In 1995 Shane was just out of college building an adult life and went looking for his first dog.
He went to a dog show and saw what he remembers as “Polar Bear’ dogs- he was instantly in love. As he learned about these huge docile furry dogs he started inquiring and quickly found a breeder and his first puppy, Zoro. Soon after, a friend of a friend needed to find a home for a young female. Two dogs, he thought- well…maybe. He showed up in New Jersey on New Year’s eve in a snowstorm to find a girl named Roxie. Zoro and Roxie were fast friends, unfortunately, Zoro was lost in a custody battle and Shane and Roxie were to fend for themselves. Shane contacted the Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue organisation (AGPR) and was forwarded to a local farm fostering a Great Pyrenees. Roxie and Shane visited the foster to find Zues, a rambunctious 10 month old enjoying his muddy surroundings. Shane rescued Zues right on the spot and after an hour of trying to scrub all of dirt off , realised that Zues , not like Zoro or Rosie was not a pure white Pyr!
The great Zues was a large boy with a strong spirit. During work hours, he devised ways to bust out of his crate eat furniture and generally destroy things, even pulling Roxie around by her bedsheet while in her crate! His separation anxiety mellowed, but Zues’ zest for the dramatic continued. Shane often says that he lived through nine lives: jumping out of windows, rolling off decks, and countless other antics, Shane always was able to patch him up and his buddy was always by his side. They decided to take a dog family field trip to an AGPR adoption event where they met Howard. Howard was found cowering in a corner-a tall skinny and nerdy Pyr! He instantly joined the clan. Zues and Howard fought steadily for 4 days and Shane thought Howard should go back to the rescue, however, on the fifth day they became best friends and were inseparable. Howard grew to be the largest of all of the dogs to date, seemingly intimidating but a huge teddy bear.
Pyrenees are not known for longevity, more for the unconditional love they give. As time went on, Roxie was in an unfortunate horse accident, soon after Howard at 9 years old was diagnosed with bone cancer. Two days after Howard passed, 13 year old Zues went out into the yard and went to sleep. It’s been said he died of a broken heart because his best friend was gone.
When he was ready, Shane again contacted AGPR and was connected with a stray puppy. He went to pick her up and she was quietly sitting on the sofa with her paws crossed, he named her: Paris. She had a regal way about her and a sweetness that drew him in immediately. Paris instantly became ‘queen bee’ of the pack.A few years later, Shane was asked to foster a girl named Rosie and planned to have her for a few days to help out. When potential new owners came and took Rosie they barely made it to the end of the drive before returning. Both girls were crying and barking wanting to stay together. Paris and Rosie in their early years would take long walkabout’s together after digging under the fence, always coming back or coming to Shane when a neighbor spotted the notorious duo. As they matured, they stopped tunneling out of the yard and created a secret cave under a large bush near the front gate. They spend most of the summer in their secret lair barking and guarding the farm.
As the farm evolved and Shane moved into the original farm house, he inherited Wiggles. Wiggles is not a Great Pyrenees, but an important part of our family. Wiggles is best known for his funny face, silly disposition and lack of tail- hence the name “wiggles”. His whole body smiles and wiggles when he sees you, the Pyr’s love him even if he isn’t white!
Earlier in 2017 things were quiet around the farm and seeing the dog’s age, Shane decided to take a look at puppies. As luck would have it, he was contacted by an old business acquaintance that was looking for a home for a 3 yr old purebred Great Pyrenees male that needed more attention and a place to run, enter Texas. Texas has given the farm a run for the money, challenging the girls and infusing a level of energy into the household. He is a sweetheart with a penchant for sleeping on the bed and chewing stuffed animals. Even though he is bigger, Paris, Rosie and Wiggles continue to keep him in line as he acclimates!
Zues still lives with us all, through the Great Zues brand and his influence. He loved sweets, particularly donuts, Shane said quietly in this interview. There is always an ice cream cup in the freezer for all of the dogs for treats, because as Shane rescued Zues, Howard, Paris, Rosie and Texas, all of the dogs rescued him right back with their huge hearts.
For more information about Great Pyrenees and recommended rescue organisations: