By Beth Hill, daughter of Martha Rehmeyer, CGPR Founder
One blistering hot summer day in 1992, my brother found himself confronted by a large, fluffy, white dog wandering in Winston-Salem. At that time, he was living in a small apartment with a medium-sized dog of his own. There was no way he could keep this dog. Fortunately, our mother lived nearby. He coaxed this hundred-pound stray into the back of his Suzuki and called to warn her of his arrival. Mom, an animal lover, would know what to do with this monster.
And, of course, Martha Rehmeyer did. She took in the animal, provided him with a cool basement to get away from the summer heat, a bowl of refreshing water, and another bowl full of food. She contacted the appropriate agencies to report this lost dog, only no one seemed to be looking for him. She had worked in a veterinarian’s office and knew that this was a Great Pyrenees. She had been intrigued by this breed and had considered adopting one when the time was right. Little did she know that time was now.
After a few days with no owner coming to claim him, she contacted the nearest Great Pyrenees rescue. They were willing to take him but would not be able to pick him up until the following week. She agreed to keep him safe and well-cared for until then.
If you cannot guess what happened next, you have not had the experience of spending time with a Pyr. They make you do things you would not have considered before. Forget about all those pre-conceived notions of dog rules: no dogs on the furniture, no dogs that shed a lot, no dogs that drool, etc. You meet a Pyr and all of a sudden reality hits: Pyrs are lap dogs with the only problem being that human laps are too small. Pyrs inevitably end up on the furniture. Their hair can also be used to make soft sweaters and line bird nests—recycling at it’s finest! And isn’t this why they make vacuums? What a good excuse to support the economy by purchasing a newer, improved model! And drool, it is only water…slightly slimy…but still water. I have never been told that it ever hurt anyone.
When the Great Pyrenees rescue called for him a few days later, her answer came easy: “Thank you, but never mind, he can stay.” He had won over her heart and would win over many more over the next eight years.
His name became Sir Charles of Scarsborough, otherwise known as Charlie. He was special. My mother started taking him to local nursing homes and adult day care centers. He made people who had not smiled in years smile once more. People who could not remember their own name remembered his and looked forward to his visits. He made caregivers believe when a woman who had not spoken in years called his name. He even knew when death was near and made a point to sit a moment longer with those who may not be there for his next visit. He was usually right.
He was special. Over the years the two of them received several awards including volunteer of the year. He had shown her the true spirit of these gentle giants and in doing so, inspired her to reach out and help his brothers and sisters. And so it started. My mother started rescuing other Great Pyrenees that first year with Charlie. It started slow with only eight dogs entering the rescue. This past year, CGPR accepted 127 dogs into rescue. The unfortunate side of this story is that more than 300 had to be turned down. My mother is a strong woman, but even strong women cry. It hurts when she has to say “no” to any dog in need. I have come home to find her sitting quietly in front of her computer. I listen as she talks about the “bad days.” My mother realizes that she cannot save them all, but it does not stop the pain of knowing what probably happens to those that she cannot offer sanctuary.
There have been numerous times that she has talked about “getting out.” This past year, the 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status was scheduled to be renewed, and she did not plan on doing so. She was making mental notes on how to “shut down” the operation, but the lure of this majestic breed and the understanding of what would happen to all of those “Charlies” if there were no CGPR kept her—and still keeps her—going.
October 10, 2000 was a sad day. Charlie collapsed on the living room floor. It took both my mother and my brother to gently roll him onto a blanket and carry him to the car. The typically short drive to the vet’s office was painfully long that day. My mother was there when he took his last breath. His body may be gone, but his spirit remains.
This one stray changed so many lives, especially that of my mother. In my eyes, it keeps her young. I hope that she continues this wonderful mission as long as possible. Thank you, Charlie!
Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue is a non-profit based out of the Charlotte, NC metro area that works to rescue and rehome abandoned and abused Pyrs in North and South Carolina. We were established in 1992 in Winston-Salem, NC by Martha Rehmeyer, and we moved to our current location in 2016 when Martha retired. Our volunteer-based organization advocates for the breed and educates others about the proper care of these “gentle giants.” We also serve as a resource for Pyr owners throughout the region whether or not they adopted through CGPR. We sponsor social events and maintain an on-line presence that enables Pyr people to meet and communicate with one another because we believe that celebrating the wonderful dogs who share our homes is an important part of rescue.
