Blossom – Powder Hound | SierraSun.com

Blossom – Powder Hound

by Christine Stanley

Blossom seems to think that she would make a fantastic lap dog. And she would if she didn’t stink, slobber, shed, and weigh 90 pounds. She is certainly friendly and lovable. But Bernese mountain dogs, or “berners,” were not meant to be lap dogs, instead they were raised high in the Swiss Alps as farming equipment. That’s right, equipment.

According to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, berners traditionally herded cattle and hauled dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, in carts or sleds from the farms to the dairy, often unaccompanied. Their dense fur kept them plenty warm, and with their boxy, solid build, pulling loads equal to their body weight was usually feasible.

But today, literally centuries after the Swiss first started using them, Bernese mountain dogs, especially the American blood lines, are used much less for work and are instead enjoyed for their loyalty and good nature.

Such is certainly the case for Blossom, who, at 5 years old, would never consider something as un-ladylike as schlepping milk. She much prefers socializing and eating horse droppings. That last fact shouldn’t come as too much of a shock because berners, as hard-working as they can be, are not all that bright, Blossom included.

“Blossom is the quintessential Truckee local dog,” says her owner, Lisa Dobey. “She has been in the Fourth of July Parade, her puppy picture is on the wall at Joe’s Coffee, and she knows that Martis Creek is the best place for dogs.” And like all local dogs, she is staunchly anti-leash.

She’s not interested in swimming, not interested in running, (she’s really kind of a girly-girl for living in Truckee), not interested in chasing a ball, though she will chase a dog chasing a ball. Blossom, like a true Truckee local, is here for the snow, though she may be the only one who waits for friends on powder days. Those friends are a Weimaraner named Gracie, and a yellow Lab named Otis (and while there is no substantial proof, it is rumored that Blossom and Otis might be somewhat of an item; Blossom declined comment).

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Not too long ago, Blossom proved herself a hero when she saved Gracie from a golden retriever who had her by the throat, ready to do some serious damage. Blossom barreled up and body-slammed the bully, wedged her friend free, and sent that no-good scoundrel on his way. Gracie lost part of an ear in the incident, but is forever grateful to Blossom for saving her life.

Stefanie Olivieri, Truckee local and personal friend of Blossom, says she has attended Blossom’s birthday parties, which are very well attended.

“The last party I went to was a who’s who of Truckee, a gala event, really,” Olivieri says. “And Blossom enjoys fine wines, so guests are asked to bring a bottle in lieu of a gift.”

Olivieri and her five dogs join Blossom and her owners a few times a week for their doggy play group, run by Lisa Purchard of Truckee Tails Pet Sitting. The group takes daily outings to Jackass Ridge Ranch and the surrounding valley, as well as to Martis Creek and other favorite hot spots.