Stanley - Dawn & Jerry Flaherty - Plymouth, MA

NV Rescue Stanley
Berner-Garde number 55049; DNA Profile V500961

In August, 2005 we agreed to foster Stanley for a couple of weeks. Stanley had recently come into the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Nashoba Valley Rescue program all the way from Florida through the help of many angels who intervened on his behalf.

Stanley’s former owners traveled often. At two years old, Stanley had lived much of his life boarded in an animal hospital kennel or housed in a garage 24/7. When the former owners discussed “getting rid of Stanley” the vet at the animal hospital kennel was able to convince them to sign Stanley over to him. Stanley was fostered for a short time by the vet and his wife. They felt that a cooler climate and opportunities to experience snow would be best for Stanley so they contacted the BMDCNV Rescue chair, Anya Wittenborg. Stanley’s proposed northbound journey soon fell into place. A BMDCNV club member who happened to be a pilot agreed to fly him from Florida to Massachusetts.

Stanley came to us as an under-weight, extremely shy boy who could best be described as agoraphobic. He panicked over crossing any threshold and was afraid of everyday household sounds such as the noise of the toaster popping up. Stanley was also more fearful of men so establishing a relationship with my husband Jerry was difficult at the beginning. We were thrilled with every little bit of progress that Stanley made each day. It was joy to see his personality emerge as we came to learn that he is very smart and has quite sense of humor!

A couple of weeks of fostering soon turned into a month and by mid October we made a decision to provide Stanley with a forever home and all the love and care he would need to thrive. Previously, we had been partial to only having female BMDs. However, Stanley being such a loving and charming boy changed our way of thinking!

At home, we used a clicker training approach with Stanley to teach him basic obedience commands. He loved to work and soon gained confidence in his home environment. We had plans to enroll Stanley in a basic obedience and attention class. However, we had to first work on entering and being at ease in the training building. We eventually were able to participate in the class where Stanley’s confidence soared during training. Since then, we have kept Stanley busy in working activities such as rally obedience, freestyle and carting.

Interacting with unfamiliar people has been Stanley’s biggest challenge. Progress with accepting touch by unfamiliar people has been slow but steady. Stanley appears to greatly enjoy attending regional BMDCNV meetings or events as he often accepts and even seeks out pats from people.

We continue to see positive changes every day, and reflect on how blessed we are to share our lives this sweet Berner boy, Stanley.

Dawn and Jerry Flaherty
Plymouth, MA