3 Rescue Pyrs

photos provided by Greta Osterman

Cody Osterman and Family

by Greta Osterman

This is the story of 3 dogs that nobody wanted and how they came to find a home together.

When John and I were married we had to combine two households and all the various people, possessions and pets that had been collected over a lot of years, including two kids (grown), 1 middle-aged German Shorthair (Dutch), a youngish Border Collie (Katie), an almost new German Shepherd/Sheepdog (Norma) and the meanest cat on earth (Butch). We threw them all together in a very small house on a very large piece of property and hoped for the best. Except for a few Dutch/Butch fights, all was well.

Then one day, my husband called me at work and told me that he had been offered Cody, a 4 year old Great Pyrenees female that I had once met briefly. I came up with several hundred reasons why it was a bad idea. John then told me that if we didn't take the dog TODAY, they were taking her to the pound. Of course, I caved. After telling him in no uncertain terms THE RULES (she's got to be spayed, she has to get all her shots, she has to get along with everyone else, etc.), I said to go ahead and bring her home.

As it turned out, Cody had been mistreated and neglected. Although fairly congenial with John, he being the one who had rescued her, she was very suspicious of everyone else. Cody had absolutely no use for me or the rest of the animals. As she had spent her life tied under a tree, she refused to come in the house for almost 2 months. If we called her name, she would immediately run away. Since we couldn't even get ahold of her the only thing to do was let her make the decision to become part of the family. So, whenever we saw her we would tell her, softly, what a wonderful and beautiful old girl she was. Every night we put her dinner out , called her and went back in the house because if we stayed outside, she wouldn't come near.

After many weeks, Cody started to come around. She began to check out the other dogs and hang out with us (from a distance) when we worked outside. Finally, she decided to join the group and began to come into the house on her own. Once again all was well.

Two years went by until October, 1997, when we had Dutch (by then, 15 years old) put down, and it started to seem kind of quiet around the place. My brother-in law told me he had found an address for a Great Pyrenees Rescue in Coopersburg on the Internet and I thought, "Well, it doesn't hurt to look." Although I found more information on the breed than I ever wanted to know, I couldn't locate a Rescue address so just forgot about it temporarily. One day in March I was at my vet's and happened to ask if they had heard of a local Pyrenees Rescue and came to find, not only had they heard of them, they were the veterinarian for them.

Well, after several phone calls back and forth we found ourselves in Patti and Jeff Bechtel's living room making friends with a 2 year-old named Little Pearl. Like Cody, Little Pearl had been mistreated but after 4 months of careful care by the Bechtels, she was relatively well adjusted and we decided that if the Rescue accepted us, we accepted Pearl as long as the other dogs did.

Pearl and Cody hit it right off and Norma and Katie, although not delighted, would come around shortly. So, Pearl came to live with us.

You would think that was enough. It certainly ought to be enough. However, one day in July I saw a picture of a 3 year-old female Pyr in the newspaper who was at the SPCA and I thought,"Gee, she would fit right in and besides, it doesn't hurt to look." I knew that Pat, the answer lady, would have the scoop. Pat told me that that dog had been adopted within 10 minutes of the paper coming out, however, she did have a 9 month-old male who needed a home. Now, I didn't want to deal with a male and I certainly didn't want to deal with a puppy, but Patti said, "Why don't you just come over? After all, it doesn't hurt to look."

Well, Bubba was the sorriest thing I had ever seen. He had had mange which had left him with hair only on his tail, head and one clump on his back and was so skinny that he could hardly hold his bowling ball of a head up. He was downright pitiful. When I got down on my knees to say hello, he promptly collapsed in my lap and said in Bubbaspeak, "Mom, I KNEW you'd come for me." That was it for me and Pat knew it but the big question was, "What about John?" I knew that John couldn't say no once he saw that face, so I left the Bechtels' with a Polaroid of me and the Bubster that sat in a can't-help-but-see-it-every-time-you-walk-by spot until John said, "O.K. Let's go look at him."

That's the end of the story. But the real end of the story is that we have the three greatest dogs that were ever deemed uncontrollable, unmanageable, unattractive, too independent, too smelly, too barky and just too damn big, all living happily ever after. Cody Girl has her 70 acres of the universe to guard, a family who loves her and friends to play with. She has changed from leery and suspicious to Miss Congeniality. She likes everyone and all the dogs who come to visit and is always the first at every barbecue and the last to pack it in for the night.

Little Pearl is still wary of loud noises and sudden movements but is overjoyed to have both a big sister and a little brother to play bite-face with. She has become very obedient when loose and does not try to run or slither away, content to stay right at home where nothing bad happens to her.

And then there's Bubba. I believe that Bubba was kept in a kennel for most of his first nine months as he had no social skills whatsoever. When he came to live with us, he didn't even know the simple dog rules such as "Thou shalt not stick your face in another dog's bowl while he/she is eating." His four sisters were happy to straighten him out on several fine points. Recently, Bubba has suddenly gotten a lot of what we've been trying to teach him. He sits, downs, heels (kinda), usually does his business outside, sleeps quietly through most of the night and doesn't stomp the older dogs and the cats too often. You only have to look in his eyes to know he has a good heart. He has definitely won mine.

And that is really the end. We are all here together on the topmost slice of Bucks County: 2 people, 5 dogs, 2 cats and 2 goats (Mel and Murray). But for that story, you will have to buy a copy of Goat News (click here for more photos).

East Penn Pyr Rescue, Inc.
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