Gretchen Gerber of Helping PAWS Pet Rescue is greeted by one of the Pyredoodle puppies at the rescue as she tries to check its heart rate.

You can try to call them Pyredoodles if you can pronounce it, but you might be better off calling them giant, fluffy balls of energy.

Or you can call them by their assigned names, Bart, Priscilla, Trixie-Tritail, Gracie and Shelby. Either way, they’re a whole family of unusual puppies — one parent a great Pyrenees, the other a standard poodle — looking homes at Helping PAWS Pet Rescue in Washburn.

Helping PAWS took over care of the 5-month-old pups when their family had a sudden illness and could no longer care for them, Helping Paws veterinarian Gretchen Gerber said as she handed one of the puppies a treat.

The unusual breed has only been around for about 20 years, making them more rare than other designer cross-breeds, Gerber said.

With their friendly, social personalities and good looks, they’re now highly sought after. And these five puppies are highly trainable because they take after their poodle instincts, Gerber said. Poodles, though known more now for their show-dog haircuts, were bred to be hunting dogs and are considered independent thinkers. As they grow up, the pups likely will share the calm guardianship of their Pyrenese parent and the playful nature of the poodle.

“They are eager to please and intelligent, which means they take to house training and basic training commands quicker,” Gerber said.

When they are fully grown, Gerber expects them to weigh 60-70 pounds and be moderate in size. Pyrenees were bred as a working to guard sheep in the Great Pyrenees Mountains, rather than a family pet, she said. Poodles were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl.

In a majority of poodle mix-breeds like Pyredoodles, the poodle genes dictate coat type, meaning they don’t shed much, Gerber said.

“This type of coat makes the Pyredoodle a perfect choice for families with allergies,” she said.

That doesn’t mean they have a “no-maintenance” coat, she stressed. Pyredoodles need to have their coats clipped periodically and brushed or combed daily.

Buying a pet isn’t cheap, she said, as the average price of a Pyredoodle can range from $1,500 to $3,000, and that doesn’t include the cost of spaying or neutering, vaccinations, heartworm testing or microchipping. When adopting a pet, the fees nearly always include those post-adoption costs.

Adopting is more important now more than ever, Gerber said. Every year, about 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide, and 1.5 million are euthanized. With the current shelter crisis, she said numbers are on the rise.

“Adopting means a life is saved,” she said. “Too often, shelters euthanize animals due to room constraints. If more people adopted pets instead of buying them, the number of pets euthanized would lower dramatically. When you adopt, not only do you save your loving new companion, but you make space for other animals who desperately need it.”

Many pet stores and breeders don’t have the knowledge to provide any support if you have any questions, Gerber said. Shelters and rescue groups usually have an animal’s history and the volunteers get to know its personality.

“More often than not, shelters are happy to help you through the introductory period because they care that the animal goes to a happy home,” she added.

Helping PAWS is an all-volunteer organization created to be a safe place where rescued animals come when they are at risk of being euthanized elsewhere.

For more information, contact Helping PAWS Pet Rescue via email at helpingpaws@ncis.net or log on to helpingpawswi.org. Applications to foster or adopt can be filled out online on our website, or can be requested via email.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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