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The soul in the body of an animal

He is an imposing and precious creature. Inside and out, he is a sensitive and noble animal.

I know what "tripping", "soul", "space", etc. mean. Ravi, Shankar, Lobsang Rampa, Buddha, Mahomet and once in a while Jesus did find their way into discussions over the course of long, slow evenings. Still, even when surrounded by such great luminaries, I was never able to find proof of the existence of the soul in the human body.

Nonetheless, I firmly believe a spirit inhabits all forms of life, and that this spirit must go through a series of steps that eventually elevates and enobles it. Without a doubt, I much prefer this hypothesis to the motto "life is hard and then you die".

Having said that, I wish to introduce you to the Bernese Mountain Dog. He is an imposing and precious creature. Inside and out, he is a sensitive and noble animal. Should your eyes meet his, you would readily understand what I mean because the Bernese Mountain Dog’s stare will transfix you without scaring you, and will go directly to your heart, giving you the impression that he can read like an open book. If you’re thinking about owning a Bernese Mountain Dog, you must keep in mind that he sizes up those with whom he will share his life. He is an exceptional observer and naturally likes to step back for further observation. He learns your habits in a chronological order, then decides whether to share them with you or not. He is an easy companion to be with, but don’t expect him to be a trained seal. Treat this animal lovingly, don’t expect him to do "dog’s tricks", and you will be amply rewarded.

Remember my empirical version of things placing, the soul of the Bernese Mountain Dog in its finest place, the body. It then becomes man’s responsibility to show enough wisdom to allow the real spirit of the animal to shine through.

More concretely, the Bernese Mountain Dog is rated as a working dog and more specifically as a herder, like Alsatians (German shepherds), Collies, and Australian or Belgian sheep dogs. It is called a Mountain Dog mainly because it is used as a watchdog for sheep and cattle herds in the mountains, and Bernese because it comes from Bern, in Switzerland.

Defining features of the shepherd dog include great loyalty and a strong instinct to protect his possessions. He also has an amazing capacity to understand and analyse complex situations. For example, he is able to cover a large territory without crossing its limits, and he can recognize an animal that has wandered away from the herd. After observing my dogs in all their aspects, I cannot help but wonder if their loyalty is not proportional to a certain feeling of insecurity. Perhaps, in the end, the shepherd dog remains within the boundaries of its territory, whether it is vast or small, for the simple reason that it just doesn’t dare try stepping away.

Nevertheless, what I appreciate in the shepherd dog is what I don’t know about it. Every time I start training one, I never know if I will be up to the challenge. This "doubt" is precisely what ignites my passion for the Bernese Mountain Dog, and what drives me in my quest to understand this fabulous animal.

To all those who have helped create this wonderful breed, my sincere thanks, and congratulations.

Éric St-Pierre


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