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Working Dogs

We’ve received a few calls or texts over the past four years from guests alerting us to the fact that there is a large white dog(s) on the property. It might be that they or their child is scared of dogs, or maybe they are concerned for their own small pup that has joined them on their glamping trip.  

As Samson (Sam) and Darcy’s parents, I want to brag on them and say how awesome they are and assure the guest that everything will be just fine. But as a host, I’m learning that it’s my responsibility to communicate with guests BEFORE their arrival the role of the two Great Pyrenees on our property. 

A little backstory first: We got Sam almost four years ago from a local rescue organization. He joined the donkeys we had already acquired to fulfill the role of livestock guardians for our Kunekune pigs. The poor guy had been dumped on a country road and was in pretty rough shape. Some good samaritans had been feeding him, but couldn’t take him in, so we adopted him. As he put on weight and recovered from his ordeal, Samson’s personality came through. He loves people and tolerates the animals he’s there to protect. He likes to keep an eye on everyone from a distance. 

For a year and a half he and Roe, our son and daughter-in-law’s Border Collie/Leonberger mix, romped and played and kept an eye on our property. But when the kids moved last year, Samson was left without a buddy. Houston and I began looking online and asking around for a female Great Pyrenees. In late December a friend reached out to let me know that one had been dumped near their ranch. Within days Darcy joined our pack. The same rescue organization vetted her and confirmed that she was around three to four months old at the time. Samson and Darcy bonded very quickly. In the past six months she’s learned a lot from him. 

Sam and Darcy are on our property primarily to protect the livestock, but from the time each arrived, they have taken it on themselves to take care of us and the guests as well. Samson is a gentle giant who soaks up attention from children and adults alike. Darcy loves to play with other dogs and can be quite goofy. She has a collection of balls that she’s collected and destroyed and will come share your tent if you let her. (We tell guests NOT to let her in, but some are swayed by her milk chocolate, puppy-dog eyes.) 

As cute and sweet as they are, they take their roles very seriously. Guests are often surprised to find out that Pyrenees are nocturnal. That means if you’re glamping, you might hear them bark some at night. Just roll over and go back to sleep. The two of them are warning the coyotes on surrounding properties to stay away. And they do. Sam and Darcy are very good at their jobs. It’s very common for one of them to sleep on the deck of glampers, while the other one roams the property or positions themselves at a distance to keep an eye on the tents and animals. 

These two have endeared themselves to many of our guests, often showing up on their social media feeds. Last week a previous glamper reached out with this message: “Could you send us a picture of Sam and Darcy? We miss them!” I was only too happy to send a photo of these two amazing dogs. 

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the June 15, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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