Where the heck is Montana? If you live in the East, it's "somewhere out West." For those who don't know, Montana borders four states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho) and Canada. Great Pyrenees Rescue Montana (GPRM) is in Hamilton, Montana, nestled in the Bitterroot Valley in the southwestern corner of the state. Its location is crictical to not only helping dogs in Montana but in the surrounding states.
2018 was a challenging yet rewarding year for GPRM. With three litters of puppies in addition to the many adult dogs needing assistance, the rescue was very busy. Intake more than tripled over the prior year. In 2018, 79 dogs were adopted, over four times as many as in 2017. The increased activity is due to taking in more dogs from the neighboring states of Wyoming, Idaho and primarily Utah, where dogs can be left behind when sheep move on to new territory. The 2018 intake of 101 dogs included three from Colorado, five from Wyoming, 14 from Idaho, 28 from Montana and 51 from Utah. The majority of these dogs were rescued from shelters or relinquished as owner surrenders.
The use of livestock guardians on federal lands, particularly in Utah, is a controversial issue. The Forest Service does not reveal the names of those who hold grazing permits and dogs can become lost or abandoned when flocks move on. Though federal land management agencies don’t provide mandatory regulations for the use of livestock protection dogs, the American Sheep Industry Association offers a list of “recommended management practices.” These include providing adequate food and water and identification for the dogs. Some believe this is not being done, leaving rescuers to save the dogs and their puppies left behind when flocks move on.
Wilson (left) is what is commonly seen with ranch dogs in the area. This poor boy is about 6 or 7 and has probably been neglected his whole life. He had injuries to his ear, neck and chest, burrs and fox tails in his horribly matted coat and after shaving him, they were found embedded in his skin. The vet found severe untreated ear infections in both ears. And he was emaciated.
Wilson (right) was brought back to life by several volunteers. His new mom, Deb, who first fostered him, realized that he needed to stay with her. He had repeatedly escaped from an abusive owner who had neglected, starved, and abused him. After numerous rescue attempts, volunteers whisked him to safety and into the arms of Deb, who has since put needed weight on him, provided necessary care and grooming, and shown him what it means to be loved.
GPRM currently functions as a two-person, volunteer-run organization that exists through the generosity of donations, several dedicated foster families, and the kindness of many who help transport dogs over long distances to safety. Carole McLaughlin and Carrie Gilman restarted the organization in 2015, after the past president retired. They have been forging new partnerships, particularly within the state of Utah, to help many dogs in need. Carrie, who functions as the transport coordinator among other things, works wonders in getting dogs moved the long distances that are required in the West.
For more information or to volunteer with Great Pyrenees Rescue, Montana, visit https://greatpyrrescuemt.rescuegroups.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/GreatPyreneesRescueMontana.