DESERTED AND SHOT
How Ragnar Got Away
Ragnar’s rescue begins with Erica who knew a Great Pyrenees lived down the rural road from her in Morristown, Indiana. The dog lived outside with sheep and never came close enough to be petted.
After seeing a post on the community’s Facebook page that the dog needed a new home, she went to meet him.
Ragnar was lying in the driveway, the house empty, the sheep sold, the owners moved to a neighboring town. The owners only came back periodically to drop food and water on the ground for him. He bolted every time Erica tried to approach. When a friend of Erica’s agreed to socialize Ragnar if they could capture him, Erica contacted the dog’s owner. The owner agreed to trap Ragnar in his trailer, and then turn him over to Erica.
What happened next is murky. According to the owner, the timid and people-shy dog allegedly bit him when he tried to trap the dog in the trailer.
The owner’s response? He pulled out a gun and shot the dog who ran away.
The owner ran after Ragnar to kill the dog, but fortunately Ragnar was nowhere to be found. Erica, who called the police, was disheartened to learn that Indiana law allows an owner to kill a dog because it’s considered livestock.
On The Road To Recovery
Two days later on the community’s Facebook page, a couple posted that a large white dog, bleeding from the neck and shoulder area, was at their farm. The owners of the farm, Kim and Margie, hoped their post would bring forth a concerned owner who would seek veterinarian care. Instead, the owner who shot the dog showed up at the farm and he was ready to finish the job. Thankfully, Ragnar did not make an appearance at the farm that day.
For several days Kim and Margie continued to feed and water Ragnar from afar; he had no trust of people. They also stopped telling people the dog was in their barn in fear that the owner would return.
The town’s residents started communicating online about Ragnar, his perilous situation, his cruel owner, and many began looking for the dog. A Go Fund Me page was started and raised $3,000 to cover medical costs once Ragnar was found.
A good samaritan who knew Ragnar was hiding at the farm contacted a volunteer (Angie) for the nonprofit Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) which works in lost dog recovery. Ragnar’s unlucky streak was about to change – starting with removing the old owner from the equation and introducing Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue.
INDY GREAT PYRENEES RESCUE
To The Rescue
With animal control and the Sheriff’s department involved, Angie didn’t want to capture Ragnar only to be forced to return him to the owner and a certain death. Angie needed a rescue group to commit to taking the dog immediately. Angie asked the Sheriff to request a signed surrender form from the owner.
When Jane Rose, executive director of Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue (IGPR), received Angie’s call, there was no hesitation about accepting Ragnar. IGPR takes in Great Pyrenees and Pyrenees mixes from Indiana as foster space allows. All of the dogs live in foster homes with generous families who help raise, socialize and treat medical conditions. This fostering method lets IGPR learn more about each dog prior to adoption so IGPR can better match potential adopters to the right Pyrenees.
The owner signed the paperwork. FIDO’s Angie went to work to capture Ragnar using a motion-activated dog trap with 24-hour surveillance. She was assisted by the Morristown townspeople who baited and checked the trap daily, and by the town butcher who provided tasty meats to entice Ragnar into the cage. It was a community-wide effort!
Nearly two weeks after being shot, Ragnar entered the trap and was captured, then transported to an emergency vet clinic. His gunshot wound and infection were treated and he was diagnosed with heartworm disease.
Not once did Ragnar display aggression after being caught – not when Kim, Margie, Erica and her husband Jedediah transferred him from the trap into a crate; not when he was treated at the hospital; and not when he was boarded for several weeks at the IGPR kennels to meet other Great Pyrenees and to learn that people could be kind and compassionate. Not once.
LEARNING HOW TO DEAL
“We had many IGPR volunteers who came and sat in his kennel with him and read to him without touching him so he would get used to having a human close and not threatening him,” Jane shares. “ Over a period of about 6 weeks, Ragnar began to relax.”
It was at this time that Jane contacted Brigitte who, along with her husband Brian, had been volunteers and supporters of IGPR for over 10 years. Jane knew that Brigitte practiced Reiki, a form of alternative medicine, and thought that visits from her might help the dog continue to heal in body and spirit. “The first time Brigitte came to see him he was very comfortable with her and even let her brush him,” says Jane. “There was an immediate connection and he seemed to trust her.”
Brigitte shared the following about her first visit with Ragnar in August of 2017.
A NEW NAME - A NEW LIFE
When Brian came during the next visit, Ragnar connected with him just as he had with Brigitte. The timing couldn’t have been better since Brigitte and Brian had recently and unexpectedly lost a beloved Great Pyrenees named Piper and they, in addition to their other Great Pyrenees named Fionn, were in mourning. “I believed it would help my heart heal if I were able to help this dog,” says Brigitte.
It was Brigitte and Brian, who upon adopting Ragnar just a few days after their initial meeting, replaced his old name of Roscoe with a new name to begin a new life. From that moment on he was to be known as Ragnar Lothbrok Baker. With patience galore, Brigitte and Brian introduced Ragnar to new things and experiences and helped him through his periods of fear. Fionn and Ragnar’s canine bond began to grow. In late October, Ragnar performed his first ever doggy “play bow” and it kicked off a play cycle between the two dogs that has yet to slow down!
“Ragnar began to play with toys, eat from our hands, solicit attention from us, lay in my lap on the couch, and he stopped being afraid to go outside at night, “ says Brigitte.
“We are forever grateful to the amazing people of Morristown, Angie and FIDO, Margie and Kim, Erica and Jedediah, and to Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue who provides these magical and magnificent creatures every chance possible for a best life. We are humbled by what this dog, and many others, have overcome. Our hearts are full.”
One can only assume that Ragnar feels that same fullness of heart.
Live in Indiana and want to volunteer or be a foster home for IGPR?
Fill out the foster application on their website or send an email to volunteer.
For more information about Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue visit:
http://www.igpr.org/ | FB @IGPR.IN | Twitter @Indy_Great_Pyr