Two weeks ago marked the one year anniversary of Bubba’s arrival in New Jersey. We don’t know too much about Bubba’s past other than he was turned in to a rural Texas shelter that euthanizes dogs when there is no more room. Bubba is a magnificent example of a Great Pyrenees with beautiful flowing white fur and a sweet and sunny disposition. He does have one common flaw that he shares with many other dogs and that is he has pretty severe separation anxiety, which we found out after he did a significant amount of damage to a foster’s home after escaping from his crate.
After that incident we brought him to our home for foster, where he has been for the past year. We have a nearly perfect setup for Bubba. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home full time which means Bubba always has someone around. For those times when we need to leave the house, we have a variety of things that we do: Since Bubba loves to ride in the car, if the weather is cool enough, Bubba just goes with us everywhere and hangs out in the car while we eat or go shopping. When it is too warm out, or we need to go somewhere for a longer period of time, we have many awesome local Eleventh Hour Rescue volunteers who regularly “Bubba-sit” for us. He is perfectly happy to go to anyone’s house and make himself right at home.
To try and help Bubba with his anxiety, we spoke with a veterinary behaviorist. We have now found a good combination of medication that lowers Bubba’s anxiety level enough to where we can leave him for 2-3 hours at a time without him suffering an anxiety attack. We do not go too far away when we leave him and we are able to watch him “live” on a camera in the house for any signs of distress. Mostly, he just sleeps during these times. Bubba can never be a dog that you can leave in the house for 8 hours while you go to work, or that you could leave regularly every day for 2-3 hours, but we think that by continuing his medication, he could be left for short periods in his new home once he became adjusted and so long as he could be monitored remotely.
Due to his Bubba’s size, he can easily break out of a normal wire dog crate, and he has injured himself doing that in the past. We purchased an extra-large “Gorilla crate” for him to try out and although he cannot escape it, he absolutely cannot stand to be confined in it and has a panic attack the entire time he is in there. So crating will not be an option. Neither will confinement to a room, as he can (and has) easily gone through two sheets of drywall to make his own escape doorway! He does love to be outside, but he can easily jump a 4 foot fence, probably one even higher than that, so unless your yard is like fort Knox, he cannot be left alone outside either.
You may be thinking “Why would I ever want to take on this responsibility?” The answer is that despite his anxiety about being left alone, Bubba is an awesome dog. He loves every single person he meets. He’s become a bit of a local celebrity and is a literal traffic-stopper when you take him for a walk. He has a sweet soulfulness to him that is a characteristic of the breed. He is great with other dogs – he currently lives with 5 doggy brothers and sisters and has seen countless other foster dogs come and go. He is hit or miss with cats – he gets along great with cats that are confident, and that run right up to him. Cats that are afraid or run away he doesn’t care for too much. He loves to travel and will jump right in the car for trips both short and long. He adores children and they adore him. He’s a great hiking partner and loves to be outside, but he also loves to jump on the couch and take a nap with you. He’s a big fluffy and mellow friend but true to the breed if he hear something suspicious he will let you know by barking and just his size alone would give anyone that was up to no good second thoughts.
We think that Bubba’s perfect home is out there somewhere and we have made it work for over a year with little disruption to our lives. We will always be there for Bubba for the rest of his life. If you need to go on vacation, or something comes up unexpectedly, you can always drop Bubba off here and he will be happy to hang out until you return. Bubba would be a great friend and companion to an elderly person that is maybe partially disabled or housebound. Or he would be great for someone that can take their dog to work, or that works from home like I do. There’s so many situations that would work for Bubba. Won’t you consider making him part of your family?
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