Guardi the Pyre (Great Pyrenees) was our first LGD. He was given to us within two years of our arrival in Oklahoma and acquisition of goats. Having spent a significant part of our lives in Mexico, we tended to name our animals in Spanish. Hence we named him “Guardian,” pronounced with Spanish phonetics. His name was quickly shortened to “Guardi,” also pronounced in Spanish (and about impossible to say in English).
We actually got to meet him before we brought him home. He came home with us when he was still mainly fluff. He could squeeze through the squares of 6″ cattle panels.
Guardi the Pyre grew rapidly, though it took nearly four years for him to reach full maturity and size. At a year of age he only weighed 88 lb., small compared to an adult male Pyrenees. During his second summer I noticed that he flinched when I was close by and made a fast movement. I wondered why. Then, we discovered that an escaped convict had spent time in the second house on our property, which was unoccupied at the time. Apparently he had kicked Guardi. He also ate all the supplies we stored in the house and trashed the bathroom.
Even at 2, Guardian didn’t seem like he’d be much help, warding off two legged intruders. He was doing great with our animals, but now we started thinking about our need of a watch dog. We arranged to get an Anatolian shepherd.
We thought our Pyre wouldn’t guard against human intruders. We were wrong.
Guardi matured when he was coming up on 4 years of age. He was still his lovable, gentle self. He still had an incredibly tender heart. But suddenly he became, well… awesome. He was over 120 lb. He was super diligent in guarding the animals, patrolling the homestead and warning of any intruders. One day I hired someone to help with hay. He pulled up in front of the house and hour early, while I was still down at the barn. I started heading to the house, but Guardi beat me.
Guardian blocked the fellow from going to the house.
He growled. He would not move. The fellow ignored him and went around. Guardian circled back and warned again, as if to say “You shall not pass.” The fellow went around him again. Guardi circled back and, with his nose, “punched” the fellow quite near the groin. The would be hired hand turned, limped back to his truck and got in. Guardi wouldn’t let him out until I insisted, and then he followed us around, giving him a “Forrest Gump glare.” He never again let that fellow “dismount” in front of our home without my input. Later we learned that the fellow had a meth addiction.
From that day on Guardi the Pyre screened all human visitors to our home.
Normally we couldn’t tell why, but he was fine with some and others, well… they required special permission. With those people, Guardi usually hovered nearby. If they wandered more than 20′ from me, he’d bring them back. It was obvious who he trusted and who he did not trust. He was using his livestock guardian instincts to protect his humans.
The Great Pyrenees is an amazing dog.
I would characterize Guardi as noble. He was completely dedicated to us and our animals. He was gentle. One time, while he napped, a dozen baby chicks climbed up on him, playing “King of the LGD.” I watched as he woke and refused to move until they moved away. He didn’t want to hurt them. He was sensitive. Even a cross swat would have crushed him. He longed for my approval, and I gave it to him. In a sense, he was my first dog since boyhood. Every other dog we had, had been assigned as belonging to one of our kids. The kids went to college. Jerreth and I stayed on the homestead. I spent hours every day(and night), in all kinds of weather, caring for the animals, and Guardi the Pyre… was my partner.