• Gold Top Dog


    Okay, I told of the loss of Honey and how we got the blind Great Pyrenees, Shaggy and his death. We only had that awesome dog for 3 1/2 weeks before hemangiosarcoma took his life. The Texas Great Pyrneees Rescue told us wecould either have our money back, or chose another dog. No question, we wanted another dog.

    Lin said they had one just come back to rescue, a 7 year old (we had requested one of at least 7 years the first time for two reasons. Due to our ages (I am now 790, Jerry is 71) we didn't want to out live our dog, and 2ed we had decided years ago after reading of all the senior "thrown aways" that we wanted to give a senior dog who had been tossed aside a home full of love for his/her remaining years.

    Well, in I checked out the dog on the rescue sight and knew he was for us. He is a badger, rather than solid white pyr. He had been found abut 4 years earlier stealing food from the salad bar of one of the many open air restaurants along the river walk in San Antonio. That is a very popular tourist attraction in San Antonio. The river is cemented on either side for a couple of miles, maybe longer. Tourist filled boats take rides up and down. There ar all kinds of shops and restaurants, rock garden's, and trees along the sides. Is beautiful. How Moose ended up there, nobody knows.

    When first found it was thought he was a Saint Bernard, but as soon as the Sb folks saw him they said no, that was a badger Great Pyrenees and called the pyr rescue. By the way, until I researched pyrs, I had thought they only came in solid white. Not so, most litters have at least 1 or 2 of the badgers. Over half of the ones on my pyr forum have at least one badger pyr.

    Well, he was adopted by this couple and named Moose. They are from Minn or Wis--can remember which now..and after having Moose for 4 years decided to move back home to their family and open a Bed and Breakfast. Pyrenees are barkers. They let you know if an acron fall on your roof, or a leaf blows by your window, etc. I talked to the owners a couple of times to get all info on him before final decision and they said he did bark, but not as much as most pyrs. Now, when you get a dog from the rescue, it is in the agreement that if for any reason you want to or are forced to give up a pyr you have adopted from them, you must return it to them. When J and D decided they were to move back, they notified the rescue but asked if they could keep him as foster until either he was adopted or they moved. They had actually "turned him back in" a few months early with the hopes of being able to talk to and meet the people who would be his new owners. When Lin called them to tell them we wre interested and asked if it was okay to give their number to me, they jumped at it.

    We had several chats and it turns out Lin had told them about Shaggy and how much we had done for him and how happy his last 3 weeks were. So J and D really wanted us to have Moose. We met *** half way between here and Austin. He was in tears when he turned Moose over to us. He asked if he gave us his e-mail if we would let him know how Moose made the trip and settled in. I said sure thing.

    Well, I started sending them by weekly updates of his adventures--going to Lowes, to Tractor Supply, to the beach, to the open air carol singing at our church, etc, and also setn pictures taken at each place. told of his daily walks with Jerry and how he became best buds with the paint horse on the street behind us--not sure if he thinks the horse is a giant badger pyr or the horse thinks Moose is a mini paint horse. They also wrote right back, commenting on the pictures, and any funny things I told him. They sent a HUGE stocking with his name and giant paw print on it for Christmas. Also on a visit to their home state they had picked up a sign that reads BEWARE OF ATTACK MOOSE. They had had it on their front door and I have it on ours. Friends and family get a kick out of it, strangers have no idea what it means.

    In Feb. I got a e-mail from J asking for a favor, but would understand if I said now. Their golden retriever had just turned 11 and she ahd arthritis in hips and knees and they were worried how she would fair in the harsh northern winters and asked if we would be willing to take her. She enclosed pictures and naturally we jumped on the change. Met D at the same place and got poor scared Sophie (she had been with them since she was 5 weeks old.. But that is another story.

