Paloma - Gino - Tracy, CA
Richard & Robin Paloma
In February of 2012, I made my contribution to the humanity of the world by becoming an adoptive owner of a sweet rescued adult Bernese mountain dog we named Gino.
Gino was a two-plus year-old Berner that spent most of his life caged as a breeding male in a mid-western puppy mill. When he was rescued by BARC he had a belly full of worms and was only 65 lbs. - normally he should be at least 85 lbs. with most males of the breed in excess of 100 lbs.
BARC vetted my wife and I like a child adoption. What kind of yard and fencing? Other pets? Especially looking for another Berner to be a mentor. Type of food we used? How long during the day we were gone and on and on.
After we were selected, my heart went out to him when I heard about the plight in his short existence of poor or little food and water, a caged life, no human socialization, and deplorable living conditions. He was never allowed to just be a dog.
In preparation for his arrival, I asked what type of toys he liked -The answer I got was disheartening.
”He doesn’t know toys or even playing. He never had those in his puppy years.”
I knew at that moment he would be loved and safe in his now “forever home.”
I noticed Gino has some interesting quirks that initially brought delight until I learned their reasoning and causes.
When at the back door, all excited and wanting to come in, Gino does an adorable spinning, almost chasing his tail. Actually, I learned it’s a sad reminder to his previous life that he spent in a cage and the only way he could burn off energy was to spin in that manner given the confinement and space he had.
Initially, Gino didn’t make a sound. No barking like the other two when someone comes to the door or a cat ventures in their backyard, not even a whimper. Good well behaved dog, right? Nope - and this put a pit in my stomach and brought tears to my eyes - I found out that in puppy mills like Gino’s, the breeders will put a pipe down the dog’s throats at an early age to damage their vocal cords to eliminate the barking of the mass dogs on their properties. I’m happy to say that he’s now developed a bark, happily dancing on his feet with excitement.
Gino didn’t take that long to make himself at home. When not watched, he’ll find himself a spot on the couch or when upstairs, he can get just as comfy on our bed. We’re softies so guess who gets his way - for now? Who can say no to that sweet face and those chestnut-colored eyes knowing what he had been through earlier in life?
I am happy to say Gino is a thriving, white-tipped tail wagging happy guy and pushing the scale at 90 lbs. He loves company and being around his people. He seems to place it first in his short list of needs. We seem to be the center of his universe, and like my other two dogs, the focus of his love and developing trust.
”Saving just one dog won’t change the world, but surely it will change the world for that one dog.”