Archive for the ‘Animal rescue’ Category

Hi Linda:   

My mom just reminded me that we have not writen to you for quite some time – so here I am – helping her with an update for you. 

Mom tells me that she is very proud of me because I am no longer the scaredy-cat I was when I first came here more than a year ago.  I have grown quite a bit and mom thinks I am gorgeous:  my coat is shiny and even a little curly, my eyes are bright and I have lost the fearful look when we have visitors.      

Here I am, watching our Hummingbirds in front of the house.

Most recently I have learned to give my mom a big WOOF when I have to go potty.  I know she really likes it when I woof into her face, because she always praises me and she takes us out right away.  That is great fun and even Lilly gets excited when I woof at mom.  Of course, Lilly is ALWAY ready to run outside and play.      

Lilly in the driveway, waiting for us to go for a walk.

Recently Lilly and I got into a lot of trouble outside.  Lilly showed me that awesome pile of wild critter poop in the woods and we both dove right into it.  Mom was on the path yelling her head off trying to stop us, but it was too late…  So, when Lilly and I were finally finished rolling, we hurried back to mom.  She could smell us comming and she certainly did not like the pungent perfume we had found in the woods.  She grumbled all the way home, put us in the fenced yard, and went into the house ALL BY HERSELF!!!  I could not believe she would go into the house without us, this has NEVER happened before.     

 I was not sure what was going on, but Lilly knew right away what to do, she started rolling in the grass to get some of the smell off.  Mom did not come back for quite a while and when she reappeared, she brought a bottle of shampoo and the water-hose.   You can well imagine we got a bath right on the spot, and a COLD BATH it was.  When mom had us toweled off she was exhausted and we went inside to take a big nap.  


Now that Emma is moving to Oregon with Greg, mom is trying to think of ways to get us a new playmate.  Mom thinks it would be best if we could find a Berner boy to  play with because she knows that I really enjoyed romping with Jake at your house.  Mom has been looking at Ollie on the BARC website, but she is not sure that adding a new family member would be a good idea right now.  Maybe there are some Berner families near us in Grant County, Wisconsin who would be interested in getting to know us?  Or maybe you and Jake can come for a visit real soon?! 

Take care and give Jake a belly rub.  Sophia with Lilly and Mom in Wisconsin.

Read Full Post »

Last Friday was a day of  surprise and joy for our beloved Emma. 

In a previous post we described how Emma was rescued by BARC – Adopted and loved by Tery Wong – Upon Tery’s loss of job and home, Emma was given to another family in Illinois – When things did not work out, her new family surrendered Emma back to BARC – BARC contacted Sophia’s mom who matched Emma with Greg, her forever-dad – End of story!

But wait, the happiness fairy intervened and Emma’s original mom, Tery found Sophia’s blog on the internet and got in touch with us.  And that is how Emma’s joyful reunion with Tery was put into motion.

Back to the visit:  Knowing that Emma will be moving to Oregon with Greg in June we arranged a visit for Tery to see her girl before they left.  Tery arrived late Thursday and spent the night with Ellie, Berner girl Sophia and Eskimo dog Lilly at Sontheim.  Friday morning Greg and Emma arrived at their usual time.

As always, Emma greeted Ellie with a kiss and marched toward the living room only to stop dead in her tracks as Tery came down the stairs.  She did a double-take and, as Tery bent down in a tearful embrace, Emma burst into pure joy.

If you have every seen a happy Berner you will get the picture!  Emma was all wiggles, woofs and happiness.  She could not take her eyes off  Tery and of course her dad. 

Greg and Tery spent the day exchanging stories about their beloved Emma and we all were surprised about the similarity of their experiences.

As the visit came to an end Emma showed us that she would happily have Tery in her life with Greg.   But Tery had to return to Chicago where she was scheduled to leave for Alaska the next morning with her boyfriend Matt.  Tery and Matt are members of an expedition which will climb Denali in support of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.

We wish Tery and Matt a successful climb and a save return!  The expedition can be followed in real-time at http://www.denali2010.org


Read Full Post »

George and I spent a week with family and all the critters in Up-state NY.  It was a joyful visit because our 93-year-old mom had flown in from Germany to see all of us one more time.  Of course ‘one more time’ has been her reason to travel such a long way several times before and judging by her excellent condition it is very likely that there may yet be another ‘one more time’.

Since our last visit Charssada has become home to more lucky animals.  The chicken flock has increased to a good size and free range egg  production is in full swing. 

