Adoption FAQs

Where do BARC dogs come from?
BARC, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating Bernese Mountain Dogs from dog brokers, dog auctions, puppy mills, and any other dangerous, exploitative or abusive situation.  BARC rescues are not specific to one state or part of the country but occur across the United States.  


What is a BARC rescued dog like?
BARC dogs range in age from puppies to seniors with most being somewhere in the middle age group.  While each dog has its own individual needs they are frequently shy and have no understanding at all of life as a pet.  Many are afraid of men, loud noises, sudden movements, doors, walking on grass and other situations that most dogs would consider to be normal.  BARC assesses the needs of each dog while in foster care.  Lots of love and patient positive reinforcement is then used to help bring out a wonderful, 4 legged, family member.  This is a road that is traveled at the pace that each dog dictates.  The more traumatized the dog – the longer it may take before they are ready for placement.  

What are the typical medical issues a rescue dog has?
Most of the rescues will make their very first trip to a veterinarian during their first week in BARC’s care.  They will be checked over, receive fecal and heartworm testing and be started on their shots.  Based on the results of the fecal and heartworm testing, they will be treated for their specific parasites and start heartworm and flee & tick preventative care.  Depending on their age and gender they will be spayed or neutered.  They may have eye infections, skin infections and other needs that are also evaluated and may be treated prior to placement.   Most rescues are VERY underweight to the point of being able to feel every bone in the spine, hips and ribs so they will require extra portions of high quality food.  If they had been kept in small crates with no room to move they will have underdeveloped and/or atrophied muscles that require good protein and increasing levels of activity.  Known medical needs, and their treatment status, will be disclosed but it is possible that there may also be issues that are not known at the time of placement.  All medical issues and treatments after placement are the responsibility of the owner .

Why are the adoption fees so high?
BARC does everything it can to be able to keep the adoption fees as low as possible but the bottom line is that it is expensive to rescue Bernese Mountain Dogs from exploitative, neglectful and abusive situations.  Besides the initial cost of the rescue there is the cost of vetting, transporting the dogs from rescue to foster home and other needs of the dogs while they are in foster care.  These dogs require collars, leashes, food, shots, spay/neuter, de-worming, heartworm testing, heartworm preventative and more.  Sometimes they need additional treatments for things such as infections in the eyes, ears, teeth, limbs, or skin.  They may have issues such as seizures or other medical needs that can’t be foreseen at the time of rescue.  BARC is only able to continue to rescue other Bernese Mountain Dogs if the cost of doing the rescues is covered.  The adoption fee does not cover the cost of transporting your dog from its foster home to your location.

What are the options for getting my dog after I adopt it?
The preferred method for getting your dog, after the contract has been signed, is to have you pick up the dog directly at the foster home.  If it is a puppy that will be allowed in cabin some owners choose to fly to the location of the foster home to pick up their dog.  And, on rare occasions the choice is made to fly a dog in the luggage area of commercial flights.  All costs of fights, kennels, etc. are the responsibility of the owners when this is done.  BARC reserves the right to not allow some dogs to travel by plane when there are medical reasons involved or it will further traumatize an already overly sensitive dog.  Commercial airlines also place restrictions on when dogs are allowed in the luggage area of planes due to size limitations, weather and other situations that further limit when dogs can be flown to their forever homes. 

Will I be able to meet the dog before I decide to adopt?
BARC rescues occur across the US and the dogs are moved into their foster homes as soon as possible.  If you are close enough to the foster home to visit the dog in person, it is possible to meet the dog before signing the adoption contract.  However, because most BARC dogs are being placed “long distance” across the US and Canada every effort is made by the Adoption committee to understand just what the potential owner is looking for in their dog.  BARC is interested in placing each BARC baby in the correct home rather than the first interested home.

What is the normal adoption process?
The BARC adoption process begins with the adoption application.  Filling out the application is an important tool for gathering information and does not obligate the individual to complete the adoption process nor does it guarantee that a BARC dog will be placed in applicants’ home.   Once the application is received the first contact is usually a phone conversation so that BARC can learn more about the applicant and the applicant can learn more about BARC.  This conversation and the information on the application are than summarized on the adoption application log.  As dogs are rescued and evaluated they are compared to the logged information for possible matches in the order that the applications are received.  When there is a potential match the application and summary notes are reviewed in detail and the next contact with the applicant is made.  This phone call will verify that the potential home is still interested and allow for a more specific conversation of how this particular dog, or dogs, may fit into the family.  When there is more than one possible match they will all be discussed. If both the BARC representative and the applicant feel there may be potential matches at the end of this second contact than the next BARC contact will be a phone call between the foster home(s) and applicant where the most intimate and up-to-date information on the dog will be available.  Based on the continued interest of the potential owner; the BARC adoption committee will than review the application, all BARC review notes, the input of the foster home(s) and the outcome of the reference checks.  A placement decision will be made and the applicant notified.   The BARC adoption committee’s focus is that of placing the correct dog into the correct home.  If it is decided that this isn’t the correct home for the dog(s) the application will be reviewed again as other possible matches become available.

Will I be able to adopt a puppy?
BARC does rescue puppies from time to time but it is more likely that the dogs being rescued are at least 1 year or older.  Most often, when puppies are rescued, BARC is able to find them homes by reviewing the adoption log for possible matches.  Because of the number of logged applicants that are looking for puppies it is doubtful that BARC will ever have puppies actually shown on the adoptable dogs’ web page.  Due to the age at the time of adoption puppies are often adopted on a spay/neuter contract.  This requires that you will supply proof of spay/neuter once it has been completed. 

Are BARC dogs good with kids, other dogs, cats?
Part of the evaluation process is to determine how the rescue will do in a variety of situations.  Do they seem like they are comfortable around children and if so, what ages?  How do they do around dogs, cats and other animals?  Because of the importance to BARC for successful matches we will always go with a conservative approach and consider the safety of all concerned first.

What if I have problems after I adopt a BARC rescue? 
No matter how much ground has been covered while in foster care, BARC Babies often have more work to do once they have been placed into a loving forever home.  BARC offers support to its owners by way of an on-line owners group that includes other owners, an animal behaviorist, an animal nutritionist, and other great people who will be happy to offer you suggestions when needed.  First time BARC owners are also assigned a BARC Buddy to help guide them through their first year with their new family member. Plus the BARC Board Members are only an email away.  BARC never wants you to feel that you are facing the future with your BARC Baby alone!


Do you ever take dogs back if the adoption doesn’t work out?
The BARC contract requires that all dogs be returned to BARC if they cannot continue to stay with the family that they were adopted into no matter what the reason for that may be.  If you desire to rehome the dog within your extended family or circle of friends that also needs to also be handled through BARC.

How can I help if I can’t adopt a dog?
Beside donations of money, which are always welcome, there are many ways to help out.  Here is just a partial list:

  • Foster Homes
  • Transporting Dogs
  • Supplies such as leashes and collars
  • Dog Grooming (These dogs are matted, dirty and very stinky when rescued!
  • Or, tell us what your skills and passions are…

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