The summer a mother bear and her cubs repeatedly and boldly visited our yard while my little brothers played outside, was the summer my parents decided it was time to get a guardian dog. That was the year a Great Pyrenees joined our family. He was a clumsy, cuddly ball of fluff who tripped over his own feet. Over the next two years, he grew from a 15 pound armful of soft puppy love to over 150 pounds of devoted guardian.
Despite his fluffy, loveable appearance and laid back personality, we knew he was watching out for us. Besides determinedly keeping bears, moose, and timber wolves out of our yard, “Champ” seemed to have a sense of when to welcome and when to discourage human visitors. He did not allow unwelcome visitors out of their vehicles when my dad was gone for days at a time, leaving my mom and three young children home alone.
When our family moved from the northern Minnesota woods to a suburban Texas home, of course Champ came with us. Can a Great Pyrenees survive that kind of change? From tree-lined Minnesota lakes to Gulf of Mexico beaches? From the freedom of hundreds of wooded acres to a postage-stamp sized back yard and leash? Champ not only survived, he continued to fulfill his life’s purpose-to guard his small flock, his family.
Just his presence in or near the house was enough to deter unwelcome visitors. Neighbors’ homes on the cul-de-sac were burglarized. But never, while Champ was on duty, was our home or its inhabitants unprotected!