Here is one of the ten bachelor roosters who had to be given away because of in-fighting and other unmentionable behaviour:

Once the bachelor roosters were sent to their new home, much-needed tranquility returned to the chicken yard.  Here are a few pictures to show the flock’s rooster calmly watching over his hens:

Here he is, the rightful leader of the flock!

The four-legged population also saw the addition of two draft horses who had been waiting for adoption at a horse rescue.  They had arrived at the end of winter and were already thriving under my sisters watchful eye and her excellent care.

Meet the new boys Teddy and Willy:

Teddy to the left and Willy on the right.

When Teddy first arrived his hind legs were so weak that he dragged his huffs on the ground, but now they are strengthening steadily and he is able to walk freely up and down the hilly pasture.  Both horses needed their huffs trimmed and Willy’s oversized molars had to be shaved down to enable him to chew his food.  The farmer who had raised Willy and worked him hard for 20 years never took care of such things and consequently Willy was severely under weight.

Meet Jessie the woman who trims huffs the natural way, showing of her muscles after the work was done.

When I saw the scars Willy has from pulling his farmer’s plow for 20 years,  and learing that the farmer tried to extract the last bit of money by offering the worn out horse for sale for the price of meat, I had to wonder about the depth of the farmer’s depravity and greed.  It is my firm belief that a society that lacks compassion, lacks humanity, in the end is doomed to fail.

Yet for Teddy and Willy, the story continues on a happier note.  Under the watchful eye of my sisters love, life at Charssada Farm is truly good.

Read Full Post »

all sign are here!  The official start of Spring has come and gone: daylight savings time is in full swing, crocuses and daffodils are peeking out of the ground and birds are flocking back to their breeding ranges in the Northern USA. 

A few additional flocks have arrived and are scouring the area for food; orange bellied Robbins and iridescent Grackles are the newest arrivals on our land.  Up from the Mississippi come the honking of Trumpeter Swans and Canadian Geese. 


Our weekly visitors Emma and Greg are getting ready for their own migration in early June.  Theirs will be a journey across the country – going West – to Oregon – where Greg will continue his college education with Emma at his side. 

Needles to say, Sophia, Lilly and I will miss them – so now is the time to take their picture. 

Snuggling on the dog bed.



The camera is busy and there are many photos to process when time permits.

Read Full Post »

Today BARC’s rescue Emma AKC # WR01942607 is nine years old.  (You can read about her long journey in our September 2009 archives.)

In spite of her difficult start at a puppy mill in  Montana, Emma has found love and affection.   

Here she is, a beautiful Berner girl and as luck would have it, she is as healthy as can be.

We wish you many happy years with Greg who is the very best dad a Berner girl could hope for.

Ellie with Sophia and Lilly in Wisconsin

Read Full Post »

Emma’s first adoptive mom, Tery Wong, found our blog and left a detailed comment on our September 11, 2009 post.   She describes Emma’s progress from being a super-shy puppy-mill rescue  to becoming well-adjusted and outgoing.  Tery’s communication also clarifies the circumstances of Emma’s transfer to the family which surrendered her to BARC in September of 2009.

I am delighted to find out that Emma lived in Chicago in a loving home until, as Tery describes it: “I lost my job and had to take another that forced me to travel every week.  I also had to move into a very small place (very unsuitable for Emma) to make ends meet and had no way to be with Emma every day.  After several months of trying to make it work, I realized how depressed she was getting to have to stay at a ‘doggy hotel’ during the week and only home on the weekends.”

 Tery advertised on Greg’s list to find a new home for Emma.  The ad included a link to photos of Emma at:


And the pictures clearly show that Emma was much-loved and well taken care of in her first home.

So let me thank Tery for giving Emma the love and care she needed after her hard life at the puppy-mill.


Read Full Post »

Last night, with the moon in its closest annual approach to earth, it was almost bright enough to read by moonlight.  On nights like these, the dogs take extra time on their nightly outing.  I often thought that the moon’s silver light enchants them, makes them linger and listen intently to the night. 

As for myself,  I had the camera handy when the moon rose in the East:

And again this morning, when the moon set in the West:

Only last week the weather had challenged us with lack of sunshine, perpetual fog and plentiful ice.   And while I was not able to venture too far from the house, Sophia and Lilly were not subdued by adverse road conditions.

