Dog owners have long vouched for their pets’ abilities to sense danger. Many people feel safer with a dog around, as their hearing, sense of smell and awareness are often much acute than a person’s.
That’s especially true of dogs trained to protect or bred for generations to guard. Livestock guardian dogs definitely fall into that category, and while they can be very gentle companions, they also have an instinct for sensing danger.
One of the more common breeds that fall into that category is the Great Pyrenees, a large, white dog raised to live 24/7 with livestock and protect them from predators.
Sadly, what many prospective dog owners see is a cute, sad-looking fluff of a puppy, but they aren’t just big teddy bears, and many “Pyrs” end up in shelters once they’re full-grown and people no longer want to deal with the antics of an untrained dog of their size.
But one pup recently showed how he could be very useful even in an urban setting. Far away from flocks and fields, a dog named Jepson at the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue in La Vergne, Tennessee, likely saved the life of his volunteer walker.
The shelter is set in an industrial area, necessitated by zoning allowances. Many of the walkers are young adults, and lately many of them have felt unsafe in the area.
“Nothing has really changed on the surface, but for some reason over the past year our female volunteers have been the subject of harassment,” the rescue’s founder, Jean Harrison, told WZTV-TV. “It’s been sexual in nature and all targeted towards females.”
On Thursday at around 9:30 a.m., a young lady was walking Jepson when a white van stopped nearby and two men jumped out.
Jepson immediately “started going berserk,” according to Harrison, and the two men jumped back into the van and left.
“Had she not been walking a Great Pyrenees who decided these men definitely constituted a threat and had that Great Pyrenees not kept them at bay, we could have been national news,” a post by the rescue read. “Jepson the Pyr is a hero for sure and the employee this happened to is a trooper, but we worry and will continue to worry.”
“The police have not been overly helpful and they tell us they will add patrols, but they are short-staffed. I do not think this is a situation I can improve and I am very sure this is a situation where we need to move.”
After the incident, the rescue is seriously looking to relocate — but thanks to COVID-19, many of their fundraising efforts have been sidelined. Still, they’re doing what they can and hope to move to a safer location for their dogs and people.
The rescue also posted an update on the four-legged hero after many people asked about him. When Jepson first came to them, he had mange, but he is doing much better now.
“So, a lot of people have asked for info on the dog who protected our worker from an attempted attack,” the rescue posted on Sunday. “Say hello to Jepson, who kept two men with seriously bad intent at bay while on a walk with one of our employees.”
“Jepson is a 4 year old Great Pyrenees who came in from a hoarding case. He had mange on arrival (see pic in comments), but is much improved now. He will be ready to go home soon.
“Jepson is a very good boy. He is good with people unless you are a criminal and he is good with dogs and cats. He is looking for a foster home (as are his siblings), so if you are interested in fostering or possibly adopting Jepson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you are in or near Nashville and could use a “spectacularly good boy” in your life, you can contact the rescue.
After this story has circulated, Jepson will no doubt have many offers when he is ready to go to a forever family, but there are always more good pups needing equally good homes.
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