We got Homer in December. He's Bernie's younger 1/2 brother. They have the same mother but a different dad.

Unlike the pound, when you get a "pure-bred" dog, you get this little binder with all sorts of official documents, family trees and various pictures of other dogs in show poses. It's really quite official feeling.

I don't understand showing dogs. The idea is to groom them to the point where they look and smell better than you...and then, as if that indignity weren't enough, the dogs are supposed to stand in this one crazy position like a big stuffed animal. Quite frankly, if you ask me, the whole thing is just freaking weird. But to each his own, right?

Homer is a funny little dog. The dogs sleep in the bedroom with us, but Fen is pretty insistent that the dogs shouldn't be up on the bed with us (although, sometimes, even she bends the rules!). Homer has found a way around Fen's rules by waiting for her to leave in the morning. Once she's out of the room, Homer is up on that bed like clockwork! Not only that, he curls up against me, flips over and puts his head on her pillow. The whole thing is hilarious.

Here's a picture of him when he was 4 months old.


A small sample of Bernese destruction...

Homer and Bernie destroy everything.

Past destruction includes:

  • Shoes
  • Shirts
  • Dresses
  • Socks
  • Living room furniture
  • Books (their favorite books are library books)
  • Garden hoses
  • Chewed holes through drywall
  • Remote controls
  • Cell phone (they love SIM cards)
  • Electrical cords (plugged in or not)
  • Duvet cover for bed
  • Dug hole through carpet

There's probably more, but that's what comes to mind right now.

Because of all that destruction, we decided to prepare a special kennel area on our sloped side yard for them to be in when we're away from home. Over two weekends, we carefully terraced and graded the area so there would be flat bits for the dog. We then laid landscaping fabric and pebbles down to keep things clean.

Two Bernese dogs and 1 day later, we have:

  • Tattered remains of landscaping fabric
  • 1/2 the rocks seem to be missing (did the dogs eat them?)
  • Numerous holes in the dirt
  • Lots of poo


The TRUE cost of a Bernese Mountain Dog

When I was a kid, getting a dog meant going to the pound and picking out a nice little pooch that didn't bark too much and wasn't foaming at the mouth.

Now, it seems having a trendy dog is as important as making sure you have the latest video iPod or cell phone that doubles as a PDA that also doubles as an electric razor.

Around the Bay Area, you see a lot of upwardly mobile young professionals keeping Bernese Mountain Dogs as pets. Although you don't see many at the dog park, you see them with pretty regular frequency in the back of Land Rovers and other luxury SUVs zooming by on the freeway. Apparently, Bernese Mountain Dogs are the new Golden Retrievers. Everybody wants them.

My wife saw her first Bernese Mountain Dog at Costco in September of 2004. We'd been talking about getting a dog for awhile, and were also in the process of selling my 1 bedroom house in order to buy something with more space for the (gasp) future kids and dogs. At any rate, one thing led to another and before we knew it, we were forking over $1800 to a breeder in Watsonville for one Bernese Mountain Dog puppy: Bernie. Ouch.

Little did we know that $1800 was just a drop in the bucket compared to what we'd end up spending because of him in a one-year period:

$1800 - dog
$600 - getting him neutered, some sort of problem, yada, yada, yada...
$2000 - special eye surgery because his membrane or something like that doesn't close right
$600 - Miscellaneous vet emergency bills
$500 - Stolen food from the counter or dinner table while we weren't looking
$400 - Ruined clothes and shoes
$4000 - Ruined furniture, carpet and sheetrock (wtf!) in new house

Grand total: $9900

Holy mackeral!!! That's more than what my car is worth!!!

Naturally, I think we did what any rational couple would do when faced with dishing out $10K on a dog: get another!

But that's a story for later...


Let me introduce Bernie and Homer

As a software developer, I spend a lot of time reading blogs. Mostly, it's just work-related and I'm looking for some copy-and-paste code sample or secret insight to save me from the unthinkable: thinking for myself.

But one thing I could never understand were all these blogs by people about...well...nothing. Who are these people? And where do they find the time to blog all the time? Heck, I don't know. I guess they're in the same club as those cafe people you see when driving to work, or during lunch when frantically trying to squeeze in a few errands. You know the types. They have that glazed-over happy look. Somehow, some way, they don't have to work. But you and I do. Bastards.

Anyhow, I'm kind of liking this blog thing. Basically, I started this blog to chronicle what it's like for normal people - not those scary dog-nut types - to keep and raise two BIG dogs. So, if you're the type of person who sometimes misses a walk and finds it hard to be strict because your canine companion is too cute for punishment, then this is the blog for you.

Without further adue, allow me to introduce Bernie and Homer, two rambunctious Bernese Mountain dogs that love people almost as much as they love destroying things. Bernie, the larger one, has all the looks. Homer, the smaller one (but still growing) isn't quite the looker, but has all the brains.