How You Can help


Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster home for a needy Saint Bernard. Below you will find informaiton on what is required of our foster parents and our policies and procedures.

Please read through the entire page before filling out the foster home application.

Warning: Next to raising your children, this will be the toughest job you will ever love!

Mission Statement

The objectives of Colorado St. Bernard Rescue shall be to provide charitable and educational services in the form of:

  • Quality shelter and care of unwanted, neglected and/or abused St. Bernard and St. Bernard mixes until appropriate permanent homes can be found.
  • To provide education to potential and current St. Bernard owners about breed characteristics, proper care, health issues, training and behavior.
  • Only purebred St. Bernard and St. Bernard mixes will be accepted into the program. Dogs that are deemed unadoptable due to aggression, advanced age, serious illness or other major problems will be humanely euthanised. Under no circumstances will a dog that is aggressive or is a known biter, be placed. There are no exceptions to this policy.
  • You must accept the fact that we cannot save them all. We are not a no kill facility.

Foster Home Requirements

  • The foster home must agree to allow the foster dog to sleep in the house and act as a member of the family.
  • The foster home agrees to not adopt their first foster dog.
  • The foster home must be willing to accept an untrained foster dog and be willing to start the training of the foster dog. The foster home must also be willing to follow the training recommendations of Colorado St. Bernard Rescue.
  • The foster home must be willing to follow the feeding directions set forth by Colorado St. Bernard Rescue and provide food for the foster dog.
  • The foster home must be willing to adequately exercise and socialize the foster dog.
  • The foster home must be willing to keep the foster dogs appearance in a presentable condition.
  • The foster home must be willing to transport the foster dog to and from vet appointments as deemed necessary by Colorado St. Bernard Rescue.
  • The foster home must be willing to make the foster dog available for public viewing as deemed necessary by Colorado St. Bernard Rescue.
  • The foster home must have some dog experience.
  • Families new to fostering must be willing to participate in the CSBR Foster Mentor program.
  • If the foster family lives in a rental, written consent from the landlord must be provided.
  • If the foster family has other pets, all pets must be spayed or neutered and current on all vaccinations.
  • The foster family must have Internet access and be willing/able to participate in the CSBR email group.
  • The foster home must agree to sign a volunteer agreement stating that the foster home is willing to follow the above-mentioned requirements.


Where do rescued Saints come from? This is our most frequently asked question. Most rescued Saints are either from owner surrenders for various reasons or from shelters.

Placeability For a St. Bernard or St. Bernard mix to be placed by our program, it must be considered a place able animal. While it is our goal to place as many St. Bernards into homes as possible, we do not want to place dogs with poor or aggressive temperaments, or serious or chronic health problems. We cannot take the moral and ethical responsibility of placing a dog that may be either a danger to, or a financial burden to, a new family.

All dogs accepted into the program MUST be approved by the rescue coordinator/president. (Note: if a St. Bernard or St. Bernard mix is accepted into the program and determined to be unadoptable, it will be euthanised. Our policy allows us to accept an unadoptable dog only if we feel that the current owner may place the dog inappropriately into a new home).

To be considered placeable, the dog must meet the following criteria:

  1. To have a good, stable temperament. Dogs that are overly aggressive, known biters, or have other serious temperament problems will not be accepted into the program for placement. If the dog is not accepted due to temperament, it is strongly suggested that the releasing party be made fully aware of the implied liability in their placement of a problem dog. Solutions should be offered to the releasing home, ranging from training to euthanasia. A vicious dog should never be placed into a new home.
  2. All dogs accepted into the program must be St. Bernards or St. Bernard mixes. (Subject to space availability)
  3. Be in acceptable condition. As a guideline, a dog will be considered place able if it can be returned to a normal condition and maintain a normal life and lifespan through proper care and feeding and if a medical condition can be corrected for a reasonable cost.


Dogs of questionable place ability will be accepted into the program if it is determined that a lack of intervention on our part may cause a potential problem. The dog may or may not be placed, depending on the specific problem and the evaluation of the dog. If the dog has a temperament problem and deemed to be unadoptable it will be euthanised.

Found Dogs, StraysSt. Bernards that have been found by an individual party, or roaming as strays, or are abandoned may not be accepted directly into the program. These dogs shall be handled as follows:

  1. If appropriate, the representative may capture a loose-roaming or stray dog whose ownership is unknown. It must then be turned in to a local animal shelter or animal control agency, and that shelters and counties policies must be adhered to. When the stray hold has been lifted, the shelter may, at their discretion, release the dog to Colorado St. Bernard Rescue.
  2. If a dog is reported as abandoned, the representative shall contact the proper animal control agency within that county and must follow their guidelines. After any holds have been lifted the dog may be released to Colorado St. Bernard Rescue.
  3. Any strays or abandoned dogs accepted into the program must have the appropriate releases from the shelter completed and placed in their files.


Note: It is VERY important that we follow these procedures. Strays and abandoned dogs can only be accepted directly from shelters and animal control agencies after the appropriate holds and paperwork have been completed. There can be serious legal ramifications if these procedures are not followed.

