Our Story

Like many of the best adventures, our journey with Swissies began unexpectedly.  April volunteered with a service dog organization, and raised one of their Swissy pups.

We were smitten.

When You Least Expect It …

Through the service dog organization, April met Deanna Never of Swiss Run Swissys. Later, they became better acquainted through mutual friends. In early 2015, one of Deanna’s puppies visited us for a couple of weeks, and we fell in love with her.

Later in the year, Deanna asked if we were interested in taking the same pup for the summer. The pup needed some time to mature, and Deanna thought we might have fun with her. We jumped at the chance!

“For the summer” turned into “forever,” and Deanna and April became co-owners of Swiss Run’s Fiddlehead “Fern.”

April and Fern began showing in conformation, and in a few months, Fern finished her championship. After that, April and Fern continued on and  finished Fern’s Grand Championship. By the end of 2016, Fern was the #3 Swissy in the National Owner-Handled Series.

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them …”
thorn jones

And Then There Were Two Three

Meanwhile, in early 2016, we welcomed a second Swissy into our home. Medley brought us full circle:  her sire, Merlin, and dam, Tango, were two of the first Swissies we met.

Later in 2016 we had the opportunity to add a second Merlin daughter to our family. Deanna and April co-own pretty Kette with Lynne and Josephine Kenney of Palisades GSMD.

Just the facts ….


Who We Are

We’re April and Tom Bender, and we live in central Massachusetts. Tom is Director of Sales for Schott North America. Prior to this school year, April coordinated independent education for our three kids who were pursuing pre-professional studies at Boston Ballet School. Before moving to Massachusetts, April also owned a piano and voice studio in New York.



Our Mentors

We are fortunate that Deanna and Ben Never of Swiss Run Swissys placed some of their wonderful dogs with us, and also helped us get started in showing them. Now they have helped us get started as breeders, and we are grateful for the knowledge and expertise they have shared with us. 


Our Affiliations

We are members in good standing with the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, the Patriot Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club, and the Swissy Club of New England.


A Little More About Our Life With Dogs

We aren’t “grew up in horses and/or grew up in dogs” people, unlike many of our breeder friends. However, we did grow up in families that included dogs (especially April’s family). While we didn’t have intense immersion in dog events, we have always had dogs in our lives and treasured them as companions.

Tom’s family lived in a small city and had what he describes as a little black scruffy dog. April grew up in the farm country of New York’s Finger Lakes region, and her family had a lab mix and a couple of smaller mixed-breed dogs. In college and graduate school,  April owned several shelter dogs and also purchased her first purebred dog–a Miniature Schnauzer named Heidi.

When April met Tom in the mid-90s, she still had Heidi, and after they were married they adopted a second Mini. Katie was an abandoned puppy mill mama that April found in a shelter. Her last years were spent in a happy home, loved by our family.

April wanted a big dog, but Tom was a “no big dogs” person, so we owned a few terriers together, including a little scruffy guy named Gunner, who looked a bit like the dog Tom had as a kid.

Then we met Swissies and raised a Swissy service puppy. Suddenly, the man who never wanted a big dog was considering owning a Swissy. (You’ve already read the rest of the story!)

As We Move Forward

We have been living with and learning about the breed for the last several years, and are especially grateful to Deanna and Ben Never, our mentors and the breeders of our adult dogs. Their constant support through the past few years has helped us get this far and make the decision to begin breeding Swissies.

While we are still relatively new to the breed and to breeding, we don’t see this as a negative. If there is something we don’t know, or with which we need help, we have a support network of experienced Swissy breeders who will help us. Also, we are constantly educating ourselves about training, behavior, health, and good practices in breeding, so we are always adding tools to our toolbox.

We would love to meet you and answer any questions you might have about us, our dogs, or our breeding program. Please feel free to contact us!

Tom and April