Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    2

    Default Saber-Our last day

    Hi, I am new to posting here, but not new to this site. From it, I have read/gained valuable information in the 2 years of researching/owning Saber, our beloved family dog. Our story began a year and a half ago, when our family made the long overdue move from town to country. Anticipating living on 20 acreas with 4 children, 2 small dogs, 2 chickens, 2 ducks, a rabbit, and eventually cows/calves and horses, I researched for quite some time what large family farm dog breed would work best for our situation. The first words that caught my attention about the Great Pyranees breed were: Gentle Giant Guardian. I read good/bad about them. For the most part, the good far outweighed the bad, and nothing I read/saw when I visited farms with working pyrs, or others who owned them, scared me off from owning one. We looked many different places, made numerous phone calls, visits to breeders and looked at several potential puppies and dogs. We began our search with rescues and eventually trips to our local animal welfare and Humane Society to adopt our large family dog. We wound up visiting what appeared to be a reputable breeder whose parent dogs were on site. We visited to check out the litter. We watched and played with all the puppies until two really struck us as good natured and happy little 6 week old pups. By 8 weeks, we were driving the almost 2 hours to bring our first little Great Pyranees to his forever home with us, his new family. We could not have been more happy and content with the whole process. After several days of romping with the sweetest little puppy, we appropriately named him Saber, because while he was very sweet and abit clumsy, he also had this no nonsense about him and his intentions. He loved playing with our two mature Bichons. He let them be alpha for a time. All the while, I continued my study of this intriguing breed and the newest addition to our family. I would at times read about aggression and wondered how? How could such a sweet good natured little puppy suddenly turn? Then one day, literally out of the blue, around 13 weeks old, during feeding, he snarled, growled, and bit at my daughter and our other two dogs. They always ate together just fine. I remember thinking (having grown up with and around dogs....german and australian shepherds, etc..) this was not just growling, this was......the word fierce came to my mind. From then on, feeding became serious, and being protected while doing so. Could not have my children in harm's way. Needless to say, Saber did not like a strong message of "no". He did not back down. We tried with an awful lot of positive mixed with firm limits and more relational reward. Eventually, we made him wait patiently, then fed him separately. For the longest, and at the suggestion of behaviorists, we handfed him and sat with him while he ate....ON LEASH. This also had to stop! One day my daughter was feeding, switched the dogs so each could get to their own bowls, and our female walked in front of Saber's bowl. He went to bite the dog and got my daughter's arm instead. I was ready to be done at that point. No dog will stay with us who bites my child, or anyone, even if it seems accidental. But, by this time, the kids were so attached..My husband and I decided to continue to manage this dog that we all loved dearly. More training was critical and that is what we did. Months went by. As well as trips to Petco, parks, lakes, and visits to public places to continue working toward socializing/ training Saber. Phone calls were made to dog behaviorists, and too many websites, books, and articles to count. Faithful walks out and about....car rides, pickup rides, meet and greets with all kinds of people, young and older, all continuous Saber training weekly. Then life changed and we found ourselves selling the country house and moving back into town, in our former home with a decent sized good- fenced backyard. This would be a temporary move, until a more suited home opened up for our family with adequate space. It was in this space that we continued teaching, loving, walking, training Saber. Then one evening, my husband needed the two little Bichons to go outside. He threw a small crouton out the door, and shut the door after they went out. He heard the awful noise, 30 seconds later, of dogs fighting. He opened the door to Saber wagging the little male Bichon, Soshi, like a ragdoll. Having been bit in the face by a boxer at a very young age, my husband froze. I ran from the kitchen, immediately grabbed the dog's haunches from behind him and pulled the 90 lb dog off the 6 pound Bichon. The little dog walked a few steps and layed down on his side while I scolded Saber and held him off. The kids scooped him up and we brought him inside. No apparent punctures were noticed, but to the vet we went at 10 p.m. with a very traumatized little dog. He had one puncture wound and stayed overnight at the vets who, after hearing our long story, suggested we have Saber put down. At the time, I could not imagine it. I had poured my heart/soul into this magnificent dog. We made the difficult, but hopeful decision to continue managing Saber, have him neutered, get training help, and I would keep my vet posted on the process. Meanwhile, Soshi, a constant reminder of the seriousness of our large dog situation, limped on 3 legs for months, and eventually regained his strength, appetite, playfulness, and even his stature around Saber. I continued to handle Saber with great care/concern. Always reading, learning, and staying aware. Keeping him on leash for feeding, keeping houseguests safe, etc....The next episode was during feeding. He turned on all of us, then the number of times he turned on me, in his fit of guarding food, was one too many. Then there's the incident with an older lab and a neighbor lady who reached over our fence to pet a very aggitated Saber. She admitted she should not have. Now for a full year of having a pyranees and in the meantime, finding a beautiful property that is truly HOME, all of our animals are here once again with us. Saber has continued to be a great and challenging guardian. Having said that, over the last few months, we have not been able to take him out in public. We walk him tied to the golf cart (he is well over 100 pounds) for longer walks around the property and down dirt roads; he loves this. However, his food aggression has increased, as well as his human aggression. Whether it is the contractor, the mailman, or the neighbor, noone is allowed near him. He recently popped his 40 foot cable and went after our fence builder. The final straw came last Friday evening, when my relatives (who have never met a pyr), but who knew about/were told numerous times not to engage Saber. I had warned them, and while I went to get my shoes on, my uncle walked right up and tried to love on the dog. Saber tolerated this happily for a split second, then lunged and got his arm. Had Saber not been at the end of his cable, I am not sure my uncle would have come away as lucky with only a few scrapes/bruises. It scared him, and all who saw it. It was/felt terrible. His arm is still sore; the memory still frightening. He thought with the tail wagging, the dog must be ok with him. He was wrong in this case. I am pouring out my heart here today because since last Friday evening, my husband and I have decided, after much anguish, to put the dog down. We have literally tried everything. The life hours this has consumed of me is more than I care to admit. The wonderful traits that we have all grown to love in Saber are perfect in every way. However, the traits that are not acceptable are deadly. And, in the end, we are lucky that things haven't been much worse. All along, we have contacted the breeder, the vet, great pyr experts, behaviorists, rescues, etc...Today, we will make the very unpleasant drive to our understanding vet and Saber will be put down at 6:45 p.m. I am heart broken. I know from having read other posts, this is an internet community where people are kind and helpful. I am convinced that we are doing the right thing. This is not an easy experience for me, my children, and our family. Thank you for reading. Appreciate your kind thoughts. Even though this feels like a really bad way to start the new year, we are hopeful that good can still come from the hard lessons life has handed us through Saber.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,327

