Rescue, refuge and rehoming                




TOBY was born in Ireland.  His owners were unable to keep him and so, aged 5 months, they took him to an all-breeds rescue kennel.  There is a shortage of homes for rescue dogs in Ireland and it is common practice for some of the rescue kennels to ship truck loads of dogs to England in the hope of finding homes for them.  This is what happened to Toby and he ended up in another all-breeds rescue kennel in the west of England.  The kennel quickly found hima new home but Toby was returned two days later and so the kennel contacted up for help.  We arranged for Toby to be collected from the kennel and brought to a foster home where he could be assessed to find out iof there was a reason why this young lad had been rejected by two owners.  Toby had a problem with his eyelids rolling in, a condition called entropion which needed surgery to alleviate discomfort.  Toby also had lameness issues but after some remedial training and appropriate veterinary treatment he found a knowledgeable, caring, permanent home..

BERNIE, a young male who was handed into Bernese Welfare as he proved too much to handle for his owners.
Some remedial training allowed him to be rehomed with a new family.


A CONCERNED Bernese owner learned that a puppy farmer had acquired some Bernese and was disgusted by the conditions of the premises and the condition of the dogs she saw there. The Bernese enthusiast decided that the Bernese had to be liberated from the puppy farm, and she did that by purchasing them. There were 2 litters of Bernese puppies plus one adult bitch from a multi-breed puppy farm. The emaciated pups aged 2 and 3 weeks old and the sickly adult bitch who had been rearing them all were handed into the care of Bernese Welfare by their guardian angel. The pups were hand reared and the sickly adult bitch was nursed back to health. All were successfully rehomed by Bernese Welfare. 

ANDY.  His owner had to move and was unable to take him. Used to living with another dog, Andy was rehomed by Bernese Welfare to a family who already had a Bernese in residence and so Andy once again has both human and canine company, a settled life and plenty to smile about again.

MARNEY. Getting on in years and having lived a lonely and neglected existence out in a kennel, Marney was handed into the care of Bernese Welfare at a time of life when most dogs need the security of routine and lots of peace and comfort. Marney wasn't used to spending time around people but soon learned that she could enjoy human company . Sadly, a deterioration in her already limited mobility, a long-standing eye defect and finally a heart condition meant she enjoyed the special care and attention she received for only a few short months before she passed away.

LEO.  This large, strong and wilful young male was too much for his owners to cope with. His boisterousness and lack of manners resulted in him knocking people down - several times. Handed into Bernese Welfare, he responded well to a firm but fair remedial training regime. Leo was suffering from entropion (a painful in-growing-eyelid defect) and weak hindquarters and he had very loose flews (baggy lips) which allowed saliva to flow from his mouth causing him to drool excessively. Leo underwent corrective surgery for entropion in both eyes and thorough veterinary investigation to determine the cause and degree of his orthopaedic problems. When his manners had improved and his health issues were being controlled effectively, Leo was successfully homed within a family who fully understood, and could provide for, his needs.

TESS.  When a change in personal circumstances and lifestyle meant Tess could no longer be cared for by her owners, they contacted Bernese Welfare for help. A little boisterous but not a problem bitch otherwise, Tess was successfully rehomed.

BUDDY was born with a half-length tail, very weak hindquarters and was much smaller than his littermates so his breeder gave him to a family with small children. Buddy quickly became unresponsive and difficult to control, dominating the children and asserting himself by aggression. When he came into the care of Welfare aged 5 months he was extremely cock-sure of himself for one so young and willing to square-up to and take on any dog and any person! He was neutered and with training became a much more sensible citizen who appreciated human company.

BERTIE was another young dog who just became too large and boisterous for his owners to cope with. Bertie found a new, enjoyable and useful purpose in life when rehomed by Bernese Welfare to carting enthusiasts! A veteran of many carting displays and processions, Bertie now enjoys the attention he gets from carting spectators, gets on well with all other dogs (as you can see!) and helps raise funds for various charities and is clearly a happy dog, lapping up all the attention he receives.

PUDSEY was a male puppy who just couldn't control his enthusiasm for greeting his owners when they appeared downstairs in the mornings. His jumping up at them and grabbing at their clothes was not appreciated (nor curtailed!) and so, aged 6 months, he was handed into Bernese Welfare. Rehomed with more experienced owners who had more time and dog training knowledge and skills, Pudsey quickly learned the error of his ways and his new 'Mum' clearly adores him.

SPIKE had been purchased by a family with several small children plus another young dog of a smaller and very active breed. Spike's 'crimes' included chasing the geese on the pond and repeatedly going upstairs to chew on clothes and toys (or anything he could find) and using the upstairs rooms as his lavatory. When his owners were asked why they ALLOWED him upstairs, they answered they didn't "allow him - he just goes up of his own accord!" Happily rehomed into a loving and caring family with a spayed female Bernese for company he is a reformed character.

KIRA came into care when her owner changed partners and Kira didn't get on with the new partner's dog! Previously used to living in the house with the family, Kira was unhappy to find herself housed in outside accommodation and so her owner handed her into Bernese Welfare. Rehomed into the midst of a loving family, she is once again a happy girl.

