Hard to believe, my dog Bernie turns 8 soon. You wouldn’t know it if you met him, he still thinks he’s a puppy. We adopted Bernie prior to adopting Marmalade the bloodhound, he was an only dog for a while and loved the attention. He was scruffy when we first met him, about 20 lbs. less than he should have been, and his fur was clumping like a buffalo. He was listed on Petfinder as a Saint Bernard/Lab mix, but we would later find out what he actually was. He was about a week away from being put down, when we called to inquire about him, the shelter got all excited, “Oh, you’re interested in Bernie?!” We met him near Frederick, Maryland but couldn’t take him right away, we were closing on our house. They kept him for a week, he got snipped, and even after being snipped, he was still flirtatious.
He was a love bug from the start. When Bernie came home for the first time, he got out, I was frantic and yelled his name. He coward by the front of the house, I embraced him and whispered into his ear, “Don’t ever do that again, I want you to be with us a long time.” He never ran out on me again, well, he did run out on me once more, but he came right up to me instead of running away. That night, he really pulled at our hearts, my wife and I were sitting on the sofa and he plopped his head down on our laps.
I mentioned he was under weight when we got him, so we decided to fatten him up a little and started making him chicken and rice. Oh how he loved it, but wow, when we switched him to dry kibble, he was not amused. The first time we served him kibble, he looked at us like, “Uhm, what’s this?” We urged him to eat. He looked at us again and in pure disgust, he swatted his bowl into the next room.
Shortly after having him, he had a little accident in the living room, but instead of leaving his pee to fester, he did something amazing. He ran upstairs, and he hated going upstairs because that’s where the bathtub was, jumped into the bath, grabbed the Doctor Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, ran back downstairs and sprayed it all over his pee. I couldn’t get angry at him, he showed ingenuity. This wasn’t the last of his talents.
I was chopping wood one crisp Autumn, he watched me as I hauled wood to the wood pile. On my second run, I looked down, and he had a piece of wood in his mouth, he dropped it at the foot of the wood pile. He repeated this several times.
That Christmas, we went over to my parents’ house. My eldest nephew was on the floor playing, Bernie went right up to him and gave him a kiss. My older brother, who is about 6’5″, came in, Bernie put himself between my brother and nephew and began to growl. I knew then, he was protective. I had to explain to him that my brother was part of the pack and he soon accepted him.
When we got Marmalade, the shelter was having a special fundraiser and offering a discounted Doggy DNA test. The first three times he came back inconclusive, but after the company added more DNA profiles, we got the results. Bloodhound, Great Pyrenees, and mostly Cocker Spaniel. Hard to believe he was mostly Cocker, he’s an 80 lbs. dog.
I’ll write more later, it’s time to mash in.