    Default

    I wish I had adequate words to tell you how sorry I am for your terrible loss. I am fortunate not to know how difficult this must be for all of you. My heart breaks for you.

    Saber was very lucky to have such a staunch advocate and loving family. It sounds like you did everything you could to help him. I am so sorry that you didnít have the happy ending you worked so hard for. Again, I just canít imagine.

    Sending lots of love and healing energy to you and your family right now.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    4,782
      Jewel`s Photos

    Default

    Truly at a loss of words for this terribly sad situation. I am sorry this was your first experience with the breed. Sadly Saber was not wired in the normal way. Friends of ours, experienced pyr owners, went through a similar situation some years back. They also had to make the ultimate heartbreaking decision - after the dog severely bit my friend. I believe you made the responsible decision.

    I want to mention that, in case people reading the thread aren't aware, a dog wagging its tail doesn't always mean the dog is being friendly. Depending on the way the tail is wagging, it can mean a serious warning/threat. A happy wag is when the tail is swishing side to side in wide arcs or wagging in circles. When the tail is held high and wagging only with limited angle and relatively slowly, the dog is actually giving warning that moving into its space would be met with aggression.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    6,421
      Tsunibear`s Photos

    Default

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know this is a hard decision to make and I know this is a horrible situation. Saber was lucky to have a family who worked so hard to keep him around and do what was best for him.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Antonia's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,519
      Antonia`s Photos

    Default

    I am so sorry to read this sad story and to know what you are all feeling right now. I have faced this before, not with a Pyr but with one of my Kangal dogs. There's no question something was wrong with her mental "wiring" but it still never took away the feeling I had that I should have been able to fix her, to make her succeed, to overcome her demons, as it were. I couldn't and rehoming her was not an option due to her severe anxiety and unpredictability. This was almost five years ago. I still grieve, still feel like my love for her should have been able to alter the outcome. When I can look at it from Zasha's point of view, I do believe it was the most loving thing I could do for her. Her life was a hell as a result of her problems and she was not quite 2 years old. I have to remind myself that she's not afraid anymore, not living her life constantly at the edge of tragedy, confused because she is lashing out at the people she adores. In my case, I had Kangal dogs before her and knew she was not "normal" for the breed. I'm sorry that this had to be your first experience and only personal experience with a Pyr. The majority are far from this and are indeed Gentle Giants. Sending healing wishes for you broken heart from one who knows where you are right now and feels your pain...

