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Teeny Tiny Ernie Bernie: Our Pocket-Sized Travel Berner

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

If you’ve followed us on Instagram for a while, chances are you’ve seen a story series or a post featuring this cute little toy: Meet #TeenyTinyErnieBernie!

This small Bernese Mountain Dog stuffed animal has become our travel mascot and photo prop whenever we take trips without Bert and Ernie. Most of the time, Teeny (or #TTEB for short) sits on my desk, but when it’s adventure time, he fits perfectly in a purse, backpack, or a generously sized coat pocket. Think of him like Flat Stanley - a globe trotting photo prop and convenient scale reference.



The #TTEB Story

Teeny has been around since 2019, before the Instagram account and well before Bert joined our family.

A small dog toy sits next to an everything bagel and a cup of coffee.
The earliest capture of #TTEB as a photo prop, fueling up for the drive from Minneapolis to Dallas. Notice how fresh and clean his fur looks!

When Ernie was about 10 months old, I spent the summer working in Dallas, and although I came home every couple of weeks, I knew I was going to miss my puppy! I hunted around the Internet for a Berner toy to bring along to my corporate housing.

When Teeny arrived from Amazon, I was initially a little disappointed that the toy was so small. I had been hoping for something a bit larger and cuddlier, but I quickly realized that the toy was the perfect size for travel.

I flew all around the country that summer and #TeenyTinyErnieBernie visited 10 states with me. The toy also crossed the border for the first time with an international jaunt to Mexico - no proof of rabies vaccination required. All the while, I had a little reminder of Ernie with me.


2020 Travels

When I returned home to Minnesota at the end of the summer, #TeenyTinyErnieBernie was grounded on my desk for a while and real life Ernie was my cuddle buddy. A grad school trip took me to South America for a few weeks in January of 2020, so obviously Teeny was going to join me. I made the mistake of setting the toy on the floor as I was packing, and Ernie absconded with it and chewed its nose off! Luckily with some Gorilla Glue, the nose was firmly reattached - and only a little askew. With a fresh nose job, #TeenyTinyErnieBernie flew with me to Argentina and Uruguay.

Not too long after that trip, Covid hit and life as we knew it changed in so many ways. In July of 2020, Bert joined our family and I started the Instagram account @Bert_and_ernie_the_berners to document our new double Berner lifestyle!


2021 Travels

Between Covid and having a new puppy, we didn’t have any trips without the dogs so Teeny was on the bench again for a while. Our first trip without Bert and Ernie was a July 2021 vacation to Alaska. Teeny joined us on a deep sea fishing excursion and on a number of hikes, including a visit to Exit Glacier near Seward. To see AllTrails maps and details for these and other hikes, click here.

Teeny visited his first national parks in November of 2021 when we took a hiking trip out to Utah. We spent time at Canyonlands and Arches National Parks near Moab. The vast landscapes of the Island in the Sky district at Canyonlands were otherworldly.

The highlight of our trip, however, was our sunrise hike out to Delicate Arch, the famed landmark at Arches National Park that is commemorated on Utah's license plates. We arrived at the park in complete darkness and saw the most stars we've ever seen in our lives - Arches is an International Dark Sky Park! We were among the first 10 people to arrive at the arch as the sun was coming up. To see AllTrails maps and details for our Arches/Canyonlands trip, click here.

Teeny got to take a few trips in December 2021. First was a girls' weekend in Waco, Texas - home of Chip & Joanna Gaines' Magnolia empire. We stayed in Magnolia House, a rental property that was renovated in Season 3 of Fixer Upper. It was so fun to see Chip & Jo's styling throughout the house - and to go shopping at the Magnolia Market and Silos stores! It was the perfect place to get some Christmas shopping done.

Our other December trip in 2021 was a dog-free getaway to an all-inclusive resort on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Teeny enjoyed sunrise yoga on the beach and plenty of margaritas.


2022 Travels

2022's #TeenyTinyErnieBernie travel started off with a a long weekend trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. For more on this trip, see: Top Tips for a Shoulder Season Visit to Grand Canyon National Park. We're trying to visit all 50 states, and Nevada was a new one for both of us (#41 for me, #44 for Ben).

Our time in Nevada was brief - just a quick overnight in Vegas and a stop to see the Hoover Dam from the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Definitely not a spot to go if you are afraid of heights as it's the world's highest concrete arch bridge (nearly 900 feet above the Colorado River!), but it provides a great view of the Dam and has free parking.

While we didn't win big at slots, we had a game of weather roulette when we arrived at Grand Canyon National Park in snow...and sleet...and rain...and sun!...and more snow. We had time for two classic hikes on our visit: the Rim Trail (flat along the South Rim) and down into the canyon on Bright Angel Trail. For AllTrails details and maps of these hikes, click here.

The trek down to Three Mile Resthouse and back up was decidedly...not flat. Teeny rode along in a backpack as we descended and then climbed back up more than 2,000 feet of elevation! He also got to have a photo op with the mules who share the trail as they make their way to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon.

2022 also brought #TTEB to the East Coast - we had a couple of trips to visit family in New York City and Brooklyn and a fun girls getaway to Walt Disney World!

In the summer, we brought Teeny to the Pacific Northwest when we attended a wedding in Portland. We drove all over Oregon (another new state for both of us - #42 & $45), making stops to hike at Crater Lake National Park and around Bend in addition to chasing some waterfalls close to Portland. For more on this trip, see this post: Mostly Dog Friendly Hiking in Oregon

2022 wrapped up with our bucket list vacation: a two week safari trip to Kenya and Zanzibar. This was pretty much the antithesis of a dog friendly trip and we really missed the boys while we were gone for so long, so we were glad to have Teeny along for the adventure.

We spent time in Nairobi, Lake Naivasha, and in the Masai Mara seeing alllll the animals before hopping over to Zanzibar for some beach time. If you've ever been interested in this kind of trip, I can't recommend it strongly enough! For more on this, see: Packing Advice for Your Safari Vacation.


Get Your Own #TTEB!

We hope you continue to follow along on Teeny's adventures around the world! All the #TTEB stories are saved as highlights along the top of our Instagram page.

And if you'd like to get your own #TeenyTinyErnieBernie (or whatever you want to call it), you can order one here (affiliate link). Be sure to tag us in your adventures - we'd love to see where you go!

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