Bernese News 12th November 2016



George Wilson, Chairman of the BMD Club of Scotland emailed;
"Schedules for our Open Show to be held on 12th February 2017 at Alva have been sent to all 
of our Club members. Schedules and entry forms are also available to download from our  
"2017 is our 30th anniversary year and we have lots of celebrations to look forward to - come 
along to our events and help us celebrate in style!
"To round off a successful 2016 for our Club we are holding our Christmas Party on Sunday 4th 
December 2016 at Alva and the party is open to all - everyone is welcome to attend. All the details
are on our website



This year is the 30th anniversary of Bernese Welfare UK. 

Set up in 1986 by the Bernese Breeders Association of Great Britain which itself was founded in
1983,  the increasing popularity of Bernese coupled with the emergence of regional breed clubs
confirmed the changing dynamic of Bernese activities at that time. This prompted members of the
BBA of GB to propose a different and breed-tailored approach to the rescue and rehoming of
Bernese in the UK which would be beneficial to both the individual dogs and also the breed as a
whole and so our rescue and rehoming service came into operation.    

Those 30 years have been quite a rollercoaster ride! 

Never did we envisage being so busy and if our services continue to be required at the current
rate our running total of Bernese we have helped during those three decades will reach 700
(seven hundred) in the not too distant future.  We have helped Bernese of all ages, shapes and
sizes and who had been given up by their owners for a multitude of reasons; there have been
some very sad cases, some very upsetting situations and on more than a few occasions we have
faced Bernese who could only be described as frighteningly dangerous BUT that all fades into the
background by the pleasure we have had in securing all the successful adoptions which resulted 
in happiness for the rehomed Bernese and their delighted new owners. That's what makes it all
worthwhile and what encourages the Bernese Welfare UK team to continue doing what we do. 

Dog rescue organisations, both breed specific and multi-breed services have long been a necessity, 
working to reduce a serious problem of providing refuge to and subsequently rehoming dogs and
each have their own remit and their own way of doing things. I have the greatest respect and
admiration for most of the dedicated, selfless, hands-on rescue services I know and/or have liaised
with (which is quite a few and quite often) as we are all working very hard trying to do the best we
can to provide aid and security for a seemingly never-ending flow of dogs who are given up by
their owners.  Honest interaction, trust and mutual respect between rescue organisations can only
be helpful for the dogs involved.

The well-being and happiness of the relinquished dogs is of primary importance and providing aid
to those needy dogs is, after all, the reason most "rescuers" become involved but ensuring the
compatibility, safety and preparedness of the potential adopters is also essential. We are primarily
focussed on helping needy dogs but we are also dealing with people too and so compassion, 
understanding, courtesy, trust and respect is also a necessary skill that needs to be employed on
a daily basis.

It may come as a surprise to some breed enthusiasts that all Bernese are not all the same, indeed 
our breed is as varied as you will find amongst a group of any other type or breed of dog. Some 
Bernese are wonderful, reliable, biddable, affectionate, predictable dogs and some are not! 
We all use generalisations from time to time but anyone involved in rescue will quickly learn to 
recognise that generalisations about a breed are rarely appropriate and should never be relied 
upon for pivotal decisions when trying to secure a new, happy and permanent future for a displaced 
Bernese who will have individual, specific and often unique needs.
Breeders applying different breeding criteria plus a wide range of rearing methods will, when combined
with inheritance factors, produce Bernese which are varied in physical, behavioural and health status
and with differing potentials.  Anyone considering offering a new home to a displaced large, powerful
dog such as a Bernese needs to be as sure as any of us can be that any dog they are offered is
compatible in every way - a perfect match is essential for all parties involved (including the dog!) and
that can only happen if the dog is assessed fully and adequately to establish his or her needs and
ONLY THEN can begin the search to identify the perfect new owner and home to meet those needs.
Observing for a short time the behaviour of a Bernese whilst still within a familiar environment with
the owners he/she knows well is not a reliable indicator of how that same dog may react and behave
during a transition period when challenged with interacting with strangers and introduced to an
unfamiliar environment and routine.  Bernese Welfare UK tries very hard to ensure we don't rely on
hearsay or chance or "wishful thinking" when overseeing or arranging the care, assessment and
ultimately the adoption of a needy Bernese.   We HAVE to make the right decisions and that is best
facilitated with carefully observed and factual information.

Sometimes those of us involved in rescue become frustrated by unnecessary complications caused
by an egotistical individual who, for their own reasons and with their motive and opinion based on
theory rather than any actual experience or relevant insight, chooses to get involved and goes off on
a tangent; it is a shame when their well-meaning but interfering actions prove unhelpful and obstructive
and their comments made in ignorance may result in negativity and a less than successful outcome
for the needy dog they focussed their attention on.  No one has the monopoly on loving Bernese, or
caring for Bernese, and least of all being "in charge" of what happens in the UK Bernese community
but for those who wish to take advantage of the services provided by Bernese Welfare UK there is
easy access to our wealth of accumulated and unrivalled experience of rehoming Bernese which we
willingly and happily provide to anyone who seeks our advice or our help. 

Trends adopted by both Bernese breeders and Bernese owners can have a big impact on a rescue
organisation and we have certainly had a lot of first-hand knowledge of that!

*** We have
experienced more Bernese being relinquished because they were bred by inexperienced
or uncaring breeders who have exploited a financial opportunity and then carelessly sold the puppies
they bred to unwary, ill-equipped buyers. 
*** We have experienced more elderly Bernese (plus some younger ones) affected by health issues
being relinquished due to owners being unwilling to invest in, or cancelling expensive insurance cover.

*** We have experienced more "hyper" Bernese being relinquished because owners expected their
Bernese to naturally behave in a calm, quiet way despite many of them buying a puppy bred from the
more highly active, high maintenance type.

*** We have experienced a huge increase in Bernese imported from dealers residing overseas being
relinquished as the dogs were ordered online with minimal knowledge and even less research and
these poor unfortunate Bernese (almost inevitably) did not meet the buyers' unrealistic expectations.

*** We have
experienced more pairs or groups of Bernese being relinquished because owners have
over-stretched themselves and been unable to care for and manage multiple Bernese.

*** We have experienced more Bernese relinquished because their reckless owners either observant
irrelevant comments on, or took inappropriate advice from vocal but ill-informed social media

Without the support of well-wishers and fundraisers the service which Bernese Welfare UK provides
would be so much more difficult as financing veterinary care for the dogs we accept into care has
always been and still is a huge,  ongoing burden but there is no escaping the cost of necessary
veterinary attention. None of the money we receive is spent on administration costs, honorariums,
COPE payments or any other gratuity by any other name. Every penny we receive is spent ONLY
on the dogs and none of the money we receive is diverted elsewhere.  99.9% of feeding costs,
transport and all the other factors involved with the day-to-day care of the Bernese we help is, and
has always been, donated by our helpers and supporters and we are so grateful that our mutual love
of Bernese and the generosity of those who wish to help dogs less fortunate than their own has been
such a positive and rewarding aid to ensuring a new start for so many needy Bernese. Thank you.

Jude Simonds.
National coordinator Bernese Welfare UK
Tel; 01787 371940

Jude Simonds



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