Great Pyrenees Dog Breed
What Does It Matter?
“When all is said and done, the laws and consequences of sowing and reaping still apply.”
Sharon R. Boele-Reile
Approximately 28 years have come and gone; thus, leaving in place an accumulation of knowledge, memories and experiences with respect to our majestic, wise friends – the Great Pyrenees. My introduction to the breed began that long ago through my daughter, Susie. Susie was about seven years of age and had gone to her friend Jan’s home after school. At our rural neighbors’ home was a litter of Pyrenees pups, and that is how it all began here on the Great Plains. We brought home a lovely “lady bear” named “Snowy.”
Snowy fit right into our farm life and the daily myriad of chores. Her presence was important in the lives of the farm creatures both large and small. On the top of the list of importance each day was the milking of the cows twice a day, early each morning and in the evening, just before dusk. Snowy would be there for the warm milking, for the licking of the calves’ faces and for licking the mother cow’s face too, if the situation seemed right. This girl, Snowy, would share the portion of fresh, foaming white milk with a white cat named “Bitsey.”
On our farm we raise alfalfa, cane, oats and wheat for consumption by both man and beast. Snowy found an important position of responsibility, by keeping, watchful eyes on our three young children, especially as they helped with bringing in bundles of cane piled high on hay wagons. Snowy would make sure that snakes, mice and creepy crawling things would keep away from her family. She would position herself in the children’s midst on the wagon as we would pull the hay wagons home piled high with sweet smelling hay. She was most careful that no one would get injured as we slowly made the journey home, while the tractor trailed smoke into the crisp air on the uneven terrain of the grassy pathways. The children were so occupied in their belief that they were taking care of Snowy. They could have relaxed because she was really taking care of them!
Not only did Snowy find children, cats, chickens, geese and cows of her concern, but also all the other family members who occupied our surrounding 500 acres of Kansas prairie land. She was so wonderful to have around, but time moves on and takes its sad toll. We were surely going to miss her even though she lived to a ripe old age. The day would come when we would not see her any longer. Just as that day approached, a new litter of pups had been born nearby in Kansas from the famous Soleil line of Pyrs. As I ponder upon how all the events fell into place, it still thrills my heart and I feel like such a lucky chosen player, able to participate in such an immense plan.
Mrs. Snyder, the lady from whom I purchased the pup asked me whether I wanted to examine the reminder of the litter, I answered, “No, I prefer this “Schnee Bär” (translated Snow Bear). Her given name became “Champion Schnee Bär Snaft Angel Hof.” So, this is how the kennel name of “Schnee Bär” (pronounced Shnay Bear) began and that name has gone out around this Earth, along with many others.
I am so grateful to the Magoffins, who were diligent in x-raying heir Pyrs for possible hip dysplasia. Among other attributes, their Pyr lineage has long been noted for their “gentle-giant” temperaments. The knowledge they always so graciously shared greatly benefited and influenced our breeding program. At the same time the Kentopps were covering a log of basis, doing their best with the Pyrs they had produced over many years. Their work would also benefit Schnee Bär’s success in the years to follow.
Our third Great Pyr came along directly from the Magoffins. He was a young male of great size and stature named Soleil Snowbounder. He was the descendant of a long line of successful, big, gentle dogs. This fella was complementary to Schnee in color as he was marked in wolf grey with a coat that was very dense and long. He proved to be an all-around dog of many talents, as is consistent with this breed. One day a calf managed to wonder out side of the pasture fence. I had to walk approximately one quarter of a mile with the two Pyrs; actually as it turned out, I was accompanying them! They had worked out a plan of action between themselves: Schnee took the lead on the road just in front of the calf, keeping the calf off the road on the shoulder. Bounder kept the Bovine youngster in-line from the rear. At one point, I remarked to Schnee that, “This isn’t a sheep you know!” and she gave me a nose-in-the-air expression, clearly implying that she knew what she was doing, and that’s what really mattered! It was both humorous and awesome how confident and effective this duo teamwork was.
On another occasion, Bounder knew I was in trouble, big-time! He heard my screams of alarm as a mother cow was butting me into the air, again and again. The new mother had been depriving one of her young twin calves of needed nourishment. I had just finished persuading one of her twins to go into the milk barn. I then proceeded to do likewise with the other little one just in time to meet up with the mother’s strong, hard head, over and over again. Bounder came “bounding” to the rescue – diverting the cow’s attention to himself long enough for me to get to the other side of the fence. But, now he was in trouble! I was able to divert the cow’s interest so he also could get to the opposite side of the fence. The result of that life-threatening event was that the whole herd of cattle was replaced with a flock of Suffolk sheep. The sheep also came to be the means by which our Pyrs could practice their age-old job of seeing to it that the “sheep may safely graze.”
