Monday, December 08, 2008

the Berner Sennenhund

aka Bernese Mountain Dog (auf Englisch).

We have only a day left with Bosco as his owners return from Morocco (popular warm destination this time of year for Europeans). After 5 days with him, I am ready for ski season!

There is no "sideways" walking the dog here. He needs to be taken out at least 3 times a day. And we live on the side of a large hill - the landscape that starts at the Lake and goes nowhere but up. I'll admit - I thought I was in OK shape. I do our stairs (6 flights or 119 steps depending on how you like to count them) quite often now as the possibility of skiing is only a day of free time away.

Then, we dogsat. I have a whole new appreciation for those who are out walking their dogs all the time here. Many people live in apartment/shared housing and not all yards are fully fenced in. Bart and I agree we'd both loose some weight if we had a dog at home here. Up the hill, down the hill - knees don't like the downhill part.

I have even jogged for this creature. He wants to run - so I did it. I don't jog. Or run. When I tore my ACL 13 years ago, running/jogging was on the list of activities that weren't recommended. Whoo Hoo! Just the excuse I needed - running hurts. I am a good walker, love to bike, hike, etc... but jogging? I'm saving the knees for the skiing.

But who can resist this face? Yes, he loves to sit on the snow with temps at 28 - 35F. He'll sit outside at freezing temp's for 1 -2 hrs at a time, happy as can be. The Bernese originates from the Berner Oberland - home of the Eiger, Jungfrau & Monch peaks. They were a farm dog and not bred so much for herding as for "carting" or "drafting." They were trained to pull loads - and many children loved to be carted behind them. They can be quite large (range of 80 - 140lbs), gentle (when they don't have puppy mouths!), loyal, great with people/other animals and smart. The 'smart' comes with a catch - they do need time. You know, to think about what you've said and whether they want to listen.

We are enjoying Bosco but miss the quick intelligence of our Max.
Everyone who passes us immediately says "ah, Junge" - meaning "puppy" or "young one." One wouldn't necessarily assume that a dog this large - and only 6 1/2 months old! - would be young BUT, he has huge paws he obviously hasn't fully grown into (we like to call them snowshoes) and still has the baby fur all over his head. His hair is still changing and he will look different in another year. He looks like a bear right now.. Probably relates to the origin of the name too. Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, has had a bear in it's coat of arms since the 1400's.
For scale, this is the size of a 6 1/2 month old Bernese.
So - that's what we've been up to.
It's also the time of year to fit in all sorts of parties and visiting. We are saying goodbye this month to friends moving back to the States. That's the hard part of this lifestyle. So I hosted a ladies goodbye lunch today (Bosco was well behaved!) and we are hosting a kids goodbye this next weekend. Along with all the other events at school/church - we are staying busy.
Enjoy the day where ever you are!


Linds said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that giving Bosco back may be a little sad! He is so gorgeous. And just think - he is your in residence fitness trainer for skiing!

Julie said...

Happy Monday almost Tuesday! I finally got some thank you cards sent out to the wonderful people who helped us get to Hungary. I also was able to get your thank-you package mailed off last week and I included one of the cards so you can see it. THANK YOU for being one of those wonderful people, Susan. Your hospitality and warmth just makes anyone feel "at home" in your home! We are recovering from Christmas With Friends this weekend, but it was another wonderful worship time to focus my heart and get my head on straight! It's interesting you mention to spend time with people, because that is something I feel God telling me this holiday season. People, not possessions. Better, not bitter!
Hugging you from afar,

Makila said...

I just wanted to say hi! :)

mrpeppel said...

Hey Susan and Family. Our cards will be late--I know you are truly shocked by this :-) Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you all a very blessed New Year. Thinking of you always, Michelle