Back in August we brought home this beauty. This breed of dog is close to my heart–I grew up with a Bernese who lived to the wonderful old age of 13. He was truly the most loving, loyal companion. I have memories of my mother cuddling him on the couch. (He was determined to be a lap dog, despite his size.) Since coming into my own as an adult I’ve always had rescue dogs: Kirby, the lovable Golden Retriever /Saluki mix; Jasper, the Labrador Retriever who showed up at our backdoor one frigid night with a gentle spirit and an insatiable appetite; Lucy, the little Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix who I discovered as a puppy curled up under one of our Asian pear trees; and Mindy, the little terrier mix who I purposely adopted through a rescue group when I was lonely and in need of my own canine companion after my divorce.
This past spring I met a local winemaking couple at a party who had with them a small Bernese. That evening all of the wonderful memories of my childhood Bernese came flooding back to me as I spent time with their gorgeous dog. I inquired about the breeder whose name I was given and who I decided to contact in hopes of securing a pup from a future littler (and by future I was thinking 2015). She informed me she had two litters due in June and encouraged me to apply for a pup. The next thing I knew the ball was rolling, my deposit was put down, and we were preparing for a new puppy. !!
We’ve had our Misha now for nearly four months and there have been moments when I’ve thought to myself, “What have I done?” But, those moments are rare and she’s growing up to be the sweetest girl. We are in a groove now. She’s house-broken. Her razor-sharp puppy teeth have all fallen out (oh, thank goodness!). She sleeps through the night. She owns the couch. (I didn’t mean for that to happen. Honest.) She is good pals with our little rescue. She is truly a part of the family.
For the dog breed geeks (like me), here’s a bit of info: This breed was named for the Canton of Bern in Switzerland and were historically bred as working dogs (specifically to pull heavy carts). These draft dogs are often mistakenly called “Burmese Mountain dogs,” a name that amuses me because a breed with this kind of thick, curly coat clearly does not have equatorial origins. They are a large breed, but not nearly as large as, say, a St. Bernard or Newfoundland (and not at all prone to drooling like these two breeds, thank goodness.) They’re intelligent, loyal, and great with children.