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How a lost Great Pyrenees found a happy home in Spokane

    the magic moment between you and your dog

    Wrangler was the last of his litter at a feed store in Santa Fe, Texas.

    That’s where Ryland Brown spied the little ball of white fluff three years ago.

    A Great Pyrenees puppy, Wrangler was the sweetest of all the dogs at the itty bitty feed store in the country.

    Of all the Labrador retrievers, the chihuahuas, the mutts … Wrangler was the dog for Ryland.

    “We formed a bond right away,” Ryland says. “I couldn’t not get him.”

    Spokane man with his Great Pyrenees
    Wrangler the Great Pyrenees and Ryland

    Ryland’s last three years

    Up until Ryland met Wrangler, he was a “German shepherd person.”

    But there’s something about Great Pyrenees and indeed the whole livestock guardian genre of dog that takes hold of your heart, grips it and never lets go.

    It’s a bond of trust, partnership and everlasting love.


    Wrangler and Ryland spent every minute of every day together in Houston as Ryland immersed himself into basic training for the United States Air Force.

    He wanted to be a police officer and the air force was his stepping stone to that career.

    When Ryland left for basic six months later, he made sure to take pictures of his growing white floof to tack up in his locker.

    “In basic, or stressful situations like deployments or short tours,” Ryland says, “there’s always something you want to look forward to. It’s like a marathon. You have a goal. You have to get through another hour or another meal. Wrangler was that for me.”

    Then the worst happened. Ryland’s wife left while he was away, giving the Great Pyrenees puppy up with no way for Ryland to find him.

    He didn’t have a chance to get a friend or his parents to intervene.

    Wrangler was just gone.

    “To go from that kind of bond to not knowing where he was, it was just devastating,” Ryland says.

    Wrangler’s last three years

    Wrangler couldn’t be found.

    Until he was found.

    In the worst of conditions.

    Investigators were called out last month to a suspected animal hoarding case in Montgomery County, Texas. They found nearly 200 animals living in abject squalor.

    A Great Pyrenees was among them, crammed into a kennel too small for his long limbs.

    “The good thing is he had a microchip,” Houston SPCA communications vice president Julie Kuenstle told KHOU in Houston.

    It was Wrangler.

    A surprise text about a Great Pyrenees

    “Your pet Wrangler Brown has been found by Jay.”

    Ryland couldn’t believe his eyes when he got the text.

    He’d never given up on finding Wrangler. He just had no idea how to go about doing it. He’s now stationed in Spokane at Fairchild Air Forces Base, and that’s a long way from home or any contact with dog organizations in Houston.

    Aryonna, Wrangler and Ryland

    Today, he thanks his lucky stars he had the foresight to get him microchipped.

    That went a long way in keeping hope Wrangler would one day be found.

    “Oh no, he’s never given up,” says Aryonna, Ryland’s wife of one year. “Ever since the day we met, he’s been talking about getting Wrangler back.”

    The reunion came quickly. Ryland and Aryonna went to Spokane International Airport on Friday, Valentine’s Day, with eager anticipation. A volunteer group, Many Paws Transport Team, flew Wrangler in to Spokane.

    (See video of Ryland’s and Wrangler’s reunion on Spokane’s KHQ.)

    It came with conflicting emotions.

    “Don’t get me wrong,” says Ryland. “I’m super happy to get my dog back but it was bittersweet, knowing the conditions he was living in for so long.”

    Wrangler’s hind end should be a brilliant white. It is stained with dirt.

    Because he was confined to a too-small kennel during his growth years, he moves a bit awkwardly and will need physical therapy.

    And he’s probably about 30 or 40 pounds underweight, his hip bones jutting up through his muscles.

    “That’s the thing that breaks my heart the most,” Ryland says. “He’s so skinny because he’s so sweet. He’s the only dog that wasn’t eating.

    “If you look at pictures from the newscast of the hoarder’s house, there’s one dog there and he was fat fat, like chunky. You can tell poor Wrangler just let him have his way.”

    Safety, love and snuggles

    That’s all in Wrangler’s past now.

    His future is full of big bowls of food, play time with his new brothers Duke and Tater Tot, trips to the groomer, long walks with Aryonna and Ryland, and snuggles.

    Lots and lots of snuggles.

    Tater Tot, Aryonna, Wrangler, Ryland and Duke

    Everyone is settling in.

    “He slept with us in our bed,” Ryland says. “The biggest thing is he’s enjoying the resting. You can tell how grateful he is to have a peaceful environment to sleep.

    “He’s still super playful but you can tell he just wants to recuperate.”

    Aryonna says the Brown home feels more full now.

    “It’s more like a family,” she says. “Ryland feels more full with Wrangler here, so we’re all at peace.”

    Ryland is incredibly grateful to have his dog back.

    “It means everything to have him back,” he says. “I still have the pictures of him from when he was a puppy. People think I’m exaggerating but I really didn’t forget him. The whole three years we were separated, I thought about him. Every day.”

    Ryland is holding a GoFundMe fundraiser to donate money to the Houston SPCA, ThisIsHouston and Many Paws, all who assisted in Wrangler’s rescue and transport. Go here to donate.

    Now, check out some images of Wrangler at home in Spokane.

    Right where he belongs.

    UPDATE: Ryland took Wrangler to a vet for a checkup last week. They had X-rays done and the vet determined Wrangler has been through something so traumatic that one of his patellas is at a Grade 4 deformity. It is permanently displaced/deformed.

    It can be repaired with surgery so Wrangler can live a healthy, active life. The surgery will cost several thousand dollars. I will be attempting to organize a small fundraiser to help but if you have a few extra dollars, please donate to Wrangler’s Journey at the GoFundMe account linked above.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    16 thoughts on “How a lost Great Pyrenees found a happy home in Spokane”

    1. That is one of the things I dread the most–my dog getting lost. Particularly since sometimes they might not be exactly lost but stolen. So glad Wrangler found his way back home.

    2. Aw, Wrangler! Big tissues needed here – I can only imagine the sheer panic and loveless that both of them felt. I’m so glad they used microchip technique and they are a family again!

    3. Marjorie from

      I can’t believe this! Its amazing, what a story and FOUND thanks to a chip! Oh man * sniff * and who has the bigger smile eh? I can’t say 🙂

    4. What a great success story for microchipping! I’m glad he never gave up on his furbaby, and that they were able to be reunited. You can see and feel
      The love between them in the pictures.

    5. Oh my goodness, that made me feel sick! A total nightmare situation for everyone. I’m SO glad they were reunited! That’s a great testament to the importance of microchips. Gorgeous photos too 🙂

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