Gigi turned 20 months old on January 17th. She was born on May 17, 2007. She is 7 days less than 6 months younger than Titan. She is a direct import from the Von’t Stokerybos Kennell in Belgium. Her mom was over 8 years old when she had this litter (unheard of for Berners). Her dad lived to be 12, I think. She’s got a lot of longevity in her family. She weighs about 85lbs, she’s slightly shorter than Titan and thinner. She has great markings, and her muzzle white moves up into her eyes higher than Titan, combined with a very white cotton ball on the end of her tail makes her resemble a fox. Foxy… lady… She is a high energy dog, very smart, very affectionate, and loves to be loved. She is happy all the time and when you look at her face you can’t help but smile at her permanent smile.
Gigi was named Gai Chateau von’t Stokerybos, which means “Happy Home” + the Kennel name. Her call name is Gigi. Perhaps we can also call her “Homey”. :) Robin imported her as a 2 month old puppy, with the intention of using her as a show and breeding dog. Unfortunately for Robin, but fortunately for the rest of us, Gigi developed a small deformity or potential for problem, with one of her elbows. This meant that she couldn’t pass her OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) clearances for her joints, which in turn meant that she couldn’t breed or show, which meant she had to be fixed, which wasn’t in Robin’s plans, which meant she had to be rehomed. Sound familiar? This happens to many Berners. It’s bad because you want to think that they’re all healthy and any could be breed/show quality, but it is good because it allows people like me to get these otherwise WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL dogs as pets, and let them live the good life. It shows an incredible quality standard and ethic of people to choose NOT to breed these dogs that they spend so much time and money on and with. Robin could have bred her, but she knew she needed to pass. Robin spent a lot of money on her, and she LOVES her doggies, and to not have her clear must have been heartbreaking.
So, Gigi went to live with Theresa at about 9-12 months old, not sure. Theresa had other dogs, including 2 German Shepards, another Berner, cats, etc. Gigi took to it all very well, learned her obedience, learned to love to swim, love other dogs, sit for things, beg for attention, and be her happy playful self with the Shepards and her berner friend, Gracie. Theresa took great care of her with training, diet, activities, and Gigi grew into a very happy young dog. At some point though, Theresa realized that due to her circumstances that she wasn’t going to be able to provide Gigi the environment she felt Gigi needed. This had to be a very hard decision to make, but I applaud Theresa for being able to think of Gigi’s best interest before her own.
On or around January 5th, I got a rather out of the blue call from Robin. We had Cherokee at our house for about 3 weeks, and by that time Robin was really missing her. Cherokee was fine, we had been working through some health issues, training her for the house rules, getting to know her, but it just… it just wasn’t the right fit. Cherokee is a great dog and I will always love her, but she’s Robin’s dog. So here’s this call from Robin stating that she got a call from her friend Theresa, and she was looking to rehome Gigi. The timing couldn’t have been better. Her description was perfect. She just seemed to fit. She was close in age to Titan, loved to play, was very smart and trainable, etc etc… Then we saw the pictures, and I knew it as soon as I saw the goofy tongue hanging out the side of her mouth.
On January 19th we took Cherokee back home and met Gigi. She was adorable. Very high energy, loved to give up the belly, played with Titan, had good recall.. and… oh my was she cute. After some discussion of timing and what not, we decided to go ahead and bring her home. She felt like our dog, and our search for Titan’s buddy was over.
In the almost 2 weeks since, she has made her mark. She’s so different from Titan that I’m having to learn Dog all over again. She’s smart, but she learns differently from Titan. She’s very much a dog, in every typical sense. Titan is a-typical, much like most of the pets in my life; the cat who thought she was people; the duck who didn’t like to swim, etc…. He’s not your average dog. Gigi is VERY much a dog. It’s cool.
We’re going to need to get Gigi involved in activities like agility, carting, tracking, herding, etc, to keep her mind stimulated and that motor of hers appeased.
Gigi is beautiful, fun, loving, playful, and while sometimes you want to just smack her, you can’t because she’s so cute and loving. And she knows it.
Gigi and Titan wrestle like puppies, and sometimes you have to break it up. They get along great. Titan makes a great buddy, older brother, whatever. He keeps an eye on her and is always very happy to see her when she’s back from being away from him.
Titan & Gigi. The Dynamic Duo. Love ‘em both.