8 June 1992 -- 10 May 2004

The life she lived was nearly perfect -- and perfect was her passing

There is always a "first dog," the dog to which all others ever after are compared. Tilla was ours; her quiet, gentle nature at home, her goofy sense of humor while out on walks (hiding behind a tree -- hoho, you can't see me!), and her rollicking enthusiasm in the obedience ring (where "down" meant "lift all four legs into the air and drop!") introduced us to the endless joys of having a Bernese Mountain Dog in the family. It was with her, as well, that we discovered the wonder of living in Divide, Colorado. One of my dearest memories in Colorado is of a midnight walk through the forest in our Lorien Dell after a rather uncommonly heavy snowstorm. Walking with us through thigh-high drifts under a still, cold full moon, a five month-old Tilla would alternate between diving into the drifts (disappearing for moments at a time under the snow) and gently pulling us along through the forest by our mittens. (Jessica)

Berners are a gift from God for us to love and share our lives with while we are both here on Earth

Tilla was our first Berner - we brought her with us from Germany when we moved to Colorado in 1992. She was such a sweet girl that we had to get another -- and another...and... a logic she always found hard to follow!

We first saw Tilla when she was 4 days old, a tiny puppy barely filling our hands. We named her Atilla, because then we could make corny jokes about Atilla the Hund. However, this was the D-worf (litter), and we had to pick a name beginning with "D" ... so Deborah vom Erlengrund she came to us, but Atilla the Hun---gry she remained throughout her life!

Unlike most of our overly trusting girls, Tilla was a sincere watch-dog with an alarming and serious bark and an uncanny ability to read into the intentions of strangers. While visiting in Denver, we saw a grassy park and decided it was a good place for an impromptu picnic. Shortly after we settled down, a very dangerous looking person began to walk directly toward us; however, when Tilla stood up with bristling neck hair, he suddenly veered away and disappeared. After being "properly introduced," however, no other dog could match gentle Tilla.

A true mountain dog, Tilla climbed Fourteeners, caught rainbow trout in Eleven Mile Canyon and burrowed in the snow at puppyhood. (George)
The lifespan of a dog is like the brief twinkle of a star. The influence of a canine friend on one's soul is forever.
Tilla was quiet, preferring to play the role of humbledog and willing to allow our other Berners to vie for political supremacy while she, having never been challenged (how can one challenge a dog who refused to acknowledge the fact?) cooly surveyed the field of battle.

As our first and oldest Berner, Til garnered a bouquet of competition obedience titles. She was our dowager; the reason we had to have more of them. "Good" was her middle name, and her goodness permeated everything she did, mocking the paltry "friendliness" of her housemates. "Why" she seemed to muse, "should I lower myself to less than I am, when being good is as good as it gets?" (Lynn)

To anyone who has lost the most special friend in this life:

Our hearts ache and our eyes cry -- may your present sorrow be overtaken by wonderful, loving memories.

Lorien Dell Bernese