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Dear Departed Filucy Bay Dogs

“Il faut pleurer me disait ma grand-mère, les larmes du dedans font autrement plus mal et pourrissent les os”
― Cédric Sapin-Defour, Son odeur après la pluie

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       It took me one year to get Gunther's confidence.  His insecurity is not unheard of in the breed but must be avoided by breeders and adopters.  He was purchased mail order by a backyard breeder in Eastern Washington and then was rescued by Margaret under the most precarious of circumstances.  Gunther also did not pass his OFA hip certification and at the age of 4 was already showing signs of hip arthritis.    Gunther's story of being sold mail order should be a precautionary tale for the Berner adopter.  Whoever agrees to send you a Berner without meeting you in person is probably not a good breeder.  Whoever adopts a Berner from a breeder without meeting the breeder and, at least, the dam of the litter is probably not a wise adopter.

     Gunther passed away from Histiocytic Sarcoma (cancer) at age 5 1/2 years.  He was also crippled by hip dysplacia.  We were happy to have Gunther on the farm and were disappointed that he had to die so young.

Rémy was another wonderful Berner that was poorly bred.  In Rémy's case, he was whelped from a pair that both had the recessive Degenerative Myelopathy gene.  Having both genes Rémy was a risk of contracting the disease and at the age of 9 he died from it.   Degenerative Myelopathy causes nerve damage to point at which the rear legs do not work.  You will never see this disease in your Berner from a good breeder because the pre-breeding test for these genes costs just $25 per dog.  All club breeders are expected to never breed two dogs with the DM genes. 

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There are no guarantees in life.  Sometimes one must push forward knowing that no matter what one does to avoid catastrophe, it can happen anyway.  Fridolin left us in 2023 just a month short of his 5th birthday.  He had two cancers.  The lymphoma we conquered but the MLO cancer was too much and it took him.  His father I saw recently in Czechia is a happy 10 years; his mother, according to her breeder, is 8 years in Switzerland.  Two of his grandparents lived beyond ten years.  He was the best of the best.  He was a stellar drafter and I can say from experience that the only mistakes made in drafting were those of his handler.  His personality was friendly and generous.  My neighbor summed it up perfectly, "He was just like a person."

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