Jacobson - Galadriel - Crystal Falls, MI
Officially known as River’s Baby Ruth (BG#61447), Gally came to me as a rehome after being rescued from a puppy mill breeder. She was extremely shy and very unsocialized when I met her. It took some effort to lift her 70 pound frame into the truck, and as we headed back north to my home, she sat as far away as possible and kept her head pointed away from me. She didn’t seem to know her name – it had absolutely no effect on her. I told her all about the two other Bernese in the home, the other animals, and more importantly, the people. She settled slightly, but not overly much.
As I drove through Burger King for my lunch, I thought she could use a treat. One plain hamburger coming up. She didn’t know what to do with it. She seemed to think I would take it away. But, I tore it into small pieces, lay it on the wrapper beside me, and let her decide she wanted to eat it.
The next several months were COLD and long. That winter we had 3 weeks of -25F and lower temperatures at night; barely warming to 0F during the day. Most nights I had to corner Gally and carry her into the house from the dog yard – she didn’t know it was okay to be in the house (or, maybe she just really liked it that cold).
She jumped at the slightest noise or movement. She would only eat off the floor, or a clear glass dish. She hid food in her bedding. She started being more confident with me, but wanted nothing to do with my then 9-year-old son.
I did some research, talked to a lot of BARC and other foster folks (thank you again!), and took a leap of faith. I found an animal behaviorist with viewpoints similar to Victoria Stilwell. I live in a VERY rural area – there is no such thing as a behaviorist here.
I recorded Gally’s actions with the other dogs and myself, uploaded to YouTube and completed a very long questionnaire/history.These things were reviewed by the behaviorist, and we had a two-hour conversation using the Skype software online. This behaviorist was in Scotland!
Mat did a remarkable job and evaluating Gally and coming up with some very workable ideas(well, the sitting outside in -10F to just be with her was kind of rough) to help her along.
Gally now is playful, will eat out of a little more variety of dishes, absolutely loves to jump and run with me and definitely go places with me. She did great at the Heart of Michigan meeting last April – had no problem with letting Bruce (what Berner would?) and some of the other men (and women)pet and give her love.
She’s a lovely, thin, sweetheart who found her forever home with us.
Crystal Falls, MI