Bernie, Maine’s dog-friendly expert, makes his final post

R.I.P Bernie and thanks for all your research.
My travel companion Bernie, an 11-year-old Leonberger, is now exploring doggie heaven.

Last Friday I said a final goodbye to one of my favorite travel companions and my resident expert in dog-friendly experiences.

Bernie, my 11-year-old Leonberger, earned his wings at 8 weeks, when I picked him up and flew home from Chicago’s O’Hare. Once he’d mastered guest etiquette, he accompanied me often, checking out pet-friendly accommodations, sniffing out the best hikes, helping determine the best ice cream stands and lobster shacks, and just keeping an eye out for other special places.

Bernie was a pro at checking out walks and hikes as well as accommodations and restaurants. ©Hilary Nangle
A winter walk on Crescent Beach, while staying at the uber-dog-friendly Inn by the Sea. ©Hilary Nangle

Over the years, Bernie picnicked and visited lighthouses; enjoyed yacht-spotting in Northeast Harbor; grooved to the music at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival; feasted at restaurants with outdoor seating; hiked trails; browsed dog-friendly stores.

In his prime, Bernie checked in and checked out numerous lodgings statewide and never had a complaint. Here are some of his recommendations for his favorite dog-friendly accommodations.

Pet-friendly travel expert in-trainingCashel on his first trip at 3 months. ©Hilary Nangle
Cashel made his first road trip at 3 months (and yes, he grew into those paws). ©Hilary Nangle

He also helped train Cashel, my 2-year-old Leonberger, who will be assuming the Dog-Friendly Researcher-in-Chief title as soon he matures a bit more. (In his puppy exuberance Crashel, as he’s affectionately known, accidentally broke my shoulder earlier this year when he lunged unexpectedly and I went airborne. I should mention he’s a big boy, about 140 pounds of energy). He’s not quite ready for prime time, but likely will begin selective reviewing later this fall or winter.

A few parting shots:

Leashed, well behaved dogs are permitted to attend the Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival. ©Tom Nangle
Groovin’ to the music at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival. ©Tom Nangle
Bernie always was eager to see what was on the menu at restaurants with outdoor pet-friendly seating. ©Hilary Nangle
Waiting for lobster at McLoon’s Lobster Shack in Spruce Head. ©Hilary Nangle
Until we meet again. ©Tom Nangle
Bernie, the world’s best dog. ©Tom Nangle










  1. Yes, I hope Crash picked up a few tips. He’s shaping up to be a great dog, too; he just needs time to mature.

  2. Hilary. Bernie sounded like the most wonderful companion. I wad filled with sadness as you shared your loss. A gaiwan of good tea might help. Please stop in. Lynn

  3. I am on my 3rd Leonberger and I can not imagine life without one! Perfect traveling companion. So very sorry you lost Bernie but it looks like Cashel is more then willing to step into his paws!!! ♡

  4. We are all very sad to hear that Bernie has left us. He was one of our favorite guests at Inn by the Sea and he will be missed by the entire staff. What a charmer he was- irresistible! A great friend and a wonderful dog- Bernie- we will always cherish the memories of all your visits to the Inn. Sending sympathy, but hanging onto many good thoughts and memories about Bernie- we all look forward to Cashel’s first stay with us. Rauni and the staff at Inn by the Sea

  5. Thank you, Rauni. Bernie loved the Inn by the Sea and I have many wonderful memories of our visits there. When Cashel’s ready to travel, we’ll return.

  6. Thank you, Cindy. Cashel is our third Leonberger. He’s quite the charmer and growing into his future roll quite well.

  7. Thank you, Lynn. It’s been too long since I’ve been to your wonderful tearoom. I’ll get there soon, promise.

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