What is Great Pyrenees Rescue?
Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago is a small all-volunteer, 501(c)(3)
not-for-profit organization devoted to 1) placing orphaned and displaced
purebred Great Pyrenees in responsible, loving homes, and, 2) educating
the public about the Great Pyrenees breed. We know and love this
breed, and want each and every adoptive family to learn to know
and love the Great Pyrenees as we do.
What is a Great Pyrenees?
the mountains whose name they bear, the Great Pyrenees dog is enormous
and tremendously powerful. Great Pyrenees are the largest of the
flock guardians, ranging in size from 25–32 inches at the shoulder
and weighing from 85–130 pounds, with a lifespan of 10–12 years.
A Great Pyrenees is heavily boned, with close-cupped feet, double
dewclaws behind and single dewclaws in front. They have a heavy,
fine, white undercoat, combined with a long, thick outer coat. Their
snow-white coat can also be patched with badger, gray, or varying
shades of tan. Naturally, Pyrs tend to shed year-round.
combine a great intelligence with a deep devotion to family and
home, with a natural-born instinct to guard and protect. While
trustworthy, affectionate, and gentle, Pyrs can become, when and
if the need arises, protective guardians of their family and their
territory. Though deterring as a guard, Pyrs are docile and easygoing
as a pet and especially patient with children.
Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and affectionate. While territorial
and protective of his flock or family when necessary, his general
demeanor is one of quiet composure, both patient and tolerant.
He is strong willed, independent and somewhat reserved, yet attentive,
fearless and loyal to his charges both human and animal."
AKC Great Pyrenees Standard
Where do the dogs come from?
Pyrs are generally unclaimed strays from local animal shelters that
find themselves requiring rescue through no fault of their own.
All dogs are placed in Temporary Care Homes (TCH), where temperament
and training levels are evaluated. Even though obedience training
is reinforced in the TCH, professional obedience training is required
following adoption to help the dog bond with the adoptive family.
Great Pyrenees Rescue will neither accept nor place any dog who
is temperamentally unsafe or who has shown aggression towards people.
How do I adopt a rescued Great Pyrenees?
adopters are requested to complete an Adoption Application. After
a family/individual has submitted an Application to Great Pyrenees
Rescue and a preliminary screening process has occurred, arrangements
will be made for a Rescue volunteer to visit the potential adoptive
home to ensure that the dog is going to a permanent, loving home
where all members of the family want a dog of this particular
breed, and are willing to provide a suitable environment. Further,
we could not possibly suggest potential adoption matches without
first knowing your family and situation. After all, you can't
share your home with just any person, can you? The relationship
between a dog and his owner is just as personal in its own way.
The right dog may be available immediately, or it may take several
weeks until the pyrfect match is made. An improper placement,
or one in which all the details aren't known, can end tragically
usually for the dog.
When you take ownership of your rescue dog, you will be required
to agree to a legally binding Adoption Contract detailing the
level of care that is required for all Great Pyrenees Rescue dogs.
The Adoption Contract includes the requirement that if, for any
reason, you are ever unable to keep the Rescue dog you are adopting,
the Rescue dog must be returned to our care. (Thus, if an adoption
does not work out, the dog must be returned to GPR, as our adoption
contract stipulates.) The Contract also requires adopters to enroll
in obedience instruction within 30 days of adoption. All responsible
dog people, regardless of what breed they 'fancy,' will tell you
that basic obedience training is crucial for developing a happy
relationship with your pet. Obedience training helps the dog bond
with the new family and increases communication between the two,
so that there are fewer misunderstandings. We provide follow-up
counseling to make sure the dog settles into the pack (family)
well and we remain friends with our adopters for years to come...
understand it is imperative you complete and submit your application
to Great Pyrenees Rescue as soon as possible, even if a pyrfect
match does not exist at this time. The sooner we receive your
application, the sooner we can complete the preliminary adoption
screening process, AND the sooner we can consider you for any
dogs in our program currently or in the future. Submitting an
application does not guarantee you any one particular dog. A number
of factors are considered when placing a Great Pyrenees Rescue
dog with a potential adoptive home. Matching the rescue dog with
a compatible family/situation is the primary factor. (We put a
lot of time and effort in evaluating our rescue dogs and getting
to know potential adopters. Placing a dog in an incompatible situation
does not serve any good purpose.) When applicants are equally
suited, the date the applications were received will be taken
I don’t live in Illinois. Can I still adopt a rescued Pyr through Great
Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago?
