In good company with Bernice the groodle

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Loves a good scratch: Bernice enjoys attention from owner Lynda Dellar. Photo by Megan Fisher

Seven years young and still running around the backyard with a puppy dog spirit, Bernice, also known as Bernie to her owner Lynda Dellar, is a latte-coloured golden retriever cross poodle with a big love for life.

Lynda and her late husband, Rodney, welcomed Bernice into their lives four years ago from a woman that was breeding dogs.

Bernice was only three when the Dellars adopted her, but had already given birth to three litters, which meant her time to retire from motherhood and settle into a home of her own had come.

Bernice adapted to life with the Dellars and even learnt how to understand her owners — what they wanted and how they felt.

“She’s a very intelligent dog, she knows what I’m going to say,” Mrs Dellar said.

"I knit a lot and she used to sit on a recliner with my husband, between his legs.

“And he would say, ‘no, don’t go to Mum, she’s knitting’.

“Now that he’s gone, she comes up to me.

“But she knows I’m going to knit so she goes down to the bottom of my feet and curls up at the bottom.

“We just lost my husband in November to a heart attack after 51 years, so she sleeps on the end of the bed now — she keeps me company.

“She has her days, she knows he’s not there. She has her sad days too.”

A perfect mix of well-behaved and cheeky, Bernice knows how to keep the peace but also add a bit of mischief to the mix.

“I put the harness on her and take her up the street and when I’ve got to duck into the shop, I tie her up,” Mrs Dellar said.

“She chewed through her lead the other week as I was at the solicitors and signing the papers for the house.

“I kept checking outside and she was all right.

“Then I come out and the lead is just chewed right off, but she’s just sitting there.

“She’s just the best company; I’d be lost without her, that’s for sure.”

Dancing queen: As one of Bernice’s tricks, Lynda encourages her to hold her hands and dance around with her. Photo by Megan Fisher
Time for a treat: Bernice puts on a well-behaved face for Lynda as she eyes a snack. Photo by Megan Fisher
Best of friends: Bernice with her favourite pal, Pebbles, who belongs to Lynda’s son and daughter-in-law. Photo by Megan Fisher
Smooches: Bernice’s love for Lynda is evident because wherever Lynda goes, Bernice is sure to follow. Photo by Megan Fisher
All natural: Bernice’s unique latte-coloured curls and deep brown eyes makes her stand out from the crowd. Photo by Megan Fisher