This week the loyalty of the Great Pyrenees breed has set the social media sphere buzzing with the story about a Great Pyrenees in Texas who sat on the side of a highway next to the body of his friend who had been killed and would not leave.
I would like to share my own story about the Great Pyrenees, more specifically, two Great Pyrenees that have meant a lot to my family.
Two days after our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, we welcomed Huck Finn, our first Great Pyrenees puppy into our blended family. Prior to meeting my husband, I had never even heard of this breed.
Huck had the rather large job of helping unite two families into one. And he did it so easily with his adorable puppy clumsiness and a steadfast devotion you could see in his eyes.
Fast forward to 2014. Just four short months after my stepson was killed in a gas can explosion, Huck escaped from our yard and was killed by a car. He was only five years old.
(Huck kissing Santa)
Losing Huck brought a new ache that was layered into the pain of loss we were already feeling.
With both Ryan and Huck gone, our big old farmhouse that had once been bursting with love now felt barren. Michael and I seemed to be merely going through the motions each day.
And then came time for the Holidays.
Not wanting to bring others down, we decided that for Thanksgiving, we would just stay home. Even though I prepared the usual meal with all of the fixings, neither of us had the heart to enjoy it.
With three other children and a grandchild you have to find some way to make Christmas memorable. My college aged daughter was flying in from Iowa, and my mom and stepdad were going to drive from Nebraska to spend the holiday with us, so there were some bright spots. But I still found myself wishing we could just push past December in an effort to escape the nightmare that was 2014.
When we first lost Huck I swore I’d never get another dog. My heart was so battered I couldn’t take a chance on loving anything or anyone new, the pain of loss was just too great.
But as Christmas marched closer I started looking at puppies online. Michael works at least 55 hours a week, and as a writer working from home, the echoes of my own footsteps in the house were starting to get the better of me. I was lonely.
Still, could I take the next step?
I started looking for female Great Pyrenees puppies. I even already had a name picked out. But there were none to be found, at least not within 200 miles of us.
I looked at other breeds, there are so many choices out there to love. But, I kept coming back to those little white bundles of fluff, with the dark eyes, and pink and black feet. My heart wanted what it wanted and I finally realized I wasn’t just thinking we “might” get a puppy; I wanted a puppy for our family for Christmas.
Sometimes God gives you exactly what you want, right when you need it most.
On December 14, I found a litter of puppies. Immediately I emailed the breeder. They’d had eight puppies and just three were left. Of those, only one was female. I asked for a picture, twenty minutes later she sent me the picture below telling me that the one on the far right was the female that was available.
(Scarlett O’Hara with her litter mates, she’s on far right)
“The all white one?” I had to ask, just to be sure. Yes, that one. And remarkably, the breeder was less than 25 miles from our house.
I wanted to go get her that very day, but of course we had to wait until she was old enough to leave her momma.
On December 23, just two days before the Holiday we’d been dreading arrived, we went to pick her up from the farm.
With our family gathered, we got to know this little pink bellied bundle of mischievous hopefulness we’d named Scarlett O’Hara. As our old farmhouse came alive again real joy found its way into my heart for the first time that Holiday season, and I knew, Scarlett was a gift sent here to help our family heal.
2015 began and Scarlett O’Hara grew quickly, as these puppies do. One day when she was about six months old I was really missing Ryan. As I sat at my desk crying, Scarlett started crying too. Then she came over, put her chin on my knee and looked up at me with a look so true, I could tell she really cared about my pain. I could almost feel my heart expand in size.
Scarlett has grown into quite a beautiful dog. Whenever we take her out people always smile and ask us about her. Yesterday at a stoplight a little girl in the car next to was smiling at her and then gave us the thumbs up sign as they passed by us.
No, she isn’t perfect. Occasionally, she still has an accident inside. We’ve lost shoes, and a couple of rugs to puppy teething. And she loves to take the TV remote and make us chase her for it. She doesn’t actually chew it and she always gives it back in exchange for a treat.
I am constantly amazed by the deep love Scarlett has for all of us. We are blessed to have her as a friend and companion walking beside us as we journey through this life, especially on those days that are filled with tears for those we miss.
The picture below was taken just a couple of weeks ago. If you look closely you can see what appears to be a halo above Scarlett’s head. I hadn’t even noticed it until my cousin Charlotte pointed it out to me when I posted the picture on Facebook.
Some people say, “It’s just a dog.”
I say, she’s an angel on earth (hey — the halo )
And today, I’d like to say:
Happy 1st Birthday, Scarlett O’Hara.