As it turned out, this pair of livestock guardians was such fun to train. They were a snap to teach commands; silent hand signals were easily learned. Bounder was so much fun to put on a “long down.” I would go away, out-of-sight, while he would continue to stay in place so loyally and serenely in the middle of the yard in the shade. Sometimes I could not resist chuckling as I observed, unseen from afar – his big, regal, and usually independent self patiently waiting for my return! I found that obedience training is greatly rewarding, if one is very consistent and positive, always handling the dog-in-training with much respect.
The very first litter born here at Schnee Bär was such a joy. Part of this joy was getting the whole litter to have some of the first obedience commands successfully learned by eight weeks of age. Louchie and Cherub, and male and female, had also learned an additional command, “Sprechen Sie,” which interpreted means, “speak!” Later, this was fun for Louchie, as he had quite a career in the show ring as Champion Schnee Bär Louciano. When he was waiting his turn in the Working Group, he had learned a routine to entertain the audience with his humor. His sense of humor made this an enjoyable time for both Louchie and myself while we waited in the show ring. Rob Smith handled him many times at shows, which we also attended. So many of our Schnee Bär Pyrs enjoyed the tender care of this excellent handler along with his wife Loree’s gentle manners. It was fun to see Louchie with Rob’s hat on his head while waiting in the ring. Louchie and Rob were comedian naturals and often lightened-up the sometimes tense show ring and ring-side atmosphere.
Champion Schnee Bär Monarch Lieb Teddy HOF, HOF was another Pyr who was very important and enjoyable to have in our lives. He was so much fun to have around. One day Stuart Rogell whose skillful handling had contributed much to the success of “Ted’s” career had Ted up on the grooming table. I observed from a distance that Stu expected Ted to stand during the entire grooming procedure, but Ted had other ideas. Ted kept his eyes carefully alert on Stu. At times Stu would become engrossed in conversational topics of interest, Ted knew just when to take advantage of the situation. Always watchful, Ted would ever so carefully, slowly, silently, sit down on the grooming table. Eyes ever fixed on Stu, he would then get up just in time so that Stu would not catch on that he had just sat and rested. Occasionally Stu would make a puzzled comment regarding the white towel’s repeatedly sliding off Ted’s rump, which Stu had placed there shortly before. It seemed that Ted took much calculated pleasure at accomplishing this feat successfully unnoticed. his eyes appeared to twinkle and he had such a pleased expression in his wide handsome face. I cherished every second of these experiences. Many great memories accumulated and grew in my heart and mind over the years.
Most Pyr owners will admit that their furry friends have taught them much. Perhaps the time is ripe that we Pyr owners need to actively acknowledge that we must also continually refine our ways in order to further our endeavors to propagate this breed into the future. We must not get weary of honestly assessing where we have been and where we are going. In the past there have been times during which we gathered together to exchange facts, respectfully, with one another. Much still needs to be accomplished and it is important that we work together, respecting each other with a sense of unity of purpose. Perhaps, collectively and individually, we also need to reflect upon our behavioral decorum; some of us may even need a good refresher course in the ground rules of “fair play.”
It was always so rewarding and “nice” to hear the long-time exhibitors and breeders speak about their experiences. I fondly remember the “old times” when Pyr owners would get together for a potluck picnic in some lovely, relaxed setting to exchange and share ideas amiable; we were happy to learn from each other. An uplifting phone call, a friendly voice, a word of encouragement goes a long way in promoting friendships and the breed we all love.
Wouldn’t we all be better if the negative voices that are getting more prevalent and strident, would enhance, rather than tear down and support rather than condemn or criticize? I have heard people comment that new Pyr people should fill positions which are currently held by negatively-inclined personalities. Without a doubt, progress is deterred by promoting or endorsing the negativism of gossip, slander, back-biting, animosity, etc. Our four-legged Pyr-friends, who are so faithful and true, deserve better representation.
When all is said and done, the laws of consequences of sowing and reaping still apply. Cause and effect applies to all of the above and, in the end, I am confident that justice will prevail. Our words and actions do have consequences. It does matter greatly what each of us says and does!
Let us encourage each other! Let us encourage those who are carriers of the Pyr-torch! The results will continue on to tell the tale and the rest of the story from generation to generation. Let us remember the tried and true words from Scripture: “A house divided against itself, cannot stand!”
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise
look for new heavens and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
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Schnee Bar Of The Great Plains - Dog Breeders Of Great Pyrenees
Last Updated on: 1/18/2016.