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Sage, my Bernese Mountain Dog

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

We hope you enjoy this heartwarming story written by Guest Author Emily Ruth Penning


Sage is a Bernese Mountain Dog. 

Bernese Mountain Dogs have an average lifespan of 6-8 years. 


People ask me, all of the time, why I would choose to own a dog breed that rarely hits the 10-year mark.


“I’d love to own one of those, but they live such short lives.” And they’re right. They do. I have friends who own small breed dogs that live an average of 15 years. Almost double the lifespan. 


When Sage first came into my life, I remember thinking that 8 years seemed like a long time. Now, she’ll turn 5 in just a few short months and I find myself lying in bed at night and wondering if I’ll be one of the lucky ones who get to keep her for 8 or 9 instead of 6. 

I used to hate the fact that this precious and perfect little angel would only be with me for what would be a max of 8% of my life.


But, the beauty that has come from Sage being in my life is the constant reminder that life is short. 


I get a lot of crap for taking so many road-trips, but man if we haven’t seen some beautiful places together. I’ve stayed a little too thick eating ice cream too often, but hell if Sage hasn’t had her best days at the receiving end of a spoon full of Coldstone.


I have donated more money to my vet’s student loan repayment fund than my mother would be comfortable with, but hell if I haven’t tried to make sure she was healthy. I’ve woken up tired on multiple occasions because my girl not only snores, but also likes to put her paws in my face, but I never have to sleep alone. 

We stop and smell the flowers. We take the time to enjoy life. If Sage dies tomorrow, I will know she lived a good life. If I die tomorrow, I hope you all know that I have had a great life, too. Because I’ve done what I can to make the best of it. 


I’m not a mother to human children. I don’t know how it feels to grow one or adopt one. I don’t know the feeling that mothers have when they rock their babies to bed at night. 

But I do know what it’s like to be a dog mom.  I know what it’s like to be loved regardless of your imperfections and insecurities. I know what it’s like to be valued for your presence rather than your talents. I know what it’s like to be ugly, heartbroken, poor, angry, incompetent, and still have someone sitting next to you in spite of it all.

That’s the kind of acceptance that people spend their whole life searching for. Not all dog owners are the same. For some people, dogs exist to do a job or as a lawn ornament. For some of us, they’re our best friends. Truly. 


So I guess this post is a shout out to the dogs that remind us that life is short and that we are loved.


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Unknown member
Dec 05, 2021

My husband and I were owned by Berners for more than 35 years (puppies from breeders, geriatric ‘rescues’, and everything in between). Short lived they may be, one could not ask for better friends. We mostly had multiples at a time so Berner hair was everywhere. After my husband died I relocated to Arizona alone with my three furry oldsters. My outstanding Therapy girl, Skye, celebrated her 10 birthday in AZ. In all those years and dogs, she was the only one to go double digits. I hope, somehow my husband knew. Sent my last BMD to The Bridge a tad more than a year after Skye went. Decided that AZ was perhaps not the kindest weather in which to…

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Unknown member
Aug 24, 2020

I know exactly how you feel. I am the proud owner of my 5th Berner. a few had short lives, most had decent longevity. The Lukadog who is my current companion has been with me about 6 years. I love this breed and have never regretted the Short time a few of them could stay with me. There is no cuddle to compare with a Berner cuddle. There is never a day that goes by if you live with a Berner that you are in doubt of their love for you

good for you for taking such good care of your friends

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Unknown member
Nov 19, 2021
Replying to

We had our Olaf for one week shy of his 10th birthday and, like you, treasured every moment. Nothing like a Berner! So it is possible you can have them longer than you think. We're hoping for the same with our current Berner, Yogi and hoping for the same for you all as well!

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