Dogs at Shelters

Colorado St. Bernard Rescue will give first priority and space to dogs in shelters; especially shelters with high kill ratios. If the shelter will not release a dog to rescue, we can/will send in private adopters on behalf of rescue.

Our policy for shelter dogs will be as follows:

  1. Upon contact, attempt to determine place ability of the dog. When at all possible, view the dog in person to assure that it is a St. Bernard or St. Bernard mix, in acceptable health and has a stable temperament. Also be certain to get the name of the shelter contact person, and if possible, their direct phone line number.
  2. If possible, try to get the background information on the dog -owner release, if so, why? A stray, where it was picked up, etc.
  3. Determine how long the shelter will hold the dog. Encourage them to hold the dog as long as possible until rescue can arrange to have the dog picked up. When possible have the shelter do the neuter or spay, as it is usually cheaper and easier. Find out what the shelter’s policies are to release the dog to CSBR. That way we know in advance what the cash outlay will be.

The St. Bernard in foster care

St. Bernards brought into foster care should receive basic training as far as good house manners and obedience are concerned. Sit, Stay, No, No Jumping and “go outside” should be part of the dog’s “vocabulary” before he/she leaves foster care. Learning to walk on a leash should be accomplished – if a basic obedience class is started, all the better. Dogs should be introduced to the crate if needed. Identification tags should be on the dogs at all times – tags are available through Linda Wagner. Foster homes should try to socialize the dog in as many situations as possible, as long as common sense and good judgments are utilized. Any problems should be addressed with Linda Wagner.

While in foster care, the dog will need to be groomed and exercised as necessary. A good quality food will need to be provided – we suggest Premium Edge, Innova, Canidae, Eukanuba, Iams, Nutromax, BilJac, etc. Puppy food should never be fed to a St. Bernard puppy.

Common sense and caution should be used when introducing the St. Bernard to new people, children, dogs and other pets as well as to new situations. It’s not a bad idea to keep the St. Bernard on lead in the home for the first few days until you get a good idea of his/her personality and temperament.

The foster St. Bernard will be on lead at all times in unfenced areas.

When potential adoptive parents come to meet the dog. Careful observation of the people involved will help you determine if they would be a good match for the dog. Discuss all the good AND BAD aspects of St. Bernard ownership. Especially with regards to that particular St. Bernard’s quirks and personality.

The rescue carries insurance for third-party incidents – this means if the dog bites someone outside of the rescue or foster family, we are covered. Otherwise your homeowners insurance may provide coverage for your family – the foster agreement you sign states that you agree to accept responsibility for any actions related to fostering a St. Bernard for CSBR. Please be aware that if the dog does bite someone, he/she will be euthanised – although it is a rare circumstance, it is a sad reality of doing rescue.

Fostering is generally a very positive experience, and your responsible actions will result in the placement of many dogs that would otherwise be destroyed.

We try to place all dogs into foster care with necessary vet work already done, but occasionally it won’t be. Once the St. Bernard is in foster care, arrangements should be made by the foster home to take the dog to one of our required vets.

The vet check will include:

  • General exam
  • Vaccinations
  • Heartworm check
  • Fecal check

Any other medical concerns should be addressed at this visit. Plans will also be made for spay/neuter if necessary

Veterinary procedure that may be authorized by foster home:

  1. Treatment for illness such as respiratory infection
  2. Treatment for ear infection
  3. Treatment for internal/external parasites (for ticks, fleas and demodectic mange. See below)
  4. Treatment of injuries not requiring major surgery. (Such as stitching a laceration)
  5. Diagnosis/treatment of severe diarrhea/vomiting
  6. X-rays to confirm a possible bloat-GDV.

Please notify Linda Wagner as soon as possible.

Veterinary Procedures requiring prior authorization by Linda Wagner ONLY.

  • Pins to set broken leg
  • Removal of an eye
  • Entropion surgery
  • Spinal or hip x-rays
  • Cruciate ligament repair
  • Generalized Demodectic Mange
  • Removal of tooth or teeth
  • Removal of lumps
  • Dental work
  • Orthopedic surgeries
  • Heartworm treatment

Rescue will not approve payment to a veterinarian for:

  • Dew claw removal (except in the case of severe injury)
  • Surgery for bloat-GDV
  • Surgery for hip dysplasia
  • Surgery for TPLO

As a foster parent, you will need to either be skilled in basic dog care or be willing to learn. Most ailments can and will be treated in your home or will wait until the vet opens. Very seldom will an emergency vet trip be required. You must contact Nina Washington, Linda or Brent Wagner, or Matt Cashman before an emergency vet trip can be authorized. Failure to do so can result in your being responsible for the vet bill.

For your convenience, we will include some basic home solutions to the most common emergency room trips, an idea of what things you might want to keep on hand for your doggie first aid kit and some easy to use home remedies that will hold you until the vet opens.

A final thought before you finish this page:

Our ability to rescue dogs is entirely dependent on how many foster homes we have that are currently active. We are actively seeking families that can foster a dog and after it finds a home, then foster another dog.

Please consider opening your heart and home to one of the many Saints that need our help. They will thank you for it.

So how do you become a foster parent? You start by filling out the foster parent application. You can fill out the online application by clicking Foster Home Application below.

Foster Home Application

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