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You’re searching for a Golden Retriever Rescue and you know you want to adopt a Golden Retriever. You also know that you want to adopt from a rescue group with a legitimate foundation. So you start your search, but as you browse through the options you can see that not all Golden Retriever Rescue organizations are the same. You need to keep in mind that most Rescue groups are small 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations operating out of their homes. Because of this, there’s a lack of reputable reviews for most of these organizations. Well, we’ve done some of the work for you.
Things to Consider When Adopting a Golden Retriever From a Rescue
Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds available today, and it’s not hard to guess why! Goldens are friendly, loving, beautiful, and incredibly gentle with people of all ages.
However, rescuing a golden retriever from a golden retriever rescue is a bit different from adopting a young puppy from a breeder. There are things you should consider before adopting a golden retriever at all, too. We’ll go over all the reasons why in this guide.
Rescuing vs. Adopting a Puppy
Rescuing a golden retriever while it’s still young and impressionable is the closest experience you’ll get to adopt one from a breeder. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll receive the same quality of puppy, either. Usually, dogs that are surrendered to rescues or rescued off the street don’t have any breeding or parental history attached to them.
Typically, this wouldn’t be a problem – many people take pride in rescuing dogs that need homes. However, it isn’t always possible to tell what medical conditions a puppy will have when they grow older. You won’t be able to determine what the puppy will grow up to look like, either; you might think you’re adopting a golden retriever from a golden retriever puppy rescue, but it could be a mix or a different breed altogether!
To be fair, these problems can be inherent with irresponsible breeders and not just the golden retriever rescue, but let’s operate under the assumption that you would be adopting from an ideal, responsible breeder. With a breeder-quality puppy, you have a good idea of what you’ll get from an appearance and a health standpoint. In comparison, a rescue puppy has no such guarantees.
That aside, though, the puppy’s temperament is where you can expect a relatively blank slate. While breeders select for personality to an extent, a dog’s temperament is also very dependent on learned behaviors. As long as you adopt a puppy while it’s young, their character will be shaped mainly by how you train and socialize them.
All in all, rescuing a golden retriever puppy has several benefits over rescuing an adult, such as:
- Malleable personality and temperament
- Mixed-pet households can acclimate them to dogs and other animals early
- Low chance of preexisting trauma
Rescuing an Adult Golden Retriever
Adult golden retriever adoption is an entirely different experience to adopting a puppy. There are several benefits to saving an adult over rescuing a puppy, including:
- You’ll know the dog’s adult appearance
- You may be able to tell whether it’s a mixed breed or a purebred golden retriever
- You may be able to identify medical issues and predispositions
- You’ll have a good idea of the dog’s adult temperament
- May already be potty trained and taught basic commands
Of course, while rescuing an adult golden has several benefits, it has a lot of downsides, too. For example, adult rescue dogs (and even some puppies) have sometimes been through past traumatic experiences, whether through irresponsible previous owners or because they’ve been abandoned and living wild. While goldens are usually gentle, happy dogs, they can even have issues like aggression or fear.
Adult Goldens can come with other harmful behaviors, too. If an adult golden retriever wasn’t appropriately trained as a puppy, it may have issues with potty training, bad leash etiquette, destructive behaviors, or lack of respect towards humans. While they can be trained out of these behaviors, it’s much harder to un-train an adult dog than train a puppy in the first place.
While few people decide to adopt elderly dogs, keep in mind that elderly dogs are plentiful in rescues and shelters nationwide. If you’re looking for a specific breed, you may have more luck finding an elderly dog than an adult or puppy. You might even be able to look for a “golden retriever rescue near me” if you’re willing to adopt an older dog.
However, as you might expect, elderly dogs often have more health issues, and their behavioral problems may be worse, too. As the saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” While this isn’t entirely true, they require different training methods and more patience than young dogs.
Owning a Golden Retriever
Before you consider rescuing a golden retriever from a golden retriever rescue or purchasing one from a breeder, you should think about whether a golden retriever is the right dog for you at all. Too many dogs end up in rescues and shelters every year because they don’t fit in well with their adopted families. While golden retrievers are incredibly happy and flexible dogs, they’re not appropriate for everyone.
Golden retrievers were originally bred as hunting dogs that could also function as companions. These dogs were bred to have incredibly soft mouths for retrieving ducks and other game after a kill, even in water or marshy areas. As such, they’re devoted, gentle, friendly, and often very smart.
To put it simply, golden retrievers are people-pleasers. They love to spend as much time with their people as possible, and because they aim to please, they’re often straightforward to train, too. They’re incredibly food motivated as well!
However, this people-pleasing personality means that they often don’t do well as solo dogs. If left alone, they can get very lonely and bored, which can lead to unwanted behaviors. They usually do well with families with children and other pets, but you may want to look at a more independent breed if the dog is alone most of the day.
Golden retrievers are famous for their long, beautiful, golden coats! This coat requires regular brushing to stay healthy and beautiful. If you’re not prepared to spend several hours brushing your dog every week, consider one with a short, low-maintenance coat.
If introduced to other pets at a young age, golden retrievers often do well with all sorts of animals. However, this doesn’t mean that their hunting and retrieving instincts won’t give them trouble! Goldens can be easily distracted by wild animals, and this could lead to them getting lost or separated from their owners. Let them off-leash in unfenced areas with caution.
Not all golden retrievers are OK with other pets, either, as some have stronger hunting and retrieval instincts than others. If you’re not prepared to deal with these instincts, make sure to either look for a young, trainable puppy or a breed that’s less likely to exhibit these instincts.
