Time to stop the pity party

Hi friends,

I reached a low yesterday. It was terrible. I had a pity party that my Mr. helped me out of – thank gawd!

I was getting very frustrated with Bruno and the cat’s lack of progress. I have had anxiety about it.

He still wants to eat them.

I get emotional about it, as I’m pretty tight with my kitties (#crazycatlady). When something wants to eat your little fur kids that have been locked up in the basement all day – I get emotional.

What Bruno needs is the opposite – he needs patience. He needs guidance. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. We have to slowly teach him that kitties are not for eating. That’s on us.

Time to get the big girl panties on and start working this out. I have these guys counting on me to make it work…


Let us out of the basement Mom!
Let us out of the basement Mom!

Slow and steady – we’ll make steps forward. I know it.

Keep ya posted.


Tough Love

Hello friends,


One week in. Progress


It’s nice having a dog to welcome you home. There’s nothing quite like seeing a big ole wiggle butt heading your way.


However, Mr. Bruno has started to get possessive of me, so we are nipping that in the butt right away. “Tough love” they call it. I need to become higher up on the chain of command, and show that I do not need protection (#independentwoman). No couch snuggles, no praise unless in training mode and he makes a good choice, no furniture, he has to work for his food (sit/stay). I tell people about this, and I get he look that means “You’re doing that to a dog you just rescued?”


Sounds mean – but it WORKS!


In two days, I’ve noticed a marked difference in our walks and his behavior in the house. He looks at me, he listens when I get him to sit/stay. He follows me with his eyes, but no longer needs to be in every single room with me wherever I go.


Progress is a wonderfully powerful motivator.


As for the cats… we’ve made many strides in the week he’s been at our house. Bruno has not yet accepted that the cats are higher up on the totem pole then he is… but he will. We’ve made strides thanks to my Mr. He did what I couldn’t – he started the integration. During the periods that we’re home, Bruno wears a leash so that if we need to grab for a correction, we can.

Leash on = quick corrections


I feel terrible for quarantining my little furballs to cat prison the basement when we’re not home. I keep telling myself, it’s for their own safety. I know it is. In all actuality It’s a mostly finished basement, with their food, litterbox, two bedrooms and lots of cat toys to play with. So I know they most likely are not looking like this.




We need to teach him to ignore them.  This will work.


I don’t need them to be best buds, I just need to him to learn that cats are not for eating or chasing. Bruno is still stressing out when they are near, and will always get up to look for them when they leave the room. He doesn’t trust them. They can be jerks, but I can’t wait for the moment when I can relax with all of my animals present. It may be a year… maybe 2, but I’m determined that it will happen.

First proud moment I had between these two. It lasted all of 10 secs, but it happened.


BFW rescue has been fantastic, answered all of my questions tirelessly (and there have been many). What a bunch of gems.

Enjoying the meadow behind our house. 20 ft lead makes this possible


Stay tuned for more on Bruno’s progress. Slow and steady…



It’s only day 4

Hi friends,

A rescue dog isn’t for everyone. It’s clear to me now how much effort goes into making it “work”. Worthwhile work, but not for everyone. I’ve been an animal rescue advocate my whole life, and this is the first time I’ve welcomed an adult dog into our little pack. Let me explain – It’s been a tough transition for me, and by all accounts Bruno is a gem. It’s not his fault. You don’t know, what you don’t know. The transition can be a tough process for all, I have to work at staying consistent and rewarding all the good behaviors. I’m jumping the gun a bit, I know… it’s only day 4.


First impressions of Bruno


  • He’s sweet
  • He’s good with other dogs
  • not destructive in the house
  • adores people including kids
  • Not motivated by food (How is this possible for a Bernese?)
  • loves a great couch cuddle
  • eats and sleeps fine.


So, you ask – what’s are the issues?

It’s not the anxiety, it’s not the indoor marking, it’s not the fact that he doesn’t know his own name or has zero recall (after all he doesn’t know us enough to come back to us…). These things do not intimidate me, it’s within my comfort zone to work with him on all of these. 


The kicker? He doesn’t like cats. We were told he did, and that he co-existed with cats at his foster mamas. Maybe it’s just our cats, they’re jerks after all.


I know I’m not helping the situation here, I’m an overprotective mother bear about my two indoor cats. I see a dog snapping at them and I worry about their safety instead of allowing them to handle themselves in a safe environment.  I’m making it emotional and it shouldn’t be. Knowing and doing are totally different beasts entirely.


I need to adjust my mentality pronto.


So far, we’ve been keeping them separated by a baby gate when we’re home so they can see and smell each other. At some point, despite the snapping,  we have to start the proximity training without the gate. I can see the “leave it” command being very popular over the next few weeks.


Bringing an adult dog home that has been in four homes over his four years, has proved to be a very different experience then bringing home a 10 week old puppy. Some things I was ready for, some I definitely wasn’t.


Unfair to Bruno to say the least to compare the two experiences, but in truth – that’s all we know. My family had rescue dogs, but all from puppies. We had Newton from a puppy. It’s a very different experience. 


It’s not an immediate connection, as I don’t trust him yet, and I suppose I didn’t expect that. I feel bad admitting its not an instant mushy kind of love.


I’ve always been able to trust my dogs in the past. I see now that I had unrealistic expectations of how I thought it was going to go from the start. I now see that this will take time –  slow and steady we will bond, slow and steady he will learn to co-exist (or ignore) the cats. Slow and steady we will come to love and trust each other. After all, it’s what Bruno deserves. 



At the end of the day, Bruno has all the potential in the world, we just have to learn how to let him shine in his own way. I’m getting that. I have a feeling he’ll be teaching me, as much as we will him in the coming months. A reminder to myself to stop freaking out.. it’s only day 4.