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Monday, February 07, 2011

Santera Always Brio v. Crest CGC (2/3 NAP)

April 13, 2002 - February 7,2011


Berkley came to live with us when he was 7 months old. He had been with his breeder before then. He was a potential show prospect, but just wasn’t going to grow big enough. I still think he had the just about the best head and markings of any berner I’ve seen. (Although I may be just a bit biased.)

Initially when B came to live with us, Chris and he didn’t know what to think of each other. I’d often see them looking at each other and Chris would occasionally say “He doesn’t like me.”

“Give it time,” I’d say, but truth be told, I was starting to wonder if the two of them would ever become buddies.

Chris used to be able to make this low rumbling sound that would always start Berkley barking. He knew how to get his goat.

Telling Secrets

Cisco is three and a half months older than Berkley and while they were close in age, they didn’t always get along. They’d play and wrestle some, but there was also some tension between them—especially when it came to food. There was probably a tiff or two a year between the two of them over food. A couple drew blood. One sent Cisco to the vet for stitches in his ear. I sometimes wondered if they liked each other but right when I’d start to wonder, I’d go pick them up from daycare and find them curled up next to each other, or I’d see one stick up for the other at the dog park. I think in their own way, they were buds.

Cisco & Berkley
Kelly & Berkley

Berkley even humored me and played agility with me. He wasn’t necessarily the most graceful agility dog and quickly earned the nickname “tiny tank” as sometimes he just didn’t feel like jumping. And when he didn’t feel like jumping, he’d just plow through the equipment.

Teaching him to walk on a 12” wide board was quite comical. Even though he was small for a berner (22.5” inches according to his jump height card and around 70 pounds), it was still quite difficult for him. We had taken the summer off from classes because it was too hot and when we got back to it, we encountered the dog walk again. He had not mastered the dog walk before the break, so we had no idea what to expect. Berkley just trotted across it, like he had always done it.

My First Ribbon

Berkley went on to actually trial and retired with 2 legs toward his Novice Agility Preferred title. I knew he was getting old and was going to have to stop trialing him soon, so I had entered him in a few trials in the fall of 2008. A few weeks before the first one, he woke up in a bunch of pain, it turns out he had pretty bad arthritis. I immediately pulled him from the trials he was entered in and his agility career was over. I wish we had gotten that last leg. Not that titles are everything, but it would have been nice to have just a few more letters after his name because he was such a good dog doing what I asked of him even though he probably could have taken it or left it.

I’m not sure agility was his thing. But he was a working dog, and would spend his time patiently waiting for a job to be done. We did try rally probably a too late in life. I did take him to one rally trial and he ended up with a 69—one point from qualifying. He was too busy looking at all the people to pay much attention to me.

Stupid Hat

Somewhere along the way, Berkley became Chris’ buddy, they hung out on the weekends when I took Cisco (and later Riot) off for some sort of training or trial. Berkley would hop up on the couch and burry his head in Chris’ side. He’d do it sometimes to me too, but more often that not it was Chris and not me. I loved watching the interactions between them later on after all the worrying I had done when we first brought him home.

Walking into the Shot

Fortunately, Berkley didn’t like sleeping in the bed, he much preferred the floor, but he would hop up a lot of nights and clobber me. He’d always be around for a pet or two, but the second you’d stop petting him, he’d nuzzle to get you to start again or he’d go away. He’d always stay in close proximity to you, but usually wouldn’t sit next to you.

Berkley also wasn’t a fan of about 50% of the population. Some people he absolutely loved, other people he wanted nothing to do with, and a few people he would warm up to overtime.

Berkly the Snow Monster

Last April when Berkley hit 8, there was plenty of reason to celebrate—a Bernese Mountain Dog who made it to 8! But we started to wonder when the other shoe would drop. One weekend in July, just two weeks after he was declared healthy at his annual appointment, we found a group of lumps in his neck. We tried to think positive, but in an eight year old berner, we knew the news was not going to be good. Off to the vet we went on Monday and by Friday we had started chemo for Lymphoma.


The first signs the cancer was coming back came right before Thanksgiving with an enlarged lymph node in his chest—one treatment short of finishing his chemo protocol. We switched to a different protocol and treatments continued.

Chemo got us nearly 7 additional months with him. We were lucky to be able to have the extra time to spend with him and for him to get to meet Emily.

Berkley Hanging Out With Emily

I know he had a good life and I hope he was happy. We were fortunate to have him nearly make it to 9 (which for a berner is huge), but it’s never long enough. We will miss him greatly.

Berner Close Up

Goodbye my sweet teddy bear. Rest in peace.

Kelly • 12:58 PM • (1) Comments