Many of you may know Brandy and Moose from Instagram (@brandy_and_moose), but what you may not know is that they are Up Country dogs! Brandy was once just another statistic among the millions of other shelter dogs in the United States, sitting, waiting and wishing for someone to come along and give her a forever home. A black Labrador mix puppy, a very common “genre” of shelter dogs, she was described to her new mom Stacey as being extremely shy— probably rooted in how she was found, down South and out on the streets.
Stacey was referred to the North Shore Animal League in New York, where Brandy was transported after being rescued. The North Shore Animal League is one of the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organizations. Stacey picked her up at 12 weeks old and says she resembles a Labrador with a little Shepherd and possibly some Pit Bull thrown into the mix. “Though, that is just a guess.”
A few years passed, but Brandy remained timid despite a lot of socialization. Stacey thought that a companion would help. As a young girl, Stacey loved and longed to have Bernese Mountain dogs. She always day-dreamed about having her very own big fluffy Berner baby, who she would name Moose and in 2012, Stacey made this “day-dream” a reality.
Stacey’s inclination was accurate and she instantly saw Brandy’s shyness dissipate as she fell in love with her younger, and more playful counterpart Moose. “They had an instant bond. They are inseparable, total opposites and always have each other’s backs. It couldn't have worked out better.”
Stacey and her husband enjoy many outdoor activities that incorporate their two companions. “Brandy and Moose love to swim, go on our boat, and play in the bizarre New England snow storms. Because Moose is a Berner, he is a big fan of cold weather and snow, more so than Brandy. We are also big walkers and are always out and about with them. We take them everywhere, which usually leads to impromptu trips to Home Depot or Bass Pro Shops.”
Brandy is a lounger and still exhibits some of the laissez-faire mannerisms first seen when she was adopted. She regularly naps on the beach, until she's awoken and sometimes tackled by Moose. Moose is a big goof and always a ball of energy. He does his best to rally Brandy to jump off the boat, swim or play fetch with him. Noticing all this energy early on and understanding he is a working dog, he was enrolled in training classes at BlueDog in Andover, Ma. He has since completed his Canine Good Citizen certificate and continues to attend classes.
Stacey started to catalogue these antics with photographs. It was a way for her to show her friends and family some of the adventures and experiences she has shared with her dogs. Instagram serves as the perfect outlet to do so, and with little desire to flood her personal account her sister suggested she create one for the photogenic duo. She began to look into this idea and saw that many other pet parents had created similar accounts. What was a hobby has now turned into something so much more.
“The benefits, outside of being able to share fond memories with loved ones, are immense. I have been able to create awesome friendships through the exposure of my account and I have been able to link up with local people at events and get-togethers. The ability to connect with people on a global scale and gain insight into their lives and breed specific stories has been extremely impactful and eye-opening. We exchange stories and advice whether it has to do specifically with Bernese Mountain Dogs or rescues. ”
Stacey plans to expand www.brandyandmoose.com which will incorporate more frequent blog posts and focus on their favorite dog-friendly places, outdoor adventures and products. Stacey also plans to be fully engaged on Brandy and Moose’s twitter (@brandyandMoose) which she hopes will inspire followers to try out their favorite trails, parks and stores.
Most importantly, we asked Stacey how Brandy and Moose typify the “Up Country Dog”. “I personally love the unique patterns that represent both the nautical and outdoorsy adventure-filled aspects of our life. Whatever we are doing, we have the perfect Up Country collar, whether it’s hiking, boating or celebrating holidays. I am also a huge fan of the matching collar and leads, I can’t tell you how many compliments we get on the matching sets. Not to mention the durability that stands up against saltwater, wet snow and dirt.”
“Moose was never a fan of collars, he was always scratching and itching at them. We purchased his first Up Country collar in the Shamrock pattern when he was a puppy and we immediately noticed he was no longer bothered by a collar. He stopped scratching and irritating his neck. Three years later, Moose still rocks his favorite pattern and you cannot even notice all the activities it has muscled through.”
Stacey and her companions Brandy and Moose are great examples of how we can include our four-legged friends into every aspect of our lives. The pure love of dogs and the desire to always be near them, perfectly embody the Up Country lifestyle. Follow the fun filled adventures of this lovable pair at @brandy_and_moose!