History of Spellbound
Spellbound was established in 1999. I originally started in dog showing with a Labrador Retriever named Mirabelle's Charmin' Chelsea, and I seriously caught the "show bug". During that time, Chelsea & I learned a lot and we made many great friends in the dog world. I craved more action in the show ring, and decided my next dog would be my favorite breed, one I had admired at every show I went to...the beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog. My love for this breed really began with a wonderful mutt named Bosun...my dad's dog actually. We think she was part sheltie, beagle & labrador. She was the dog that raised me! She instilled a love of all animals in me and my family with her shining personality. She looked just like a Bernese, only smaller at about 35 lbs with more of a sheltie type coat. So, when I ever saw my first Bernese (a big "Bosun"!), I just knew they would be for me!
After learning more about the breed, and finding a breeder that I liked, I waited for almost a year and a half for a puppy. I was patient...because I wanted the right dog. Spellbound's Cabot v Peacefield, aka "Cabot" joined us at 8 weeks old. Cabot was a great dog! He obtained 14 points, and both majors towards his conformation Championship before we decided to retire him from that venue. He became certified as a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International (TDI). Cabot loved kids....so I started a reading education program at our local elementary school, modeled after R.E.A.D.. The kids loved reading to him! Cabot's life was full and rich, and he touched many lives in his 7 1/2 years.
In August of 2003, Ch. Southwind Leave Me Spellbound, aka "Kiera" joined us. She was special from the day she was born, and has proven more than I could have ever dreamed of as the foundation of our breeding program at Spellbound. Her breeders, Dr. Jon and Judy Cons, have been my mentors, my friends and my "extra parents" when I needed some! I cannot even express how lucky I have been! Kiera finished her Championship just 2 weeks after her first birthday, with three majors, all owner handled! Her abilities in tracking, obedience and rally-o far exceeded mine at the time, so we played with it all on our own and at classes here and there. Kiera loved everyone - human, canine, feline, equine...and took pleasure in each new day like no dog I have ever known. Her fun-loving, outgoing attitude made her a joy to have around, so she went everywhere with me. She went most places with me off leash, reliable, totally trustworthy with other dogs and all people...she was a gift! With careful selection of the stud dogs we have used, we have been able to ensure that her temperament is passed on to her puppies, grand puppies, and now, great-grand puppies!
Some show fun, in February, 2014, Parker won the Bred-By class at the BMD Club of Southeast Wisconsin Regional Specialty at just 16 months old, under breeder judge, Ms. Deborah Mulvey (Grunberg). In October of 2014, Scarlet won the 9-11 Veterans class at the BMD Club of Northeast Illinois Regional Specialty both Saturday and Sunday under judges Ms. Kim Groves (Avatar), and Ms. Joanna Matthisen (Sendache).
Like any bernese breeder and lover, we've had a bit of heartbreak recently...in August of 2016, we had to say farewell to our beloved boy, Camden. He was nearly 10 when he passed. Camden had a sarcoma in his mandible and while our protocol of pain management was conservative, he lived quite comfortably for 10 months post dx. We were shocked how much time we had with him....we feel truly blessed to have had the time, and every day was a gift! Camden was a fan-favorite, and throughout his life, he inspired so many others by his sweet happy outgoing demeanor, his dashing good looks, and his loyalty to his dad, Scott. His puppies have these attributes, and we are so happy to have been able to share a little bit of our boy. We so miss his big "woo-woooo" and his contented snoring next to Scott's side of the bed.
In December of 2016, the Great Grand-dam of the house crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Scarlet's arthritis was clearly getting the best of her and then one day, all the pain management we offered was clearly just not enough. She looked at us in that way and we both knew....she was ready. She gave us a long time together, a beautiful life...she was a beautiful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, a super sweet dog! After Fresca and her littermates joined our home, we had 5 months with 4 generations in the house - a true blessing! She was our watch dog, a "quiet alpha" of our home and the care-taker of all things smaller than she was...pretty much everyone! Scarlet was a big bitch, 120 lbs in her prime, typey and with flawless movement...in her day, she floated. I think of her daily and strive to re-create something even close to her quality. Scarlet was my ideal. I miss our big ol' girl! We will have another just like her, someday.
In June 2013, Scott and I relocated to the Chicago area for a job opportunity for him. After his 6 year stint in the windy city, in the fall of 2019, it was time to come closer to home and family. He is now the Executive Director of a non-profit organization in Westchester County, NY.
Currently, we have four Bernese: Parker - 7, retired and living the good life on the sofa; Fresca, 3, who just raised a litter, and now needs to grow some coat before we get back to the show ring; Mari, 18 month old up and comer, and our new addition, puppy Weber, who we kept from Fresca's litter. We also have the pleasure of co-owning dogs with a few dear friends! We believe that you cannot just collect and keep every dog, they deserve a strong bond and close relationship with their people. Our small numbers reflect that position. Special thanks to those families who are now part of ours forever!
Fresca and her brother Titus have been hitting the show scene and doing a great job! I show from the Bred-By class as a proud breeder/owner/handler. Titus finished his Championship easily. As he continues to mature and learn about stud dog life, he will be out and about as a special when he's ready. Fresca took a break for her litter and just needs her last major to finish too. Meantime, their sister Kacey finished in fine style with two 5 pt majors in just under 4 weeks! She has just had her second litter and is a fabulous mother and foundation for Lucchese Bernese! Click here to learn more about Kacey and her proud owner, Kelley Neill, of Lucchese Bernese Mountain Dogs. I could not be more proud of Kelley!