We all know that I’m constantly begging for foster homes so that we can help more animals and prevent their demise. It’s probably almost annoying at times, I’ll give you that, but I figure it never hurts to ask…or beg. I tend to beg, if we’re being honest. The fact is, however, we desperately need these foster homes. Nobody can do it all by his or herself, so as a community if we pull together we can break down walls and eliminate the risk of an untimely and unnecessary death. See how peachy that sounds?
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy because quality foster homes are a pretty difficult to find. I’m sure there are several reasons, and I certainly understand that not everyone has the desire to do it (maybe), but I still ponder as to why we can’t find more fosters to help these babies.
My conclusion is this…Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but after much thought, I think one reason we have such difficulty in finding Great Pyrenees foster homes is because people are intimidated by what they might require. While I still haven’t had luck in finding fosters for small dogs either (or adopters…what’s THAT all about?), it’s pretty much a no-go with the big guys. So, during this “Why can’t I find foster homes?” deep, analytical thought process, I said to myself, “Why not share what it’s like to foster a Great Pyrenees? Maybe it will make things a little clearer.”
So LUCKY YOU! I’m here to share with you all the glory of having a white, fluffy, foster kid. Let’s discuss the myths first.
Myth #1: “They’re too big and will destroy the house.” Simply not true. Yes, they are big, this cannot be denied. However, they are not goats that eat everything, nor do they charge through the house like “Beethoven” stepping through glass tables, tails knocking pictures off of the wall, or flying through doors and ripping them off of the hinges. While there is the occasional drool, it’s not hanging from the chandelier or bed posts. I can not lie, however about one thing…they truly can take up the entire couch or bed and leave you with nowhere to sit or lie down. BUT, they can be trained not to if you so desire.
Great Pyrenees are actually very lazy indoors. Now a puppy would need some stimulus, such as toys or Nylabones, but they are still considered lazy puppies. They are easily house trained and typically easily crate trained. They are most often found lying in front of a door zonked out and dreaming of treats in Heaven. The worst part is getting them to move if you need to open the door. I mean, really…do you want to move for someone when you’re sleeping soundly? So, a little slack can be granted, and eventually they will move. That’s about the extent of indoor life for a Pyrenees.
Myth #2: “They need acres to run and play.” No, they don’t. While they do enjoy a nice yard, it doesn’t have to be enormous. If you’re willing to take your dog on some walks they are content. I’ve adopted to more than one condominium dweller, and the Pyrenees have adapted quite nicely. They are not like Retrievers or herding dogs who need constant activity (insert: Great Pyrenees are NOT herding dogs. They are guardians who protect the herding dogs and the flocks). As long as they get moderate exercise and potty breaks, they are good…and the occasional car ride. They LOVE car rides.
Myth #3: “My house is too small.” As stated before, they come inside, plop down and sleep. They could care less whether your house is 1100 sq ft or 3000. My house is not big and I have multiple Pyrenees.You should see how they’ll squeeze their bodies into a dog house or crate that’s not sized specifically for giant breed, the big dorks. My 150lb Great Pyrenees curled up as tight as he could on a cat bed one time, content as a pig in mud. Mind you, do not go shoving a Great Pyrenees in a 36in long crate (or smaller), or expect them to go into a dog house that’s meant for a Beagle.
Myth #4: “I don’t want it to scare or hurt my small dog/cat.” Great Pyrenees are known for their patience and gentle demeanor with small dogs. While this is a general rule of thumb, and slowly introducing your animals is always important, a Great Pyrenees is going to be much more tolerant than a lot of dogs when it comes to small animals. You’d be amazed at how many 20lb and under beat up my Pyrs. Cats, too.
Myth #5: “It’s too big for my kids.” Great Pyrenees are extremely nurturing. They are patient, kind, and most tolerant with children.
NOW: The facts.