Today, in brilliant sunshine, we found the fields blanketed by a compact cover of snow which made walking easy for boots and paws alike.  Sophia followed me closely along the woods edge while Lilly busily hunted mice under the snow.  It’s quite hilarious to see her digging down unto the snow with her head submerged and her butt straight up in the air.  Judging by Lilly’s repeated efforts to dig for mice it is clear that each time she came near, the mouse escaped through a tunnel under the snow. 

But enough about today, Greg and Emma came to visit yesterday and a brief update is in order.

Here they are having a good time cuddling in the living room:

And here is a good tummy rub for Emma:

Sophia, Lilly and I greatly enjoy their visits and while the house gets magically cleaned, we all are having a good time.

Unfortunately our weekly visits will come to an end in June when Greg and Emma will be moving to another state.  This fall Greg will start graduate studies at the university of his choice.  We will miss them dearly and in the meantime we will enjoy their company to the fullest.  

Read Full Post »

Sophia, Lilly and I rang out the year that was and welcomed 2010 with all the comforts of home.

It was good to have the girls back from Cedar Springs Kennel where they had spent X-mas away from home.  As you all know, Sophia had a panic attack the first time Madison came to visit with her mom.  The panick attack led to gulping air uncontrollably which led to bloat.  Thankfully, I was able to rush her off into the competent care of Dr. Stark in the middle of the night and she was saved. 

That episode made my decision that our tender nerved Sophia and little spit fire Madison should not meet until both had grown up a little more.  Hence, the pooches spent X-mas with Mary and her Labs and other boarders.  Lilly absolutely loves it at Cedar Springs and every time she comes home she looks just like a kid joyfully returning from camp.

Sophia on the other hand always looks a little subdued on her return, but each time she will have made another leap toward full maturity.  It is amazing how friendly she has become.  Now she greets me with a big smile and nudges my arms so I will pet her.  She even is getting friendly with her dad, which is a giant step for her. 

In addition, she has adjusted to riding in the car.  She follows Lilly into the back seat and calmly lies down while Lilly curls up behind the driver’s seat.  And that is a long way from the frightened Berner girl who always tried to crawl into my lap while I was driving.  With much patience and love, Sophia is well on her way to be the magnificent Bernese Mountain dog she was meant to be. 

So let the New Year begin — let good things happen to all the good people of this earth.

Let  us find respect for each other and for all the creatures on our planet — Let us speak out against the exploitation of  earth and animals alike.

Let us find new strength as Human beings — evolved from cosmic dust — or as some of us believe, created in the image of God.

Let us forgo greed and anger and self-righteousness —  Let us be good and kind, let us show love and concern for our world and one another.

Let All be Blessed in 2010!

Read Full Post »

Snowed in…

As expected, the big snow fell during the night and this morning we woke to a solid blanket of sparkling white.

The dogs were eager to bolt out the door only to find themselves chest deep in the wonderful white which they both love so much. 

This is Sophia’s first winter in Wisconsin and her demeanor shows that she was meant to be in snow country.  There is nothing shy about my Berner girl when she in in her element.   All anxiety drops from her when she is completely absorbed by the natural world.

Lilly is a snow dog for sure, after all her breed is named after the Eskimo who live in the land of perpetual snow. 

In the snow she reminds me of an arctic fox, hunting with her nose buried deep in the white stuff, her butt up in the air.  Lilly likes to play hide and seek in snow.  She seems to realise that she can hardly be detected when she holds completely still.  

Sometimes, after scanning the snow banks for her black rimmed eyes I encounter her smile as Alice did the Cheshire cat’s in Wonderland.

Read Full Post »

December 5th 2007 was the day our lovely Sophia was whelped in Arizona at a puppymill.  She had a rough start and there have been many changes in her short life. 

But in spite of the awful circumstances of her early life, today it is clear to see what a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog  she is meant to be. 

Today on her second birthday she is far from the skinny and stressed out dog we brought home in March of this year.  As with all the previous rescues I expect Sophia’s full recovery to take about two years.

Today she came to me for the first time to nudge my elbow, asking to be petted.  This is a huge step for her and indicates that she is making great strides toward becoming the calm and well-adjusted family member we want her to be.

A lot of credit for Sophia’s rapid adjustment goes to Lilly who has become Sophia’s playmate and protector.

Here she is, all 22 pounds of her, all watchful exuberance and joy.  Lilly’s whelping date is not known but the people at the shelter thought that she was about a year and a half old when we adopted her three and a half years ago.  So today we celebrate her fifth birthday, along with Sophia’s second. 

Happy birthday my lovely girls!

May you have happy and long lifes with us here at Sontheim.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to provide you with a loving home.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »