Archive for the ‘BARC Inc.’ Category

It’s been a year since Emma arrived at Sontheim in order to meet Greg for the first time.  As you may recall, it was love at first sight between the Berner girl and her new Dad.   We’ve missed them greatly since they left for Oregon in June and I am delighted to have received new pictures to share:

Greg writes that “Emma is doing great!!!  she is coming out of her shell, she sleeps with me now, spends most of her time out in the yard, and loves to go hiking out here.”

Happy Birthday Greg!

I want to thank you for the pictures and hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration.

Good luck at university and good health and happiness for you and your adorable Berner girl.

Ellie with Lilly, Sophia and Sammy too.

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Dear reader, many changes have come to Sophia’s blog.  

We started the blog in Spring of 2009 after the arrival of our first Berner Sophia, a BARC rescue.  The blog was initiated as an easy way for fellow BARC families to follow our sweet Sophia’s progress from terrified puppy mill rescue to well-adjusted and much-loved family dog. 

In the meantime our blog’s topic has expanded to include many issues that are important to me and that seem to be of interest to a growing readership.  Hence the change in name and appearance of the blog.  In addition, the blog now has an easy way to subscribe so that you will be notified of every new post on the day it is published.  

I hope you enjoy the changes and look forward to your comments.  Ellie

Sophia with her Dad, on-leash until the stitches come out.

Lilly, Sophia and Sammy - happily off leash at Sontheim

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Sophia and Sam, off-leash in the meadow after the hay harvest.

You already know that Sam “I Am – Green Eggs and Ham” has brought an abundance of  Berner hugs, kisses and smiles galore into our family.  As I watch him settle so easily into our somewhat neurotic dog family I have to say that it warms the soul to have such an easygoing and loveable Berner boy in our midst. 

After a year and a  half of patiently and ever so gently working with Sophia to help her overcome her fear based phobias, and taking delight in every tiny improvement she has made along the way,  it surely feels good to have a healthy and normal Berner in the family. 

The difference in mental health and physical appearance of our two BARC Berners could not be more pronounced.  

Poor Sophia was whelped in a puppy mill and rescued by BARC when she was seven months old.  She was fostered in a loving  home until we adopted her when she was one year old.  Sophia’s development and trials are well documented in this blog and I don’t need to repeat the full story here.  In a nut shell, she was terrified of riding in the car, terrified of leaving her safe spot in the kitchen, terrified of stairs, terrified of anyone entering the house, and definitely terrified of her dad who loves her unconditionally… etc. 

Sophia is a diminutive Berner at less than sixty pounds.   For the first six month here she ate  and drank lying down which clearly indicates that she spent her formative months confined in a cage.  Her sensitive stomach led to untold bouts of explosive diarrhea and many trips to the out-of-doors in  the middle of the night.  Needles to say, during her first year here, Sophia was a challenge. 

Initially she would suspiciously sniff any treat offered to her, but now she begs for bananas and watermelon, and she definitely loves yoghurt and her food, 

Thankfully our Sophia has grown into a relatively self-assured Berner girl and we hope that her maturation will continue to giver her more and more freedom from the demons she carries in her mind. 

Enter our second BARC dog Sam who knows nothing of fear,who suffers neither from demons nor phobias, and who’s company  brings pure joy.  So the question is, what accounts for such striking differences in temperament and appearance?  The only answer I can find is here: 

As far as I could learn, Sammy was whelped at a BARC’ member ‘s home.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to learn about the circumstance or the exact date of his birth, his mom or his siblings.  All I know is that Sammy was whelped and raised in a loving BARC home.  He was well fed, exercised and well socialized and placed with his first adoptive family as soon as he was old enough to join a family of his own.  I was told that after a few months he was returned to BARC because the young couple who had adopted him were splitting up and neither one could keep him.  

At about seven months of age he was adopted by his second family in Up-state New York.  There he spent about five years with this family and judging by his appearance and behaviour he must have been treated well.  I am told that he grew up with the family’s first child and he saw a second child come into their lives. 

Sadly for Sam who is now about six years old, his second family also decided that they no longer wanted him.  They surrendered him to BARC who placed him in a nearby foster home.   A few weeks later Sammy made the journey to Wisconsin where he found his third and definitely his forever-home.  

I am happy to say that Sammy is here to stay; as the saying goes “come hell or high water,” we are never going to let him go!

Here are a few more pictures to chronicle his full integration into our family that is now complete: 

Sammy and his Dad, taking a nap on the couch.

Sam the snuggle pup.

On our morning walk - Lilly wats for Sophia while Sammy leads the way.

Sam waits for mom to park her electric bike in the garage.

Sam and Lilly are waiting ever so patiently for mom to come and open the door.

Three happy dogs - tired and ready for a nap - but patienty waiting for mom to let them inside.

And there you have it, now there is happyness all around. 

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Hi there, it’s me, SAM.  It’s been two weeks since I arrived in Wisconsin and I have to say that I love my new family and I’ve already forgotten about everyone else. 