can only consider applicants who live in Illinois, Southeast Wisconsin,
or Northwest Indiana. We do not adopt dogs to families who
live outside this geographical area, and, we do not "ship" rescue
dogs. All applicants must be able to physically travel to Northern
Illinois to meet/adopt a rescue dog. We like to keep our rescue
dogs near us for peace of mind and post-adoption follow-up. There
are shelter dogs in every state dying for good homes, therefore
it is not practical for us to go through extraordinary efforts
to place a dog several hundred miles away.
addition to the standard adoption process as described within
this page, there are many questions that must first be answered
before an adoption to Southeast Wisconsin or Northwest Indiana
will be considered :
would you, your immediate family, and canine pack propose meeting
the dog prior to adoption?
would you propose transporting the dog from Northern Illinois
to your location?
you understand the transportation expenses would be at your
would you propose returning the rescue dog to us in the event
the adoption does not work out?
you have the finances and resources to provide for round-trip
addition of a canine companion to any family/home should be a
well thought out decision by all members of the family. All members
of the family should want a Great Pyrenees, and travel arrangements
should be considered before completing an application.
The adoption process begins when we receive an Adoption Application.
Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, and our limited volunteer
support, discussions related to the rescue dogs in our foster
care program are limited to applicants with an Adoption Application
on file with us. Please
understand that all of us are volunteers, with the responsibilities
of a family, home, career, dogs, and then rescue.
Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago serves northern Illinois, and
the surrounding Chicagoland area. For a listing of national rescue
contacts and affiliated clubs, please review Rescue
Affiliated Clubs, and Petfinder.
Do you ever have puppies available for adoption?
dogs typically range in age from 1 to 8 years old. Dogs under
2 years of age are considered puppies in our book. If you are
referring to dogs under 12 months of age, the answer is: RARE!
And, then, our Temporary Care Homes (TCH), volunteers, and previous
adopters have first choice. It is unusual for a purebred puppy
under 12 months of age to show up at a shelter as an unclaimed
stray or an owner turn-in.
If you are interested in purchasing a puppy, we will be more than
happy to refer you to a reputable breeder - that is, a breeder
who certifies their dogs' health, is known for producing sound
temperaments/dispositions and their contributions to the breed,
has an unconditional return policy, and supports our RESCUE efforts.
How long does the adoption process take?
a PYRfect world, assuming a dog compatible with your situation exists,
one to two weeks. The truth of the matter is, it varies. The sooner
you submit an application, the sooner we can evaluate your situation
and make arrangements to complete a home visit at a mutually agreeable
time. We find the friendly exchange of Q&As during our meeting
beneficial in determining a good fit for both you and the rescue
dog. In fact, we remain friends with our adopters for years to come…
Do I need a fenced yard?
of our greatest concerns is ensuring the safety of each dog. Please
understand a rescue dog has already been a statistic once. Rescue
Representatives are charged with ensuring the rescue dogs in their
care do not ever become a statistic again.
Pyrs are very independent, self-confident, "what, me worry?!"
types. They would rather see what’s on the other side of that
hill than worry about getting lost. If you don’t keep a Great
Pyrenees on a leash or in a properly fenced yard or kennel, sooner
or later they will exercise their powerful instinct to
establish and patrol a large territory and will run off,
we promise you that. So you have 200 acres? The size of your acreage
is not a natural barrier or deterrent. The world is a Pyrs to
guard... unless they are safely contained on leash or within a
securely fenced yard! And, they certainly do not look both ways
when crossing streets either! No mater how expert your dog-training
skills, you will not be able to "teach" a Pyr not to patrol
a large territory, any more than a Retriever can be trained not
to retrieve, or a Border Collie not to herd. Great Pyrenees are
a guard dog by natural-born instinct, not by training!
Even fenced, Pyrs cannot be left unattended or unsupervised; a
lonely Pyr will dig under, unravel, or climb over the fence —
and surely bark endlessly. Additionally, parents must be vigilant
about not allowing children to open gates or doors which would
allow a Pyrenees to escape.
A fenced yard is required of any adoptive family with children
under 16 years old. Young children can not effectively manage
an adult Great Pyrenees on lead. A dog friendly home includes
a fenced yard. Fences make good neighbors.
with another canine must have either a fenced yard or an appropriate
prohibit the use of electronic fences (invisible fences) on our
rescue dogs since these devices do not safely contain the Great
Pyrenees breed. Please understand that electronic fences do not
work with this breed. Pyrs have a heavy, double coat with an extraordinarily
thick undercoat, and the 'shock' of an e-collar rarely gets through
the coat... Furthermore, Pyrs are a stubborn and stoic breed —
a 'shock' would never stop them from protecting their flock (i.e.,
family) from any perceived danger... Also, an electronic fence
does not offer any protection from theft or an attacking dog.
