This is the second year in a row that our Happy Endings calendar features a senior Pyr on the cover. Ken from Long Beach, California was our cover dog for 2018 and this year, Pappy, a Great Pyrenees Rescue Society (GPRS) dog from Barlett, Texas is our 2019 cover dog. Like Ken, Pappy passed before the calendar was published. Both these seniors, after suffering lives of neglect, knew they were very loved during their final months in rescue. It's clear the seniors have our hearts and will always be our top dogs.
You can read Pappy’s story inside our 2019 calendar preview PDF, although there were so many sweet stories and pictures of him it was hard to know which ones to include. He was dumped at a Texas shelter in June 2017 and rescued just before Hurricane Harvey hit in August. He was diagnosed with canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) a short time later. Pappy’s foster, Juliette Martine is rather remarkable herself. She has fostered 26 dogs for GPRS. Fostering Pappy was a challenge but one that Juliette was up to.
Although Pappy could not move himself, Juliette and her family made sure he did not miss out on any activities. When Pappy still had function of his front limbs, he would direct his humans to where he wanted to go by moving in the direction he wanted to go. Despite being trapped in an uncooperative body, Pappy was very determined to be in charge and sometimes fostering a disabled senior requires a bit of ingenuity.
Pappy was doing so well that by the Spring this year, he had gained enough weight to be seriously chubby. As Pappy’s world grew, so did his appetite. At one point, he weighed a whopping 105 pounds and needed to go on a diet! His bloodwork also returned to within normal range, and his heart murmur stabilized. Unfortunately the DM which incapacitated his rear legs was now affecting his ability to move his front legs. It was becoming much harder to get him outside for his favorite thing to do, "sit under the tree and watch everything". Juliette brainstormed for ways to get Pappy out to the back yard. A wagon was one option but while Pappy loved sitting in it, as soon as it started moving he would scramble off it and fall. But Pappy was nothing if not determined. He always wanted to be in the center of things, greet the new dogs and hang out with the pups.
Although Pappy is gone, there are other seniors who need fosters and adopters. East of the Mississippi, NGPR currently has 11 seniors in foster care, of which four—Pearl, Samson, Zeus and Panda—are available for adoption now. In Texas, GPRS has Abby from SPIN listed, who can travel to the West Coast.
We have said this before but it bears repeating. Senior dogs are generally easier than their younger counterparts to manage. They are mellower and don’t eat as much; they are less destructive in the home and fit into routines quickly. Care of senior dogs is not much different from that of younger dogs. Make sure they get regular exercise with short, regularly scheduled walks. Feed them a good, high-quality food formulated for seniors and keep them on the lean side. Extra pounds mean more stress on their bodies, including joints and internal organs. Get them to the vet for regular checkups. Older Pyrs can be prone to thyroid or adrenal diseases, which can be regulated with proper medication. And don’t underestimate the importance of proper dental care, which can prevent the buildup of tartar on teeth that can lead to serious bacterial infections.
Please consider taking a senior Pyr or Pyr mix into your life. If you can't, please donate to save a senior dog or click below to order a 2019 Calendar to support rescue. Thanks in advance for your order and for Saving More Pyrs!