This is the story of our Rescue Berner - January 2010
One Saturday morning in early January I received a call from The BMDC of WA Rescue Officer to say that they were trying to identify a Rescue Bernese that they had picked up the day before.
She was then under 17 months old, so still very much a puppy.
We arranged to pick up Kelsi late that afternoon, and so I prepared myself for the meeting as I had been forewarned that she was in a bit of a neglected state. No “emotional preparation” could have prepared me for what I saw.
All Breeds of dogs are very special, but to see a Bernese, so malnourished, first hand, was devastating.
She had been checked over by the Vet on her way to the Rescue home and had been prescribed antibiotics, worming treatment and flea treatment and ear medication. She had fleas and mange and skin problems and an ear infection. She had lost a lot of her coat and had bald patches & skin sores. Terribly underweight, about the weight of an eight month old puppy, her whole ribcage showed and there was no flesh on her back end.
She was so light I could actually pick her up and put her in the back of the wagon.
The Rescue officer had bathed her, so she must have looked terrible when they went to pick her up.
Fortunately a Member had seen an advert to sell her and had contacted another Member who contacted the Rescue service.
This little bag of bones greeted me, tail wagging and a grin on her face walking forward without hesitation for the traditional Berner lean. I think it was this that upset me most of all, to see her full of trust and above all, spirit.
Thank goodness she still had plenty of trust and spirit.
I put Kelsi in the back of the wagon and we drove home. She sat in the back happily wagging her tail and looking out of the windows.
She was carefully introduced to the other girls who accepted her straight away.
Off she went to explore her new temporary home and garden and within an hour she and Ranee were racing around the garden together like best mates.
That evening she laid across my feet and periodically looked up in to my eyes, she knew she was safe now. She is such a sweet natured girl, and yes, she walked straight in to my heart ... and I was going to be objective :)
Over the next few days she was given her medications and fed like a puppy on 4 small meals per day.
The other two girls were a bit intrigued by this, but they soon accepted the fact that they weren't going to get 3 or 4 meals a day! This way she could start to be fed correctly without the risk of bloat. A week later and she was down to 3 meals a day with the same amount of food and gradually over the next two weeks down to the same amount over the normal 2 meals a day.
Fish oil capsules for her coat and skin, rice, pasta & rolled oats in her food to help bulk her up, and a raw meaty bone every couple of days, we managed to get 5kgs on her by the time she left to go to her new home.
Though she was malnourished, she sat and waited for the command to eat and ate sedately.
Kelsi had been trained well. She had manners, (except for wanting to surf the kitchen benches, sleep on the settee and lay on the outdoor patio table :)) these were quickly corrected :)
She responded to all the basic commands, and when I walked her she was very good on the lead and very sociable.
She let me groom her without any hesitation, offering her paws one by one to be trimmed.
Having said all this, we are not being judgemental. Circumstances and situations change in life, and we are sometimes put in to a situation we have no control over.
However, I would like to make a strong point here of urging anyone, who for any reason, needs help with re-homing a Bernese to get in touch with the Breeder they bought the dog from, or the Bernese Mountain Dog Club.
You do not need to divulge your personal situation, we will not judge you, we are happy to be able to help with re-homing. We have people who are willing to take on older dogs on our lists. It is heartbreaking to see a dog looking like Kelsi did instead of looking like the proud breed of Bernese.
Over the next few weeks Kelsi progressed well.
Her coat started coming back, skin sores and ear problems cleared up and an increase in weight.
The next thing was to find a good home for her.
After meeting and talking with a few contacts we finally found the right family.
A family who it turned out had owned a Bernese before and who they had lost to old age last year.
They took to each other straight away.
Though it was sad after 6 weeks to see Kelsi go, I know she has been given a second chance in life and will go forward and give and receive many years of love and happiness.
It will easily take until the end of this year for Kelsi to regain weight, muscle and condition, a long journey to back to how she should be, but she will get there.
* Many thanks to those involved with the initial information, and to the BMDC of WA for their part in rescuing Kelsi and providing contacts for placing Kelsi in her new home.
Above photos were taken the first day I picked her up. Not very good photos but she wouldn't stop to pose - too busy exploring
She weighed the size of an 8 month old puppy.
What a difference a week makes
Berry takes care of Kelsi 4 weeks on
6 weeks on and looking good
6 weeks on and looking more like a Bernese should
6 weeks on and waiting for her new family to arrive to pick her up
Progressing well and happy, note the tail ! 4 weeks now in her new home. (10 weeks after her first photo)
Kelsi continues to enjoy her new life. Many thanks to everyone who has emailed asking how she is going.
Lesmurdie, WA, Australia
Email : [email protected]