I decided to try introducing Bella to another Bernese. Galen brought over her 15 month old Bernese boy and held him in my back yard on a leash. After I petted Beau, I went into the house to call Bella out to meet him. The plan was to hold the dogs on loose leashes, across the yard from the door and Bella's turf, and allow the two dogs to meet if Bella was so inclined.
Bella didn't come to the door immediately when I called her. She must have already sensed something. I went back to our room and approached Bella where she lay on her bed. I held out my hand for her to sniff. When I did, she pulled back slightly, clearing noting the different smell I carried from Beau. Doggie testosterone? Set in my intention, I encouraged her to come to the door as I always do- calling her name, and clicking the leash. Bella did come, but circled back several times before she finally met me in the foyer. It crossed my mind to abandon the plan, but Galen had gone to the trouble to bring Beau, my hope was that when Bella saw Beau, the memories of play with the other dogs would come back to her, in an awakening. The image of what I hoped for and my intuitive trepidation crisscrossed in my mind like alternative story endings. I clicked on Bella's leash and we stepped outside as usual.
Except it wasn't the usual, and Bella knew this immediately. She knew it when I called her name the first time, before I even went back to her room. She always comes when I call her to the door. She didn't this time. No blind dates, mommy, she wanted to say.
Beau whimpered excitedly. As soon as I opened the door, Bella tucked her tail and pulled me off the porch. We moved as far away from Beau as possible. We circled the house through the front yard. Back to the door, back to her room in a quick dash. Beau remained deep in the back yard, leashed, the whole time. The dogs never made contact. Not only that, Bella has been more suspicious since. She comes to the door more hesitantly, and in my room, she returns to her bed more often when she sees me, or when I move, even though she prefers the cool cement floor.