Our sleeping beauty, sweet Celeste
Growing up, we had quite the assortment of dogs come into our lives through the years. Our family opened our home and hearts to everything from a Bull Mastiff (a lumbering, gentle, ox named Red), a goofy, deceptively fierce-looking Doberman (Rip), a sassy, self-possessed Lhasa Apso (Yoohoo), a Terrier/Shi-tzu mix (Mikey) to a very unprissy toy Poodle, Gee-Gee. All were rescued.
So I grew up with no leanings toward a particular breed or type of dog. I also didn't grow up with the notion that many people seem to have, wherein "getting a dog" means that you get a brand new, unnamed, history-free puppy. All of our dogs came with names, quirks and histories, for better or worse.
So it wasn't really a surprise that last year, when we decided that our farm & family were ready to add a dog to our ever-expanding brood, that we immediately looked into adopting. I did my due diligence in researching dog breeds that were a good fit for life on a farm - protective yet gentle. My research lead me to a class of dogs that, up until that point, I'd never heard of, Livestock Guardian Dogs, (LGD's).
The general disposition of an LGD hit exactly the right notes in terms of what sort of dog we were seeking, a defender or critters and kids alike, sweet-tempered and smart. How I landed on the Great Pyrenees specifically, I don't remember, but boy am I glad I did. :)
In addition to adopting our boy, Rex, (a Great Pyrenees mix) last December, this past weekend we took in our first foster dog, Celeste, also a Great Pyrenees. She and Rexy fell in like peas and carrots! She didn't have much in the way of attention or socialization in her previous life, but she is all sweetness, and as Pyrs are known to do, is learning a lot from Rex's example. It has been impossible not to fall in love with this little girl.
That being said, we do not have any plans to adopt Celeste ourselves. We'll miss her terribly when she finally moves on to her forever home, but, for now, we've decided that keeping our home open to fostering one (or eventually, multiple) pups in need is a higher priority than adopting a dog outright. Rex is a very accommodating boy, and a really good Alpha for our fosters to learn from, but he has first claim on our time and resources, and we don't want to overwhelm him or take any time or attention away from him. So far, it hasn't been an issue - he's loved having a playmate again! - but we're vigilant about making sure that he remains secure in his place as the big cheese around here.
These past couple days have really affirmed that fostering is for us. Celeste has given us, especially Rex, so much companionship and love already. Being able to share our lives with these amazing critters is one of the greatest gifts of this farm life we've embarked upon.
If you're interested in learning more about LGDs, Great Pyrenees dogs or pet foster and adoption in general, I've included a few links that might help sell you on the idea, but be warned - once you open your heart to a pet in need, you kinda-sorta become addicted to being surrounded by fluffy little lovebugs all day.
Consider opening your home to a rescued pet. Be each other's miracle. :)