    Moose loves all kids. When we are in a store he is a people magnet. And if he sees a family coming, he tries to head right for them, tail just a wagging at the sight of the kids. He and Jerry often meet up with folks on their long walks on these little tree lined rag tag streets, and it doesn't make a difference if it is a lab or a Chihuahua, Moose is all tail wags. And he does not see cats at all. They do not exist as far as he is concern. Now he has caught several possums in our yard, including a baby that would fit in his mouth, but none have been hurt.

    One odd thing. One day we were sitting on the patio, half of which is covered, and we were under the covered pat, but off in the distance Jerry noticed a hawk circling around. He mentioned it and for some reason I looked down at Moose at our feet and saw he was watching it also, ears perked. Then he got up while still watching and started barking. As soon as it flew off, he laid back down. Couple of days later 16 year old grandson was here and he and I were on patio, again the hawk appeared, Moose watched it, then got up and started barking. It flew closer so he ran out in the yard, head up watching it, barking and kicking up grass and dirt with those huge back feet of his. It came closer, he moved closer to where it was, still barking and kicking up dirt and grass. When it started to fly off, he stopped "kicking" but continued to bark til it got out of sign. The odd thing is he ignores all the gulls flying around. He ignores the large ring neck and white wing doves that come to the feeders 3 feet from the patio. He ignores all birds except birds of prey. How does he know?": I think he really thought he was protecting us from that "man eating birds. There are a lot of free range chicken farms here in Texas and I know many use pyrs to guard the free ranging flocks from not only coyotes foxes, et, but also birds of prey. I do not know it it is instinct with him or ir he was trained and at some point guarded chickens, or possibly goats and sheep babies from eagles, etc. Never know what his first 3 years were spent doing.

    He is 115 pounds, but believe it or not, only eats 3 cups of food a day. For all their size, pyrs do not eat that much. People come onto the pyr forum and are amazed at how little their pyr is eating, often ask if there is something wrong with it. Gets the same answer from all--their Border collie eats more than their pyr, their lab eats a LOT more than their pyr, etc. I do feed grain free and I learned logn ago for some reason, it takes less of it than it does food with grains.

    We had this thing once we were down to just Honey and KayCee of letting them lick our desset bowls or palte at night. Leave a tad of ice cream, a bite of pie or cake, etc. Once we lost Kaycee in 2008, Honey got it from both os us. We had not started Shaggy on that routine before his death. First time we offered Moose a little ice cream, he sniffed, licked a little, sniffed, etc. didn't know what to make of it. But he leanred soon that was good stuff. If he was not in the room when we eat dessert at 9:00, we would tap on our dish with fork or spoon and he would come to get his dessert. Then we adopted Sophie (another story as I said) in Feb. and she didn't hesitate the first time---goldens ar such chow hounds. She also learned very fast what the fork or spoon hitting the plate/bowl meant and came running. THEN they decided they knew when it was 9:00 and unless in a dead sleep, about 9, they come, her to me fet, Mosoe to Jerry's. Aslo, Jerry always eats his dessert much faster than me and becaue we want them to have it at the same time, he would ask me if I was ready. I would sayd ready, and they learned that READY at that time meant it was time for dessert and will jump up with no wsound of utensil on the dish, just the word READY.

    Moose has learned that the word READY means it is it is time for what is usual for that time of day. Jerry walks him every morning and he use to ask Moose if he was ready to go for his walk. Now he only has to say READY and Moose is spinning and headed for front door. And Moose expects his daily walk and will bug Jerry til Jerry puts his hat and shoes on, and then Moose waits for the word READY to make sure jerry isn't going to do something else--like go somewhere without him.

