Archive for the ‘BARC Inc.’ Category

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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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


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Quite often people mistake a Berner like Sophia  for a “Burmese Mountain Dog.” 

So, among the Bernese Mountain Dog community, the question has always been what is a Burmese?  

Much to my delight, I received the following link which answers all questions about this mysterious breed:



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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

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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.


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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!

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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.

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