Bernie the Rescue Dog

Bernie the Rescue Dog works at Hennepin County Medical Center's pediatric department. His job is to help children and families feel welcome in our hospital and clinics.

Bernie was born on Eagle Mountain in Northern Minnesota.

Bernie the Rescue Dog State Fair Photo

When he was a pup, he could see Lake Superior from the door of his den. He could also see miles and miles of trees, rocks and snow, but he could not see the city, far away, that would one day become his home.

Bernie came from a big family. Bonnie, his mother, was famous as a member of the Lutsen Ski Patrol. One day on Lutsen Mountain she rescued 3 skiers buried in an avalanche by using her very sensitive nose to find them and her big muscles to pull them to safety.

Bernie’s father, Big Ben, was responsible for training all the rescue dogs on the Mountain. His big brain and his powerful bark made it easy for him to get his student’s attention. When he was done, he was sure they had all the skills to help humans save lives in the wilderness.

Bernie and his six brothers and six sisters all trained under their father, Big Ben. When they were ready, they traveled out to the Mountains of the West and the Mountains of the East to help humans save lives. But Bernie did not go with them. He wanted to do something different. Something much more exciting!

Bernie the Rescue Dog Playing Tennis Photo

One day when he was still a pup, he heard a loud noise coming from the highway that cut through his home woods below Eagle Mountain. He bounded down the hillside as fast as he could in the deep snow and saw that it came from a strange truck with a square shape and red, flashing lights on the top. There had been a crash. A car had run into a tree when the driver tried to avoid a moose in the road. The moose was fine, but the driver was not. He watched as the humans in the strange, square truck with the flashing lights helped the driver with medicine, bandages and other things he had seen before. It was the most exciting thing he had ever seen!

Bernie asked Big Ben if he knew anything about saving lives in the city. Ben said yes. Many years before Big Ben studied Emergency Medical Service (EMS) at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. That’s why he knew so much about helping humans save lives. Now Bernie could do the same thing!

And that’s how Bernie came to Hennepin County Medical Center.


Bernie welcomes kids from all over the world and speaks lots of languages.

Bernie the dog welcomes patients
Bernie the dog welcomes patients
Bernie the dog welcomes patients