Heavy Hearted Farewell To An Amazing Warrior
(Williams Lake, BC)
Great Pyrenees Guardian Gus
I cried today when I read your website's description, "Anyone who has lived with a Pyr for any reasonable period of time will tell you about this breed’s amazing ability to sense things that we cannot. A Pyr connects to your soul and reads your emotions and intentions in a way that will amaze you. "
We've just lost our Gus. At nine years he's ravaged by cancer. Our unruly boy fiercely protected us and our farm since 2007 when my husband, who only became a dog person as an adult (would have been a deal breaker come marriage time - smart guy!) took a gamble on him. Our local SPCA warned us that the big adolescent white dog didn't listen well and was a Houdini with fences. All true. His first month on the farm was rocky, even for us who've had livestock protection dogs for several years. I was certain that I'd be the strong one who'd load him in the truck, and return him to the shelter. But instead Gus eased into his Great Pyrenees instinct (not purebred, but double dew claws and other tell tale signs) to serve and protect. He's the only dog we've had that escorted the cats to the back door to be let in at night!
Gus was happiest outside. He was welcome in anytime, but typically held out to -17ºC before coming in for the night. He had a way of staring at us through the back porch glass door to let us know what he wanted. Whether it be more food, to top up the water pail, or his companion Sophie's company. Whenever company came by he'd make a point of entering the house to checked folks out. This never took long, we jokingly referred to him as our bouncer. Once satisfied that his people were safe he'd turn back to the door to be let out and go about his business again.
We were shell shocked with Gus' diagnosis this week. He'd been poorly, but continued to guard his perimeter, it was if he didn't want to show any weakness. His weight has always been in the low range, not being an especially food motivated dog. For the first two summers we had him we made special appointments to the vet's to be sure he was okay. Our vet laughed and told us to relax and feel the sinewy muscle on our guy. There's some guilt and second guessing in hindsight, yet we're told that cancer of the liver gave no hope for a medical intervention.
Upon delivering this sad news, our vet kindly shuffled his day to come out to the ranch. This past Wednesday Gus was euthanized where he lay midday in our orchard nearby a pregnant rescue mare that he'd bonded with over the winter. As Gus drew his final breath a group of coyotes called out from across the fields at him while our female Pyr Sophie barked back at them from above the barn. We reassured him that we had things covered, to ignore any perceived threat. We also thanked him through tears for his huge heart and dedication. As our vet said, it was like a tribute to a formidable fallen warrior. An honourable and swift passing.
Thank you for providing this story forum, for your education efforts and rescue program. Great Pyrenees are indeed an amazing breed who absolutely blossom in the right home.