It was love at first sight. It was a cold February day in 1984, but I was having a grand time walking around the benching area at Westminster. I’ve loved dogs all my life, and was looking for a special breed of dog to love and to cherish and perhaps to breed. I turned a corner, and there they were – the most beautiful dogs
I had ever seen. Glorious black coats, with shimmering white chests, and infinitely expressive faces with their white blazes, rust colored cheeks and eyebrows. What were they? Where did they come from? Why had I never seen them before? I walked up to the first exhibitor in the row, and started to find out about this amazing breed – the Bernese Mountain Dog.
The love affair has continued now for over twenty four years. During that time I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with some very remarkable Bernese. I’ve also been privileged to bring some beautiful Berner pups into this world. I do not breed more than 1 or 2 litters a year. My dogs are my passion, not my income. In order to breed, my Berners must be excellent examples of the breed standard. They must have good temperaments. And they must be certified by the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals in hips, elbows, heart and thyroid, and by CERF for their eyes. My goal, always, is to produce Berners who are better, healthier, and more long-lived than the generation before.
My Berners live in my home, sleep on my bed, and pretty much dominate my life. They are an unending source of love, affection, humor, and – yes – sometimes frustration, disappointment, and sorrow. A Bernese will take total possession of your heart, and when they leave you they leave an empty space that happy memories can only partially fill. Yet I can’t imagine sharing my life with another breed of dog. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past twenty-four years it’s this: Whatever you give to a Bernese Mountain Dog, you will receive back one hundred fold.
~ Megan McTavish