By STEVE KENT, The Herald Journal
LOGAN, Utah (AP) – Seventeen years after a Great Pyrenean Sheepdog was rescued after faithfully keeping three stranded sheep in Logan Canyon, the man who has drawn public attention to the plight tells its whole story.
Jim Stone, a longtime Bear Lake guide and business owner, teamed up with friend Karen Stone to write “The Legend of the Big Boy: Safe or Stranded,” the Herald Journal reported.
The book’s caption is a reference to the title of a 2004 Herald Journal article on the dog. After the article, there was a wave of public support for the dog.
“The next morning after I went public, the search and rescue was there, the cops were there, the game wardens were there, the public were there with signs saving Big Boy,” Stone said.
Prior to the article, however, Stone had visited the dog he called “Big Boy” for about four months.
Co-author Karen Stone, an unrelated friend of Jim, helped shine a light on this effort.
Karen Stone said she had heard Jim tell the Big Boy story before, but reading the manuscript was something else.
“Oh my God, I was just overwhelmed with the story,” Karen Stone said.
Karen Stone felt like Jim was leaving out a lot of his personal experience, so she collaborated with him to further include what she sees as “a very emotional and spiritual experience that I clearly saw in the hand of. our Heavenly Father to lead, ”she said.
So, in addition to editing the book, she wrote parts of the book after interviewing him about his experience.
Jim Stone initially spotted the dog near the Beaver Mountain exit as he passed through Logan Canyon and found it odd for this time of year. On his next trip through the canyon, he saw the dog trotting along the road as if looking for something.
“I went home and thought about it,” Stone said. “I thought, well, the breeders over there, they use those dogs a lot. So I was a little worried about the dog.
Sheepdogs are sometimes left in the summer range when herders collect sheep in the fall.
Stone started bringing food for the dog, but since the Great Pyrenean Sheepdogs are bred to be wary, it took a few visits before the dog came down from the cliffs to eat.
“He trusted me, but he was raised not to come to humans,” Stone said, “so he would never come straight to my hand, and I couldn’t get him into the truck.”
Stone tried to throw meat over the cliffs at Big Boy, then “skip” flat pieces of frozen meat. Eventually, he started removing the sticks from the corn dogs and “scratching” them by throwing them with a football spiral.
After about a month, Stone followed a hunch and found out why Big Boy hadn’t just left the canyon even though the snow had started to fall.
“Finally I had to walk through the mountains to the other side with my binoculars to look up and see what was going on, then I got to see the sheep up there, stranded,” Stone said. “And it was just amazing that the dog didn’t leave these sheep.”
After Stone spotted the sheep, he began bringing alfalfa bales along with food for Big Boy. Stone was stunned as the dog took wafers from the balls and carried them up the mountain to the sheep. Stone saw him breaking rose hips and carrying them to sheep as well.
As the weather continued to cool, Stone said at one point that he tried to bait the dog close enough to catch him. After more thought, he abandoned this strategy.
“I decided not to try to catch the dog,” said Stone, “because it wouldn’t have been fair of me to take the dog away from something he was so passionate about giving away. life to protect. “
Eventually, Stone spoke with his friend, then Herald Journal photographer, Mitch Mascaro, who encouraged him to tell the story of the dog to the newspaper.
The book includes details that have apparently not been reported before, including the fate of Big Boy and the Sheep. According to Stone, Search & Rescue volunteers brought all the animals down the mountain.
Stone said that after the rescue he believed he found Big Boy working for a breeder and would visit him periodically for about five years thereafter.
“It was kind of a bond that I had with this dog,” Stone said. “He knew I had saved him and he knew I had fed him. We had sort of that kind of silent-language friendship stuff.
Gary E. Stevenson, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared the story during the Church’s general conference in 2018. In his talk, “Shepherding Souls,” Stevenson mentions having cut the newspaper article on Big Boy and compared the dog’s dedication and demeanor to Jesus Christ.
Stone said he liked this analogy and extended it further:
“The book really shows that everyone needs help at some point in their life,” Stone said. “When he (Stevenson) compared this dog to Jesus and the sheep to us, well, even at one point Jesus needed Heavenly Father to intervene.
About seven months ago, Stone decided to put Pickleville Country Store up for sale and head to Alaska, where he lives in his truck with his dogs and writes books. He had wanted to write “Big Boy” for years, but was ultimately inspired by his best friend, Allen Warner. Shortly before Warner’s death, he gave Stone a “little red desk”.
“Back then,” Stone writes in the first chapter of his book, “it was just a dream in the minds of my friends that I would carry this desk to many different and beautiful places where my memories and thoughts could. be transferred to paper through a pencil or pen.
So quite abruptly, one morning after Warner’s death, Stone decided to make this dream come true.
“I decided around 3 am, ‘I’m going to Alaska and I’m going to write this book,'” Stone said. “So I loaded that office into my truck and all my camping stuff, my dogs, my guns and my fishing rods, and headed for Washington.” Put the truck on a ferry and cross the Pacific Ocean to Sitka. “
Stone writes on the desk when he can, and when the weather or the terrain doesn’t allow it, he uses a cutting board as a writing surface. He takes his manuscript to public libraries, copies them and mails them to Karen Stone.
“This book is about two living angels,” said Karen, referring to both the dog’s dedication to sheep and “Jim’s breakthrough in his personal and spiritual life that came to fruition through this experience.”
“The Legend of Big Boy: Safe or Stranded” is available through Balboa Press for purchase of a physical ebook or Kindle on Amazon.
Copyright 2021 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.