Considering adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog? Please read this ENTIRE PAGE before going on to our adoption application, as rescued BMDs are not right for everyone.
What is the Typical Rescue Berner Like?
The typical rescue Berner comes to us between the ages of 10-24 months (still considered a puppy in the Berner world). It is more likely to be a male than a female. Generally, the dog has received little or no training and may be a 70-100 lb. brat. Alternatively, the dog may be coming into rescue because an impulse purchase from a pet shop or puppy mill has been found to have considerable health problems (usually orthopedic). Older dogs, frequently with health problems also come into the program. 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.
The Adoption Process
Your application will be reviewed by our application committee and you will be notified as to whether you have been approved for adoption. Note that approval of the application may be conditional since all dogs are not suited to all family situations.
Once your application is approved, it will be kept on file. When a suitable match comes in to rescue, you will be contacted and a home visit will be scheduled with you and all members of your household. Sometimes a match might be available right away but, more likely you will have to wait. Fortunately, we have tended to have more applicants than rescue dogs though sometimes the ratio may swing the other way.
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 since many dogs that come into our rescue program are deemed "flight risk" Bernese Mountain Dogs due to temperament and/or lack of training.
We spay or neuter every Bernese Mountain Dog before placement, unless the dog is too young or unless surgery presents a significant health risk to the dog. In the former case, a dog may be placed with a spay/neuter contract and an adoption surcharge that will be refunded upon evidence of spay/neuter.
Training and Socialization
All dogs need to be trained in order to be good citizens. Most adopters will be required to enroll in and participate in a basic obedience class with their adopted dog. All adopters are encouraged to take a basic obedience class with their dogs.
Acquiring a Dog
WE DO NOT SHIP RESCUE DOGS. However, if we are able to get a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue worker in your area to do a home visit, and we can approve you based on the results, AND you are willing to come to New England to meet/pick up the dog yourself, we are willing to consider your application, even if you do not live in New England. Please note that there are Bernese Mountain Dog rescue organizations located all over the U.S. and Canada. We encourage you to adopt a dog from a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue organization close to you.
Matching Dogs with Owners
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 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 the family. That is why our goal is to get to know both you and our dogs as well as we possibly can, to make sure that EVERYONE lives happily ever after.
While we completely understand how easy it is to fall in love with a photo or a sad story, we hope that you will also understand our commitment to our dogs is our sole purpose for doing this work. Please also understand that you are likely not the only applicant for a particular dog and it is often our difficult task to try and make the best match for that dog, which is no reflection on you as an adopter.
Once you have an approved application on file, if a dog comes along that seems right for you a rescue volunteer will contact you to schedule a home visit. One or two of our volunteers will come to your home and meet with you and your family to ensure that this will be the best match for both you and for the dog. We require that all people living in the home are present for the home visit.
There is an adoption fee for every BERNER Inc. dog available for adoption. Currently our adoption fee is $400.00. This fee allows BERNER Inc. to ensure that all our rescue dogs have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and are current on all vaccines and heartworm prevention. It also helps us to provide medical care as needed while the dog is in rescue, beyond the basics, in cases where a dog's quality of life is directly affected by his/her physical health. (Note: Berner Inc. may choose to waive the adoption fee under certain unusual circumstances.)
The adoption fees alone do not cover our costs and we conduct fund raisers and solicit donations to ensure that every one of our dogs who needs help and care receives it.
In an effort to make the best match between you and a dog, we ask that you take the time to fill out our comprehensive questionnaire.
NOTE: We will not accept applications from people under the age of 18. Applications must be submitted by the person adopting the dogs. We will not adopt dog to third parties or to be given as gifts.
Adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog
Is Adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog the Right Choice for You and Your Family?
General information about the breed is available from the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America and bmdinfo.org. While Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally known for having good temperaments, some of our rescue dogs are not perfect representatives of the breed in that regard. Many of our rescue dogs come from puppy mills and/or pet shops and from less than scrupulous breeders and may be extremely fearful due to either genetic predisposition and/or lack of early socialization/training. These dogs will require adoptive owners who are patient and consistent and have the ability and willingness to work with a certified trainer if necessary. Please familiarize yourself with the potential health and orthopedic problems and relatively short lifespan of the breed, at the links above, before you decide to add one to your family.