The Great Pyrenees dogs are well-known for keeping an eye on their flocks. Thankfully, the neighborhood animal care team in Arkansas has been watching out for a large, fluffy Great Pyr this summer.
Brandy Buie, CASS’s marketing and fundraising coordinator said in an interview, that the property owner had been arrested and had numerous pets that he planned to transfer to a rescue facility nearby. Sadly, the neighborhood shelter cannot accommodate many animals, which is how Bissell and CASS got involved.
When they got to the property, according to Buie, they discovered 17 dogs, 3 cats, and 5 Potbellied pigs. “There were also multiple deceased animals, animals eating deceased animals, and just a crazy amount of animal bones. The property was in complete disarray. It didn’t have electricity or running water, and there was just stuff everywhere,” Buie explains.
The Bucking Alligator
According to Buie, some obedient dogs approached them while others were used to being around people. The Great Pyrenees, today known as Bear, was among the latter group. Buie claims that after being leashed by CASS employees, he behaved like a cross between a wild alligator and a bucking bronco. He was so out of control that their director had to tranquilize him to ensure everyone’s safety.
The personnel brought Bear inside so they could get a better look at him. He was, to put it mildly, a complete disaster, according to Buie.
“He was severely matted and had tons of stuff embedded in his fur,” she says. “We even cut wires out of his fur. His dewclaws were grown into his paws and were badly infected; he was caked with urine and feces, and his ears were severely infected. His anal glands were torn and infected, and he was chock-full of ticks and fleas.”
She claims that they later discovered that Bear was heartworm positive and had a tick-borne illness. The day after bringing Bear in, they had him neutered, immunized him against rabies and other diseases, and made every effort to clean him up.
Adoption and Ongoing Recovery
When CASS brought Bear in, according to Buie, the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelters campaign was in full swing, and the foundation pays expenses so that shelters can offer animals for $25 adoption fees.
Bear was taken into custody by CASS on Wednesday and adopted on Tuesday. His supporter is a rancher Melissa Dawson, whose family includes cattle, miniature, and regular donkeys, retired goats, chickens, and little pigs.
“We learned about Bear through a Facebook post,” explains Dawson. “As farmer ranchers, he caught our eye. I was pretty sure under all that he was a Great Pyrenees, and sure enough, he was. (The great Pyrenees were originally bred to protect livestock from predators like wolves.)
She and her husband both agreed after meeting Bear and hearing his tale. Dawson claims that although her family was not yet ready, they desired a livestock guardian dog. “We said let’s just save him now, and he’ll grow with us,” she says.
Not long after bringing Bear home, they recognized that the dog still had a long way to go in medication. To treat a fever brought on by a tick and his heartworm infection, Bear is currently receiving antibiotic treatment for at least another 30 days.
However, according to Dawson, Bear’s ears have caused him the most problems. “At first, you really couldn’t even see in them because there was so much infection and pus. He was constantly rubbing his head, scratching them, and moaning.”When internal antibiotics failed to treat Bear’s ailment, their veterinarian twice stuffed his ears with medication.
Dawson claims they have spent a total of $1,650.10 on veterinarian care and medication to help him recover. It may seem excessive, but she points out that getting the Great Pyrenees from a breeder would probably set you back at least $1,500. Dawson adds, “I could go and [spend] $1,500 at a breeder, or use that money to give this boy a second chance at life. It wasn’t a hard call.”
The Best Boy
Dawson claims that Bear has had a significant personality change after joining their family. She says, “The biggest change is in his trust. At first, any noise or sudden movement, and he was outta there. He wouldn’t even take a treat from our hand.”
Bear doesn’t exhibit any symptoms of physical abuse, but according to her, he likely had little to no human interaction before being saved. Bear still refuses to take a bath, but Dawson chuckles and adds that they are working on brushing him.
Additionally, he is now willing to accept some treats from people’s hands and will approach them to pet him.
“He’s settling in and seems like he’s found his place,” she says. “He’s not at all aggressive with any of our other animals, even the cats. He’s not even food aggressive, which is a bit shocking given his past. He’s just the best boy. It’s like he’s finally at peace.”
Even the family’s many rescued pups, including a black mutt, a beagle and Weimaraner mix, a Chihuahua they discovered abandoned on the acreage they lease, and an Australian Shepherd threw on their friends’ property, are making friends with Bear. According to Melissa, Bear has become particularly close to the Australian, and the two are “tight as can be.”
Bear’s new family is hopeful that one day he will be able to roam the countryside at his leisure, keeping an eye on their animals as was his vocation. Dawson says, “We just get the sense he loves being here, and we love having him here.”
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