By Martha Rehmeyer
Rescue is a representative for every Pyr, no matter its breeding or origin and regardless of its conformation or condition. Whether abandoned, lost, turned in at a shelter or pound, given up by an owner, taken in a cruelty raid or through some other misfortune, a rescued Pyr needs and deserves someone to stand in for its best interests. The rescue rep is the most important person to the Pyr until an appropriate forever family is found.
Rescue is rehabilitation. It is healing the wounds of abuse, fattening-up the bones of neglect, mending whenever possible the conditions of poor breeding, coaching the good behavior of the unsocialized, consoling the abandoned, and reassuring the rejected. It is neutering/spaying, vaccinating, medicating, and especially kissing-to- make-it-all-better.
Rescue is rewarding. There is no proud moment comparable to showing off the glorious specimen you have found within that mangy, scrawny ugly duckling. There is no joy like seeing a happy Pyr go home with a new family. There is no greater satisfaction than making things right for a Pyr whose life had gone wrong.
Their love and kisses are a big bonus!
It costs a lot of money to care for over a hundred Pyrs each year. Some Pyrs come to us in good shape needing only basic care. Others require significant and expensive veterinary treatment. The chart below provides a breakdown of CGPR’s 2017 financials:
*Fees refers to charges issued by financial services providers, particularly PayPal and Square.
**Operating expenses includes fuel for transportation, pull fees from shelters, web page maintenance, and other essential fees.
***Daily care reflects the partial reimbursement of the cost of employee labor at the Pyr rescue, which is located at Shannon’s business, Dogs Day Out Grooming and Pet Resort. Shannon is the president of the rescue and subsidizes it. We couldn’t do this without Shannon’s generosity, and we encourage supporters of the rescue to patronize her business. No officer of the rescue takes any money in compensation for their work.
****Kennel renovation refers to the one-time cost of building safe and sanitary kennels in the back room of Shannon’s building for the exclusive use of rescue Pyrs.
*****Dr. Alexis Sage provides routine veterinary care to our Pyrs at a significant discount. We couldn’t do this without her, and we encourage our Charlotte metro-area Pyrents to patronize her business.
CGPR is a 501(c)3 non-profit, which means that we depend on adoption fees and donations to cover the cost of feeding, sheltering, transporting, and providing veterinary care for the Pyrs that we rehabilitate and rehome each year. The chart below provides a breakdown of our income streams. Please note, this does not include the value of the labor that our volunteers provide. Every email and phone call returned, meet-and-greet resulting in an adoption, walk taken, bath given, and social event organized is done freely by people who work for the breed because they love the breed.
As you can see, adoption fees, while important, cannot sustain the rescue. Without generous donor support, we could not have saved 140 Pyrs in 2017! Please continue to financially support CGPR in the following ways:
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help setting up an automatic monthly donation through PayPal or to set up CGPR to receive matching funds through any corporate donation-matching your employer might offer.
- Designate CGPR as the recipient of funds raised through online shopping purchases though AmazonSmile, iGive, and Giving Assistant purchases. See the Ways to Help CGPR tab for specific instructions.
- Organize a fundraiser in your community or through your business. Contact email@example.com for help.
We invite donors who would like to see our 990 for 2017 to email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
*Fundraisers includes both online initiatives like the calendar contest and social events like the Beers and Pyrs get-togethers.
**Donations includes both direct and indirect contributions given through AmazonSmile, iGive, Giving Assistant, and several employee giving programs.
We need the following:
Forever homes. The number one way to help us is to adopt a Pyr.
Organize an adoption event at a local pet store or other suitable site in your community. Email events@carolinapyrenews.
Donate through work. Take advantage of matching giving programs your employer may offer. If you need additional information to qualify for matching donations please request it at donations@
We sometimes need clean towels and blankets (no wool), new or gently-used crates, Diamond Natural Lamb and Rice blend kibble, plain Milk Bones, Tide HE, and paper towels. Please email president@
CGPR is a 501(c)3 non profit. Every dollar you donate goes directly to our efforts to save these magnificent dogs. Your donations are tax deductible, and you will receive a letter from CGPR for your records stating the details of your donation. Click the ‘Paypal’ button on the left to start the donation process via PayPals’ safe and secure webserver.
You can also send a check to: CGPR at 4015 Fawnbrooke Dr., Indian Trail, NC 28079.
Post, forward, and like.
