I took him.  Even though as of late his arthritis was really taking a toll, the kitchen cabinets had become something resembling a makeshift pharmacy and everyone at the vet knew us, you wouldn't have known that he was so old.  He was always leading the way on our walks, keeping Ellie Mae chugging along and sometimes, still, even pulling me off my feet.  For years I had been asking his vets when he would settle down, but he proved to have a young, vibrant spirit until the very end.

He made it through two rounds of surgery this past fall and until the past week or so he was his usual peppy, tail wagging, barky self.  This past week I noticed that he had been crying a lot in the evenings post lights-out, which was unusual, so I had a close eye on him.  On Wednesday when I got home from work I knew something was wrong the minute I opened the door because he did not come to greet me- he was waiting for me to get to him first this time.  We rushed to the vet only to find out that he had cancer of the spleen and was bleeding internally.  Surgery was an option, but I could tell by the look in those sweet brown eyes that he needed to rest and he needed me to relieve/release him.  Luckily one of his favorite gals, Auntie Karen, was there, too, to say farewell.  We had the time together that we needed to say goodbye and he made sure to let me know that I was making the right decision by wagging that sweet tail and pawing at me- he knew I was sad- and until the end, he never failed at cheering me up when I was down.

No doubt, these past few days have been really tough, but I can't help but think about all of Rocky's adventures, quirks and sweet tendencies.  Rocky is a Herrera Hero, outliving all of our other pups, by far. How he survived after eating Marty's Easter and Halloween candy one year, we'll never know.  It's a miracle he wasn't ousted the time he ran into the church next door during food pantry hours, running around like a maniac in the nave- selective hearing in tact, of course- he even had the gall to do it again, but the second time a wedding was in session- luckily he was stopped before he made it to the altar...

He wasn't so happy, at first, when I adopted Ellie Mae from the CO Great Pyrenees Rescue, but soon enough he was grabbing her leash for me after I put his on as we suited up to go outside, and loved being near her; when he thought I wasn't looking I'd see him giving her a little smooch now and again.  There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't wake me up if I didn't get up the moment the alarm sounded, and he always propped his head on my bed before going to sleep on his, just to say goodnight.  Most of you witnessed how he'd do anything for even a dab of peanut butter and he usually always got it, he was just too cute to resist. 

Legend has it that he actually caught a squirrel one day- I wasn't there, so I can't verify, though the day a mouse scurried past him in the living room he didn't move a muscle until I screamed.  He loved people and hated being alone; he was quite the social butterfly- always helping me make friends wherever we went.  Rocky loved parties- so many people to say hi to and he couldn't resist tearing the wrapping paper off of gifts, even if they weren't for hi (if you don't believe me, I have video proof!). Though his bark was relentless, at times, I am convinced he was just trying to tell us something, and join in on the conversation- he always had a lot to say and wanted to be in the middle of things.

Some people might think that he was just another dog, but I think we can all agree that Rocky was so much more- he was my best buddy and he'll be impossible to forget!  If you think of it, raise a spoonful of peanut butter up in his name and enjoy every last second of it as much as he would have.

Maximus and Paylar 
Brothers forever
July 16, 2001 – June 26, 2012

July 16, 2001 – June 4, 2012

I picked up Paylar and Maximus, the Great Pyrs, from their surrendering owner on May 2, 2011, two and a half months shy of their 10th birthday.  “The Boys,” as they came to be known, were littermates and lifelong partners, and they were being surrendered because their owner was having financial problems.  Both boys were filthy; they smelled bad and felt worse to touch.  They hadn’t seen a brush, bath, nail clippers, or vet in years.  It was three days before I could get them in for a professional grooming, and in that time I didn’t even want to touch them because they felt so nasty (and I felt terribly guilty about that even then) .  When I picked them up I asked their surrendering owner about each of them.  I was told that they had been outside dogs, living in a dog run for their entire lives.  Neither dog was house-trained, leash-trained, obedience-trained, or neutered.  I asked about their health and was told that Maximus had a thyroid problem but hadn’t been getting meds for years, and that “Paylar has a cough that sometimes makes him throw up.”  The first day that Paylar was in my home, he regurgitated 42 times.  Not an auspicious beginning.  On that first day, it was evident that the boys were uncertain about having a roof over their heads; they paced for hours, repeatedly looking up at the ceiling.   It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so sad.  Since neither dog was house-trained, and I lacked crates large enough for them, we started off by limiting them to the dining room and backyard, using tipped-over tables to block further access.  But eventually (and I do mean e‑v‑e‑n‑t‑u‑a‑l‑l‑y!), they were living proof that you can, indeed, teach old dogs new tricks.