ANNA, another pup purchased by very busy owners who had several young children. Anna became increasingly boisterous so was moved out to live in a kennel in the garden which she hated. Desperate to be back inside playing with the children - Anna voiced her protests loudly! Diagnosed with epilepsy, Anna was handed into the care of Bernese Welfare but investigation proved she had grown out of having seizures. Successfully rehomed to a family where she once more resides inside the house and has constant company, Anna blossomed into a lovely, playful, character-full companion.

CALEY had been purchased whilst her owner had been living at home with parents. A new partner, a new job and a change of address resulted in Caley being left behind with the 'parents' who could not cope with the responsibility of caring for such a large, active dog. 18 months old when handed into Bernese Welfare, Caley was rehomed with owners who had previously adopted a male from Bernese Welfare, so Caley is once again in a stable home with lots of company. 

MAX didn't like being told what to do by his owners - he either ignored them or fought against any kind of hands-on management they attempted. He knew he was strong and fast and his owners decided they could no longer cope with the dog they described as "our delinquent" and so Max was handed into Bernese Welfare.  Max certainly was a dog who had become accustomed to doing ONLY what he wanted to do, but firm and consistent training soon paid dividends. Max had some health issues with his eyes and legs which needed investigation, but once on medication and showing improvement Max was rehomed.

AN ALL-BREED RESCUE charity contacted Bernese Welfare to ask if we could take two heavily pregnant Bernese bitches that had been relinquished into their care. The kennels didn't have the facilities to cope with an influx of crossbred Bernese puppies due to make their way into the world ANY day so of course we agreed to take the bitches.  Three big, fat, heavy-set puppies, Brook and her two brothers Monty and Mole, made an appearance just 2 days later, born to Ella, the more mature of the pregnant bitches. The previous owner of the two pregnant Bernese bitches also owned an adult Flatcoat Retriever male who had not been neutered - so ..... was HE the dad? We can't be sure and will probably never know but it is likely their father was a dog of size and substance. The mother of the pups proved to have an excellent temperament and enjoyed being a Mum and relished all the attention lavished on her during her maternal role. Brook and Mole were black and tan with a small patch on their chests, whilst Monty was marked like a purebred Bernese. We felt there would be a good chance of someone wanting to adopt a purebred Bernese being interested in offering a home to one of these large, substantial pups. All three pups were lavishly reared and carefully socialised and they were all successfully rehomed as was their mother a little later when fully recovered from her pregnancy and maternal commitment. 




THE BIGGER AND MUCH YOUNGER (likely under 1 year old) of the pregnant Bernese bitches, Jane, gave birth a few days later and it was a very different experience - very traumatic for her and everyone involved. A lengthy and tiring birth took many hours and left the mother confused and upset and very tired. Eleven tiny, skinny little black and white puppies with Border Collie or Springer Spaniel-type markings arrived and they looked totally different in size and type and stature to the 3 older pups (above) born to the older bitch; it was obvious this litter didn't have the same father. Their mother didn't want to nurse the puppies or be with them and it really wasn't her fault, she was no more than a puppy herself. After much soul-searching and discussion with the vet, the decision was made to euthenase the 8 male puppies and retain the three bitch puppies for the mother to rear.

Collie and spaniel type crossbreeds account for a substantial percentage of dogs housed in all-breed rescue organisations throughout the UK and so are notoriously difficult to find homes for, but bitches are sometimes easier to place than males and we thought it would have been unkind for the mother to lose all her babies. A tough decision but without doubt the correct decision. Sadly, a couple of days later as the 3 little bitch puppies were just finishing suckling from their Mum under supervision, Jane took exception to one of the puppies simply crawling past her front foot and she snapped at the pup and killed it - and she meant to. Jane was immediately excused any further contact with the puppies and the two remaining bitch puppies were hand reared with a little help from a spayed-but-willing foster-Mum who couldn't feed the pups but was delighted to adopt the puppies and help with cleaning and cuddling them.

Jane was rehomed when given a clean bill of health, and was much happier and at ease being allowed to grow up as an only-dog with no responsibilities. The two bitch puppies soon showed very different temperaments and activity levels to the older litter of 3 pups - Maddie and Su were highly active, super-intelligent and lived for two things - eating and chewing! They chewed EVERYTHING they had access to into shreds without discrimination - if moved or not they would gnaw it and were thereafter referred to as The Termites! 


  was another Bernese bred on a puppy farm and purchased from a pet shop.  Unfortunately her owners had, rather unwisely also purchased an Akita from the same shop and as the two dogs grew bigger and stronger they became too boisterous for a busy Mum with small children to manage and so they decided that only one dog (the Akita) would be retained and Sky was handed into Bernese Welfare.  Small in stature but with a BIG personality and VERY clever, Sky had a few health issues but found a lovely new permanent home where she bonded quickly with her new family.

MARLEY was a young bitch in a multi-dog, multi-breed household and when a fight occurred resulting in the death of one dog, the owners decided to reduce the number of dogs they kept and they handed Marley into the care of Bernese Welfare.  Tall, skinny, active and intelligent, Marley also had a history of juvenile lameness for which she had received surgery and had also previously undergone abdominal surgery twice to remove 'foreign objects' she had eaten.  Marley found a new home where she lives a happy, contented and calmer lifestyle.


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