I’ve always loved big dogs. For fifteen years, Alex shared our lives. A large, bull-headed Golden Retriever with an independent spirit, Alex once traveled 25 miles to get back home to us…but that’s a story for another time. Abby, my black Labrador Retriever, was loved by me and all the neighbors. She was so well-trained that I felt guilty for having her…she would have been an excellent guide dog. Nevertheless, I loved Abby and she loved me.
At one point, I thought I wanted a Bullmastiff – until a neighbor moved in with one and I saw firsthand the long strings of industrial lubricant coming out of that dog’s mouth! I changed my mind about owning one and just enjoyed my neighbor’s dog.
Once, during a business trip to San Antonio, my husband and I wandered through the back stage door (left open by a television crew member) of an AKC nationally televised dog show. (We were at the same conference center for my husband’s meeting.) I was in dog heaven! No one questioned our being there as we visited with all the dogs waiting to parade around in the show ring…many breeds that I had not seen up close and personal before. One giant black teddy bear, disguised as a Newfoundland, captured my eye and my heart.
All big dogs – until Bernie. Bernie showed up on my son’s front porch in Dallas on a cold night the first week in December 2012. My daughter-in-love says that my son’s eyes lit up when he saw a puppy peering in at them through the long kitchen window. The story goes that my son (who has also always loved big dogs) opened the front door and Bernie raced in. Bernie ran around and around the kitchen island and then looked up at him as if to say, “well, I’m home now”. Unfortunately, my son’s sweet wife is severely allergic to dogs (hives!) but what was she to do?! Bernie was home and she fell in love with him too. As the months have passed, thankfully, she has built up somewhat of an immunity to Bernie.
Above: resting on the sofa, wearing one of the sweaters in his new wardrobe.
My son also ordered Bernie an Indiana University collar, tag and leash!
Bernie is now a Hoosier!
They tried to find his “owner” but no responses to their efforts. According to the vet, Bernie was still a puppy – maybe about 5 months – and, apparently, had been “on the streets” for about a month. He was riddled with worms and needed care. About a thousand dollars later, Bernie was one microchipped, newly neutered, very HEALTHY puppy with all the shots and treatments he needed. His dark coat and bright eyes now shone. Bernie is attached to the family now – especially my 6’1? son – and is very good with my toddler granddaughter. There is a very cute video of her feeding Bernie one morsel at the time to get him to eat.
I had never really been around small dogs before but quickly fell in love with Bernie. In one deer-like leap, Bernie was in my lap. He would curl up beside me on the sofa as I read and quickly go to sleep. He would bring me toys to throw and play with him. Maybe he knew my history was with retrievers for he would actually retrieve the toy! Bernie is a smart dog! He really isn’t a “yapper” but will growl or bark if he hears something suspicious. He’s so tiny that I’m not sure what he could do about it, but he’s a good little sentry. Personally, after a little research, I think Bernie is a “designer” dog called a Jack-Chi: 1/2 Jack Russell and 1/2 Chihuahua.
Whatever his origins, Bernie has found his home.
Note: my Executive Producer son is a comedy lover from way back and now uses that in his morning television show. Bernie’s name was inspired by the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s”.
Above: Bernie has his own comfortable bed but usually winds up sleeping with “Mom & Dad” which means allergic Mom must wash the comforter frequently!
Below: December 2012…the morning after Bernie arrived.