St Bernard Rescue Flourishes in Colorado






Proud to Call the Rocky Mountain Region Home

Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue is dedicated to saving the world 150 pounds at a time.”
— Brian McLain
DENVER, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, May 23, 2024 / -- Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue (CSBR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1997 that is dedicated to rehoming unwanted, abandoned, and abused Saint Bernards and Saint Bernard mixes. According to its website, the organization is dedicated to “saving the world 150 pounds at a time.”

Brian and Nicole McLain, both Colorado natives from the Denver metro area, took over management of the all-volunteer dog rescue organization in 2019. One may ask – why Saint Bernards? The McLain’s answer is simple. “Because they are awesome, of course!” Nicole McLain fell in love with giant breeds when she was a kid. “My aunt had Saint Bernards, and I grew up with Great Pyrenees. Big slobbery and hairy dogs have always been my jam,” she said.

Brian McLain was a bit less enthusiastic about big dogs. “I’m more of a big dog convert,” he shared. “I had some big dog trauma when I was young. But when Nicole and I were deciding on our first dog as a couple, I met a 7-month-old puppy named Hemingway (Hemi) and fell in love. Now I wouldn’t have anything but a big dog.”

In 1997, the founder of CSBR, Nina Washington, started the rescue because she loved Saints, and at the time, there were no giant breed rescues in Colorado. She saw Saints in shelters sitting for long periods and knew she had to do something to help.

CSBR has found permanent homes for more than 800+ dogs since 1997. “Placements by month vary widely, but we average 80 dogs a year,” said McLain. “Our intake is highly dependent on funding and the availability of appropriate foster homes for example, a Saint recovering from orthopedic surgery needs a one-level home, it’s not like you can carry them down the stairs to the yard,” she explained.

As a dog rescue team that relies on all volunteers, CSBR, averages about ten active dog foster homes at any given time. “All of our adoptions are based here in CO,” said McLain. “However, we are able to rescue dogs from anywhere, including a good number from Texas and a few from across the border. We take in Saints, mixed breeds (honorary Saints), Shepard and Aussie mixes, as well as some Great Dane mixes. We also have a few out-of-state foster volunteers who help transport dogs to Colorado.”

“Our foster care team is extremely important. They help evaluate the dogs. How are they with other dogs, cats, children. They provide us with safe and verified experience to pass along to adopters,” shared McLain.

The reasons people surrender Saints vary widely. For some, it’s a dog size issue, and there isn’t enough space in the home for dogs that have grown larger than expected. “There’s a culture of a generation wanting to move to live in condos that aren't suitable for most large breeds,” explained McLain. “Additionally, as a giant breed, Saints have unique medical needs that people aren't always aware of and can’t afford, or sometimes, as people get older, their safety is a concern with the size of the dog.”

Sometimes Saints surrendered to the rescue go quickly to a new home and it becomes like a Summer Camp scenario where the dogs get new friends and fun situations. But then there was Tank. “A Colorado shelter asked us to take him, as he was surrendered there,” said McLain. “He had never been outside of his previous owner's home and was completely shut down. Then he arrived at his foster and absolutely refused to leave the house for 3 weeks. It was very difficult to get him into the veterinarian’s office,” she continued.

“We started him working with Get Your Sit Together, an amazing behaviorist, and he started making real progress. Tank’s foster ended up adopting him after about five months. She brought him to an event a few months later, and the minute I saw him walk in the door (still timid but absolutely trusting his mom to take care of him) I just burst into tears with happiness,” said McLain. “Tank passed away a few months ago from leukemia, but his family has continued to foster for us and be very involved. I am so glad I was part of his happily ever after.”

CSBR’s 2022 income was close to $148,000.00, the majority of which was spent on the everyday costs of running the rescue and veterinarian expenses. 100% of donations stay in the rescue for the dogs. “No one who works with the rescue gets paid. This is a labor of love,” said McLain. “We are very fortunate that our supporters are fantastic about sending us supplies that we need, and we do everything we can to keep admin costs down - the majority of those costs are associated with the website and licensing.”

“We don't receive government funding, and as an all-volunteer organization, all donations go to help the dogs. We were thrilled to raise more than $4,500 at our recent Bark &Bowl event.”

Those interested in adopting a Saint from CSBR are highly encouraged to first become a foster family and meet the dog where they are in life. “As a society we put a lot of pressure on dogs to be perfect, but often I think we need to consider what they actually need and how we can provide that to them,” said McLain.

You can contact Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue at 720-981-1700 or via email at Visit them on the web at and follow them on Facebook at

Everyone in the Denver, Colorado area is invited to the Slobber & Wine event on July 25 in Thornton. Tickets will be available in June. Drink wine with the dogs. Enjoy a silent auction. Tickets are $25 for two glasses of wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Brian McLain
Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue
+1 720-981-1700
email us here