- Hickory's Candle in the Wind
- September 23, 2005 -
Holly joined our family on November 18, 2005. It was love at first sight when she and Gretl set eyes and paws upon each other and they forged a bond of friendship and play that far surpassed that of any of my other Berner pairs.
Holly has been the biggest challenge (and I say that fondly) of my five berners, but with perseverance she has blossomed into a very sweet and entertaining companion.
Holly has been visiting classrooms in Marin County since she was 4 months of age and has officially been part of the Marin Humane Society SHARE program since passing her CGC and completing training at 7 months. We love going into the classroom and teaching the children about Dog Bite Prevention and the 5 Senses and she visits Theresa Lum's kindergarten class four times each year as part of the MHS Kids Care Club. The children adore her and she loves their attention.
When she was 10 months old we took Patty Gable's Tricks class at the Marin Humane Society. This is unquestionably the most fun class I have ever taken with my dogs - and Holly and I enjoyed it so much that I took it several months later with Gretl, who showed us that at 7 you can definitely teach an older dog new tricks.
Holly was not to be outdone by her older and wiser sibling and honed a number of skills in this class which have become her signature tricks. These include playing a Little Tykes piano with her nose, touching the Staples Easy Button on command (and of course waiting for a treat), and reading laminated signs and performing the command on the sign without spoken commands.
We also acquired the Bone treat dispenser and that quickly became a favorite in the house, although it was "owned" by Gretl until this summer when Holly finally had a chance to learn how to operate it. It took Gretl several months to master the treat dispenser as she approached it much more analytically and seemed to believe that if she simply stared at it it would shatter and release all of the treats. Holly, on the other hand, was an exceedingly quick study and this summer my nephew Steven had her working it in less than 2 minutes of instruction.
Holly's life as she had known it was dramatically changed at the end of February 2008 when we lost Gretl. She was a classic example of how deeply some dogs do grieve a loss and both she and I struggled as she sought to adjust to her new place in the pecking order of our household. With some expert guidance and insight from Trish King at the Marin Humane Society she has emerged both from her adolescence and her loss of Gretl to become a happy and engaging pup. She is my constant companion, prefers to be with me than elsewhere, spends one day a week with her Berner buddies Jed and Abbey in Napa, and loves to show off her obedience and trick skills. We set up our own rally course and do rally with Holly, Abbey and Jed as often as we can and it seems to be something she really enjoys. A Rally class will be next on our list.
Holly assumed Gretl's role in the Share a Book program at Marin Humane Society in early 2008 and participates in both the school reading programs as well as the library reading programs. Through Share a Book Holly and I have also been working one-on-one with children. She is in her third year working with a very bright and engaging 4th grader, and just began this summer working with a delightful 5th grader. She loves to listen to the stories and books they read to her and they love reading to her.
And when she isn't eating, sleeping, playing, going to school or reading with children, I have often found her in at my computer sending instant messages or emails to her best buddy Jed. She's quite the girl!