My wife and I had a female Bernese Mountain Dog we were thinking of breeding. We contacted Shelly at Swiss Silhouette Kennels after researching breeders on line. We met with her at a dog show first and then later at her home. She evaluated our dog and gave what I believe was an honest evaluation of the dog. She showed us her faults and explained what to look for. My wife and I decided not to breed the dog but became friends with Shelly.
Several years later, my wife and I started looking for a puppy and contacted Shelly. She didn’t have any pups at that time but put us on a list for when she had a litter available. As a responsible breeder, Shelly had us fill out a questionnaire to be sure we were going to be suitable owners.
About three months after that, Shelly contacted us. She said she had a client who was adopting out a 2 year old male due to health reasons. Shelly asked if we would be interested in taking the dog which we did.
our or five months after that, Shelly called and asked if we were still interested in a puppy, that she was having a litter. Of course we said yes. There were several emails back and forth and we agreed on a pup. I drove to Cove, OR and picked up the dog. Shelly explained at the time the dog was a bit under the weather. She thought it was relate to the last round of vaccinations. I told her it was OK, that I would take the dog and nurse it at home. We’d given her the down payment and were prepared to pay the balance. She told me to take the pup and send the balance when we got everything worked out.
It was Thanksgiving Holiday and I was headed for Spokane, WA to visit with family. I took the puppy with me. The next morning, the puppy looked worse so we took her to a vet clinic in Spokane. Lab work showed an extremely high sodium level. An IV infusion and the pup perked up and looked fine. At the end of the holiday, we drove home. The puppy seemed fine but the morning after we got home, the puppy took a down turn. We took her to our vet here. Again, her sodium level was very high. We were directed to take the dog to the Veterinary school at Oregon State University. The clinic there did tests including an MRI. With this, we found the dog had a birth defect- an under developed corpus colosum, the area between the two hemispheres of the brain that drives the thirst response. She just didn’t have any idea she was thirsty so she didn’t drink.
I called Shelly and let her know what we found. Shelly started researching what might have caused the issue. There were two of the siblings who had also had problems and the mamma dog almost bled to death during whelping. Shelly is always trying to breed flaws out of her dogs so she got after the research. We found the owners of the mamma dog had been feeding a bran of food which was found to contain lead in its formula. I passed this information to the vet, asking if this could be what caused the problem. They said it definitely could have caused it.
We developed a plan to feed the pup her water, feeding a slurry of wet dog food mixed with water. The pup improved and started a happy life. However, a few months later, she again became sick. We returned to our local vet and were told to rush her to an emergency internal medicine vet. The vet was notified and medical records were faxed. I rushed to dog to the vet, arriving at 1 o’clock in the morning. She had pneumonia. Leaving her with the vet, we drove home and called Shelly the next morning to let her know what had happened. A few days later, we retrieved to dog again. Again, she was a happy-go-lucky pup.
Summer was upon us and we took her camping, hiking and even to a country music concert. We took her on the family camping trip for a week in August. About two days after we returned home, she again became extremely sick. You could hear wheezing from clear across the room. Once again, I rushed her the 3 hour trip to the emergency vet. Unfortunately, we were unable to save our beautiful dog and she succumbed to another bout of pneumonia. During all of this, Shelly was constantly getting updates.
Just before Christmas, Shelly again called and said she had two more Berners that were being placed for adoption. We again said yes, even though we already had three other dogs. We adopted the two dogs just after New Year’s, 2019. Now we have 4 Berners and a hound. The house and family are full.
Throughout all of this, Shelly has been great with helping research and follow up. She really cares for her dogs and puppies. Her follow up is priceless. Her puppies are happy. She spends a lot of time after whelping to be sure the puppies are socialized, vaccinated, and started on training and a solid diet. She follows her dogs after they go to their new home. I am planning on purchasing another pup in the future. I will have to wait until I have a little more room in the house first.
I would gladly recommend Shelly and Swiss Silhouette Kennels for your Bernese Mountain Dog breeder. Her follow up to make sure the pups are progressing with their development, nutrition and other needs is impressive. She has been available to us at every turn and through all of our ups and downs. Her personal dogs are well cared for as well. Please contact me if I can be of assistance.