Are you ready?
The first question to ask yourself is if you are ready to get a dog. Owning a dog of any breed is a huge responsibility and should not be undertaken without adequate thought and planning. Is your fence completed and secure? What will you do with the dog when you’re at work or running errands? How will you exercise the dog? Do you have a vet? Where will the dog stay when you go on a trip? These and other issues need to be planned for in advance. Please make sure you are ready before applying as it is frustrating and time consuming for our volunteers to call and schedule someone to meet a dog only to have them decide that they’re not ready. Additionally, owning a dog is expensive and we want our adopters to understand that we expect them to make a life time commitment to their dog including providing necessary vet care in the event their dog becomes injured or ill. You can expect to spend $800 or more per year for food, toys, grooming and routine vet care. Boarding a dog while you’re on vacation is another expense that needs to be planned for. Should the dog become ill or injured and require surgery, vet expenses for that incident alone might run well over $2000.
An excellent article to help you decide if you are ready to get a dog was written by Robin Tierney from the Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue. If you would like to read that article, click here.
What is the best dog for you?
Many people think that they need to start with a puppy or very young dog because otherwise the dog will not bond to them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. EGRR has successfully placed dogs as old as 12 years of age who thoroughly and completely bonded with their new family.
If you are home at least half the day and are committed to regular, daily exercise and training of your dog, then a young dog could be right for you. However, if you are gone 8-10 hours a day, you should adopt an older dog – preferably at least 6yr of age – who will be content to lie around while you’re gone instead of re-landscaping your backyard or tearing up your furniture. Crates are a wonderful tool which we highly recommend but in our opinion a dog should not be regularly crated for over 6 hours at a time.
If you still think a puppy might be right for you and certainly they are right for some people, we would recommend you work with a reputable breeder because Rescue rarely gets dogs under the age of 9 months. To begin your search for the right breeder and the right pup for you, you should first educate yourself about the various aspects of buying a puppy. A good place to start is the Golden Retriever Club of America’s website www.grca.org. Here you will learn about health issues and clearances, what AKC registration really means, questions you should ask the breeder and other very valuable information. To help you choose a local breeder who is reputable, you should go to the puppy section on the Evergreen Golden Retriever Club’s website at www.egrc.org. Be aware that the average cost of a Golden Retriever puppy from a reputable breeder in our area is $1000. This is money well spent, however, because this puppy will come from parents with the proper clearances, will have been correctly socialized and vetted by the breeder and a contract that protects all parties. Please do remember that a 10 month old Rescue dog is still very much a puppy and does have the advantage that he or she is old enough to begin basic obedience training soon after you bring them home.
Although we see fewer adopters willing to consider only a female dog, it still occurs and although we respect every applicants decisions as to what will work best for their situation, we do want these decisions to be based on fact, not fiction. Invariably, when our volunteers discuss gender requests with our applicants, these requests are often based on old wives’s tales, not fact. You can read a short but very good article about this on the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue’s website by clicking here.
What is the ideal home?
Our main criteria when it comes to an adoptive home is that the dog will be a respected and loved member of the family living and sleeping inside with his family. Dogs are pack animals and you are their pack so they need to sleep, eat and interact with their pack whenever possible. Although a fenced yard is ideal because it makes pottying and play time much easier, we will work with a suitable adopter who is not fenced to find the right dog for them. Being a sporting breed that generally loves to chase birds, squirrels, neighbors cats and a very social breed that loves to visit the neighbor, not every Golden will be successful in an unfenced situation so it will likely take longer to find a dog if you’re not fenced. Kennel runs are a good way to keep the dog safe when outside but will now allow the dog a means of running and exercising so this needs to be planned for.
If you or members of your family have allergies do not get a Golden Retriever as there are breeds that work better in this situation. Similarly, if you are a fastidious house keeper, you should probably consider a breed with short hair because the beautiful long Golden hair will find its way into every nook and cranny of your home.
About EGRR’s dogs
We place approximately 60 Golden Retrievers in new homes every year and since statistics are kept for these dogs, we know that roughly 60% of these are males. We place dogs of all ages but the majority of our dogs are in the 1-6 years old. Most were originally purchased from backyard breeders so although healthy and fit and beautiful to us, their physical conformation deems them pet quality. If you are looking for a dog with really good conformation or a particular “look”, we would recommend that you work with a reputable breeder.
