INDIANAPOLIS — We know dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
Finding homes for one of the largest breeds is the goal of a dog rescue here in Indiana: Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue.
The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean mountain dog, is a powerful working dog that can grow to be well over 100 pounds.
They can make friendly companions and vigilant guardians, but they are not the right fit for every family. That why Jane Rose founded Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue.
"My husband came home from work. Somebody in his office had a Great Pyrenees, and he had a feeling that he thought it would be perfect," Rose said. "I said, 'I don't want a dog. I don't want to have to come home and let this dog out, worry about this dog, the cat.' And he just persisted. Finally, he wore me down. We had to go see the dog. The dog could have cared less about us. She was playing with a German shepherd. She got in the back of the car, and that was 20 years ago, 22 years ago."
And just like that, Sophie is the reason the Roses started the rescue.
"She was a wonderful dog, but she was a terrible dog," Rose said. "She was a dominant female, she raised her leg to me. She bullied all the other females. We couldn't have any other females around her, and she would only deal with boys, so, she ended up getting three male peers."
Most of the dogs Rose helps come from animal shelters as strays.
Rose warns that if you don't have a fence, most Great Pyrenees are gone because they're bred to roam and will patrol and create their own territory unless you find a way to secure them. Many of the dogs are also given up once families who were not well informed about the breed can't handle them.
So far, the rescue has helped about 1,300 Great Pyrenees.
"The personality of that dog is whatever they feel like they want it to be in that moment, so they can be very loyal dogs. They can be friendly, but if the dog wants to go, walk, and check out something, that's what's going to happen," said Carrie Huffman, a foster and volunteer for the rescue. "And as much as the dog may love me, respect me, unless I have him on a leash, they're bred to be very independent thinkers because that's what they need to do to protect the herds."
The dogs can be very loyal, loving, and protective, which means that they are workers, and when they hear things, it can be alarming if a family or neighbors aren't expecting their bark. But they can be very loving when you get the chance to bond with these dogs.
"It feels really, really great as a foster mom, being able to adopt that dog back out, Huffman said. "Sometimes, it can be difficult because you ... fall in love with the dogs. But in the end, it's best when they have those forever homes, and then, my husband and I can take in more foster dogs to just keep the cycle going."
Right now, the rescue only has about 10 families fostering its dogs and 10 volunteers.
The more people they can get to help with the rescue, the more Great Pyrenees they can save.
You can find more information on Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue on its website.