The call came early one the day: A woman in a domestic abuse situation feared for her own safety as well as her dog’s. She was planning on running away that night, when the husband was out of the house, and had to make the gut-wrenching decision to find an immediate safe place for her dog. Fleeing the state with a huge, young dog was just impossible. But she feared for her dog’s safety at home on his own upon her volatile husband’s return.
The BMDCO Rescue Team first met the caller and her 15-month-old, intact male on the evening of that same day. We rendezvoused after dark in Home Depot parking lot.
The woman’s car was packed to the roof with her personal stuff - this was her last stop on her way out of town. She was very tearful. Berkeley was upset too and acting out a little because she was so upset. As painful as this further loss was, she was doing the best thing for Berkeley’s safety and well being.
Over the phone, I had already assured her that we’d have no problem finding a perfect home for him. That night in the parking lot, I told her she was brave and such a good person to be thinking of what was best for her beloved dog. We don’t all rise to the challenge in times of overwhelm, loss and fear.
Seeing glimmerings of hope for both of them, she gave the BMDCO Rescue Fund a generous cash donation and handed me Berkeley’s leash. With that she left for her new life.
I am sure those in rescue have heard it all before, stories explaining why it’s impossible for someone to keep their dog. Some of them are face-saving fabrications where you sense they just lost interest, or didn’t make a good decision, or don’t want to spend money on surgery, or didn’t do their research before getting a giant, hairy dog.
Because it is all about the dog’s welfare, we always take them in, irrespective of the fact or fiction of the owner’s rationale. However, Berkeley’s re-home truly was an emergency situation, and it feels good to help people who are between a rock and a hard place through no fault of their own.
We all know that the first few days of rescue are the hardest on dogs because they don’t understand why they were left behind. That said, once when you’ve placed them in the absolutely perfect home, you know you’ve helped save a little part of the world - theirs.
Holly and Kevin Perry of Redmond, Oregon, adopted Berkeley, now named Walter (BMDCO Walter, #135793), after he recovered from surgery (neuter). Walter joins a BMD brother, Draco, and two cats.
Written by Renee Hoem, BMDCO Rescue Coordinator
We are very serious about Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue. Berners are a wonderful breed who repay our love and attention with a lifetime of hard work, devotion and trust. We believe it’s important for Bernese Mountain Dogs live with people who are committed to providing their dogs with the best possible life. Owning a Bernese Mountain Dog is a special privilege. With this privilege comes the responsibility to ensure our dogs live in circumstances that allow them to develop the best qualities of this noble breed. Therefore, our club actively sponsors rescue activities.
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
A rescue dog is a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog that has been placed in a shelter, is a stray, has been abandoned or no longer can be cared for by the owner of record or caretaker. A re-homed dog is a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog that can no longer remain with its owner of record or caretaker and will be placed directly into a foster or permanent home. Placement is the process through which a dog is placed in a new home.
As Bernese Mountain Dogs become more popular, more and more people are drawn to this wonderful breed. Unhappily, many of these people do not understand the challenges of living with a large breed dog until it becomes too much for them to handle. When the reality of owning a 100-pound dog becomes overwhelming many owners recognize that they cannot meet the responsibility. This is when the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Oregon steps in.
The short answer is YES. Plan to spend a lot of time helping your new Berner adjust to a new home and family. Some rescue dogs have temperament issues such as shyness that may require extra efforts to overcome. Others may have health problems that require special attention. Our rescue coordinator will work with you to ensure that you understand your dog's special needs. The BMDCO is committed to helping you meet any challenges you may face with your re-homed Berner. Your hard work will be repaid with a wonderful companion.
Educate yourself on the breed, proper dog training, housing and care. Join our club to meet Berner families. Contact our Rescue Coordinator or any of the Board Members. Fill out our rescue information form to help us with placement.
Providing a forever home is not for everyone but you can help out in other ways. Assistance is always appreciated for short term foster care, transportation, financial assistance for medical care, placement evaluation, mentoring, training, temperament testing, and education. Contact our rescue coordinator for more information.
While adopting a rescued Bernese Mountain Dog is not for everyone for those who can step up to the challenge it is a wonderful way to enjoy the breed and help out dogs with special needs.
Berners can do very well in new homes with consistent and loving care. It can take from three months to a year for your rescued Berner to make the change. Once the transition is complete, you will have a loyal friend and companion for life.
For more information about rescue please read the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Info Series on Rescue.
Getting comfortable with dad in his new home. Photo courtesy of Holly Perry.
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