Holloway - Grace - Shreveport, LA

aka BARC Grace,
Berner-Garde # 18708,

Born in Hungary in 2002, she was bought by the auctioneer from Missouri when she was a year old. He kept her for six months, bred her, auctioned her pregnant (on my birthday), Oct. 4, 2003. BARC got her and took her home, shortly thereafter she escaped from the house where she was kept and crawled under it in order to deliver one dead puppy.

Grace came home with me on Dec. 21, 2003, thin and terrified of the whole world. Doorways frightened her so she had to be carried or lifted through them, for she would freeze completely. In the yard she ran in circles and it usually took 45 minutes of patient waiting and talking to her to get her into the house again. Getting her outside to potty took standing outside and holding the door open all the way, in all kinds of weather, for a year.

She trembled so violently it looked like she would topple right over. When I would try to give her a treat she turned her head away and looked at the floor.  She would freeze when I lifted her onto the sofa and when I would literally pull her to the bedroom, to let her see that room existed, she would tremble, as soon as I unhooked the leash she raced back to the living room.

She made tiny puppydog steps of progress but it was three years before she actually took a treat from my hand, and then I had to stand sideways. She discovered the joy of getting on the sofa and thunderstorms helped her discover that the bedroom was a pretty safe place to be, and so was being on the bed.

She will be 7 years old on March 26, 2009. She weighs 80 lbs., loves the cats and Berner buds Agatha and Eli but still is fearful of being in the yard. Even if I stay with her, she does her business quickly and wants back inside, runs in circles otherwise. Whatever was done to her the six months the auctioneer had her left a lot of emotional scars. Though she never has gotten into a play mode (toys, etc.), when it is time to eat or she does have to potty, she will bark and bark to get my attention.

She doesn’t tremble so much now, though if in public and she gets scared one front leg might tremble a bit. When she gets frightened of anything at home she jumps on the bed, I told her that she would always be safe there. At night she usually sleeps on a quilt right next to the bed and beside Agatha. Having another Berner, when Agatha arrived, helped her a lot and I usually walk them together.

The first couple of years I worried maybe I was not the best owner for her, but it just took her time to come around at her own pace, as I offered her love, affection and security. She was a challenge and still is sometimes but I love her dearly.

Update 3/17/09  –  After years of not taking treats, Grace will shove even big pup Eli aside to jump on the sofa next to me and be first in line to get a bite of my pizza crust - I never eat the crust and the dogs love the thin and crispy treat. She has come a long way.

Jeri Holloway
Shreveport, Louisiana

Grace, at the beginning, Feb, 2004


Grace now, Dec 2008