On October 23, 1998 we lost our spoiled and devoted Stormin Norman, the last of our Golden Retrievers, four in all. Setter, our female, we lost October 14, 1997 due to cancer. Both 9 years old, they gave much devotion and affection to our family. All of our lives dogs have been a part of our home. The loss was great, but we needed a buddy around again. Since Setter and Storm were priceless in every way, we couldn't begin to be fair to another Golden. So the time came to change breeds.
The Great Pyrenees topped our list of choice breeds. Of course puppies were what we were thinking on, due to the little people in our family. Then we heard about Teddy, a Great Pyrenees rescued pup. He was roughly 11 months old, 85 pounds--a bit underweight, house and leash trained, the work of a puppy already finished for the most part, and in need of love. It was sounding better already. Since my husband and I work opposite swing shifts, we decided to make a trip to Harrisburg, PA and meet Dave and Maureen Simon and Teddy.
There was much to consider. If Teddy could tolerate our most active grandchild, DawnjaLee, he would fit right in with our six children and eight grandbabies. Our other challenge was our 12 year-old son, Rusty, who only three weeks earlier helped bury his best friend, Storm. Could he accept this big pup with an open heart? Teddy took to the kids freely and willingly, and likewise did the kids to Teddy. We decided to give it a go. If Teddy could handle the revolving door of people and kids in and out all the time, he'd have a home for life. The ride home was quite an adventure. Teddy got car sick with the two kids in the back seat next to him. It was wild and crazy to say the least.
Since that first weekend of November when we first met Teddy, he's come a long way. He didn't take well to the name Teddy, and we could understand why. He's a massive, strong, lovable, white polar "bear." So Bear was his new name. He took to his name change from the minute he got it. After about two and a half weeks, he started to eat well and has now gained weight and his backbone and ribs no longer show. He made sure that the doghouse and the kennel were out of the question. He jumped our five foot fence and ran away the first week. We were in tears. Where could he be with farmland all around us? Thank God for the color white at 10 pm in the black of night. Searching with our neighbors' help, there he was, running across the field. He looked more like a ghost than a dog--just a blur in the night. There's lots of excitement with him. I think he likes all the attention.
Bear likes riding to school in our truck to pick up Rusty. He gets so much attention from the other kids' fascination with this massive pup. Rusty has a school report due in late spring on dogs. Of course his choice is Bear, the Great Pyrenees. The school is considering letting Bear in school for the report.
Our Pastor will be doing a mass on animals during summer of 1999 and wants Bear to be part of the sermon. This pup has everyone wrapped around his oversized paw.
Every morning he comes into the bedrooms and wakes us up by putting his massive head against ours. Sometimes it's an unexpected facial. He watches the kids leave for school and us leave for work and is so excited when we all return. That old tail of his just flies. He makes himself real comfortable on our lawn furniture and goes as far as taking the cushions off and putting them where he wants them, and then lies down. He runs and jumps, and carries on like a crazy pup, just having a blast chasing wild bunnies. When Rusty comes home, they're just silly, goofy creatures playing.
The day Bear jumped onto the in-ground pool tarp was frightening. The water wasn't frozen yet, so when he hit the tarp, it sprang as though he was on a trampoline. He was shocked, stopped and looked up at me as if to say, "Now what?" I looked at him and said, "Okay, fine mess you got yourself into this time. Now what are you going to do, crazy pup?" With that and one jerk of his body, he turned and was up over the pool wall. Needless to say, he doesn't mess with the pool anymore.
I could probably start a business stuffing pillows with the hair that
comes off of Bear when he's brushed. He brings so much excitement
and laughter into our home. We love him and he knows that now, soaking
up all the attention. He's a house pup and has made it quite clear
to us that is what he wants. He loves to cuddle and sleep with whomever
he decides. Bear's a pup with an attitude. If we didn't know better,
and if there is such a thing as reincarnation, we'd have to say, "God
gave a beautiful mix of Setter and Storm back to us in Bear. He's
all that and more. Bear's got a home for life."
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