(Pictured above my mother-in-law Anne with her new friend Eva)
As many of you know who read my blog, my wife and I own a Bernese Mountain Dog (BMD) named Chloe. What most people don’t know is that every June in Ithaca at Myers Park on the lake there is a BMD picnic, where the Bernese Mtn. Dog Club of the Finger Lakes ( http://www.bmdcfl.com ) hosts BMD’s and their owners. Make no mistake, this picnic is for and all about the dogs.
This is the first year that my mother-in-law attended, and by all counts I think she had a great day! And it certainly didn’t hurt that it was a picture perfect weather day. It’s always amazing to see so many Bernese Mtn. dogs assembled in one area, with each and every one of them looking magnificent! And it doesn’t hurt when one of the participants, such as 4 month old Eva, takes a liking to you. Eva was a true sweetheart of a dog, and as you can see in the above picture, she’s going to be a large one!
The attendees of the picnic are requested to bring a raffle prize, a dish to pass, and a $5.00/family admission fee. We feel that’s quite reasonable, especially for such a fun and relaxing day. Chloe starts whining as soon as we enter the park, and can’t wait to get out of the car and meet all of her new friends. She always settles down after we make the rounds to meet as many dogs and people as possible.
The picnic always includes a number of activities and competitions for the dogs and their owners. This year a few of the owners had their dog qualify for the Good Citizen certificate, and my wife even helped with the process. We decided to save ourselves the embarrassment of entering Chloe as we have not kept up with her training, and therefore she doesn’t always do as asked. And trust me, the embarrassment would have been on us, not Chloe, as all good dog owners (and dog trainers) know that a dog’s behavior is a reflection of an owner’s consistenancy, or lack thereof, with their pet.
(Picture of Chloe competing in a previous year)
During the raffle, Kate and I won three different times, and we brought home a number of different items, including a handpainted BMD beer mug, dog treats & toys, a basket filled with five different plush BMD toys, dog picture kitchen hot pads, and a BMD magnetic bumper sticker. Probably would have been a good day to play the lottery as well!
We met a number of BMD’s at the picnic, and I have to say that the award for the largest Bernese goes to a male named Radar. A close second would have to be his son, Turbo. Both were gentle giants. But when it was time to go, one of them decided he wasn’t ready yet and as he was being led to the car he decided to dig his paws in and refused to move forward. It was quite a sight to see the owner tugging on the leash trying to get him to move forward, and as I walked by she said, “I need my husband.”, which gave me a laugh. Her husband came along, and before you knew it, both dogs were loaded in the big SUV, and off they went.
Chloe’s favorite meet turned out to be a Golden Retriver that she spotted across the green. As soon as she saw the Golden she stood up and started whining. Luckily the owner came over our way and introduced his Golden, Misty, to Chloe. They both seemed very happy to make each other’s acquaintance and had a nice visit.
When it was time to head home Kate asked if we could take the back roads as opposed to the Interstate. I’m an Interstate kind of driver, but I agree, it’s nice to take the long road home once in awhile.
My mother-in-law had been in the area a couple weeks ago attending a show, and remembered a roadside restaurant that was coming up and thought it might be nice to stop there, so we did. It’s called Bob’s BBQ, and it’s located on State Rte 281 in Homer. It was very busy, and there was a line of people waiting to be served, but the line moved quickly, and our order was filled perfectly. The food was great, and they have a great outdoor dining area that allows dogs as long as they’re on a leash, which made Chloe (and us) happy!
We finished the evening on our patio with some of my wife’s homemade strawberry shortcake, which after pie, is my favorite dessert. Kate took her mother home while I cleaned up from dessert, and then collasped on the sofa with Chloe laying next to me. It was a fun but exhausting day for both of us.
And to all of the dog lovers out there, the annual picnic is open to all dogs and their owners. So, if you would like to meet a lot of BMD’s at once, as well as dog breeders and trainers, and people who are devoted to all dogs, but especially Bernese Mountain Dogs, then I encourage you to attend next year. Who knows, you just might meet a new friend that’s up for adoption and embark on a whole new adventure together!
And when it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs, I think a lady that I met at our garage sale a few years ago said it best. She came up our driveway and spotted Chloe in the back yard and immediately recognized her as a BMD and asked if she could meet her. Come to find out, this woman used to have a Bernese and missed it terribly. And while reminiscing about her Bernese she said something that has always stuck with me – “You love your dog, but you fall in love with a Bernese.” I can’t tell you how many strangers I have met when I have Chloe with me that can’t say enough good things about a Bernese that they had at one time or another, and what wonderful memories they made together, and how much they LOVED that dog. And if you should ask my wife, who never had a dog before Chloe, I think she would agree.
Thank you for reading, and hoping that your dog days of summer are happy ones!