One Special Rescue

From hoarding case to house pet

When Sarah Trammelle first saw the post on Facebook, her interest was piqued. The post, on a page dedicated to aficionados of Komondor dogs, sought a new home for a Komondor that had recently come from a hoarding case in Billings. Sarah, a resident of Aurora, Colorado, already had one Komondor and she was looking for another.

“My first Komondor is still kind of a puppy,” she says. “I was just starting to look for a friend for him when this popped up. The timing was perfect.”

Sarah has been fascinated with the Hungarian livestock guardian breed since childhood, first seeing them on television at the Westminster Dog Show. She loved the look – they are sometimes referred to as “mop dogs” due to their dreadlock-looking cords – and their independent nature.

“They think for themselves,” she says. “They are super loyal and loveable with family members but more stand-offish with strangers.”

Staff at the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter were less familiar with the breed, but when two adult Komondors came in from the hoarding case, they knew the dogs needed immediate attention.

Triniti Halverson, executive director at YVAS, says the two dogs were so matted and weighted down with mud and feces that they could barely walk. Typically, when an animal arrives in such a condition, the first step is to shave it. But the breed’s unique cords, which develop naturally during the dog’s first year or two, are not supposed to be shaved and could be detrimental if they are.

Realizing that the dogs needed urgent, specialized grooming, the staff at YVAS made a plea for help. Rae Traver at Loveable Pets took on the task. Staying after-hours, she and volunteers worked into the night bathing and grooming the dogs. The treatment included a vinegar bath – hence their nicknames, Sauerkraut and Pickles.

When YVAS staff picked up Sauerkraut – Sarah renamed him “Kolos” – at 11:30 that night, he just ran, Triniti says.

“He must have been feeling so good and so much lighter,” she says.

The dogs’ calm demeanor surprised Triniti and her staff. “They were so sweet,” she says. “Of all of the dogs we took in, they were the least scared.”

All 19 dogs from the hoarding case had to be held until the case was resolved. In late March, Sarah and her boyfriend made the eight-hour drive to meet their new rescue.

On the return trip to Colorado, Kolos jumped from the back of the car and tried to climb into their laps.

“I expected him to be skittish and standoffish,” she says. “Despite what his past was, he’s been so willing to warm up to people.”

It took a bit for Kolos – estimated to be anywhere from 4 to 7 years old – to warm up to his energetic younger “brother” Kosmo. Now, Sarah is apt to find them lying together on the couch. Her unusual dogs garner comments from strangers, who often mistake them for some sort of doodle.

“I love when people ask about the breed because I love talking about them,” she says.

As Kolos adjusts to his new surroundings and regains his health – at 85 pounds he’s a bit on the small side for a Komondor male – he’s been a real addition to Sarah’s family. 

“I was sad I couldn’t take both of them,” she says. “I’m just so glad the other one found a good home, too.”


More from YVW