For more information on options for picking a fence, refer to:
For information on The Proper Way to Tether or Chain Your Dog,
refer to: http://www.doggiedoor.com/chain.shtml.
Do I need to complete an obedience training course?
Adoptive families are required to enroll in a formal obedience
training course within 30 days of any adoption. All responsible
dog people, regardless of what breed they ‘fancy,’ will tell you
that basic obedience training is crucial for developing a happy
relationship with your pet, and it is especially important for
a livestock guardian dog. Training helps the dog bond with the
new owner and will increase communication between the two so there
are fewer misunderstandings.
We know our rescue dogs did not come from the Ward and June Cleaver
family. And we know owners do not relinquish Lassie. So what we
have is a "diamond in the rough" so to speak, or a dog who has
not had an opportunity to reach its potential. Training
is a big responsibility. It requires a commitment of time and
effort. It is a good test for whether you are ready for a dog
in the first place. If you don’t have the time, energy, or attitude
for training just yet, then perhaps you should consider adopting
reverence for all life entails responsible stewardship: love is
not enough. Understanding your dog and knowing how to control
him, develop his potentials, and resolve behavior problems, emotional
conflicts, and frustrations are no less essential than love and
dogs lose their homes due to behavior problems previous owners
did not feel equipped to handle. Many
problems could have been solved, or avoided altogether, if people
had just taken the time to properly train their pets. "Good manners"
are easily handled with a little bit of understanding and gentle,
your dog can and should be fun for both handler and dog. It’s
a wonderful way to develop a bond between human and dog. It is
also a great way to start a more responsible and respectful attitude
toward our best friends. Dogs give us so much and ask for so little.
We owe it to our dogs to train them! Give dog training a try.
There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain!
Are the dogs healthy?
to adoption, we ensure that each dog receives complete veterinary
care, including: vaccinations, spay/neuter, a negative heartworm
test, fecal check, and micro-chip implant. On occasion, a rescue
dog that has been badly abused or neglected may still be in the
recovery stage at the time of adoption. The new adopter will be
provided with the care requirements necessary for rehabilitation.
Why must the dogs be "fixed"?
and neutered dogs will live longer, healthier lives. In males,
neutering prevents testicular and prostate cancer, and helps the
dog focus on his human family rather than searching for a mate
or marking territory by spraying urine. Spaying in females prevents
uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancer, as well as life-threatening
pyometria (inflammation of the uterus.) Pet overpopulation is
a serious problem: one dog could be responsible for up to 200
puppies in one year. Unfortunately, too many of these animals
do not find permanent, loving homes. Millions of dogs of all ages
and breeds are euthanized each year or suffer terribly as strays,
for lack of permanent, responsible homes.
is estimated that 11,000 humans are born daily, but more than
70,000 puppies and kittens are born during the same time period!
Just ONE of every FIVE animals will find a home – PLEASE, have
your pet spayed or neutered and help curb pet over-population."
The Humane Society of the United States
Is there a cost for adoption?
Our cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate, test and treat for heartworm,
provide meds to eliminate parasites and treat infections, as well
as provide for emergency veterinary care, can be several hundred
dollars. Our adoption fees only partially cover the total cost
of caring for a rescue dog and allow us to continue our rescue
efforts. This only partially covers the cost of veterinary care,
boarding fees, and other miscellaneous expenses involved in the
temporary care and adoption of Great Pyrenees Rescue dogs, and
allows us to continue our rescue efforts.
What happens if the adoption does not work out?
Pyrenees Rescue carefully evaluates each dog and each adoptive home
to ensure the adoption is the best match possible. Our volunteers
are always available to assist the adoptive family in the dog’s
transition to a permanent home, a period of adjustment that can
take days or even weeks. However, if an adoption does not work out,
the dog must be returned to Great Pyrenees Rescue, as our Adoption
Contract stipulates. Rescue and adoption services are available
for the entire life of each dog.
Why adopt a rescued Pyr?
there is one thing all pets deserve, it's a loving home and family
to call their own. But it doesn't always work that way. Just ONE
of every FIVE animals born will find a home. Millions of dogs of
all ages and breeds, throughout this country don't have a permanent
home — and they're looking for help. One way you can help is by
adopting a deserving rescue dog.
a RESCUE dog has many advantages:
is important to remember that an adoption is an adjustment for both
dog and owner, and the first month may not be without challenges.