We share our Pyrs’ profiles on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Any likes, forwards, retweets, and posts help them by introducing new people to the wonderful dogs we have in rescue. The majority of our adoptive families find us through the internet and social media.
CGPR hosts or participates in several social events.
Annual Charlotte St Patrick’s Day Parade
Carolina Pyr Rescue has loved being a part of the Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade since 2015. This rescue social event is for Pyrs, their people, and their non-Pyr canine siblings. All CGPR alum and their families are invited to walk with the rescue Pyrs!
This is a large parade, and we will interact with other dogs, animals of other species such as horses, and all kinds of people, and we will be exposed to loud noises. The majority of our Pyrs enjoy this event, have a blast, and behave beautifully, and we ask that owners be responsible and respectful when deciding whether to participate. Please do not bring dogs who will be overwhelmed or frightened or those who will bark, growl, and snap at other dogs or people.
We ask that all those participating RSVP by emailing email@example.com March 1. Please let us know how many people and Pyrs/dogs are in your group. We will email information re: the location and time for the pre-parade meet up once we know our place in the parade line-up and the size of our group. Expect it to be somewhere in Uptown Charlotte between 9:30 and 10 am. The deadline to RSVP is March 1.
We will have lots of green beads, bowties, mini-fedoras, boppers, bandannas, etc. for the Pyrs and their people. If you prefer to decorate your Pyr with other items, great!
Social Pyrs not adopted through CPGR but who are spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated are welcome to join us; please send proof of spay/neuter and vaccination status to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1.
The total distance from parking lot, parade route, and back again is about 3 miles. We have arranged for a volunteer to tow a small trailer/float, and we have a limited number of seats for people and Pyrs. Please RSVP immediately to email@example.com to reserve a spot. We will include as many people and Pyrs as we safely can.
We ask that all adult participants purchase and wear CGPR St. Pat’s shirts: http://carolinapyrrescue.com/
For our out-of-town Pyrs, please tell your Pyrents that La Quinta Inns (https://www.lq.com/en) and Residence Inns (https://www.residenceinn.marriott.com/) are dog-friendly and accept large dogs. (Comfort Inns can be, but none of the Charlotte-area locations are.) There are several La Quintas and Residence Inn locations throughout the Charlotte metro area, and there is a Residence Inn in Concord, near the race track, which is right off I-85 and a little more affordable than the Charlotte metro options. We suggest booking a room soon. The parade is the same weekend as the ACC men’s basketball championship!
In-town Pyrents, if you want Shannon to groom your Pyrs, make your appointment NOW by calling (704) 708-4820!
As is our tradition, we’ll refresh ourselves with beers after the parade at Bird Song Brewery. Those who can’t join us to march or who prefer lifting a pint to walking should count on us arriving at about 1 pm. They normally have a food truck on Saturdays for those who want lunch.
For nearly twenty years, CGPR has hosted a homecoming picnic, or Pyrnic! All Pyrs and their families are invited to celebrate another year of saving lives and to raise funds to keep doing it. We welcome home all alumni adopted from CGPR, and we extend an invitation to all Pyrs not adopted from us, too. Those thinking about adopting and wanting to learn about the breed are also invited. In short, all social dogs and friendly humans are welcome!
In the past, we have hosted this event in the late spring first at Martha’s house and then at Shannon’s business. Beginning in 2019, Pyrnic will take place in the fall and at Shannon’s farm. Check back here or follow our social media pages for more information.
Beers and Pyrs Socials
As time allows and weather permits, we gather informally for beers and barks at dog-friendly breweries in the Charlotte area. All are invited! Please watch our social media platforms for announcements about our upcoming Beers and Pyrs events!
Big Fluffy Study Breaks
The rescue Pyrs and CGPR alum answer the call when students at Davidson College are stressed out! Watch our social media platforms for upcoming snuggle fests!
Questions about Applications applications@
Questions about Policies, Intake, or Surrenders president@carolinapyrrescue.
Problems Making a Donation donations@carolinapyrrescue.
Problems Submitting Applications webmaster@carolinapyrrescue.
CGPR has an active and helpful Facebook page where Pyr owners discuss varied topics and more on a daily basis Like Us on Facebook and join our on-line community! You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
We are an all-volunteer organization. The people that you will meet while adopting your Pyr have jobs, families, and lives beyond our love for and commitment to this breed. We pride ourselves on running a professional and proficient rescue, and it often takes us a few days to respond to emails and calls and a week to screen applications. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to working with you!