As you look into the sweet face of this big guy, it may be hard for you to imagine what could have possibly landed Kramer on death row!
Kramer is one of the very few dogs at Smiling Dog Farms who is an actual, recognized AKC breed! Most of our babies somewhat resemble certain breeds, so we refer to them as "(the breed they somewhat resemble) mix"... which means that somewhere back through their lineage, one of those breeds may have had a "walk on part" in the history and DNA of that dog! Many of our babies' backgrounds are even more vague and inscrutable!
But Kramer is a genuine, card-carrying Bernese Mountain Dog! He lived with a breeder in the Sacramento, CA area. (I know what you are wondering right now --- and yes, he was neutered before he came to Smiling Dog Farms! His days as a "stud" are over!)
As the story was told to me, Kramer was living in a pen in the yard -- one of those with chain link that is 6' high. But from Kramer's pen, he could see the porch... where there just happened to be two attractive, shapely Bernese Mountain Dog young ladies -- who also just happened to be in heat!
Well the temptation was just too strong for Kramer and he scaled his 6' fence and came bounding up onto the porch, intent on knowing the girls in the fullest Biblical sense of that word.
Apparently the attraction was mutual, because Kramer was soon doing the "wild thing" with one of the girls. I might add, she was not complaining!
At this point, the breeder appears from inside the house, wearing a woolly bathrobe, somewhat resembling a bear. She is brandishing a broom and intent on putting a stop to their liason. Apparently Kramer was not the intended beau for these girls. At this point, the two young lovers' plight takes on the pathos of West Side Story .
What happened next is murky. But when the ensuing struggle ceased and the dust cleared, the breeder had been bitten pretty seriously on the leg. She had to be hospitalized.
Of course, Kramer was blamed. Shipped off to the local Animal Shelter, the breeder instructed personnel there to execute Kramer. I will leave it to the readers' discretion to determine if it could be clearly ascertained in that kind of wild fracas exactly who landed the bite that sent the breeder to the hospital.
Fortunately for Kramer, his two guardian angels stepped in to plead his case. Ruth and Cheryl are volunteers with the animal shelter, and they used their considerable political skills to convince the breeder and the authorities to allow Kramer to come live out his life at Smiling Dog Farms, rather than be executed for a crime he may or may not have even committed!
Once they got the OK, Cheryl provided funding and Ruth provided the get-away car, driving Kramer in her own vehicle all the way from Sacramento, CA to Wharton, TX!
Kramer is a BIG guy. He looks very much to me like a black and white St. Bernard. When he sprawls on the sofa, he takes up nearly the whole thing!
I will admit to some trepidation about a dog of Kramer's size, bringing with him an "aggressive" label. That is not a dog one would want to cross!
But as time has passed and Ricky and I have come to know and love Kramer, I am left to wonder, "What would someone have to do to get this guy to bite them?" He has an amazingly mellow, easy going nature. Nothing bothers Kramer. He takes everything in stride. I don't think I could get him to bite me if I tried. In fact, he has not even growled since coming to live here!
Kramer likes Jenna and Yvonne, but we were at first reluctant to put him into their group to play outside, because Sam is also in that group, and we were afraid there would be friction between the two male dogs. But we gave it a try, since both Kramer and Sam are very good natured dogs. And there has never been so much as a growling match between them.
Kramer is a wonderfully loving dog. If I am working in the kitchen, he insists on lcurling up right next to me on the floor. When we open the door and enter the room, he bounds over to us with his bull-in-a-china-shop style because he wants to welcome us! He smiles all the time -- that goofy, happy smile you can see in his photo above. I can't imagine a more special dog than Kramer.
We are grateful to Ruth and Cheryl for obtaining Kramer's freedom. Kramer did not deserve to die. He is an important and valued member of our family!
Jay Hellerich, executive director
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