Bella v Moosboden and Margaret in 1966
Margaret's Brief History of Bella's
Why the Bella's Name was Changed to Filucy Bay
and a Photo History
Harold "Tommy" and Jane Thompson were living in Germany in the late 50's and would take trips to Glarus, Switzerland to visit Jane's relatives in Glarus, Schwandi, Elm, and Schanden . It was on one of these trips that the family was introduced to Bernese Mountain Dogs and decided that when they returned to the USA that they would bring a bitch back for breeding and showing. The family did return with a Berner and settled in Longbranch, Washington.
In 1963 Harold and Jane brought Bella v Moosboden from Switzerland to their farm in Longbranch, WA. In 1965, Bella was sired with Christine Pike's Bobi v Bauerheim producing Bella's Albertine, a pup which would go on to whelp some distinguished dogs. Also notable from that litter was Bella's Axel who went to Beatrice Knight's Sanctuary Woods Kennel in Oregon and sired four litters for her. In 1966, Harold and Jane brought Arno v Grasburg from Switzerland and with Albertine this pair went on to produce champions. In 1967, the pair produced Bella's Clara, Top Producer of Champions BMDCA 1975 and Bella's Cesar, AKC Champion. In 1970, the pair produced Bella's Albertine Faymie, AKC Champion. Faymie became part of Christine Pike's kennel. Then in 1971, the pair produced B Albertine's George or "Gorgeous George" as we know him on the farm. George was an AKC Champion in 1973 and finished the year with 41 'Best of Breeds.'
Harold and Jane's Berner breeding efforts ended in 1992 and for a couple of decades only rescues played on the farm in Longbranch. In 2016, the daughter, Margaret Thompson Heidal, and the nephew, Clark Powell, decided to start the Bernese Mt Dog breeding program anew. Their plan was to adopt modern standards of breeding and reporting including full disclosure of ALL HEALTH DATA. Not only would they require full health testing of all Berners on the farm regardless of whether they were to be bred or not but also that all health test results would be reported on Berner-Garde for public scrutiny be they good or bad. In North America, this is how the Bernese Mountain Dog breed will be maintained and improved. Effective selective breeding cannot be done in the dark. If your breeder does not report all their dogs' health data on Berner-Garde then Filucy Bay recommends that you find a new breeder.
These days there are a number of Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders who use the name Bella's and some are not so good at documenting their dog's and puppy's health. Margaret and Clark decided to change their kennel name to the name of the pristine Puget Sound bay where Margaret's farm is located, Filucy Bay.
Life with our Dogs,
A 50 year Photo History
Typical Berner bahavior. Boda must keep an eye on the family but he's not under foot.
Puppy Barbali and Bella with Elsa and Margaret Thompson in 1966.
Arno v. Grasburg, sire of champions!
The Thompson in 1966, Willy, John, Tim, Elsa, Margaret, Jane Schindler Thompson, Harold Thompson and and their aunt, Toni Streiff Cook. Note the expression of surprise on Jane's face as Arno puts a paw on her best stockings!
Farm dogs, Arno and Albertine in the pickup truck.
Jane with Ursula and puppies. Pike's Edo Faymie Ursula came from Christine Pike of Squim, WA to Bella's in 1975.
Gorgeous George and Margaret in 1971. In 1973 George would win 41 Best of Breed Awards.
Jane Schindler Thompson, and the kennel namesake, Bella, in front of her raven carving that greeted visitors to our farm.
John Thompson, puppy Hanseli, and Margaret Thompson in 1972. Today, John and Jane live on the adjacent farm and Margaret and her husband, John Heidal, live on the original family farm. Together they have about twenty five acres for our dogs, cats, goats, chickens, geese, and horses.
Jane and Margaret with Ursula's puppies in 1979. Ursula's full name was Pike's Edo Faymie Ursula and she came to Harold and Jane from Christine Pike's kennel. Her dam was Bella's Abertine Faymie, Ms Pike's dog from our kennel.
Boda (Viktor vd Rappenfluh) with Jane's father, Admiral Walter G Schindler, in 1990
Harold takes a nap with Boda 1990
Boda keeps an eye on the deer 1990. Boda was the last Berner on the farm for 15 years.
Christmas 2008 Two rescues came to the farm to stay, Rémy (above) and Rubin (below.)
Rubin lived to be 10 or 11 years old but it's difficult to say as he was a rescue.
Rémy died of degenerative myelopathy (DM) in September, 2016 at 8 years. We have felt the pain of loosing our rescue dogs to completely preventable diseases and will not breed dogs that don't pass their health tests and that would produce "at risk" puppies. In addition, we will report all of our health test finding, good or bad, on Berner-Guarde database.
When looking to adopt a Berner, please don't trust breeders that don't publish all of their dogs, litters, and their health data on Berner Garde! It is an open database that is free to update and free to use so there is no reason not to use Berner-Garde except to hide the truth.