Petersen - Ekko - West Hills, CA

For Ekko, my bouncing Berner boy.

Ekko was turned over to the BMDCSC rescue coordinator, Kathy Gray, in January 2007. Not much is known about his first 10 months of life. He was unsocialized, not house trained, dirty, highly distractible, and full of wild energy and enthusiasm. We believe he had been left in a backyard to grow into a large dog with no limits, rules, supervision, or even much socializing with people or dogs. He loved to jump on people to show his enthusiasm and loved to bounce and fling his body around.

His foster family, Renee Meriaux and Kelley VanArsdale, embarked on a quest to clean him up and teach him some self control in preparation for being permanently adopted. In the 3 weeks of fostering, he learned house training, the beginnings of self control, and acquired a fatal attraction to a Basenji bitch who earned the more colloquial use of the term. They took him to obedience and agility classes. His love of flinging his body around and bouncy running translated into lots of fun on the agility course, but not into a lot of control. A couple of families tried to adopt him, but were not prepared for his level of energy and enthusiasm. Renee and Kelley tried again to appeal to friends.

A few years earlier, I had lost my beloved 14 year old retriever mutt and a beloved Basenji who died only two months later. I was finally ready to bring another dog into my life. When I saw Renee’s email, I was intrigued and remembered how much I liked their Berners. So I talked to my family and uttered the standard visit precautions – don’t get too attached, it may not work out. I don’t want him knocking over my 70 year old mother and breaking something!

All I can say is – it only took one visit and we were all charmed! Ekko’s enthusiasm and joy in life are infectious. He came to live with us within a few days of that visit and I continued to take him to obedience and agility classes, trying to keep a straight face while he clowned around and back-talked (while the rest of the class laughed hysterically). It took a year for us to fully bond. It took another year of brushing a few strokes at a time to get him to lie down through a full coat brushing. Nail trimming is an on-going campaign and teeth brushing next!

Ekko just recently earned his NAP and NJP (after 12 and 11 trials respectively) and he has 2 Q’s each towards his CD and RN (hoping for the titles at the Specialty). Amazingly, his obedience and rally Q’s came in the only trials we’ve entered! Nobody would have foreseen that 4 years ago. Ekko’s up for anything – we’re learning herding, drafting, and tracking too!

We love you Mr. SnortWiggle, buddy, Ekko-bunny, Wilbur, clown, goofball.
How could we not?!?

Karen Petersen & Ekko
Berner-Garde #74062
West Hills, CA