It was apparent within the first week, actually within the first day, that there was something more significantly wrong with Paylar than ‘an occasional cough.’ A few conferences with the vet and a few x-rays later, he was diagnosed with megaesophagus.  After a long series of trials, and much error, we found a formula of meds, food type, and elevated feeders that reduced the frequency of his regurgitations, but we were never able to stop them completely.   He had good days and bad days, and we were very happy when the good days outnumbered the bad days.  Paylar and Maximus attended Basic Obedience class at the ZoomRoom in Longmont, CO (a loud shout-out to Marnie, the proprietress, who let them both attend for free because they were foster dogs!).  Both boys passed the class, but Paylar didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as his brother did (Paylar was never really food- or treat-motivated, probably as a result of his tendency to regurgitate), so we didn’t enroll him in any other classes.  However, both boys did go on to get their Canine Good Citizen certifications (back then we were still hoping it would make them more attractive to prospective forever homes).  Over the next 13 months, Paylar had various health issues crop up, requiring numerous trips to the vet and frequent treatments at home.  His vet, Dr. Natalie Durbin at Cambridge Animal Hospital in Longmont, CO, was always willing to see him – even without an appointment - or talk on the phone whenever an issue arose.  Her unflagging support is deeply appreciated and we couldn’t have asked for better care.  Paylar put up with the poking and prodding, the squeezing and cleaning, the subQ fluids and abrading necrotic tissue, with the grace and patience of a true gentleman.  When he had had enough of whatever it was that I was doing to him on any given day, he would simply get up and walk away from me.  Of the countless foster dogs that I’ve had in my home, I can honestly say that I’ve never had sweeter dogs than Paylar and Maximus.  Paylar, in spite of his various health issues, seemed to enjoy life.  He was happy to spend hour after hour surveying his domain in the back yard, but when the leashes were brought out he would dance like an excited puppy and wait anxiously by the front door for the chance to explore the world outside.  He was a fantastic ambassador for the Great Pyrenees breed, and giant dogs in general.  For example, a few houses down from me lives a family with 5 children, all of whom were afraid of dogs.  When we first started walking by their home, the kids would run away when they saw us coming.  Over the next year, the kids s-l-o-w-l-y got closer (or, more accurately, ran less far away), and eventually they even braved touching the dogs.  Paylar, with his beautiful thick ruff and long soft coat, seemed irresistible to them.  Everyone wanted to touch him and he was truly happy to let them do just that.  Paylar, along with Maximus, always made new friends wherever they went, including various adoption events and other BDHPI outings.

As time passed we realized that the chances of the boys finding a forever home that would take them both, as well as cope with and understand their extensive health issues, were slim.  While I am quite often pleased and impressed with what some new forever families are willing to take on, I knew finding a forever home that would take on two, senior, special-needs dogs was asking a lot (the boys were, after all, a package deal, and we would never have split them up).  When the health issues for both boys continued to mount, the decision was made to make them permanent fosters.  I think they understood what I was telling them when I said that they would never be made to leave this home; they could stay as long as they liked, or they could go whenever they were ready.  I must admit that I was surprised when, just shy of his 11th birthday, Paylar was ready first.  Paylar spent 5 days not eating and being lethargic, but there was no indication that he was in pain.  On day 4 we drew blood and started subQ fluids.  On day 6 things changed.  His breathing became labored and he was reluctant to get up.  At an emergency appointment with Dr. Durbin, all indications were that there may have been a growth or blockage in his abdomen.  The decision was made to not prolong his discomfort. 

Paylar’s passing has left a hole in the hearts of all who were lucky enough to have known him.  My life is richer for having had him in it and he will be missed beyond measure. -Shannon O'Brien


2001 - 7/28/2012

Adopted 2/28/2009 by Sara

I wanted to let CGPR know that Tess passed away this past Saturday (7/28/2012) night. It was sudden but as she was eleven years old not entirely unexpected and she went quickly and I think with very little pain.

She had a great day that day. We went to her physical therapy, then to the farmers market and to relax on the patio at Starbucks. She got tons of attention of course. We then took a nice long nap before going over to a friend’s for dinner who watches her when I travel. She loves them like a second family and their long haired dachshund is her best friend. She got some frosty paws and a walk. Around 9:00 she was having trouble standing up so we got her up and she was fine walking to the car and getting in. She was great getting out of the car when we arrived home. She got some water, came over and buried her head in my lap for some ear rubs and kisses. Then she went outside to lie on the deck since it was a nice night. About fifteen minutes later I heard her give two loud moans. When I checked on her, she was non responsive. I went to get my neighbor to help get her into my car to take her to the vet and when we got back she had already passed away. I miss her so much and am so very sad. But I couldn’t think of a better way for her to go. I just wish we had more time together.

Although it is so difficult to lose her, I am so grateful that Dawn brought us together and gave us the best three and half years of our lives! Thank you for all the support and great information provided by the CGPR website. You will be hearing from me when it is time to invite another Pyr into our lives!