What You Need to Know Before You Apply
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 are 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 are 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 over $1,200 per year (that is $100 each month) 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 into the thousands of dollars which is the reason that many people buy pet insurance.
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 puppies or even dogs under the age of 12 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 over $1600. 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 the breeder will have a contract that protects all parties. Please do remember that 1-2 yr. 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 or a male 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’ tales, not fact. You can read a short but very good article about this on the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue’s website: Myth-Versus-Reality-Gender-and-Age
Will you provide the ideal home?
Beyond proper health care and training, one of 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 not 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 used to take in 60 or more Golden Retrievers every year, but over the past 5 years, these numbers have been gradually decreasing. In 2016 we accepted only 12 dogs into our program and most were over the age of 5. Additionally, many had medical issues that needed to be addressed before they were ready for placement. Most of our dogs come to us from families who are no longer able to keep their dog. Rarely does a shelter turn a dog over to Rescue preferring to place the dog themselves.
All of our dogs are examined by a veterinarian unless we have veterinary records indicating that they have been examined within an acceptable period. We consult with our local veterinarians as to whether our dogs are up to date on veterinary recommended care including regionally appropriate vaccines. 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. The average time a dog is in foster care can be as little as a few weeks to as long as many months depending on behavior, temperament and the dog’s age and medical needs.
Role of Rescue and Role of Applicants to Adopt
EGRR is an animal welfare organization where the goal is to find the right home for the benefit of the dog being rescued. Applicants to adopt are absolutely necessary participants for us to meet this goal. Applicants to adopt accept that their role is to assist in this rescue process by offering to be a welcoming new home solution for the dog.
EGRR cannot guarantee that a dog will be placed with an applicant or that a dog that meets the applicant’s needs and desires will come into our program. EGRR does not solicit dogs for adopters. We only accept dogs when asked to do so by previous owners or shelters and future intakes are random and unknown until they occur.
We have a waiting list of people wanting to adopt a Golden and there is no way to predict how long one might wait to get a dog. Unfortunately, most of the people who apply to adopt a dog will not get a dog from EGRR because there are just not enough rescue Goldens available. We therefore encourage applicants to investigate other ways to get a dog such as other rescue groups, shelters and networking with friends and relatives.
Believing that the right match for the benefit of the dog is the most important issue, when a dog is ready to be adopted, we make a list of criteria that we feel are necessary in insure success in the placement of that dog. With those criteria in mind, our Placement Team then reviews our waiting list for those families who meet these criteria best suited to the future needs and care of the rescue dog. If several people/families are thought to be “best” matches, we take into consideration the applicant who has been waiting the longest but the “match” is the most important part of the decision process. We do not follow a “first come, first served” policy. A 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, and you are committed to helping a Golden in need, then you can fill out our Adoption Application on-line by clicking here. The $25.00 application fee will be requested once you have been approved to adopt a dog. Within 2 weeks of submitting your application, you will receive via e-mail a Dear Applicant letter from us which will outline the adoption process in detail. 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.
Cost of Adoption
Our Adoption Fee is the following: $500 for puppies up to and including 12 months of age and $400 for adult dogs. Seniors and special needs dogs will be handled on a case by case basis.
Dogs Posted on the Website
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 him on the Available Dogs page of our website. You might want to go to the Available Dogs page to see if there is a dog there that interests you.