Last year was a rough year in our house. We lost Waldo in July and then we lost Grandpa Brooke in November. There was time where I thought I wouldn’t climb out of the hole I was in. As their primary caretaker, I was an emotionally-drained shell by the time they both passed away. I broke the golden rule for caretakers: I forgot to take care of myself.

From November to March, it was just Ellie as the only four-legger in our house. That is what we needed. A break from caring for sick dogs and just enjoying time with our healthy pup. Over time, we realized that we really are a two-dog household and that it would be good for Ellie to have a companion.

Uncle Bernie (also known as Bernie Bear) was adopted from Handsome Dan’s Rescue in Rhode Island in March. He is an older gent (around 10 years old) who previously lived with a homeless person in Providence and spent many hard years on the streets. He has the scars to show it. As you can tell from the photos, he’s a blocky-headed dog with cropped ears. What you can’t see from the photos is that he has multiple inoperable mast cell tumors (MCTs).

Bernie and Ellie at the neighborhood watch window.

Due to his inoperable tumors, we don’t know how much time we have with him. We are determined to give him the best life possible for whatever time he has left. In the meantime, Ellie is having fun showing him the ropes, like the favorite neighborhood watch window and how best to supervise us when we’re outside doing yard work.

Bernie and Ellie outside.

 

Bern is the first dog we’ve adopted who has cropped ears. I am quickly learning about the stigma around dogs with cropped ears. For anyone who is reading this post, let me remind you that a dog doesn’t opt to have cropped ears. Some shitty human decided to butcher that dog’s ears and scar them for life. It’s not their fault and they have to bear the stigma of those ears for the rest of their lives. Yet another example of how humans fail animals.