If You Are Thinking of Giving Up Your Golden
People give up their dogs for a variety of reasons – time limitations, divorce or other changes in family composition, financial problems, expensive and/or difficult medical care required for the dog, etc. The purpose of this page is to help you keep your dog, if possible, and to let you know about the various options for turning your dog over to someone else. Unfortunately too many dogs – yes, even wonderful Golden Retrievers – are just abandoned and left to fend for themselves, dumped anonymously at local shelters, or given/sold to others who may not have the dog’s best interests at heart.
We hope you’ll review all the information on this page. If you come to the conclusion that you would like to turn your dog over to GRREAT, we have provided information about the process at the end of this discussion under the heading “What to Expect if You Give Your Golden up to GRREAT.”
Before you make the final decision to give up your dog, we suggest you consult with your vet or a professional trainer, or read some of the many books and articles by dog experts and well-known trainers. There are websites that provide information on how to handle problems with your dog, such as: Suzanne Clothier Relationship Centered Training. In addition to dog videos and books for sale, this site has a number of free articles dedicated to healthy relationships and humane training including:
Options for “Rehoming” Your Dog
Placing an ad in the newspaper or on an internet site.
Hundreds of classified ads for dogs to be adopted appear in newspapers and on Internet sites. While there are sincere prospective pet owners looking at these ads, you must be prepared to do the basic things necessary to ensure that your dog goes to a good home. Did you know that there are organized groups of individuals who pass themselves off as loving families (often coming to your house with children) who answer many of the “free to good home” ads and then sell the pet to puppy mill operations or for research? You should never turn your pet over to a complete stranger without checking personal references and vet references, and you should visit their home after verifying their address against their driver’s license. A potential adopter should be willing to pay a nominal adoption fee for your dog, so never advertise your dog as being “free to good home.”
Turning your dog into a local shelter or humane society.
Many shelters and humane societies are staffed by well-meaning employees and volunteers, but many shelters, especially those relying on county funding, do not have the resources to handle the large number of animals brought to them every day. While they attempt to find homes for as many as possible, they have a limited amount of space. Nationwide statistics show that an astonishing number of animals are euthanized every year because of overcrowding in shelters.
Turning your dog over to a rescue group.
There are many rescue groups throughout the large geographic area covered by GRREAT. Some, such as GRREAT, specialize in a particular type of dog, while other rescues take in both mixed and pure breed dogs of all types. Again, be sure that you are dealing with a legitimate rescue organization that will take the time and care to find the right adoptive home to match your dog’s needs and personality. A legitimate rescue will ask you a lot of detailed information about your dog, ask for medical records, and give you a receipt for having taken your dog. You should also be able to verify how your dog will be handled prior to adoption, whether it will be kenneled or in a foster home.
If you decide that GRREAT is the best organization to find a new home for your dog, you will be interviewed by one of our Intake Assistants (contact information is given at the end of this page) to get information about your dog and to provide you with a complete explanation of our program.
Arrangements will be made for one of our transport volunteers to pick up your dog. At that time you will be asked to sign an “owner give up” form. This is a legal document that transfers ownership and responsibility for the dog from you to GRREAT. You will also be asked to supply past medical records if available. And we will ask you for a tax-deductible donation, if possible. A tax-deductible donation of $100 is suggested. This is not a requirement for relinquishing your dog to GRREAT. The funds that are collected from owners giving up their dogs are used to help care for the many dogs we bring into GRREAT that are in need of medical treatment and standard vet care before they can be adopted. Every dog that comes to GRREAT receives a complete medical checkup, including a test to check for Lyme Disease and heartworms, a fecal exam, and a complete blood workup for senior dogs (age 8 and older). If any medical conditions are detected, treatment for your dog will begin. And all dogs will receive vaccinations as needed.
Once you have signed your dog over to GRREAT, you will have no further direct contact with the dog or with the foster home or adopter. But, you may get in touch with us at any time and we will be more than happy to tell you how your dog is doing and to describe his or her adoptive environment. Golden Retrievers are very adaptable and do well in any environment where they are loved and well cared for.
When your dog comes into GRREAT, he or she will live in a foster home (regular homes of our volunteer members) for a minimum of two weeks before becoming available to be adopted. This gives us time to:
- have the dog spayed/neutered and shots updated, if necessary
- evaluate the dog medically
- get insight on how the dog handles transition
- evaluate the temperament, energy level, and needs of the dog
The amount of time that a dog is in foster care varies. Most dogs age 5 and under are in foster care an average of 3 weeks before being adopted, and most dogs age 8 and over are in foster care for about 10-12 weeks before being adopted. However, if there are significant temperament or medical issues, it may take longer to find the right home for your dog. There is no time limit on the amount of time a dog can spend in foster care while we’re looking for the right adoptive home. Every Golden we bring into the rescue will remain in the foster home for as long as it takes to find his/her forever home.
If you are interested in turning your dog over to GRREAT, or if you would just like to speak with someone to obtain more information, please contact our Intake Coordinator. In the email, please give your name, address, phone number(s), dog’s name, dog’s age, dog’s sex, and the reason for giving up your dog. One of our Intake Assistants will make every effort to get back to you within 24 hours. Or leave a voice message on our phone: 703-620-6593.