Choosing a Golden Retriever Rescue
Your first consideration should be the location. After all, adopting a Golden Retriever from your home state will prove less challenging than adopting a dog on the other side of the country. Once you’ve selected a couple of Rescue groups to approach, make sure they have reasonable Goldens to match you with. After this, grill the groups for knowledge. Ensure that you’re dealing with experts. Refrain from dealing with Rescue groups who lack insight into their dogs. They should be able to tell you when the dogs were last vaccinated and whether or not they are spayed or neutered. When you’re comfortable with your chosen Rescue, schedule a meet-and-greet with their dogs. Oh, and more thing, some Golden Rescue leaders grow attached to their dogs and have difficulty parting ways. So make sure that they are as comfortable with you as you are with them.
Golden Retriever Rescue groups and organizations differ in many ways, so gather all information before committing to a Golden Retriever adoption group of any kind. To aid your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best Golden Retriever Rescues in the United States. All of the Golden Rescues on this page have been prescreened online. We collected Google reviews and Facebook feedback to come up with this list. In the future, we’ll be adding interviews as well.
1. Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary
Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc. is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 organization in Elverta, California. They rescue and heal displaced, abandoned, and homeless Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes, regardless of their current health conditions. This rescue pairs loving homes through their adoption program and provides a lifetime sanctuary for goldens that can’t be adopted.
Homeward Bound has rehomed over 9,500 dogs on 8 acres of countryside. Their dogs have ample room for running, playing, and training. This Golden Rescue will continue to serve as a standardized rescue model. They strive to be an industry leader in rescue, sanctuary, and education.
2. Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue
Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue is a Golden Rescue in Reinholds, Pennsylvania. Since 1993, this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has placed over 5,000 abandoned Golden Retrievers and other dogs into appropriate homes throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and beyond.
This Golden Rescue Group has been acknowledged for their Innovative contributions to rescuing puppy mill breeder dogs. Furthermore, in 2009 they launched the Project Home Life Program to transition these puppies to loving families.
3. As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois
As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois is a 501(c)(3) Rescue in McHenry, Illinois. This rescue group specializes in Golden Retriever adoption and educates the public on proper dog care. They are a well-structured organization, composed of a board of directors and strong volunteer support.
Since 2003, this Rescue has saved over 2,300 golden retrievers. At any given time, they hold approximately 35-40 dogs of various ages in their care. As Good as Gold ensures that every dog under their care gets a second chance at finding the right home.
4. Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies
Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR) is a well-reviewed Rescue in Arvada, Colorado. They are a majority, volunteer-based 501(c)(3) organization that places abandoned golden retrievers in loving homes. This Rescue puts an emphasis on the rescue, placement, and public awareness of proper Golden Retriever adoption.
Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies rehomes approximately 300 Golden Retrievers every year. If you’re looking to adopt a Golden Retriever, they will help you find the perfect match.
5. Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest
Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest is a well-structured Golden Rescue in Minnetonka, Minnesota. This non-profit-organization finds forever homes for Golden Retrievers and Golden Mixes.
Since 1985, this Rescue has rescued more than 9,000 golden retrievers and golden mixes. They continue to grow and develop their dog adoption movement to the rest of the Midwest.
6. Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs
Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs is a Golden Rescue in Louisville, Kentucky. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, they have rehomed over 4,000 dogs and receive approximately 300 Golden Retrievers per year. Their mission is to rehabilitate and rehome these dogs appropriately.
This Golden Retriever Rescue in Kentucky loves and houses all dogs, so they have a beautiful, diverse group of adoptable dogs.
7. Golden Endings Golden Retriever Rescue
Golden Endings Golden Retriever Rescue (GEGRR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Columbus, Ohio. This Golden Rescue is staffed by volunteers. Potential adopters are screened with a written application and telephone interview. All of their Goldens are spayed or neutered, tested for heartworms, and receive annual booster vaccinations.
GEGRR Goldens come from dog shelters, veterinarians, animal control, or were found roaming the streets. Their mission is to find suitable homes with loving families for every dog they take under their wing. They only have a few healthy reviews online, so be thorough when considering this rescue organization. You can contact them by phone or email.
8. Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, Inc.
Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, Inc. (AHGRRS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Capon Bridge, West Virginia. This Rescue has Golden Retrievers of all ages available for loving homes. All of their dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and have received heartworm prevention.
Almost Heaven is dedicated to giving every Golden Retriever a proper, loving home. They only have a few nice reviews online, but they appear to be a credible organization with good intentions. You can contact this Golden Rescue by phone or email. If you want to visit their headquarters, you’ll need to make an appointment first.
9. Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue
Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue (GBGRR) is a non-profit organization in Houston, Texas. They were founded in 1999 and are staffed solely by volunteers who are devoted to providing care for unwanted, neglected, or abused Golden Retrievers. In their first 15 years, they rescued more than 4,000 Golden Retrievers and have received awards and grants for their efforts.
Golden Beginnings strives to place their Goldens in loving home. They have quite a few healthy reviews online and seem like a very credible organization. You can contact them by email or telephone. Alternatively, you can send them a message from their website.
10. Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue
Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue (SAGRR) is a 501(c)(3) organization in Oro Valley, Arizona. This Golden Rescue was founded by a group of experienced volunteers who focus their efforts on finding proper, loving homes for Goldens. I couldn’t find any information on whether their dogs are spayed or neutered, or whether that have received vaccinations, so be thorough when approaching this Golden Retriever Rescue.
Their mission is to rescue and rehome adoptable Golden Retrievers in Southern Arizona. They only have two Google reviews online, but this group seems quite composed and professional. You can reach them by telephone or you can message them through their website.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you narrow down your options for the right Golden Retriever Rescue. If you didn’t see a Rescue on this list that you feel should be considered, please make your suggestion in the comments below.
If you decide to rescue a Golden Retriever, you may want to research pet insurance options to make sure your dog is covered medically. Here is a guide on pet insurance for Golden Retrievers if you would like to learn more.