Most of you know that one of the things I miss most about home is my dog, Sophie. I miss taking her for car rides and for walks in the park, and I miss her unexpectedly (and uninvitedly) pouncing me when I’m sitting unsuspectingly on the couch. Sophie is a Bernese Mountain Dog, and she weighs about 100 pounds, so being pounced by her is no laughing matter. She also has a habit of sitting on your feet when she wants attention, which is cute for about 2 minutes until your feet start to ache and fall asleep. Sophie isn’t the only Berner in the household- Leopold was my family’s first Bernese Mountain Dog, and he is the most docile, loving creature I’ve ever met. Not quite as sassy as Sophie, but he is equally eager for car rides and cuddles on the couch. Sometimes I see their sweet faces pop up on Skype when I’m talking to my family, but its not the same. Seeing them makes me miss them more and wish I could be home to cuddle them!
Early this spring, my Dad informed me that Sophie was preggers and putting on weight rapidly. He would make jokes on Skype that Sophie was waddling around the house, and my Mom set to work designing a puppy room in the garage where Sophie could nest. When Mom came to visit me in Ukraine, she mentioned that Sophie was due in the middle of May, and she promised to keep me in the loop. On May 16th, in the middle of the night, I got a text from my Dad announcing the arrival of Sophie’s first puppy, and promising all was well with mother and puppy.
The next day I got to see for myself on Skype—Sophie and four little baby Berners. She had ended up having her babies in a box in the family room, which suited everyone because the puppies quickly became the center of the universe for the whole family. And Sophie is a house dog—I don’t think she would take moving to the garage very well ; )
Since their birth, the puppies have grown rapidly. Every time we Skype my Dad grabs a puppy and sticks its little face in the camera so I can marvel at how cute it is. I know most puppies come out looking kind of rat-like, but Berners are cute from day one. Even in their first days, they had the characteristic markings of Bernese Mountain Dogs—white blazes on their faces, brown eyebrows on an otherwise black and white face, and a little white-tipped tail. So precious!
There are four puppies total—three boys and one little girl. Dad has always wanted to name a Berner “Elvis” or “Thor” so those are the names of two of the boys. My sister and I had a discussion last summer about Sophie having puppies someday, and agreed that the name “Phineas” would be great for a Berner, and could be called “Finny” for short. Sophie’s registered name is “Shamelessly Sassy Sophie” and Leo’s is “Rowdy Prince Leopold,” so we decided one of their puppies should be “Shamelessly Rowdy Prince Phineas.” (We had way too much fun contemplating puppies and all the crazy names we could call them!) So Tori made good on our discussion and named the third boy puppy “Finny.” And the fourth puppy is a little girl, who Tori called “Fiona,” at my suggestion. I’m so glad I got to be part of naming them, even from Ukraine! : )
So the puppy that pops up on Skype most often is Thor—who I suspect to be Dad’s favorite. He’s a little chubber, and definitely the most vocal of the puppies. When he’s not asleep or eating, he is making puppy noises about how hungry he is, even though he has fat rolls on his neck (see the picture above for proof) and is the chubbiest puppy I’ve ever seen. Mom says Fiona is the prettiest, and I’ve seen her a few times as well. Here is a picture of Dad with Thor (who is yawning!) and Mom with Fiona (who is sleeping). Aren’t they sweet?
I won’t get to see these puppies in person, but I’m hoping Sophie has more puppies in time for Christmas. I’m already devising ways to bring a Berner back to Ukraine with me—I’ve considered puppy smuggling in my book bag (which is hard because Berners aren’t exactly small puppies), and my Dad has also suggested telling airport security that my Berner is a seeing-eye dog. I don’t think I lie well enough to pull that one off though, but I’m tempted to try! Any other suggestions for how to get a baby Berner back to Ukraine with me?
I hope all is well where you are—if you happen to be located in Ohio, I would strongly recommend dropping by my parents house to see the baby Berners in person. They’re as cute as they come, I promise! : )