Five years ago my Aunt Stephanie sent me a screenshot of the Animal Shelter, an ad for two extra-large Great Pyrenees who were found in Arroyo Grande. Two days before, I had spotted them drinking from the pond on our property and after a few hours of trying to catch them, they ran off. Behind the dirt, matted hair, and what we found out was a few weeks in the wild, they were beautiful, enormous and majestic. I knew I wanted them, so without hesitation I drove to the San Luis Obispo Shelter and in a matter of hours, adopted them. Dog lovers can’t be stopped.
I somehow managed to get them in the back of my 4Runner and with the back window down and two massive, dirty dogs poking their heads through, I sent a photo to Gavin announcing we have two new family members. He laughed, and said game on.
Bessie ended up living at my parents and we took Bo. He was 145 pounds of meat, with a thick fur coat and a giant blocky head that had everyone in my family hesitant to even pet him. Over a year, he overcame the fear he had of males and returned to the gentle, loving, calm dog we all grew to love so much. To be honest, he was terrifying to the random stranger, and his hair which we had cut like a Lion had heads turning wherever we went. Not to mention his poop was literally the size of a tri tip, so taking him anywhere always got extra interesting if he needed to poo.
His desire to roam was strong and the fact we lived in the country with no fences only played in his favor. Multiple times I got the call from someone who found them and drove miles away from my home to pick him and Tank up totally muddy and tired from their adventure. In fact, once we got a call from a stranger who found them in the middle of the 101 freeway, meaning they had to have traveled over 12 miles through the mountain ranges and crossed the northbound side of the freeway.
Fast forward five years, a marriage, a new home, a baby, and Bo was still right there with us. Interesting enough, Wyatt showed no hesitation with Bo, he would walk out our back door and yell for him in the morning, laying on top of him or using him as a personal climbing gym. Bo was his chair for reading books, the perfect white fluffy blanket that always stayed nice and still for our little boy.
Because Bo was adopted, we didn’t find out his true age until we took him in for his limping, we found out he was 11.5-12. The lifespan for a Pyr is generally 10-12 years, and the vet informed us that he was probably nearing the end of his life. I literally felt like someone kicked me in the belly, I remember sitting in the vets office tearing up watching Wyatt play with Bo’s ears not wanting to accept the news.
One month from that day we knew it was time for him to go, we put him down just where he loved to be, in the bed of Gavin’s truck. It was pretty much the worst, a big part of our family would no longer be physically here and we all shed tears over it. It was a tough decision, but the right one, he did not need to suffer any longer.
“Having a dog will bless you with the happiest days of your life, and one of the worst ones.”
We buried him 8 feet deep and in the spot where he loved to sit. On top, we set some beautiful sitting stones that look right towards the ocean and valley. As the sunset we had a moment as a family, and his sister Bessie just so happened to walk and sit right next to us.
If you give the right dog a chance, your life can be transformed and Bo did just that with our family. Having a dog doesn’t mean it’s always glitter and gold, but the positive impact they have on you and your family is something you only understand when you take the chance and become and owner.
“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog.”