Dearest friends,

We are so sad to say that Amber passed away on the 21st January 06. We have with the help of a very kind and caring friend (Ted), decided to create this web page in memory and honor of Amber.

“Amber was Family, Friend, Confident and Protector. She will forever be alive in our memories and hearts [Ted Vegvari]. She was a True Soldier and an example of a higher being with senses us humans once had and lost or never managed to achieve. The world is a smaller place without her, and we were so lucky to have found each other in this brief existence called life [Ted Vegvari]. Amber loved us unconditionally”.
Amber sleeping
Amber at 4 weeks
Amber was born on the 28th March 2000 and became a member of the McLaughlin family at the age of 4 weeks whilst still at the breeders. We had picked her from a litter of 6 puppies and then had the problem of finding a name for our little bundle. Thanks to Claire’s Dad we came to choose Amber, and it suited her down to the ground.
At the age of 8 weeks we collected Amber from the breeders in Yorkshire and to our surprise she had been busy growing frantically in the 4 weeks since we chose her. We knew she would be bigger, but she had more than doubled in size!!!
Amber at 8 weeks



Amber loved her new house, especially the garden. It was kind of cute seeing a St Bernard pup running and rolling around in the garden, however visions of a 160 Lb one flashed in front of our eyes. So a fence was quickly built.



She was not overly keen on seeing the grass and plants and not being able to get to them, but safety comes first!!!


After a roll in the dirt it was time for a bath. This was a relatively simple procedure at first, as she was small enough to be carried upstairs to the tub. As time wore on and the pup grew, the carrying her up and down stairs became more difficult and she had to attempt it herself. Getting up the steep staircase was reasonably easy, getting her down however was not.



She sat at the top of the stairs staring down for an hour, too scared to take the first step. So we placed a treat on every step to encourage her. Sure enough, step by step and treat by treat, down she came looking ever so cute, with all her baggy skin falling forward over her face.

Amber nappingWe were very kindly given a large basket by a friend and we thought this would serve as an ideal bed for Amber to sleep in. As you can imagine by this picture, she quickly grew out of this and subsequently used it as a chew toy. Each morning we would come down to twigs scattered all over the kitchen and a smaller basket each day, until there was nothing left but the base.
Img001Luckily Amber rarely chewed anything in the house, so the basket was nothing to get upset about; but there was one other item she took a liking too. Mark’s beloved “Back to the Future” trilogy set cover came into contact with Amber’s teething period, Claire came home to the shocking mess of it in tiny pieces all over the lounge floor. Claire painstakingly taped what pieces she could find back together and placed the tapes back in the cover so not to alarm Mark straight away. Fortunately Mark was more amused by Claire’s efforts than upset at Amber.

Amber wiping drool

Whether we were eating at the table or not, Amber loved to wipe her jowls on the dining table cloth, it was the perfect height for her. Countless times Amber and Mark used to chase each other round the dinning table causing mayhem.

Claire holding Amber


This was the last time Claire was able to pick Amber up. As you can see this was an effort and was not to be repeated without injury.

Amber and TaylorAs with all living things, Amber grew up quick and before we knew it she was the 165Lb (75 Kg or nearly 12st) St Bernard bursting with personality and love that most got to know.

On the 30th September 2004, we all moved to Los Angeles. With Claire being a lady of leisure and Mark being able to start work early and finish early, we all got to spend so much more time with Amber. As time passed, Amber exhibited more adorable traits, she loved nothing less than and a cuddle with her Mum and Dad and to sleep at our feet.

