Tag Archives: Bernese Mountain Dog

What I’ve been reading…

Most people in New Zealand went back to work on Monday after a couple of weeks of holidays around the Christmas and New Year period.

Although I worked the non-statutory days, I also had some ‘me time’ and I was able to get stuck into the many books that have been piling up on my end table.  (I prefer real books to electonic books, by the way, – no Kindle here!)

I read two of the David Rosenfelt books featuring Andy Carpenter, a lawyer and dog lover.  Andy has a Golden Retriever, Tara, and also supports a local rescue organisation.  He can afford to be choosy about the cases he decides to take on; Andy is wealthy thanks to a sizeable inheritance.

Play Dead and New Tricks are actually the 6th and 7th books in the Andy Carpenter series and I’ve got to get my hands on numbers 1-5 before proceeding in sequence again.

These novels were interesting stories packed with courtroom drama and, of course, dogs.

In Play Dead, the key to overturning Richard Evan’s  life sentence for murdering his girlfriend Stacy Harriman lies with his Golden Retriever, Reggie.  Presumed drowned after Richard murders Stacy on a boat (Stacy’s body was never found),  Reggie suddenly turns up at a local animal shelter years later.  Will Reggie lead Andy to the real killer?

In New Tricks, Andy becomes the court-appointed guardian of Waggy, a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  Waggy’s owner was murdered and the man’s wife is going to battle it out for custody of Waggy with her stepson.  That is, until the wife is also killed when her house explodes in front of Andy’s eyes and the stepson is charged with murder.  This story was full of twists and turns as well as courtroom drama.

Andy Carpenter is the protagonist is these books, unlike the Chet and Bernie books by Spencer Quinn (which I also love!) which feature Chet the Dog as the storyteller.

These novels were entertaining and made for a great, relaxing read over the holidays.   I definitely want to read all of the other Andy Carpenter books.  (there are 17 books so far with the latest book, Deck the Hounds, published in October 2018).

I think more books are going to pile up on the end table!

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bernese Mountain Dog is a golf ball retriever

Davos is a Bernese Mountain Dog who lives in Minnesota.  He helps his owner, Al Cooper, retrieve his wayward golf balls and in the process, finds lots of others.

The pair re-sells the balls for 25 cents each at their local golf course and recently made a donation to the Humane Society in Golden Valley.

Golf Ball Retriever – a whole new job description for an assistance dog?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The wedding

Life is full of firsts.

Yesterday, it was my first truly dog-friendly wedding.  When clients (and now friends) asked me to bake the cake for the dogs attending their wedding- I said ‘yes’!  I already make dog cakes for special occasions like birthdays.  A wedding was taking it to a whole new level (no pun intended).

dog wedding cake

The dog wedding cake by Kathleen Crisley of The Balanced Dog, Christchurch

Since the couple’s Bernese Mountain Dogs were part of the wedding party, and the couple married on the birthday of the Bernese Mountain Dog who brought them together – I found a Bernese Mountain Dog figure for the topper on Amazon.com

Dog wedding cake cross section

One of the couple’s dogs is on an exclusionary diet – having tested to be intolerant to most meat ingredients. She’s on a rabbit-based diet and so the top layer was made only of rabbit meat and pumpkin.  The middle layer was salmon and cottage cheese in a rice flour base.  The base layer was lamb’s liver with egg in a rice flour base along with garlic.

The frosting was made of low fat cream cheese sweetened with local dandelion honey.

The heart decorations were dog treats – my recipe called Carrot, Ginger and Molasses Crunchies.

Izzy was also invited to the wedding.  In fact, guests were encouraged to bring their dogs to the wedding which is why I say this was my first truly dog-friendly wedding.


The ceremony


The happy couple cut the dog cake (and also the human cakes – not shown)

Congratulations Kash and Dany!  Izzy and I wish you many happy years together (with lots of dogs).

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Leisa & Indy’s NZ Charity Cycleway Journey

Leisa McNaughton and her dog Indy, a Border Collie/Bernese Mountain Dog cross, will commence a 4-month journey on 1st October 2015 to travel the length of New Zealand.

Their journey will begin in Cape Reinga and travel using tracks that are part of Nga Haerenga The New Zealand Cycle Trail and connector routes.

On her Facebook page, Leisa says, “My aim is to encourage others to join me in the sights and sounds of our wonderful country while cycling the length of NZ and fundraising for my 13 chosen charities.”  These charities , all regional, will include:

  • Sport Northland Whangarei
  • Auckland Rescue Helicopter Auckland
  • Cambridge Riding for the Disabled Cambridge
  • Cranford Hospice Hastings
  • The Capital Performing Arts Wellington
  • Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust Blenheim
  • Menzshed Waimea
  • The Tasman Environmental Trust Richmond, Nelson
  • Westcoast Coastguard Greymouth
  • Canterbury SPCA Christchurch
  • Otago Medical Research Foundation Dunedin
  • Number 10 Invercargill
Indy tests his trailer before the big journey starts (photo by Leisa)

Indy tests his trailer before the big journey starts (photo by Leisa)

Leisa says she and Indy “chose each other” at the SPCA about six years ago.  She attributes her recovery from severe depression and burnout to, in part, Indy’s non-judgmental support and companionship.

Indy will ride in a specially designed trailer during the pair’s journey together.

You can follow Leisa and Indy on their Facebook page.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Izzy learns something new

I ‘commissioned’ a new toy for Izzy this Christmas – it was not a new or innovative design and there are many videos circulating with dogs using similar ones.  It’s made of wood and re-used drink bottles.

And until a couple of days ago, Izzy didn’t understand it was for her.  All she managed to do was to chew on the wooden frame and screws that held it together a few times.

But then, Izzy had a play date with her friend, Helga,  who is a Bernese Mountain Dog.  And Helga showed some interest in the toy with the addition of a little peanut butter at the top of one of the bottles.

Izzy and Helga take a break from playing together

Izzy and Helga take a break from playing together

Helga went home and, within minutes of her leaving, Izzy started to engage with her new toy.  Best of all, I caught it on video:

Clever girl, she just needed a little doggy leadership to show her the way!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bad dog (a love story) – book review

Bad dog a love story cover

This book tells the story of Martin Kihn and his Bernese Mountain Dog, Hola.  Martin (Marty) is an alcoholic who is on the verge of losing his job.  Hola is out of control, having never been trained.  Marty’s wife Gloria leaves him because she needs space away from both of them.

Marty decides to throw himself into obedience training of Hola to get Gloria back and to keep his mind from drinking.  They go into training for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.  I expected a book that was very much a dog story and what I got was a man telling his survival story with a main character being his dog.  I did enjoy how Marty hears Hola talking to him.  When Hola speaks to him, her voice is in italics.  For example, on the spur of the moment Marty decides to drive out and see his wife in the countryside where she is staying:

“Hola,” I say, as we drive the twisting half mile past the ice-cream-and-chicken stand to the house, “what if Mommy doesn’t want to see us.”

She’ll want to see me, she says.  Everybody loves me.

“Don’t count on it, girlfriend.”

Do you think she made crab cakes?

The book also gives some good insights into the Canine Good Citizen test and mentions a number of training techniques.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand


Wordless Wednesday, part 49

Photo courtesy of Dany Wu

Photo courtesy of Dany Wu

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Happy Easter!

Helga, the Bernese Mountain Dog, wishes all of our Canine Catering customers and blog subscribers a Happy Easter….

Photo by Dany Wu

Photo by Dany Wu