Pat Rupke – Mother
I have to start with my mom, right? Without her, where would I be?
Well, I’d be without some great dogs, that’s for sure. The day my mom decided to jump into breeding the Bernese with both feet was a great one for me. Although I started in this business first, it turns out I may have inherited the instincts and the eye for this work from her – not to mention the work ethic and determination. It must be part of our pedigree! I admire her commitment to breeding healthier and (in my opinion) more beautiful Bernese. Please visit moorsbernese.com and check out her dogs. To be honest, you may find the cream of the crop on my own pages, because she often gives me first pick of the litter. It’s only fair – we’re family!
Here’s more about my mom in her own words:
I live on a 100-acre farm in Beaverton, Ontario, with Gypsy Vanner horses, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Havanese dogs as well. Although I always loved animals, I never expected to become a dog breeder. Instead, I trained and worked as a registered nurse. After retirement, I was able to devote more time to caring for animals.
My daughter, Sherry Rupke, introduced me to the Bernese when she brought home her first, Mocca, at age 16. It was love at first sight. Mocca was a beautiful dog, with amazing markings, and an incredible personality. I liked the fact that, as a mountain dog, she was large and had a thick coat, so she would be comfortable in an outdoor shelter year round. I could not have a dog inside because dirt and hair triggered my asthma.
Mocca was an affectionate, loyal, protective dog. She only barked to alert me, and she never wandered. Her puppies were so beautiful that when Sherry suggested we form a partnership to breed Bernese, I agreed. We purchased our first male, Riley, from British Columbia. He was very big and handsome and produced gorgeous puppies. Then we purchased two more girls, Lily and Kiss.
Thus began our partnership in the Bernese world. When Sherry was in college, I cared for the dogs. She took the lead on whelping and promoting the breed. Meanwhile, she shared the skills and knowledge she was gaining while volunteering at our local vet clinic, and from her studies as a veterinary technologist. She introduced me to the importance of breeding correctly. I learned how to find good, strong healthy dogs, with sound pedigrees and generations of health clearances. As for the hands-on care, well, I had a strong foundation in human caregiving both as a registered nurse and as a mom. Providing quality care for pregnant dogs and newborn pups came naturally.
Eventually, Sherry decided to focus all her energy on Goldendoodles, and left the Bernese business to me. We had imported Daiko and Dyne from Europe, and they’d added so much to our program. I decided to purchase more Bernese from Europe, both because North American breeders tended to be negative about Sherry’s hybrid program and because many breeders here weren’t completing health clearances. I wanted to provide the healthiest dogs for my clients.
I must admit, it is not easy being a breeder. My entire day is devoted to dogs and puppies. But it is very satisfying work and I take pride in the breeding program I developed with care. I liked the fact that the Bernese is a stocky farm dog, as well as a companion dog, and am attracted to old-style Bernese – solid and well-built. I wanted to see more of that in the dogs I produce. So, using the skills Sherry taught me, I found healthy, gorgeous dogs from European breeders to help me achieve my vision. I am very happy with my Bernese and thankful that Sherry entrusted me with improving the breed.
I also love the fact that I am sharing this adventure with my daughter. Although we have branched out in different directions, we share the excitement and challenges of developing our lines. I enjoy her success, both as her mother and as a colleague.
We both like working with clients and helping to match them with the perfect dog for their lifestyle. I think we’d both agree that the most fulfilling aspect of this job is seeing the dogs we breed serving a therapeutic role for people.