Bernie PDF Print E-mail

bernieOn March 24th, 2019 a whole band of Midwest BREW volunteers started a journey to get Bernie from Pennsylvania to Indiana. I live in Illinois and drove about 4 hours to adopt him in Valparaiso, Indiana. I welcomed Bernie into my home that day as a companion for my research beagle, Brienne, who didn't quite know how to be a dog. At the time Bernie was already a senior at age 10, but you couldn't even tell.

Bernie quickly became a momma's boy and followed me wherever I went, always making sure to touch me somehow. He'd prefer to smother your face with his while he laid his whole body on top of yours. He also did his job and taught Brienne how to be a dog. She no longer was fearful of so many everyday things and he even taught her how to jump up onto furniture and howl. Their relationship grew over time and they were usually seen cuddled up next to each other for all their naps. They didn't always play or roughhouse but where one went, usually the other followed.

Bernie really was my "soul dog". Our relationship was unlike anything I had ever imagined. Bernie wasn't just a dog, he was my best friend and my safe space. It was like we had this unspoken communication, he just understood everything I needed from him. I went through a lot during the time I had him and he was never far when the tears would flow or when I felt like all hope was lost. He would always nudge his nose under my arm, as if to say "peek-a-boo" with some incredibly goofy face and then lick my tears. Or on some days he would just lay with me, but he always had that intuition when I needed him the most.

About a year after adopting Bernie, his health problems began. You could look at Bernie and think nothing was wrong, but there was much more going on under the surface. Bernie's disease was a disease of the mind, our vet and myself (a senior veterinary student) determined after many types of tests and medications that Bernie had Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. This disease is basically doggy alzheimers. Watching the disease slowly take its toll on him was painful. Bernie used to love so many people and things, especially my fiance. He was the first man Bernie actually truly loved and cuddled up with. In the end his disease progressed so quickly that he was no longer living a good quality of life and we said goodbye. On October 12th, 2021 Bernie's suffering ended as he crossed the rainbow bridge.

To say I miss him is an understatement. I miss him every single day. Bernie changed my life. He taught me so much about myself and the life I lived. I am so thankful to have had 2.5 years with him and wait for the day that we are reunited again.

Danielle Kolaczewski