    This is kind of odd. I think you all know Jerry had a heart attack and triple bypass in Feb. 2 years ago. Well, in July he started having dizzy, light headed spells. Went to heart doctor and the doctor said his heart was stopping from time to time and he actually needed a pacemaker/difrib ..HOWEVER Medicare would not pay for it without documented proof he needed it. this is the top cardiologist in the area and he specializes in pace makers, etc. SO he ahd to put a monitor in Jerry's chest. Jerry had to stay in the hospital over night. Came home and had a box by the bed that "read" that moniter every night. Went back in a week later and found his heart had stopped 183 times during that week. And while we were there and he was hooked up to a machine, his heart stopped for 29 seconds. Dr. H said NOW Meidciare would have their proof and he took Jerry right to hospital and put the pacemaker/defrib in day. Jerry was in hospital for 4 days due to low potassium and they had a time getting it up.

    Okay, the thing is, when Jerry was having those dizzy spells he was scared to get out to walk Moose and Moose did not bug him about it. He tended to lay at Jerry's feet most of the time. He didn't watch the door. He didn't get up if he say Jerry put shoes on, etc. It was totally as if he understood. Then Jerry had to take it easy for a couple of weeks after he came home. Finally felt well enough and took Moose for a very short walk. Thing is, they have about 5 different routes they can go for varying lengths and Jerry lets Moose lead the way and go which ever route he wants. Just down the street and back is not one, but Moose accepted that. Jerry extended walks and in in a couple of days Moose was expecting his way. He just knew for those few weeks that Jerry couldn't do it. He is an amazing dog, so smart, as was Shaggy.

    If this works it will be a piciture of Moos.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Sandra I just read this and it was so informative.  I wander if Garth is a Badger Pyr or if his coloring is the mix of his father.  We have had some difficulty adjusting to some of the Pyr ways :).  So different than our other dogs.  He can be such a sweetheart then lookout he is a little Devil.   Mostly having trouble with commands that mean no.  He is 7 months and currently 60 lbs.  It is interesting about the food.  I am always concerned about over or under feeding him.  He is still on Taste of the wild puppy food.  Not sure when to switch him or what to switch him to.  Hot Shot is eating a 7+ mature dog food.   Thanks for your Pyr insight I will look forward to more.

    • Gold Top Dog

    pyrs aren't considered full grown until age two. Not sure on a pyr mix but probably close. He's obviously all pyr when it comes ro stubbornness!

    I don'tknow if you are able to free with with more than one. We find with Dixie that she likes to geaze throughout the day and rarely emp

    ties her bowl. Now the homecooked disappears in a heartbeat or two!

    • Gold Top Dog

    Sandra!!!!!   I have missed you SO much!!!! ***VERY BIG HUG***

    I am SO proud of you and Jerry!!!    You've both come back from big health issues, to open your hearts to more really memorable dogs!!  

    For what it's worth, I'm not at all surprised Moose is so tuned into birds of prey.  It's pretty easy to tell from the air whether a bird is an herbivore or a carnivore (look at some birding books some time - it's interesting).  Raptors have different feather formations/wing shapes so they fly more silently.  They're also going to have a different smell (because blood will cling to their beak and feet I'm sure).  

    No it's not far-fetched.  Think about the fact that a male dog can scent a female in heat like 6 miles away.  So seeing a hawk in the air ???  Moose probably knows a whole lot more about that hawk than you'd guess!!  And a pyr -- being a livestock guardian dog -- is going to be WAY more tuned into a bird of prey because one of the JOBS of a LGD would be to protect "babies" in its care from getting stolen by predators coming from the air (owls at night and raptors by day).

    I never gave any of this a thought until I'd lived in Florida for a while.  WE have sea birds all over the place BUT we also have a ton of osprey and eagles.  Osprey are as big as eagles BUT if you know the color pattern of the underside of the wings it's easy to tell the difference.  So if I, limited human that I am, can find things to distinguish one from another, if you add sense of smell to that I'd bet Moose would tell you "Easy Peasy!!"

    Thanks for the update.   Can't wait to hear more on Shaggy and Sophie!!  Tell Jerry I'll keep him on my prayer list!!

    • Gold Top Dog

    Thanks all. I can't for the life of me get pictur4es posted and I have such good pictures. I really wish you all could see Moose and Sophie.