George Eliot found our family eight years ago. She had had four foster families before us which we thought did not bode well for her character (surely there was a reason these others had not wanted to keep such a beautiful dog?) George corrected this myth soon after coming under our roof. She was a perfectly dear, smart, and well-behaved animal and one thing was clear, she had chosen us.
Great Pyrenees are not a dog for every family. They are bred as working dogs, livestock guarders who live out on the range along with their wards. They are haughty, independent and unrelenting barkers (not our George though, she’s the Marcel Marceau of Pyrenees) with a tendency to guard the perimeter of their territory. Without a fence, they are soon, gone long gone.
And that is exactly what George did, the first day she came to us. After the death of my previous Pyrenees, Scout, (a most remarkable therapy dog and companion who worked with terminally ill and Alzeheimer’s patients) I felt the loss of her presence so profoundly I started to speed-date with Pyrenees rescue organizations. It felt wildly illicit, beautiful dogs brought to your home, or to meet you in a park or by the side of the road, yet all of them were not Scout. It was just too soon. As the foster parent went over George Eliot’s history as we sat on my back porch, I explained to her that I was not feeling up to the adoption. When we looked around, George Eliot was gone. After a panicked search, (we live in a high traffic urban area and she was headed up a highway exit ramp) we brought her home again. We were supposed only watch her for the afternoon while the foster mom went to a family reunion but George never left again.
She seems to love her life which encompasses a high level of travel (takes care of that roaming instinct), from rural to urban environs. She loves New York City. The crowds, the bustle, all those friendly dogs and of course the excessively high count of squirrels per square inch in the city’s parks. With all that interaction potential you never know who you might meet. In our neighborhood there is another rescue Pyrenees named June. The very first time they met they both just lay down on the street and kissed each other. George has never done this with another dog. This was family.
When George first came to us, she was so insecure and dis-spirited she couldn’t, wouldn’t look us in the eye. She ran away whenever a camera was brought out (we thought this signaled that she was in a witness protection program and didn’t want to be identified and sent back to where she came from). Today, as you can see in her picture, she is the master of her universe. Eager to greet everyone she meets and play with every dog she encounters. We don’t know how old she is but it seems she has Benjamin Button syndrome. With each passing year, her heart is becoming younger, more playful and more joyful. When the evening grows dark, she stands at the door of the same porch she jumped off of the first day she came into our lives, wagging her tail to ask to come into her home, the one she had looked for across four states and claimed as the life she instinctually knew was out there waiting for her.
- Jennifer Gross 2015