Years ago, I had a Saint Bernard. He was so incredibly adorable when he was a puppy, and quickly grew to an incredibly adorable 220lbs of sugar, with a head the size of a watermelon. No kidding. A watermelon.

He was so huge, but he was so sweet! He was the type of dog that would watch someone break into the house and lead them right to the jewelry box, all the while expecting some belly rubs. But, did I mention 220lbs?!

These dogs are a special breed for a special person that has the room to handle them! There is a lot of drool and shedding involved. I’m pretty sure there are ponies out there smaller than he was.

While most people are familiar with hearing about the Humane Society or Animal Friends, there is a spot dedicated to these huge dogs right in Beaver County, nestled snug in the hills between New Brighton and Zelienople. This spot is called Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue, and these dogs are amazing.

Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue

I was able to speak with Noreen, one of the folks running the rescue, about what they do and how they do it. She explained that they take in Saint Bernards, Great Danes, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees.

All of these breeds are massive. Some of them get to well over 200lbs. That is a LOT of dog!! But the good news is that these breeds are typically so sweet and gentle, and make great family members!

If someone has one of these giant breed dogs and for whatever reason can’t keep it, Gentle Ben’s is there to help.

From divorce to relocation, to the lack of resources to keep a pet and even sadly an owner’s death, there are many reasons why someone would have to part with their buddy. It is a sad time for everyone, the dog included, but no need to worry. Noreen and her family welcome the dog into their home and get them socialized with the other pooches, and she gives them a great home until they are adopted by another loving family.

Noreen also said that Gentle Ben’s works with Humane Societies in Beaver and Lawrence Counties, as well as Animal Friends, to take these huge guys in. She will foster them as long as it takes for them to get adopted, which can be anywhere from weeks to years.

At the current time, they have 21 dogs in their care. Twenty one massive dogs.


Adopting From Gentle Ben’s

So, you decide that you want one of these big guys. Now what? Well, Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue works a little differently than the normal rescue centers you are used to.

Because of their size, Noreen basically prescreens any potential adoptees and fits them with a dog that suits them. She will not place a dog that she doesn’t feel is a good fit for a family. Instead of going to a shelter and looking at the dogs, after you submit your adoption application online, Noreen will screen it and make you a match.

Meaning, if you have children and another pet, you want to make sure the dog you get is ok with that situation. The last thing you want is to upset a 200lb furball, amiright?! But seriously, let the people that know the dogs be the match makers!

On average, they successfully place around 50 dogs each year. They know what they are doing, folks.


Learn More About Gentle Ben’s

Gentle Ben’s has a very informative website, detailing their adoption process and showing their adoptable pets as well as successful adoption stories. You can check it out here.

This is a non-profit dog rescue that relies on the generosity of big dog lovers, so if you have the means, they have a link on their website to donate, either via PayPal or snail mail. They also have a very active Facebook page with a lot of really stinking adorable videos so be sure to check them out!!

Anastasia Beaverhausen is a married, stay-at-home mom of three kids. She was born, raised and still lives in downtown Beaver. Her main goals in life are making sure everyone lives through the week, the house doesn’t end up condemned, and teaching two (so far) small people how to “people” properly. In her free time, Ana enjoys running, knitting and gardening, although free time is a pretty tough thing to come by these days. Follow her on twiter @bcBeaverhausen!