Big Dogs Get a Fresh Start at Gentle Ben’s Rescue

By Suzanne Alicie

There are numerous dog rescues that are worthy of mention. Today we are showing our appreciation and spreading the word about Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue. I was able to catch up with the very busy Noreen from Gentle Ben’s and ask her a few questions. The more I learned about this program, the more enamored I became of it. I love the idea of rescuing big dogs and fostering them in the home.

Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue is a non-profit 501 C (3) large breed dog rescue located in west Pennsylvania. They take in unwanted large breed dogs that may end up in shelters or are abandoned through no fault of their own. The rescue also helps families who have lost jobs, lost homes or have medical conditions which make it impossible for them to keep their beloved pet. Dogs are welcomed into Gentle Ben’s home, provided with veterinary care and given lots of love and reassurance. The families in these situations are kept up to date with emails and photos of their pet. When a dog is taken in it becomes part of the family whether it comes from a loving home or has been abandoned. Either way, the goal is to nurture and love the dog to keep him happy and healthy.

The great folks at Gentle Ben’s have been working with giant breeds for 20 years. They are members of the Penn-Ohio Newfoundland Club and first began helping with their rescue coordinator. When that person moved out of state and there was no one to help with the Newfoundland rescue, they offered their services. They are also members of the Great Pyrenees Club of Western PA, and helped with that rescue program as well. Once they saw what a big demand there was for large breed rescue help, they decided to start their own rescue so they would not be limited to a particular breed.

When I asked Noreen how so many large breeds end up in rescue, the answer wasn’t surprising. As always, there are situations such as divorce, pregnancy or moving that make it impossible to keep a pet. But with giant breeds, there are many owners who just aren’t aware of the commitment and responsibilities that are required or who lose interest in their giant dog.

Gentle Ben’s works hard to match their dogs with the right family. Because the dogs are fostered in their home, they know everything about the dog and his habits such as chewing, possessive of toys or food, sleeping habits and how they behave when left home alone. But don’t think that just anyone gets to take one of these giant breeds home from Gentle Ben’s.

Many of these dogs have had difficult lives, and the rescuers know they need a stable and forever home. There is an adoption application that includes a request for photos of the home, yard and fencing as well as veterinarian and personal references. Once an application is approved, the family is invited to Gentle Ben’s to meet the dog. This is also a good time to bring any other dogs you have so that you can see how they interact. If all goes well, the new dog can go home with you that day!

Gentle Ben’s participates in local and national events including Horse Trading Days in Zelienople and Paws for the Cause. If you want to learn more about Gentle Ben’s, you can visit their Facebook page where you will be able to view photos and stories about the dogs they rescue. Noreen and her husband run the entire rescue and they are dedicated to what they do.

A chiropractor works on the dogs

A chiropractor works on the dogs

The love they have for these giant dogs is shown in the way they care for the dogs. As a contributor to the RPO blog, I am happy to share the following story in Noreen’s own words.

“We recently took in a 7 year old English Mastiff named Mega. He was turned into a shelter by his owners and was at least 50 lbs underweight. He was just skin and bones when we took him in. He has been to our vet several times and now thankfully his blood work is back to normal but he has digestive issues where he has not had a solid stool. We’ve tried probiotics, chicken and rice, yogurt, etc. and then just tonight someone saw his post on Facebook and contacted me. They have a 4 year old Great Dane with similar issues and she said she has tried several things as well. She has also tried multiple types of dog food and the one that has worked the best for her is CANIDAE, so that is what I am going to try.”

I am thrilled that fans of CANIDAE share their love of this great pet food with others, and I just know the food will work wonders for Mega too!

Photos courtesy of Gentle Ben’s Rescue

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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