Amber sleeping
Pillow Talk
Scratch my belly
Apart from her Lion Rug impression and her love of Guiness, Amber loved her treat ball and looked so cute with it hanging out of one side of her mouth. She always went to find it when Mark came home from work and after a play with Daddy, chased her ball round the lounge trying to get her treat out, it proved hard at first but with practice she got it out in a matter of a few minutes.
Still sleeping
Any floor will do
Wanna play?
With so many places to go and see in California, we were always off and about with Amber on some adventure. In November ’04 we took her to Big Bear in the mountains where there was loads of snow for her to play in and she thoroughly enjoyed herself…
Where's the keg?
Wahoo! Snow.
Looking for snow bunnies
Then in January we all went off to Mount Baldy. With so much traveling planned, we invested in a dog ramp to help Amber get in and out of her lounge space on wheels, and to our surprise she took to it straight away.
tailgate Ready to roll Mark and Amber
Next up was Yosemite National Park. We rented a wooden cabin with plenty of space for Amber to chill out. They even supplied doggy treats and bowls, there was even a sign saying “Please wipe your paws”. She was never a dog for long walks, but we took her to see some beautiful sites and she must be by now the most well traveled Bernard around.
A porch will do
Claire and Amber
Amber and Claire
Unfortunately the next few trips away, Amber could not come. The temperature at the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas was far too hot for her, so she was looked after by family and friends. In November of ’05 however Amber was off again to Lake Tahoe, this time with friends from the UK also. It was a tightly packed SUV with four adults, an Amber and luggage. Amber did not care though, as long as she was coming.
Beauty Queens
Gordon and Amber
Amber’s last trip away was to San Francisco in December, along with another friend from the UK.
Daily Constitution
Amber and Mark
Amber really enjoyed Christmas. She loved the smell of the freshly cut Christmas tree when it was brought home, and Santa always put really smelly treats wrapped up under the tree for her. By Christmas Day evening both Amber and Mark would be tipsy (after a few Guinness’s) and fast asleep on the floor…
Holiday Time
Decorating the Tree
nap attack!
Amber Claire MarkOn the 13 th January ’06 we noticed a problem with Amber and rushed her down to the Animal Emergency Center. She was diagnosed with Gastric Dilatation- Volvulus (GDV). GDV occurs when the stomach rotates along its axis completely obstructing gastric outflow. They operated on her immediately and the operation went very well. Unfortunately she developed a complication called “Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation” (DIC). DIC is when the body’s blood clotting mechanisms are activated throughout the body instead of being localized to the area of injury (operation). Very quickly all her blood clotting factors were used up and not available to form clots where needed most causing internal bleeding. Amber was given huge amounts of Plasma containing clotting factors to try and give her body time to slow down and stabilize. Amber had to fight for her life. After what was a poor prognosis, she started to improve slowly day by day.

Amber, Claire, Mark


We both visited Amber several times a day to support and help her recovery and feed her as she refused food from others.

Getting fed
Amber & Mark
Amber and Claire
By Tuesday night the vets said that she was doing well and it may be good for her to go home on Wednesday partly because she missed us and fretted terribly when left alone. On Wednesday however it was discovered that Amber had a temperature and her blood work showed signs for concern. In addition she had been diagnosed with a heart condition (Atrial Fibrillation) which she may or may not have had before the GDV. They kept Amber in for another 6 hours to give her fluids etc. through an IV. Later on Wednesday Amber had improved enough for her to come home for the night. Wednesday night was hard, but it was wonderful to have her home. On return to the emergency center on Thursday Amber’s condition had worsened. Thursday night came the awful news that she had pneumonia. Despite the heroic efforts of the doctors and staff Amber’s heart could not cope with all this and she finally arrested on Saturday 21st at 8:30pm as we sat waiting to see her. Even though the whole week was an up and down struggle, this news was like a stab through the heart, our baby was not coming home!!
We would like to give our thanks to Ted Vegvari for being there for us, spending many hours at the hospital and helping us through the highs and lows. We don’t know how we would have coped without Ted, he was Amber’s friend and we are proud to call him ours too. We would also like to thank Pamela Piller, a very kind and caring lady who’s Newfoundland’s donated blood for Amber. Finally we would like to thank Jonnie Quantz DVM and her staff at the Animal Emergency Center for their heroic efforts, compassion and courtesy. Without any one of these people Amber would not have had any chance to try. They gave us overwhelming support and we are forever indebted to them all.
Ted Coleman Tracy
Pamela and Amber
(with Coleman and Tracy)
(with Amber)