In January 2016, we received the following call for help:
“I have a wonderful, loving, 9-year-old spayed female Berner (Swiss line) that we got at 9 weeks old. Her parents were champions, and many in her litter were also show dogs. We showed her for a few years. She was my husband's dog, and he left us all right before Christmas. I am in crisis management mode trying to deal with the aftermath of destructive behavior from him, and I am not able to financially keep up Lucy's regular care and needs. Will you help me find her a happy, friendly, loving, financially responsible family or home that would love to have her?”
It’s emails like this that break our hearts yet make us step up to help the dog, which in turn helps the person.
Two days later, the owner brought Lucy to her rescue foster home. She seemed to be a very sweet girl. She met all the other dogs, the cat and horses with no problems. She was confused and stressed the first week - after being with the same family for 9 years, this setting was new and foreign to her, and she didn’t understand why she was away from home.
Lucy remained in this foster home for several weeks while we evaluated her health, personality and training needs. We do the same for every dog we rehome to remedy as many health and behavior problems as possible before placement as well as to ensure the best new family match.
In this case, Lucy had lost most of the fur on her rump and tail, possibly due to fleas or stress. Other than that she was a friendly, healthy dog who longed for a safe, stable home.
While her fur grew back, we spent four weeks reviewing adoption applications. The BMDCO keeps adoption applications on file and reviews them all with each new rescue. You see, it isn’t the first applicant in line who gets a dog but, rather, the applicant who can offer the perfect home given the dog’s personality and needs.
When she realized she was safe in her foster home, Lucy began to relax and even became a calming influence on the other dogs. Seeing her flourish, we sorted through the applications, looking Lucy’s forever family. We found a couple in Seattle who work from home and who have had several Berners in the past.
We interviewed this couple and learned how dedicated they are to all dogs and especially to the BMD breed. Having lost two Berners to cancer the previous summer, they were looking for another Berner to love. They were also hoping to find a dog who could help out their current rescue dog, Charlie. He was confident and happy go lucky, except with other dogs. They terrified him.
We agreed to keep Lucy in foster care for a bit longer so that this couple could get further along with socializing Charlie. They had already started working with dog behaviorist and wanted to give Charlie time to practice his new skills before meeting Lucy. After much emailing and phoning, they arranged to come to visit Lucy in mid-March.
When they finally met, Charlie snarked at Lucy for a few minutes only to relax into a wonderful visit. It went so well that the family – Gary, Val, Charlie and Lucy – left for home in Seattle…together.
Charlie now sleeps next to Lucy, the best of friends. With re-homing, Lucy is enjoying all the love, support and stability she deserves.
And when we updated Lucy’s previous owner, she responded:
“I am so thrilled. I can tell they are wonderful people! Thank you for the update and the photo! I'm so pleased and so overjoyed! You are just amazing. What a gift you have brought me about all this! Thank you from the depths of my heart and God Bless!”
Rescue has made a huge difference in Lucy's life, and this is why the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Oregon (BMDCO) participates in this very important activity.
Please contact our Rescue Coordinators if you
Please fill out our Rescue Application (PDF) if you are interested in adopting a rescue dog. You can either
For more information about rescue please read the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Info Series on Rescue.
Homeward bound with Charlie
At ease in her forever home