Bertram didn’t know he was unusual for a Pomeranian, so he had no idea why his human abandoned him. Nor was he aware of when or if his owner was ever coming back. It was a lonely time for Bert, but unknown to him, it was the beginning of something beautiful.
Although there are many reputable dog breeders, there are also those out there who don’t care for their animals. Some just see their pups as a price tag. To them, doggos that deviate from a pedigree breed are unlikely to earn the dog vendor money.
As an unfortunate result, dogs that break the proverbial mold are often considered expendable. Irresponsible owners abandon them, although the lucky ones are at least left at animal shelters. This is just one reason why breeding pedigrees is a controversial subject.
Another reason is because it actually narrows the gene pool, creating health problems in purebred dogs. This hasn’t stopped desirable companion canines such as pugs and French bulldogs booming in popularity. As the demand for them skyrockets, breeders reap even more rewards.
High demand also creates a standard of expectation for certain characteristics. Take Pomeranians for example, a toy dog pedigree renowned for its small size. The 18th century monarch Queen Victoria possessed a tiny Pom, which only made the breed more well-liked.
In fact, because the Queen owned such a little one, Pomeranians were half the size by the end of her reign. People therefore expect Poms to be small, but there’s always variation of some kind or another in a species. Bertram is proof of this.
Bert was just five months old when his breeder left him at a shelter for being too large. The dog’s owner didn’t believe a big Pom would earn them any money, so they abandoned him. But there is someone out there who knows that size doesn’t matter.
To be more specific, that someone is art gallery owner Kathy Grayson, whose property is called The Hole. She lives in New York City but first saw Bert during an internet surfing session. Grayson was in the market for a potential pet when she noticed him on PetFinder, and it was love at first sight.
“There was just something about the look in his eyes,” Grayson revealed to The Dodo on April 20, 2017. Bert was in another state entirely, but the gallery owner didn’t let that stop her. She traveled by both plane and car to get to Sallisaw in Oklahoma where the Pom waited for her.
Grayson described how Bert had been ready to join her life as soon as she took him home. And what a world he entered! “I think that next day in NYC we had an opening at my art gallery with hundreds of people and a dinner and after-party,” she recalled.
“From day one, Bert was ready to join the art world,” the gallery owner added. Since then, Bertram has enjoyed schmoozing with cultured high-fliers alongside his mommy every day. According to Grayson, Bert loves every minute of it.
“He is so calm and like… introspective,” Bert’s human commented. “He’s been to dozens of openings, scores of art fairs in NYC, Miami, L.A. and the Hamptons even. He’s been to Canada and Seattle and D.C., to clubs, restaurants, bars, even the opera once!”
Indeed, after being abandoned for looking different, the Pom loves to spend time with those that care. “His motto is ‘Happy to be included,’” Grayson said of Bert. Furthermore, with so many people passing through The Hole, he’s never far from the attention of his adoring public.
In fact, Grayson revealed how visitors to The Hole consider Bertram himself as something of an attraction. “Bertie has become our unofficial mascot, of course, and many people come to the gallery to see Bert,” she said. “A lot of people bring their dogs too!”
And as is fitting of a cultured host, Bert knows a few party tricks to keep his guests entertained. Grayson has trained him to give kisses on command, but the Pom’s love comes at a cost. If you want your kisses, you have to bring treats.
Indeed, Bertram became so popular that his cuteness actually began drawing attention away from The Hole’s online presence. The gallery’s website was full of people who just couldn’t get enough of him. Consequently, Grayson elected to give Bert his own Instagram account.
So in a way, Bert now owns his own art gallery, albeit in a virtual space. And you only have to look at his page’s digital footprints to see that he’s one popular Pomeranian. The Instagram account Grayson created for him currently has 241,000 followers.
Bert’s magnetism was obvious to Grayson when she first saw him. She told the Independent.ie as much on August 7, 2018. “By the time his adult fur grew in and he was fully grown, it was obvious that Bertie was the cutest guy in the world,” the Pom’s mommy cooed.
Bertram’s appeal is so strong that just strutting his stuff around the city is enough to draw new admirers. Grayson continued, “People would stop us on the street all the time. And in NYC people usually don’t do that too much, so the power was real.”
“At all times of day, having Bert with me is just a constant joy,” Grayson concluded. “I feel grateful every day, multiple times a day, to have this wonderful being here with me.” The Pom’s breeder considered him too unpopular to sell, and now he’s an internet superstar. But it’s Bert’s human who’s made him the portrait of happiness.