How to Adopt a Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are a very popular dog for good reason. They are friendly and smart dogs that are ready to please their owners. If you want to adopt one you will need to assess whether you are ready to get a dog, look for available dogs online, and meet with potential dogs before you can bring one home. If you love golden retrievers and are ready to give a dog a loving home, consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue organization instead of buying one from a breeder or a pet store.
Deciding to Adopt a Golden Retriever
1. Make the decision to adopt a dog.
Deciding to adopt a dog is not a decision you should take lightly. It is a commitment of as long as 15 years and it requires some reflection on your part. Take the time to assess your ability to care for the well being of the dog. This means that you have time to care for a dog, that you are interested in spending a lot of time with a dog and won't leave it alone all the time, that you have the space for a dog, and that you have the financial resources to care for a dog.
- If you are not adopting the dog by yourself, talk as a family about the responsibilities that each family member will have with the new pet.
2. Do research on the golden retriever breed.
You need to be sure that the breed will fulfill your needs and that you can give it everything it needs as well. Golden retrievers are a very popular dog breed because they are easy going, affectionate, and friendly. They are also a large breed that needs around 1 hour of exercise every day. A golden retriever may not be right for you if you'll have problems getting them out for an hour of exercise every day.
- The dense coat of a golden retriever needs to be brushed at least twice a week. Make sure you're willing and able to give your dog a good brushing on a regular basis.
- Golden retrievers do best when they're not left alone for long periods of time. If you work a full-time schedule, you'll want to consider hiring someone to visit your dog and let it out to go to the bathroom halfway through the day.
3. Decide what age dog you would like.
Once you decide that you want to get a golden retriever you will need to decide whether you want to get a puppy or an older dog. There are pros and cons for both. The most immediate one is that it is much harder to find an adoptable golden retriever puppy from a shelter or a rescue than it is an older dog.
- Puppies take a lot of time and patience to care for. Know your time limits and what adopting a puppy entails. Expect to have some rough nights and that the puppy will tear some things up in your home. However, you will have the benefit of being able to train your dog from an early age. This will potentially help you avoid the behavior problems that can go along with adopting an older dog.
- Older dogs are usually a lot less work to care for than puppies. They have potentially been house trained already and have other basic training down. Older dogs are also a lot easier to find at rescues and shelters and they often need loving and caring homes. However, older dogs can have bad behavioral problems that can be hard to remedy, especially if you are unsure about their past and what caused the bad behavior.
Finding a Golden Retriever to Adopt
1. Look for available dogs online.
Most dogs that are up for adoption will be listed online. Look at general websites that list all adoptable dogs but also websites for local shelters and rescue organizations.
- Try searching at shelters outside of your immediate area. Sometimes the perfect dog will be at a shelter or rescue that is just outside of your specific town or city. Look for adoptable pets on the websites of rescues and shelters in neighboring towns or look at national lists of adoptable pets online.
2. Visit your local animal shelters.
Most cities or large towns will have a shelter that will have adoptable pets on display. At these shelters you can take a look at dogs that are up for adoption. You can also interact with them one on one if you see one that you think you might be interested in.
- If you see a dog online on the website of your local animal shelter, go to the shelter and see the dog in person. This will help you figure out if it is the right dog for you.
- If you visit the shelter you can also ask staff about the health and history of any dogs that you are considering.
3. Contact golden retriever rescue organizations.
If you want a golden retriever but you don't find one online that is right for you, contact your local rescue organizations. If you tell them what you are looking for they may be willing to notify you if a dog that fits your parameters comes up for adoption.
- Some animal rescue groups will transport dogs from other locations if you are the right family for the dog they have. If you see a dog online that is far away but may be perfect for your family, feel free to contact the rescue to see if the organization would consider you for adoption.
- Before keeping an eye out for a dog for you, the rescue is likely to require that you fill out an application so that they know you are a viable adopter.
4. Fill out an adoption application.
Before you are allowed to bring a dog home the adopting agency will have you fill out an application. While the application varies slightly, it usually includes questions about your housing situation, your ability to care for the dog, and basic information like your name and address.
- Most rescues have an application process and some strict guidelines for who can adopt their dogs. For example, most rescues require you to own your home and the often require you to have a fully fenced yard if you are adopting a big dog like a golden retriever.
- If you're a renter, the rescue may request a letter from your landlord indicating you're allowed to have pets.
- Rescues may also request letters of recommendation or a reference from your vet.
5. Pay fees and take your dog home.
Once you are approved for adoption you will need to pay the adoption fees for the dog you have chosen. After that, you can usually take your new pup home. Be sure that you have prepared your home for the new dog before you go to get it.
- The timeline for adoption can vary quite a bit. Some shelters will allow you to bring your dog home immediately. Others will require you to take the process slowly, making you wait a period of time before bringing your golden retriever home.
- The fees associated with adopting a golden retriever will vary quite a bit. Some dogs require a higher fee because they have been transported a long distance and your fee offsets that cost. In other cases, rescues and shelters charge a higher fee for more desirable dogs to offset the cost of caring for dogs that are less likely to be adopted. Keep in mind that the fees rarely cover the full cost that the shelter pays to care for the dog.