Normally, we struggle over making that pick for Pet of the Week, but this week was a no-brainer, as we were patrolling our Facebook feed and came upon the new addition to one of our favorite families in town.
The Bernards know what it’s like to mourn a beloved pet. They lost their 12-year-old bull mastiff/lab mix Marley to bladder cancer in August 2017.
When the grief subsided, the great memories of Marley made the family want another mastiff/lab mix. So Shane, the co-owner of Pica’s Pub and Grill, took to the Web and Petfinder.
“We really wanted to find a rescue, especially one from down South where they have all those kill shelters,” Shane said. “I saw this litter of six puppies in Alabama and just fell in love with this one. We applied but didn’t hear anything right away.”
Friends told him to be persistent, as the shelters often get hundreds of applications. So Shane’s daughters — six-year-old Violet and 11-year-old Kennedi — made a collage of pictures of them with Marley, Shane photographed it and emailed it to the shelter. He received a call the next day and was off to Connecticut to meet the escort for little Buca.
“It was a surprise for the girls,” he said. “They knew we applied, but didn’t know we got him. So they thought he was someone else’s. When we ever said he’s ours, their eyes lit up.”
Shane said Buca is a full-on puppy, “running 100 miles an hour all day.”
“He has the hyperactivity of a lab and the strength of a mastiff, so it’s a fun mix,” Bernard said. “He’s nipping and chewing and so all he hears right now is ‘No, Buca!’ And then at the end of the day, he conks out and wants to be a lap dog. I try to explain to him that it works for now but that he can’t be a 100-pound lap dog.”
As for the name, it sounds fitting for a restaurant and bar owner, but it actually was more of a compromise.
“We all had names we wanted and we narrowed it down to Bode and Luca,” Shane said. “Kennedi said, ‘Let’s just combine them.’ And it just clicked. It fits perfectly.”
Shane said the family will never forget Marley, but is all in on giving big love to Buca.
“I’m at the restaurant a lot, so as Buca gets bigger, he’ll be there to protect my family just like Marley did,” Shane said, describing how Marley would sleep between he and his wife’s bedroom and the girls’ bedroom in the hallway until Shane got home at night. “We can see already that Buca is protective but playful and full of fun.”
Have a beloved furry friend that deserves to be Loop Weekly Pet of the Week? Send your nomination, including a description of what makes your pet special to you, to email@example.com.