My dad George is mostly gone to work in Chicago, but mom tells me that he is making extra trips back to see me twice a week.  Mom also tells me that this is quite a change from before, when only Sophia and Lilly were here.  The girls are not very cuddly with him, but I am making up for it with my big berner smile and my joyful kisses. 

I put my whole weight into showing my affection and Mom has learned to sit down for the loving, so I don’t push her over.  My Dad is a lot stronger and I can really lean into him.  I like to push my face right between his legs to make sure that he can reach my belly when he pets me.   When Dad and I watch TV together, I lie in front of him and turn on my back with all four paws up in the air so that he can’t help but give me belly rubs, the more, the better.  He already discovered my trickle spot.

At first, when Dad was distracted by a soccer match on TV, I tried to sneak up on the couch beside him and sit in his lap.  Much to my chagrin he discovered me before I had a chance to put my butt down and he made me get off.  I don’t understand why he thinks I’m too big to be on the couch, I think he and I are pretty evenly matched. 

I LOVE my Mom and she adores me!   She has helped me get along with my new sisters.  In the beginning I played a little bit too rough with Lilly who loves to be chased.  When I step on her she yelps really loud, so I try my best to avoid any collisions with her.  It’s really hard though, because the momentum always carries me a lot further than I intend to go.  I’ve even crashed into the fence, but luckily Lilly was not underfoot when it happened and Mom was relieved that I was not hurt.

Sophia has warmed up to me quite a bit.  I think that’s because I’m such a gentle guy and I am VERY patient with her.  Mom used to call Sophia her “stinky girl”, but now she calles her “sneaky girl,” because Sophia always sneaks up on me to sniff me in my most private places.  I don’t mind and Mom thinks that this is a good sign. 

We only had one scary experience when I brough Mom my favorite toy and we started to play.   Sophia grabbed the toy away from us in a jealous fit, she barred her teeth and growled at BOTH of us.  I could tell that Mom was really shocked by Sophia’s show of aggression, but she handled it well.  Mom talked to Sophia in a calm and loving way until she gave up the toy.  Since then, Mom is carefull to show us equal affection and I am happy to report that now all is well.

Here are a few pictures taken during my first day here:

It's early morning, birds are singing and the grass is wet.

Checking out the fenced-in yard.

Getting ready for a chase.

Settling in under the porch.

Hmm, I wonder if Mom will let me go out there?

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 Well, BARC has done it again and I am so very pleased to report that the transport from Buffalo NY to Wisconsin came off exactly as planned.  Our new BARC Berner is home and we have spent a succesful first night together.   

After five years with his original adoptive family in Rochester, NY, Riddick (now Sam) was returned to BARC and placed into foster care with a BARC family member until it was decided that he would make a good match here at Sontheim.  As chance would have it, we were in need of an easygoing Berner for our Sophia who was starting to regress after Emma moved away with Greg.  

While Riddick’s transport from Upstate NY to Wisconsin was in the works I decided that he would need a new name upon joining our family.  I am a Syfy connoisseur and have watched “The Chronicles of Riddick” several times.  Needless to say, it is an interesting  movie and it’s protagonist Riddick is a formidable character.   Our berner boy, however, reminds me of Dr. Zeuse’s “Sam I am”.  He is the sweetest goofball you ever want to meet and much to my surprise, he has accepted his new name right a way.   

We met Sam’s foster-mom Jacque, and the two other ladies who brought him from Buffalo, at the Cadiz Springs Recreational area near Browntown, Wisconsin.  BARC member Patti and her husband Greg joined us there for the joyful occasion with camera in hand and here are some pictures:  

Sam meets his new dad George.

Foster-mom Jacque is sharing details about Sam.


It's love at first sight between George and Sam.

The transport team, Ellie, George and Sam.

He is ready for a walk with his new dad.

And off they go!

A good workout for Sam and his new dad.

Sam is ready for a drink from the water pump.

Sam saying goodby to Greg and Patti while his dad gets the car cooled down for the ride home.

Now that our family at Sontheim is complete I want to give a hearty thank you to all the people who helped make it happen: 

With gratitude to BARC’s board members for placing Sam into our care!  Our heartfelt appreciation to all the people who were ready and willing to help with the transport.  Applause for the transport team Jacque, her mom and friend. 

And last, but not least, a big thank you to my friend Patti and her husband Greg who drove quite a way to meet us and our new Berner boy.

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I am happy to report that our beloved Emma and her dad Greg had a good journey to Oregon.   They are all settled into their new home, with roommates and their pooches, and a large fenced in yard for the dogs to play.  Here are a few pictures Greg took of Emma in the backseat of his car during the 2,400 mile trek across our beautiful country.  

Here she is, all settled in for the long journey!

It looks like Emma's dad made a nice sun shelter for her.

It looks to me like she is asking: Are we there yet?

Greg tells me that Emma was a perfect traveller and that she loves her new home.  And typical for Emma is that “all she wants to do is play!” 

Here at Sontheim, we wish Greg and Emma the very best and much success at the University of Oregon.  Sophia, Lilly and I sure miss the two.

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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.

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