Rescue Information

The BMDCGTC believes that those of us who love Berners are responsible for any Berner in trouble, whether or not it was produced by a breeder in our club.  For this purpose, the club has established a Rescue Committee.  Club members can support our rescue program by providing foster homes for rescue dogs, assisting with special fundraising events or directly donating to the rescue fund.

We are a small group of volunteers that feel strongly that every BMD deserves a wonderful home. To make this happen we are always in need of several things to help them along the way:

Rescue Application

If you are interest in being a foster or forever home, please complete the application by clicking on the link below:

Adoption / Foster Application

Once you have filled out the form, the Rescue Chair will be in contact with you.

Currently Available Rescues

There are currently no rescues available. If you are interested in being considered for a rescue in the future, please fill out the application by clicking on the link below:

Adoption / Foster Application

Rescue vs Rehome

A ”rescue” dog is a BMD that has been placed in a shelter, is a stray, has been abandoned or no longer cared for by the owner.  Generally these dogs don’t have any known medical or behavioral history and may have behavioral issues.

A “rehomed” dog is a BMD that can no longer remain with its owner and will be placed directly into a foster or permanent home. Often these are dogs with a known medical history and often even AKC papers.

If you want to surrender your BMD please contact your breeder first.  Responsible breeders will assist you in “re-homing” your dog and we are happy to help such breeders locate potential homes for the dog.  If you have contacted your breeder and they have declined to assist you, please be prepared to tell us who the breeder is. To relinquish your dog please contact our rescue chair. We must give priority to dogs that are in jeopardy, which usually means dogs from pounds or shelters or dogs that have been abandoned at a vet’s office. Due to our limited foster care ability, we ask for your patience and cooperation. We need time to arrange for a suitable foster home. It is unreasonable to call us and say that your dog needs to leave your home tomorrow or to call us two days before you leave on vacation. We endeavor to move the process along as quickly as possible – usually within 4 to 10 days.

Interested in Adopting?

If you want to adopt a BMD please keep in mind that Berners are large, strong dogs, bred for pulling carts. An adolescent who has had no training or a fearful, shy Berner can be a challenge to integrate into your home. Some dogs may come with health and/or orthopedic problems. It’s rare for a healthy, well socialized, well trained dog to be relinquished to rescue, though it sometimes occurs. If you’re simply looking for a bargain-Berner, this is not the route to take. If you’re looking to make a difference – to turn a dog’s life around, this route can bring you great joy. See some of the happy endings described below!

Our goal is to match the right BMD with the right home. To do this we use the answers to our short application as well as by spending a fair amount of time talking with you. The process takes time, patience and knowledge of the breed. We recommend you submit your application BEFORE you find a dog on our website that is a potential match, as it may take time for the right dog to come along. Once your application is received, it will be kept on file. When a suitable match comes in to rescue, you will be contacted and a visit with the BMD in question will be arranged prior to placement. It is our responsibility to place each of our dogs with the home best suited for them, regardless of the order in which applications are received. Rescue is not a “first come, first serve” situation, and we appreciate your understanding that our goal is always to provide the best possible home we can for each dog we have, so that they never have to come into rescue again. Not every dog is suitable for every home, no matter how good or loving a family is. We also expect that if the placement does not work out that you will return the dog to our rescue group.

We do not have a blanket policy regarding fences for our rescue dogs. That said and all things being equal, those homes with secure fencing are likely to have a significant edge. You should also note that most of our rescue dogs are not good candidates for “invisible” (electronic) fencing.

We spay or neuter every dog before placement. Our adoption fees are used to cover costs and can vary. The dog may be examined by a vet if necessary, all shots will be brought up to date, and we will spay/neuter if not already done. Any detected or suspected health problems will be checked out and treated if possible.

The goal of any dog rescue program is to become extinct because there are no longer dogs in need of this help. However, until that day comes, please do your best to understand the requirements of responsible dog ownership. Carefully research the breeds in which you are interested. And, if you become one of the wonderful individuals who rescues a Berner, or any dog, and provides that animal with a loving, secure and dependable home, THANK YOU!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do most of the Berners requiring rescue come from?

Most BMDs requiring rehoming come from owners who are no longer able to care for them because of changing life circumstances or issues with the dog’s health or behavior. The majority of reasons dogs are in need of rescue could have been anticipated and avoided, e.g., family members prone to allergies, breed health and temperament issues, maintenance costs, grooming requirements, exercise needs, etc. Responsible pet ownership requires an honest and factual assessment of whether a specific breed breed is right for you. Not all breeds fit all lifestyles.

How do adult Berners adapt to their new homes and families?

Adult Bernese are very loyal to their humans yet do surprisingly well in new homes. The bonding time can take a while but generally they begin to settle into the routine within a month. We strive to make sure that the right dog goes to the right home and with the correct expectations for the care and nurturing each dog will need.

I don't have time/energy for a puppy. Is an adult rescue/rehome dog a better choice for me?

Not necessarily. Many rescue BMDs have little or no training and/or behavior issues that require the same amount of vigilance that a puppy requires. In general, the careful supervision needed for a smooth transition is less for an adult rescue dog but it is still necessary. Adults require the same amount of planning and care that a pup does. Your new adult dog will need to learn the rules of your home. This is best accomplished in the beginning with good supervision and containment. An unsupervised adult dog that does not know the rules of the house can do much more damage than a pup. Lots of early guidance and positive feedback will help your dog adjust quickly.

How long is your waiting list?

We keep a list of potential adopters. The dogs are not placed on a first-come, first-served basis, but rather as a best match to an adoptive home that will be the best place for the dog. We have lots of potential adopters and with so few dogs a year, the wait can be long.

Can I get a puppy through rescue?

It is not likely.

Can I use this dog for breeding?

No. All Berners placed through the BMDCGTC rescue program are spayed or neutered prior to release to the adoptive home.

Is there a guarantee?

Sorry, no. We collect whatever information on the dog that we can and pass all of it on to the potential adopters so that they can make an informed decision. But no one can foretell the future. If the adoption does not work out, you are required to surrender the dog back to the BMDCGTC rescue program.

I've heard that Berners are one-person dogs. How well do they adjust to their new owners?

Surprisingly well. Even ones from good homes that were surrendered to us have re-attached to their new families. It takes love and patience for all of them to overcome whatever baggage they have. So far, they have all done well.

Do your rescue dogs ever come with AKC registration papers?

Sometimes we get papers on surrendered Berners and gladly pass them on to adopters. It is helpful for health history. If the new owner wants to participate in AKC events, they can apply for an ILP number for the dog. The dog is then allowed to join in all AKC events other than Conformation like any registered dog.