With a puppy in the house, my routine has changed from the back-breaking (but rewarding) work of taking care of Ketzl to watching the new arrival like a hawk, ensuring that no inappropriate fluids or solids meet floor or rug, and entertaining/correcting as needed.

It’s a nice change, and concentrating on the pure joy emanating from the little one helps to fill the void left by Ketzl.

We think we’ve settled on a name: Taiko. Taiko has a number of meanings. It’s Japanese for drum—and, when you pat the side of a big Berner, they make a loud, drum-like thump. It’s also the person who rules in the Emperor’s stead—and, when we’re gone, the dog is in charge. Finally, Taiko drummers are typically in excellent shape, so it’s a wish for strength and good health.

And so, to Taiko: welcome! You have big shoes—and a big bed—to fill… but you’ve made an excellent start.