(Updated 5-6-22) Can you find a Golden Retriever at a rescue?
Absolutely, we did, and so can you. You just need to know where to look.
The Golden Retriever has been one of the top ten dogs on the annual American Kennel Club’s list most popular dog breeds in the United States for decades.
This is not a surprise considering they are friendly, intelligent, fun loving dogs that get along with most everyone. Their smiling faces makes people want to smile too and they are great with kids.
Unfortunately due to their popularity the breed is also a favorite of puppy mills and backyard breeders.
These groups will breed dogs with the hope of selling them for a profit. Puppies that don’t sell may find themselves in shelters or rescues, if they are lucky.
Some may find themselves on the street.
Some breeders will also release breeding dogs when they are no longer able to have puppies. And of course there are always strays and mixed breeds from accidentally litters looking for a home.
Golden Retrievers may also find themselves in need of a home when their family dynamics change and their owners are no longer able to care for them.
All of this means there are plenty of opportunities to find a Golden Retriever to adopt.
We found our Golden Retriever by accident at a local city shelter. Charlie was picked up by animal control as a stray. Although the shelter held him in case his owners came looking, no one ever did. Charlie appeared to be a purebred Golden Retriever that was no longer wanted.
I say we found Charlie by accident because we only went to the shelter to learn about the adoption process. We were not ready to add a dog to our lives just yet. But Charlie was so full of life and way too big for the cage he was in. Plus he only had a few more days to find a home before his time was up. This was back in the days when dogs were put down if not adopted.
So we took him home and never looked back.
Where NOT TO LOOK for a Golden Retriever Rescue
Unfortunately when there is money involved there can also be scammers. So before dealing with any rescue group make sure to do your homework.
Most rescue groups will have a 501(c) 3) charity status. You can search on the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search website using the organization’s name and location to check on their status.
Also check to see if there is any feedback about the Rescue Group at these charity watch sites
Don’t forget to look at the Better Business Bureau site for to see if they have complaints.
Places like Facebook and Craig’s List are full of scammers trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Unless it is a reputable rescue Facebook page I would steer clear of these places.
I also would not pay for a dog before meeting them in person.
Another thing to watch out for is rescues that continually have a large numbers of purebred or designer puppies available for adoption, especially if they have higher adoption fees. Although some may be legitimate rescues that work to rescue dogs from puppy mills, some may also be puppy mills posing as rescue groups.
Where to Look for a Golden Retriever Rescue
Things have changed since the time we found Charlie. Breed specific rescues are now common and probably the best place to look for a Golden Retriever rather than the local shelter. This is because breed specific rescues work with shelters to remove dogs related to their preferred breed and place them in foster homes until an adopter is found.
This process allows the dogs a better chance at finding a good home.
The advantage for you is that most rescue sites have the dogs evaluated and health checked before they are available for adoption. The downside is that rescues are more selective with who they choose and may have a higher adoption fee. But remember the fees cover the cost to have the dog checked by a vet and bring them up to date on vaccines. Plus many rescues will have the dog spaded or neutered before they are adopted.
How did we come up with our list?
We looked for larger rescues that specialized in Golden Retrievers and had a high number of placements in the last 6 months. Both of this indicators should reflect that chances of them having a Golden Retriever rescue in the future.
Just remember this list is intended to get you started on your journey to finding a Rescue. You should not limit yourself to just these rescues. Petfinder.com is a great place to see what dogs are available near you at any given moment. As I mentioned above we found our Golden Retriever rescue at a local shelter.
Remember to do your research on any rescue you are interested in. Research should include but is not limited to phone interviews, meeting the volunteers and potential dogs in person and checking references of people who have adopted from the rescue in the past.
1. Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR)
Rescue Area: Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey
DVGRR has been around since 1993. They are a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that relies on donations, supporters, fundraising, and the proceeds from events to provide care for Goldens in their care.
While their name implies that they rescue Goldens, they also work with Golden mixes, Labrador Retrievers, Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Per their website DVGRR has been recognized for innovative work in rescuing and rehabilitating puppy mill breeder dogs with the Project Home Life program. They have also received a platinum wards from Guide Star for transparency.
DVGRR Contact Information:
2. RAGOM – Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest, Inc.
Rescue Area: Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Wisconsin
Next on our list is Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest, Inc. RAGOM has been helping Goldens in need of a home since 1985. Since then they have rehomed more than 9,000 Golden Retriever and Golden Retriever mixes.
