Let me tell you about Ellie. She is a seven-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog that we happened along while searching for something else. That something else was a puppy.
It all started three years ago when I decided that maybe I would breed Newfoundland Dogs. Landseer Newfoundlands, specifically. I love the breed and had some experience with it. When growing up, our family rescued a two-year-old Newfoundland named Suki and ten years ago, I purchased from a breeder, a Landseer Newfoundland that we called Bo. With the experience, coupled with my love of the breed and also having the time to invest in the endeavor, it might be something I’d like to try.
I began saving money and also, searching breeders in my general area. I wasn’t having a lot of luck and it was time-consuming leafing through the pages of google searches, weeding out the bad from the good. I noticed that Craigslist seemed to show quite frequently in the searches but I leaned away from anything listed on sites like that. I was really looking for a legitimate, reputable breeder website. I would find them, but they were never in the proximity of where I was willing to travel.
Obsessing, as I usually do when I have a “great” idea, I spent days looking and researching and even sending a few emails to breeders who’d mentioned via website that they had expectant litters in the near future. But Craigslist…UGH!
Against my better judgment, I clicked on Craigslist. It was a local Craigslist and there was an ad for a Bernese Mountain Dog. Why this particular dog would come up in Google searches for Newfoundlands is beyond me, but nonetheless, it had. I gave it a glance. Pretty dog. Not what I was looking for. I moved on.
Days turned to weeks and I’d heard from a few breeders. My interest was sparked by a particular breeder in Ohio. A further drive then I really wanted to take but added it to my list of prospects. Still, this Bernese on Craigslist haunted me. I swear, every search, she would show up.-
Finally, albeit annoyed but feeling intrigued, I took more than a glance.
Four year old Bernese Mountain Dog for sale. Originally purchased to breed but owner had to leave the country. AKC regis. All shots UTD. $400.00 Call XXX-XXX-XXXX
I didn’t call. I wasn’t interested. I was, however, curious. But I wasn’t looking for a Bernese. I wasn’t familiar, at all, with the breed.
I googled, “Bernese Mountain Dog”. Awww, puppies, so cute! Awww, adults, beautiful!
Ignoring the feeling in my gut, I dismissed the ad on Craigslist and proceeded to stick with the original plan.
I. Could. Not. Forget. It.
My husband came home from work and I told him about what I’d experienced over the process of looking for puppies and he said, “Let’s go see her, what the heck!” Keep in mind, my husband is NOT a dog person, or any kind of pet person, for that matter. But he knows when I get something in my mind, he has no choice but to embrace it.
Pulled up the ad, called the number listed and a man, with a foreign accent, answered. I explained that I’d like to come see her, but that I wasn’t really interested in buying her and that I had questions. Number one question, why did the owner have to leave the country? He told me that the dog belonged to his sister but that she had to go back to Pakistan and couldn’t take her with her. He went on to explain that his sister was going to breed the dog but never got around to it. Sounded suspicious, since the dog was four years old but I didn’t inquire any further, except to be sure she was still unfixed and she was. (I sorta talked myself into the fact that perhaps, instead of Newfoundlands, I’d breed Bernese Mountain Dogs)
It was about a 30min drive to where she was. I was apprehensive but our girls were super excited. I kept telling them that we most likely wouldn’t be getting her and that I was just curious. We arrived and the man came out with the dog on a leash, but she was so excited to see us (weird, it was like she knew we were coming) that she broke away from the man and leaped right into my husband’s lap, as he was starting to get out of the car.
Egads! I cringed. I thought, “If I was going to get her, I might as well fo
rget it now, she’s broke a cardinal rule by jumping onto his lap!” I really thought my husband was either going to pass out from fear or snarl with anger but he didn’t. Instead, and to this day I’m still in disbelief, he said, “I guess this means she’s coming home with us?”
And she did. She jumped right into the back of our SUV and laid down the whole ride home. When we got home, she came into our house as if she’d always lived here. Three years later, and although we’ve had some really crazy moments with her like realizing she’d been abused and also dealing with a life-threatening medic
al issue (I will certainly blog about those), she fits into our lifestyle and our home like she’s been here since a pup.
I never bred her, which was my primary reason for getting a dog. I don’t regret it one bit. She, her name is Ellie, has been a true blessing for both of us. I’ve helped her and she’s helped me in ways that still can’t be fully explained.
I thank God for bringing her into my life, our lives. So, while I never set out to find a dog like her, by chance I did and it’s been the best thing ever.