Clothes Less Traveled’s wonderful volunteer Mrs. Hicks won CLT’s prestigious Above and Beyond award this November. The award gave Mrs. Hicks a grant of $2,000 to bestow on a 501(c)(3) in the community. Mrs. Hicks chose to gift her grant to TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan.
The founder of TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue is Linda Palermo. Her heart was opened to the plight of the breed when she adopted Loki, a Great Pyrenees mix.
The Great Pyrenees (Pyrs) breed grows large and immensely powerful. They were bred to deter predators like coyotes and bears. As a family pet, they are gentle and affectionate. “They love to hug!” said Ms. Palermo.
Obedience training is challenging as Pyrs are intelligent and independent thinkers. Inexperienced or uneducated pet owners see a cute fluffy puppy and are unprepared for the responsibility of a dog that can reach in-excess of 150 pounds.
“In Georgia, many Pyrs are put out in pastures with their owners assuming their natural instinct to protect livestock is enough to help out on the ranch. Without proper care or training, these dogs often alienate their owners when they harm the animals they were meant to guard. Such Pyrenees can end up abandoned,” Ms. Palermo lamented.
Her love for the breed moved her to action. After working for some time with large local rescue organizations, Ms. Palermo knew she had to open a rescue of her own. She founded TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue, a local nonprofit animal adoption group. Ms. Palermo told us “Having moved to Georgia from the north, I was one day affectionately called ‘tender-hearted’ by a Southern woman. It was a term I had never heard before! I decided that will be the name of my rescue.”
The rescue is run from her own farm. Here the animals have land to run, play, heal, and learn. TenderHeart pays the medical bills for their rescued dogs. This includes vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures, micro-chipping and any specialty veterinary care required. The vet care is their biggest need for donations; veterinary care comes at a high cost. Once the dogs are ready to find a forever home, they are promoted online via Petfinder, Facebook, and the rescue website to find their FURever homes.
Ms. Palermo has overcome many personal struggles in the past few years, but the animals she cares for give her the strength to continue her work. To learn more about TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue visit their website: HERE.