The dogs come to them in a variety of ways including commercial breeder surrenders and dogs that needed to be rehomed. They even helped lead a team of rescue groups to save dogs China’s meat market. Like many others on this list they received a platinum award from Guide Star for transparency.
RAGOM Contact Information:
3. Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas (GRRNT)
Rescue Area: North Texas and the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW)
GRRNT began their mission in 1997 with the goal to rescue, and find homes for Goldens in need in the North Texas area. They also work to educate the general public about responsible pet ownership as well as the Golden Retriever breed.
They are an all-volunteer rescue organization. Dogs are kept in foster homes until they are adopted. They have a limited adoption area and rules regarding who can adopt from them. Please read through all the requirements to see if you are a fit. They also received a platinum award from Guide Star.
GRRNT Contact Information
4. Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, Inc.
Rescue Area: California
Homeward Bound is a 501(c) (3) organization which was started in 2000. They are an all-volunteer organization that focuses on Golden Retrievers, and Golden Mixes that are in need of rescue and re-homing.
Dogs come to Homeward Bound in a number of ways. The organization works with local shelters, they offer re-homing services for dog owners and will also pick up abandoned Golden wandering the streets when needed.
Dog are keep at the Sanctuary until they find a forever home. You can check out videos of their available dogs on their Facebook page.
5. Golden Retriever Rescue Resource
Rescue Area: Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
The Golden Retrievers Rescue Resource of Waterville, Ohio wins the prize for having the most Goldens available on Petfinder. Their dogs come to them in a number of ways including shelters, puppy mill rescues and owner surrenders.
This all volunteer 501 (c) (3) non-profit uses foster homes to house and care for their dogs until they are ready for their forever homes. All potential adopters must have a fenced in yard and home visit. To learn more about GRRR of Waterville, Ohio visit their website and Facebook page.
6. Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs Inc. (GRRAND Goldens)
- Greater Louisville, KY (including adjacent southern Indiana)
- Greater Lexington, KY
- Ohio Counties: Hamilton, Butler, Warren, some areas within Clermont county, Montgomery and Green
- Northern KY Counties: Boone, Kenton and Campbell
GRRAND Goldens was started in the 1990’s by members of the Greater Louisville Golden Retriever Club when they saw there was a need to help find homes for displaced and abused Goldens.
In 2017 GRRAND was gifted land and a working kennel which enabled them to care for dogs in training and those waiting for foster or adoptive homes. However, most dogs are cared for in volunteer foster homes throughout their service area.
Rescued Goldens come from local shelters or are owner surrenders. They have also participated in international rescue efforts. You can find their available dogs on their website.
To learn more about the organization please visit their site.
7. As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois
Rescue Area: Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and the southernmost counties of Wisconsin
As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois is a membership-based, volunteer-supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Their mission is to rescue, care and find homes for Goldens and golden mixes that are in need. You can find additional information including available dogs at their website.
8. Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue (GRCGLA Rescue)
Rescue Area: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura Counties.
Started by members of the Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles, GRCGLA works to help Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes find new loving homes.
GRCGLA Rescue does require a non-refundable $25 donation at the time your application is submitted. The donation is used to help offset the costs associated with caring for the dogs.
To learn more about them visit their website and Facebook page.
9. Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin (GRRoW)
Rescue Area: Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula
GRRoW is an all-volunteer, non-profit rescue dedicated to helping unwanted, abandoned or surrendered Goldens find a home. GRRoW’s uses volunteer foster to care for dogs while they are waiting for their new home. They do not have a kennel facility.
You can find additional information including available dogs at their website and Facebook page.
10. Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue
Rescue Area: Houston area
Golden Beginnings is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1999. They are a volunteer based group whose mission is to provide rescue and necessary veterinary medical care for unwanted, neglected, abused, homeless and displaced Golden Retrievers in the Houston, Texas area.
Like many of the other rescues on this list they require a non-refundable $25 application fee. You can find additional information including available dogs at their website and Facebook page.
11. Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR)
Rescue Area: Colorado
GRRR is a 501(c)(3) non –profit organization that helps rescue, rehab and rehome Goldens into loving forever homes. The mostly volunteer group keeps their dogs at their home base at Phoebe’s Place in Arvada, CO, though some may be in foster home.
Dogs come to GRRR in a variety of ways including owner surrenders and unwanted breeder dogs. But they also participate in a program to rescue Golden Retrievers from Turkey.
In order to adopt from GRRR you need to fill out an application first. Then once you are approved you can inquire about available dogs. GRRR states on their site that most dogs never make it to the web but instead are adopted out to pre-approved people. You can learn more about the process at their website.
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