The dog in the photograph isn’t Roscoe, but if you click on his name you’ll see what the real Roscoe looks like. Both dogs are Great Pyrenees, but Roscoe lives in Prince George, British Columbia, not by the sea, and you’d never see him looking impeccably groomed. He’d never be wearing collar either.
For the past four years Roscoe has lived in the bush not far from where I lived for a short time with friends. People in the neighbourhood tried to persuade him to come home with them, but Roscoe preferred his independence. Still, he stayed around so they built him a home. They kept him supplied with food, water, and fresh straw.
The SPCA learned about Roscoe and figured he needed better care. His coat was matted, and he might have health issues they could help out with. So they set out a trap.
That didn’t sit right with the neighbours. One of them sprang the trap so Roscoe wouldn’t get caught in it, and the SPCA had to forget their plan to rescue the dog. The neighbours were relieved. They love that dog and respect his wish to live on his own, accepting their gifts but not offers that would curb his freedom.
I’ve had guardian dogs, and I think Christiane Sikora is right. She runs a Great Pyrenees rescue operation in Montana. When Opinion 250 contacted her, she told them Roscoe was probably a guardian dog turned loose by a sheep operation that no longer needed him. She said, “Many shepherds will abuse the dog when it is young so that it will never bond with humans.”
My Suli was like that. She was an Akbash born on a Montana sheep operation. She never saw a human until she was three months old, past the age for bonding with us two-leggeds. I can’t swear she was abused. I do know she was wary of humans, especially men. It took months of patiently sitting, letting her approach, for me to earn her trust.
Sikora figures Roscoe is guarding the neighbourhood, as he once guarded sheep. I’m crying as I write this story. It reaches right into my core. I’m not crying out of unhappiness but because I understand Roscoe’s lonely vigil and am grateful to this Prince George neighbour for understanding it too.