#1: Pyrenees shed. Yes, it’s true and a constant (as is with most dogs), and yes, you will find hairballs floating around your hardwood floors. On a good note, they’re super easy to pick up, pre-balled-up for your convenience, and their long soft hair is much easier to clean off of furniture and clothes than short hair that sticks into the fabric. Brushing regularly helps with this shedding.
#2: Pyrenees need grooming: Again, true. However, a good bath and regular brushing makes this fairly simple. It’s also very relaxing for you and the dog as you sit in front of the television, brushing your fluffy butt front to back, dog snoozing in your lap. It’s not complicated or difficult unless the dog is allowed to become matted. Then it’s a little more work.
#3: Pyrenees do best with opposite gender: We recommend this for the inexperienced Pyrenees owner to avoid bickerments between dogs. While those of us that have been fostering for some time have multiple of each genders, it’s because we’ve done it long enough to prepare, keep our eyes out and handle an argument between dogs, as well as separate if necessary. Now, some dogs do fine, but typically we’re more comfortable placing/fostering dogs of opposite gender.
#4: Great Pyrenees have a great bark: Yup, it’s true. There are some Pyrenees that bark more than others, but their bark is demonstrated when they feel there is a threat to their “flock” and territory (you being the flock). This occurs a lot at sundown, for that’s when the Great Pyrenees tends to go to work (they’re nocturnal when outdoors). Inside they sleep unless they hear something (knock on door, or a backfire from a big truck outside as it passes by, for example), but they’re not big barkers while indoors. We encourage them to be brought inside after sundown when neighbors are close.
#5: Great Pyrenees roam: This is an important fact to remember. Pyrenees are roamers. It’s innate and cannot be trained out of them. While it seems daunting, it’s really not. Keep them in a secure fence and make sure they’re on a leash when not in the fenced area. Train them to step away from the door when you leave and they will learn to respect that rule. Make sure children don’t leave the door open or let them out. That’s all it takes, and if you do those things you can live an easy, happy life with no chasing of a Pyrenees down the road and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. Many people do it, it’s simple, and leash walking is not a big deal because everyone wants to talk to you about your beautiful and sweet dog, so you just get to brag on your furbaby and be proud.
#6: Great Pyrenees love their food: They do love their food and prefer other dogs or cats not to be nosing around in it when they’re hungry and trying to eat. So, kindly allow your Pyrenees to eat alone in another room or in his/her crate. Easy fix.
NOW…The fun facts:
#1: Great Pyrenees are kind, loving, and give great hugs.
#2: Great Pyrenees make you feel adored…then ignored…then adored again. It’s all kinds of fun.
#3: Great Pyrenees are perfect for those times your sad or crying. They will sit with you and let you cry into their big manes. They will also sit on the person you’re mad at, if you so choose.
#4: Great Pyrenees are comical! They will make you laugh over, and over, and over, and then make you laugh again.
#5: Great Pyrenees will greet you with a huge smile when you come home and often do a little dance.
#6: Great Pyrenees will allow you to make many new friends as they ask you about the dog.
#7: Great Pyrenees are great bed warmers. They’re also super for snuggling.
#8: Great Pyrenees show you their expressions with their deep, soulful eyes. They speak to you…it’s not always what you want to hear (“Mom, you’re annoying me.”) but it can be powerful when they’re telling you they love you.
#9: Great Pyrenees are GREAT travel buddies! They LOVE to go ride in the car and explore the world. Nice to have in the car with you, too when you stop to get gas late at night.
#10: Great Pyrenees are bullheaded. This will make you scream. This will also make your sides hurt from laughing so hard.
#11: Great Pyrenees are one of a kind. You’ll never meet a breed like them.
Don’t be intimidated by the size or the hair. Don’t let it cause you to miss out on the joy of having this amazing breed in your home and a part of your family, even if only for a foster duration. Welcoming them into your home and your life will not only save theirs, but enhance yours, as well.
I double dog dare ya.