Friday, October 3, 2008

Truth in Being

Thank you for your comments - I enjoy reading them and am sure others do as well. Marianne asked about how the puppies enjoyed their water -- they seemed to think water is quite fun, especially walking through it! And it is not possible to suck and bite -- try it and see! So when puppies are nursing there is no teeth involved.

I wanted to follow-up a bit about matchmaking and my expectations for puppies. Some people have the mistaken impression that I only place puppies with people who plan to show them, especially in performance events like obedience, draft or agility. It is true that I prefer homes that will do these kinds of things but there are other ways for a dog to have an interesting life.

Bernese Mountain Dogs were developed to be an all-purpose farm dog in Switzerland. Working closely with a human, a berner on a Swiss farm might help move cattle, guard the property, pull a milk cart to town, and/or take a nap in the hay. Not many of us live on a Swiss farm, but the breed retains that working heritage. I think it is asking for trouble to have a big dog bred to "do something" and expect him/her to be something other than a working dog.

And so I like to honor the heritage and potential of my dogs by making sure they have interesting lives (and get a lot of exercise!). It was my childhood dream to train animals and I feel bad for those poor parakeets I tried so hard to train! I am living my dream now with these dogs and so yes, my dogs are trained and shown. That does not mean, however, that I do not recognize the other ways that a working dog can have an interesting life.

A companion to an active person or family is a wonderful life if the dog is included, trained and well exercised. Doing animal-assisted therapy work is a wonderful job for a working dog. There are many ways for a dog to have an interesting life, and what I expect of potential owners is that they have a plan for how to help an intelligent working dog live a happy life. There are dogs bred to be content doing not much of anything -- berners are not those dogs. So while I do not require that people train and show the puppies, I do expect that they understand and will meet the demands of a large, energetic working breed.

And speaking of working and interesting lives, the puppies are excelling at their jobs! A Puppy Job Description reads as follows:

"Puppies must be cute and fluffy, capable of melting the stoniest heart. The puppy must scamper playfully, sleep soundly, and be very happy and excited about everything. Must love people, other dogs, cats, and their mother. Must be capable of peeing every 30 minutes, preferably away from the designated potty area. Must love pine cones, sticks, grass, flowers, bugs, toys of all kinds, water bottles, the wind, and everything else on the planet. Those wishing to be puppies must have sharp teeth and good biting skills, and be willing to exercise those skills at all times and on all objects and people. Must have a repertoire of cute sounds, including barking, growling and whining. Must be able to sustain whining for at least 30 minutes and preferably between 2 and 3 a.m. Must be capable of eating every 12 minutes and exhibiting all signs of starvation ten minutes after eating. Must jump on people playfully, lick innocently and bite wickedly. Must grow by leaps and bounds and scampers!"

Today's pictures are a nice illustration of just how good they are at being puppies. Dawson is doing his best imitation of a pointer. Lolo and Dawson are demonstrating how to love your mom. Sula, who is the waggiest puppy on record, is sitting on my leg probably getting prepared to take a chunk out of me. Darby is taking time to smell the flowers -- okay, bite the flowers. Ledger, who Galen will not admit is his favorite but who really is his favorite, is practicing smoking -- a habit we strongly discourage! My daughter rescued three kittens and somehow we wound up with two -- not sure how that happened but there they are with Rosebud. Galen calls Rosebud the Traitor Puppy since she seemed to prefer Megan over him -- last night he was trying to sweet talk Rosebud into staying with us! Don't worry Megan -- Rosebud won't fall for a sweet talking, dark eyed young man (and neither should you!!). The outside puppy pile followed a play session, and finally we have two sleepy boys. I am sure you will agree that when it comes to being puppies, the F Litter is just outstanding.

Have a great day being exactly who and what you are, and as always -- thanks for visiting.


  1. They are all getting so cute I can't stand it! The pile of sleepy puppies makes me want to curl up next to them.

    And what a precious shot of Darby sweetly smelling the flowers. Bite!

    Thanks Mary-Ann for such wonderful photos, it has been so enjoyable to see them grow and change each day.

    I am so excited, I get to see them soon!


  2. Never have I been so addicted to a website! Every day I look forward to my VPF (Virtual Puppy Fix).

    The puppy job desription is priceless...

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I just love today's pictures - what gets better than cute puppies out exploring the world. I can tell through your photos that the pups are getting more and more active each day and they seem to get cuter each day too.

    Thanks for sharing all the great pictures and your perspective on raising your puppies.

  4. I also can't wait to come and see them! There is nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating then sitting down in the middle of a bunch of Berner babies!

  5. I love the pictures of the pups with Halo. It is always amazes me how they are such little fur balls right now and will grow to that size. I'll be forwarding the puppy job description to several people!! That was great. Thanks for these everyday it truly is addictive!

  6. I would suggest that you not place Sula in a home with lots of knick-knacks. If she is waggy now, she will be a destructive force when that tail fills out!

    BTW, what am I going to do second thing every morning when these puppies leave? First thing is to check the Berner-L homepage picture.