This is normal. However, we found that the amount of time
it takes to train and acclimate an adult dog to a household is much
less than the time it takes to raise and acclimate a puppy. One
of the reasons is that adult Great Pyrenees have longer attention
spans and larger bladders than puppies. Adult Great Pyrenees also
chew less and remain quiet for longer periods than puppies.
You will be preventing a healthy pet from being euthanized for
lack of a good, caring home.
Often, previous owners have given up rescue dogs just after
they have passed through their most difficult developmental
The uncertainty about how a puppy will turn out is eliminated.
The breed is generally healthy and long-lived, so there is no
reason to fear that adopting an adult will greatly reduce the
years you will be able to share with your pet.
By natural instinct, Great Pyrenees guard their home and family
with devotion and wisdom, and it is in this environment they
will thrive, safe and secure in the feeling they are a beloved
family member. Given a good, responsible home and family to
care for, the Great Pyrenees is indeed the pyrfect family pet,
and it is in this capacity that the Great Pyrenees exhibits
their most remarkable character.
How can I help?
are many ways you can make a difference and help a homeless Great
Pyrenees. The need for volunteers and monetary support is very great.
Consider being a Temporary Care Home (TCH) for a rescued Pyrenees,
or providing transportation assistance, or assisting with various
fundraising efforts, or...! The list is endless. If you would like
to receive a Volunteer Application, please contact us at (847) 668-PAWS
(7297), or e-mail WhiteGentleGiants@yahoo.com,
and one of our volunteers will contact you.
Pyrenees Rescue is always in need of the following items:
certificates for pet food supply stores
treats, dog food (ProPlan Chicken & Rice), and dog dishes
toys (Kong, Nylabones, Gumabones)
postage (i.e. stamps)
or padded envelopes
for media storage purposes
volunteers and temporary care homes!
a monetary donation of $10, $15, $25, or more, you can help us
help them! Your donation will help us to continue to give care,
food, and medical treatment to the animals that come to us. If
everyone gave just a little, we'd be able to give a lot!
GREATEST NEED… Temporary care homes for rescued Great Pyrenees.
All dogs are placed in temporary care homes until they are adopted.
The number of dogs rescued is limited by the number of available
temporary care homes. Dogs may have to be placed on waiting lists
until a temporary care home is available. Unfortunately, some
dogs are in overcrowded shelters and have a limited amount of
time before being humanely euthanized. Clearly, temporary care
homes play one of the most significant roles in Great Pyrenees
you decide to become a temporary care family, you’ll take a rescued
Great Pyrenees into your home and care for him/her as you would
your own pet, providing food, shelter, companionship, basic training
and exercise, arranging for any required veterinary care, and
supplying generous amounts of patience and love. (Veterinary expenses
are reimbursed by GPR.) The temporary care period can last anywhere
from a few days to several weeks. Your evaluation of the Pyr’s
character, temperament, and training level is invaluable; the
more we know about a dog’s habits and behavior (positive or negative),
the easier it is to match him or her to the pyrfect owner. By
providing a temporary care home for a rescue dog, you are preventing
an otherwise healthy pet from being euthanized due to lack of
an immediate forever home. Providing a temporary care home to
a rescue dog is sure to be one of the most gratifying volunteer
opportunities you can find. You'll be giving a precious gift —
the special love of a family and home — to a dog who desperately
Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Donations to Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago are tax-deductible
to the fullest extent of the law.
What if I have questions?
volunteers are available to help before, during, and after each
adoption. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at e-mail WhiteGentleGiants@yahoo.com
or voicemail (847) 668-PAWS (7297). Your call will be returned within
Is a Great Pyrenees the dog for me?
considering this lovely breed, there are some potentially negative
instincts that you must consider. The documentation provided on
a Pyr For Me? page provides excellent information so that
you can make an informed decision before you decide to adopt a Great
Pyrenees. A Great Pyrenees is placid by nature, so despite their
size, they are excellent housedogs. Their basic personality is different
from most breeds, since most breeds were bred to take commands from
people, while Pyrs were bred to work on their own with the sheep
up in the mountain valleys. Things that you consider important may
not be the same things your Great Pyrenees considers important!
If you require a dog that will be a great "off-leash" companion
for your outdoor activities, if you want a dog that will follow
your every command, or if you want a competition obedience dog,
the Great Pyrenees is probably not for you. Remember, there is no
breed suitable for everyone! So, with that said, Is
a Pyr For Me? (Pssst: you’ll never know the answer
unless you click on the question!)