Most of our dogs come to us from shelters at the request of the shelter or from families who are no longer able to keep their dog. Many of the dogs that enter our program have not had any formal training so if you are looking for a trained dog involving little work on your part, Rescue is not for you. Our dogs are wonderful dogs but they are often a “diamond in the rough” as they are frequently under socialized and far too often neglected when they come to us. Our foster homes get them cleaned up and started on their road to recovery but this commitment has to continue with their adoptive family. This commitment must include formal obedience training in addition to love, attention, structure, a safe environment and a healthy diet.
All of our dogs are examined by a veterinarian unless we have veterinary records indicating that they have been examined within the past 9 months. If shots and /or worming are due, this will be taken care of prior to adoption or arrangements made with the adopter to have it done at their vet. Any surgical procedure deemed necessary by one of our supporting vets will be performed prior to adoption. If the dog has not yet been surgically sterilized, this will also done whenever possible prior to adoption. Copies of all medical records will be given to the adopter along with other adoption information.
We are fortunate to have a waiting list of people wanting to adopt a Golden which allows us to fairly quickly place a dog once he is deemed by his foster home to be ready to be adopted. The average time an applicant waits to get a call on a dog is usually only weeks but it is impossible to accurately predict the wait time because it depends on so many factors. Among those are the age and gender the applicant is requesting, their home and yard situation, their previous dog experience, the ages of children in the family and if they have any other pets. It also depends on the ages, etc of the dogs that Rescue has available. One week we might have several young dogs and weeks later we may take in several older dogs. The average length of time a dog is in foster care is 3 weeks during which time his/her behavior and temperament is assessed and the dog’s medical needs are seen to. Believing that the right match is the most important issue, we make a list of criteria that we feel are necessary in insure success in the placement of each dog. With those criteria in mind, our Placement Team then reviews our waiting list for those families who meet these criteria. If several people/families are good matches, we call the applicant who has been waiting the longest. The volunteer from the Placement Team will tell the applicant everything she knows about the dog and answer all questions. If the applicant is still interested after this discussion, they will be given the phone number for the foster home so that they can call them and ask them questions and arrange to meet the dog. Details of this will be discussed with the Placement Team member at the time of the phone call.
We have a policy of full disclosure and will tell the adopter everything we know about the dog’s behavior and health history. Although very rare, some behavior or medical problems will not show themselves for months or longer and could not have been predicted when the dog was in our care. As lifetime stewards of every dog we place, EGRR must be notified if an adopter is unable for any reason to keep a dog adopted from us. We strongly encourage all adopters to have their new dog checked out by their own vet to establish a baseline and to confirm the health of the dog.
How to Apply
If after reading the previous sections you feel that adopting a Golden Retriever is the right thing for you, then you can download an Adoption Application by clicking here. Fill it out and send it in with the $10.00 application fee to the address on the application. You may not submit it on-line as we are not set up for that and require a signed copy. Once it is received, you will receive via e-mail a Dear Applicant letter from us which will outline the adoption process in detail. You should receive this letter within 2 weeks from the time you mail your letter. Please send us an e-mail or call our message line if you do not receive it in a timely manner remembering that we are all volunteers. If you prefer that we send the letter via U.S. Mail, please make a note on your adoption application.
Cost of Adoption
To determine what our adoption fee would be we looked at multiple factors including expenses and likelihood of placing the dog and what other Rescue groups in and out of our area charge. Our average cost per dog is over $500. Therefore, we have established the following adoption fee structure: $500 for puppies 0-3 months, $400 for puppies 4-6 months, $300 for adult dogs. Seniors and special needs dogs will be handled on a case by case basis. Some shelters charge less but many are now charging as much as $250 for a Golden.
Due to the fact that we have a waiting list of people wanting to adopt a Golden, we rarely post dogs on our website. However, if our waiting list is short or we have a dog who has special needs or whom we don’t have the right match for on our waiting list, we will post them here. You might want to go to the Adoptable Dogs page to see if there is a dog there that interests you.