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Posts
    161

    Default

    I am truly sorry about your loss. Sending you lots of love for you and your family. You did everything you could to help Saber.

  7. #7
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful words. This time lastnight I was enduring one of the (if not the hardest) decisions I have ever had to make. Noone could have possibly prepared me for "that" lastnight. I keep seeing him sitting for me, giving me his paw, as he would usually do when he was unsure. It's just almost too much to bare...the thoughts, images....Days prior, to prepare somehow, when I knew the inevitable would come, I would look out the same window (as he'd look right back...he didn't miss anything) and I'd imagine him not being right there, beside his tree in his favorite sunny spot....only to be so deeply grateful that he was still right there; and I still had time to "do something"...anything! Honestly, I could not have really imagined him being gone. I woke up lastnight hearing the neighbor's 2 pyrs and so badly wanted to hear Saber's most powerful protective response chiming in with equal concern and definite authority. Only a month ago, I would never have thought I could ever miss that bark. But boy, do I! Used to bring him into our bedroom, right beside my bed, no matter the hour, when we lived in town. Our neighbors were very nice, and to keep good relations, we didn't want Saber's barking to keep them from a goodnight sleep. Pretty sure Saber enjoyed the routine. He'd breathe a big heavy sigh, then be out. I missed him badly today. Heavy tears would just come at random times. Everything reminded me of that dog. First time, since living here, that I lowered the blinds in the kitchen to keep from seeing his spot empty. It's now been replaced with a mound of fresh dirt and the little wooden cross that my son hammered into the ground lastnight. We are still heart broken. So this morning, I came to this website searching for support from those who understand better than anyone. And I found your kind and thoughtful words. For several moments, they were like sunshine to my spirit.....and then the reality of the loss a black cloud again. I let my children read your posts and I know they were comforted. So this is my thank you to you for taking the time to not only read, (a lengthy read, at that) but to let me know you care. I won't always need to express in such lengthy type, and I am really challenged to stay adultlike and strong for my kids....and keep a balanced perspective. After all, we put this dog down so he didn't wind up killing someone for goodness sakes! But in my heart, I cannot help but mourn that great pyranees part of Saber. I can't seem to stay focused on the aggression part for long....I feel it would be less emotional if I would....I do try. I keep reminding my children about his dangerous side and they struggle too to let that part overshadow the dog we dearly loved. Everytime I try to put this grief in the "dangerous dog" bin, my heart begins to break still the instant I remember the companion he was and the good dog side of him. I spent a good part of today browsing all the shelters full of these dogs and my heart breaks all the more. I would not wish this experience on anyone, ever. I miss my Saber. Badly. I miss his eager "paw". I miss what he meant to our family. He left a huge hole in our broken hearts. I hope tomorrow is alittle better.

  8. #8
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Posts
    161

    Default

    *Sending you virtual hugs from Michigan*

    Thank you again for sharing your story. You might think that we're helping you with moral support, but in a way, you're helping us to realize how lucky most of us are by having a pure -or in my case mix- Pyr that doesn't put our family at risk. You are a very strong woman and you did EVERYTHING that you could have done to find a solution for Saber.

    You mentioned that your neighbors have two pyr. I hope that one day, when you feel emotionally stronger, you get to spend some time with them. Some GP are wonderful, loving and caring dogs.

    Again, I feel very sorry that you had to go through such a painful experience with Saber. I wish you all the best

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    6,421
      Tsunibear`s Photos

    Default

    I won't lie and tell you that you will feel better tomorrow. Even though you did what was right for Saber and your family it will still hurt because, you loved him. Take your time and grieve.

  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Walla Walla Washington
    Posts
    4,460

    Default

    SaberMom.....as others, I am sad that this was your first experience with the breed, but please search your heart & know that you did all that you could to help him become the well mannered guy you hoped he could be...more than most people would have done...you looked for experienced help, tried to educate yourself...and it appears that you never excused his behavior, rather you tried to redirect it.

    Please know that what you decided....as a family...was the one that had to be made...and you sent him off knowing that he was cared for and very loved.

    It's so difficult to say exactly why his personality became so aggressive, some times I wonder if by making these independent livestock guarding dogs we haven't mixed up their decision making abilities as to whether to be a guarding dog or a companion....but that is only my opinion.

    I hope that you & your family find peace together....

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •