The thoughtfulness in the gift of a whale is felt wholeheartedly with this never-seen-before vintage whale balance toy, pretty in blue and inspired by the love for Bernese Mountain dogs.

It was just an ordinary summer day. I spent a couple of hours in the morning at the beach and then joined my husband later for lunch at one of our favorite spots, Bitter End, in Wells, Maine.

When we arrived home, a rather large box sat in our open garage.

I had earlier been informed that a surprise was in the mail, and I had my fingers crossed that this might be it.

And it was…

Why I blog

I started this vintage and thrifty home decorating blog about four years ago now. It has been so much fun and has been an amazing creative outlet for me. But the best part has been meeting the nicest and most thoughtful people who also share a love for vintage, thrifty, and antique home decor.

And Bernese Mountain dogs…

Meet Ella, our current Bernese Mountain Dog, in the Love and Heartache with a Bernese Mountain Dog post.

Bernese Mountain Dog, Ella
Meet our Bernese Mountain Dog, Ella

Like my friend Susan, who follows me over on Instagram, Susan and her daughter run their own antique business, Red Maple Antiques, selling online and at markets across Michigan. and Susan also had a Bernese Mountain dog named Ruger.

Meet Susan’s Berner, Ruger

Bernese Mountain Dog, Ruger

We chatted over several months, and Susan expressed how sad she was that her Berner Ruger had recently been diagnosed with cancer. And we Berner owners know that this is more common than any of us would like, unfortunately.

We have lost two Bernese Mountain Dogs before Ella to cancer. Our first, Charlie, at 11.5 and our second, Gretchen, at just seven years old. It is heartbreaking and devastating. But the love they give is like no other.

Meet Charlie and Gretchen

Charlie (Charlene Chester Tristar) was our first-ever Bernese Mountain dog. At 11.5 years old, she lived an amazingly long and healthy life for a Berner. She was loving, well-behaved, and very mellow.

Gretchen (Gretchen Hanna Glenmegan) was on the small side, a bit skittish, and had paws like the Christmas Grinch. She was the absolute sweetest, and we took her everywhere we went. And she always carried a stuffed animal along with her.

Unfortunately, my Instagram friend Susan lost her Bernese Mountain dog to cancer, and we commiserated together while the photos and videos of Ella kept her smiling. And Susan was encouraging and supportive of us when Ella went in for her ACL surgery earlier this summer.

I share all of this with you today so you may recognize why this package was so endearing.

Living in Michigan, Susan had found this vintage balancing toy whale at an online antique shop out of Jamestown, Rhode Island, called Gladding Goods, and thought it would be something I would really like.

Bernese Mountain Dog, Scout

And you know what?

Nikki of Gladding Goods also had a Bernese Mountain dog named Scout…

Vintage Balancing Whale Toy

A vintage balancing toy whale is a charming and nostalgic toy that features a whimsical design with a whale-shaped base that balances and rocks back and forth, providing entertainment and delight. The vintage aesthetic adds a touch of retro charm, making it a unique and playful decor piece for a nursery, playroom, or any space needing a whimsical touch. Whether as a collector’s item or a fun gift for someone who appreciates vintage toys, the balancing toy whale will surely bring joy and nostalgia to its surroundings.

What do you think?

Vintage Balancing Toy Whale

The balancing whale toy comes in two pieces: the whale on top balances on the base, representing the sea.

Vintage blue balancing toy whale

A tap of the bottom weighted piece allows the whale to rock back and forth while balancing on the base.

And the whale’s eyes and mouth open and close while the spout moves equally.

Balancing toys have been popular for many years and have a long history of captivating people of all ages. The concept of balancing toys dates back to ancient times, with various cultures creating simple toys that demonstrate the principles of balance and movement. In more recent history, balancing toys became popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when intricate and whimsical designs were created to entertain and delight children and adults alike.

During the Victorian era, balancing toys were often crafted from metal, wood, or tin. They featured intricate details and mechanisms that allowed them to perform fascinating balancing acts. These toys were highly sought after as playthings and decorative household items.

In modern times, balancing toys continue to be popular among collectors, toy enthusiasts, and individuals who appreciate the charm and nostalgia of vintage toys. They are often cherished for their craftsmanship, design, and ability to bring joy and wonder to those who interact with them.

Overall, balancing toys have stood the test of time and remain a beloved and enduring genre that continues to capture the imagination of people around the world.

Oh my goodness, I couldn’t be more fond of this vintage blue balancing whale toy if I tried.

And you know what?

It looks fantastic in every room of our home. I tried it out in the living room on my new side table, which you may see more of in the post, Irresistible New England Antique Barn Sale | Budget Friendly.

It matches so beautifully with all the vintage coastal touches that fill this room.

Vintage blue balancing toy whale in coastal home.

You may also enjoy this Quaint Nautical Decor Corner With a Vintage Wow Factor post.

And I know this vintage balancing toy whale would also look so quaint in our coastal cottage guest bedroom. But I want to eye this cutie daily, and we don’t frequent this guest room daily like we do the other rooms in the home.

You may see more of this coastal cottage-style guest bedroom, which I mentioned above in the post Small Cottage Guest Bedroom, Vintage and Delightful.

Bernese Mountain Dog in Bed.
It’s one of Ella’s favorite rooms in the house too…

I settled on displaying my newly gifted treasure on top of the old cabinetry in our sunroom, where we enjoy morning coffee and afternoon summer happy hours.

Blue Vintage Balancing Toy Whale

You may also enjoy the Gifts From Maine: A Day’s Jaunt Antiquing post.

I added a few cut hydrangea stems in a farm stand glass vase from our front yard for a soft touch next to my new handsome whale balancing toy.

Balancing Toy Whale with White Hydrangeas

Do you recognize the two sunroom pictures with antique gold frames on the wall? See more in this post, Black Frames to Antique Gold Frames with Annie Sloan.

Vintage Cabinet Coastal Style in Sunroom

You may also be interested in learning about the “CRIES of LONDON” prints on the wall too in the post, 3 Finds at a Flea Market Near Me This Weekend.

Here, I added the balancing toy whale and hydrangeas to the glass nesting coffee table we have in the sunroom. Which I also adore.

See what I mean? This vintage whale balancing toy fits in so nicely everywhere!

Balancing Whale Toy with White Hydrangeas on Glass Table

Thank you to Susan for this thoughtful vintage beauty! We will treasure it dearly at our home here in Maine.

Vintage Whale Balancing Toy and Bernese Mountain Dog

Country Home Magazine

One of my fabulous “Dabbling & Decorating” readers recently sent me these photos of a similar vintage whale balancing toy featured in Country Home Magazine. The article is titled “New & Nostalgic,” dated 2015.

Pretty neat, right?

A Vintage Affair

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with your friends who are also vintage enthusiasts.

Do you have a flair for all things vintage, too? I would love to see and feature you in our Reader’s Showcase Series. A place for you to share and be recognized for your talents and passion for all things thrifting, vintage, and antique decor-related inspired by your time here with Dabbling & Decorating. Email me at

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A Bernese Mountain Dog & The Gift of a Whale
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  1. That’s the sweetest! What a wonderful gift! And you’re right – the friendships are definitely the best part of blogging! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, and for all the lovely glimpses of your beautiful home too.

    1. For sure Barbara. It’s been wonderful connecting with you here as well❤️

  2. That is the perfect accent for your home and that area of the country. I think we might need a moose or bear here in Colorado! It does go everywhere, but my favorite is near the ‘sailing’ curtains. It just fits in and really stands out on that cute table. What a thoughtful gift.

    1. Thank you Jillian. I agree I love it in the living room too between the curtains too. It’s going to make its way around the home for sure. Hope you find one that works for you!

  3. What a sweet story, Ann! This whale toy is so fun!

    1. Thanks so much Molly, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Lovely gift and perfect for your home! We have a new surprise here that you’ll meet sometime I’m sure Ann 😉 His name is Webster and he’s 3 months old. Truman is so sure about him yet but we have high hopes 😂

    1. No way, another Berner puppy? Shoot, I was hoping to make it there this weekend, but I aborted yesterday when I saw I95 bumper to bumper heading north. And today I’m off for a girl’s weekend in Portsmouth to see Hair. Hugs to them both:) See you in the fall I suspect.

  5. Kathy Munday says:

    OH. MY. HEART. What a wonderful gift AND friend! The whale is awesome and the ONLY thing that could possibly make it more endearing is Ella posing with it!!! Precious in so many ways. ❤️

    1. I’m so glad you like it I love it too. Thank you Kathy🐳🫶🏻🐶

  6. Lisa Anderson says:

    What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Love seeing the old pics of you and Steve and Gretchen!!

    1. Thanks Lisa yes I treasure it. See you later🐳🫶🏻

  7. Janet Mailloux says:

    OMG, tI have never seen anything like this whale and I LOVE it!!!! You have a wonderful friend who gifted this to you. And….. of course Ella looks happy to0 🙂

    1. Thank you Janet I’m so glad you enjoyed it🐳

  8. Cara Gannon says:

    What an endearing story and such a charming, thoughtful, fun gift!

    1. Thank you Cara. Isn’t it just the sweetest?