The first step in adopting a rescuedGolden from AGR is to submit an Online Adoption Application which is available from the Membership and Adoption dropdown menu above. The application must be completed in full. We ask many questions in order to match a dog to your lifestyle and family routine. Your application will be reviewed by our Home Evaluation Coordinator, who will then assign a Home Evaluator to conduct a telephone interview and arrange to visit you in your home. Our list of available dogs changes weekly, ensuring that you will soon meet your new Golden companion.
Our adoption fees are based upon the Golden’s age. Puppies up to 2 years of age are $350; dogs 2 - 5 years of age are $325; dogs between 5 and 9 are $300; dogs over 9 years of age are $250. If a pair is adopted, the cost will be the full fee for the younger dog and half-fee for the other/older dog.
When AGR takes a Golden into Rescue, we incur veterinary costs. Sometimes these costs are minimal, as when only a general physical is done. In other cases, we have significant medical expenses. What little money we might receive on the adoption of one dog will go to offset the medical expenses of the next dog. Adoption fees by themselves never cover all our expenses with rescued dogs. The average cost of veterinary services is generally over $1000 per dog.
This is a personal choice, but the life span of dogs is increasing, so don’t discount the older Goldens. A Golden can live to 15 years with proper care, although 10-12 years is the average. A Golden at 7 to 9 years of age is still full of energy and is quite appropriate for the household that does not want to cope with the activity and training of a younger Golden. Senior Goldens can still take long walks, swim, retrieve, and enjoy the favorite part of their day, simply lying near their human companions. We rarely get dogs under one year of age into the program. However, we consider a dog up to two years old to be a “puppy” because of the energy level and enthusiasm of this breed.
Puppies less than 6 months of age are occasionally surrendered to Rescue; pregnant females that later produce puppies sometimes also come into the program. Puppies are made available for adoption after they are 8 weeks old. If you want a puppy and are willing to wait for AGR to get one, please file an adoption application now, so that we can put your family on our approved-to-adopt waiting list. Then, you will be among the first considered when puppies become available
The majority of foster families end up adopting the dog they foster, regardless of its age! Golden Retrievers are such loving, wonderful dogs that one of any age will steal your heart and become a member of your family within a very short time. In fact, families who have adopted senior Goldens rave about what incredible and mellow dogs they are and how quickly they fit right in to the family routine.
A resounding YES! We consider a Golden a senior at 9 years of age. Most still have plenty of energy and fun and are so VERY loving. Although they may not be with you as long as you wish, you can have many wonderful years together. The sense of joy in giving a senior Golden a home is unequaled. Goldens quickly bond to their new families. If you have reservations, we will be happy to put you in touch with people who have adopted dogs from a wide variety of age groups from puppies to 15 years of age. The seniors are usually full of mischief, love to take walks and especially enjoy being held and loved. And remember… no housebreaking or teething (in itself a reward).
No. The very need for AGR is the best reason not to breed. AGR believes that there are already too many homeless and unwanted dogs, so we ensure that all of our rescues are spayed or neutered. There is a canine over-population problem because people breed their Goldens “for the kids,” or to “get money out of the dog,” or because “he/she is so beautiful we want one of his/ her puppies.” Breeding is a time-consuming, costly venture that is best left to professionals who truly want to better the breed and understand the intricacies of the breeding selection process. Few people make money from responsible breeding. Breeding should be done only after careful evaluation of the dog's temperament, physique and genetic history. In addition, it is better for the long-term health of the dog for it to be sterilized. Testicular and ovarian cancers are common causes of death in older, “intact” dogs.
Because we are all volunteers, many of whom work full-time jobs, we regret we cannot return phone calls to advise you how soon you may expect a Golden. If your application is approved, the waiting period can be anywhere from 24 hours to several months. Our methods are time-proven and successful. We work to match a Golden that will remain in your home for the balance of its life and be a good canine companion. The more you restrict the factors involved in choosing a dog – age, sex, coat color, etc. – the longer the wait may be before we find the perfect dog for you.
The Foster/FWITA/Adoption Application allows you to specify the kind of dog you are willing to foster/adopt – age, sex, special needs or not, etc. It will also tell us about your family members, other pets, family habits, place of residence and give us some idea why you want to adopt a rescuedGolden. Based on the information in the application and on feedback from a Home Evaluator, our Placement volunteers very carefully match what is known about approved-to-adopt families with what is known about the rescueddog, so that we can place the dog in the very best permanent, adoptive home. Every possible effort is made to place a dog with you that fits your preferences, but we cannot guarantee a complete match.
Once your application is approved, AGR’s Placement Team will be on the lookout for an incoming dog that matches your criteria. If it is a dog already in foster care and ready for adoption, an appointment will be made for your entire family to meet the dog. Please be on time for this appointment and plan to spend 1-2 hours at the foster home. The foster family has final approval of the potential adoption. You MUST wait 24 hours after this initial meeting to decide whether or not you want to adopt the dog. If your decision is “YES” and the foster family approves the match, then a member of the transport team will transport the dog to your home. Once the dog has been introduced into its new environment, you will need to read and sign the Terms & Conditions of Adoption and give a copy of this, along with the adoption fee, to the AGR representative who delivers the dog. In three weeks, if all goes well and the dog has been cleared medically, a letter of adoption finalization will be sent to you. Yes, you can, by agreeing to be a Foster-With-Intent-To-Adopt. In fact, being a FWITA is the most common way through which to adopt a dog from AGR.
After you are approved to be a FWITA, you will get a dog matched to your family as soon as it comes into the rescue program. A rescuedGolden will be brought directly to your home by an AGR Transport Team member. The dog may come from a veterinary facility where it has already been examined, or may be an owner turn-in. Although as a FWITA, you may specify that you will not accept a dog that has been a stray or taken from a shelter, we hope you will be flexible, because all such dogs will already have had a medical workup. You must pay the requisite adoption fee for the dog and sign the Foster/FWITA Agreement and the Terms and Conditions of Adoption contract at the time the dog is delivered to your home. By signing, you agree to hold AGR harmless for any damage caused by the foster dog to your home or family. In addition, you must pay the membership fee if you are not already a member. You may pay with a check, money order, or by providing credit card information. Cash will not be accepted.
The dog will be fostered by your family for a minimum of three weeks, during which time you will be responsible for taking the dog to one of AGR’s approved veterinarians for all necessary medical treatment. After this “trial run” of three weeks, you will be contacted by the Placement Team and asked if you intend to adopt the dog. If yes and the dog has been medically cleared, a letter of adoption finalization will be sent to you. If no, then you will work closely with the Placement team to find the best match for the dog with another family. If you do not adopt the dog you have been fostering, you will have the option of getting a refund on the adoption fee or applying what you have already paid toward the fee for another dog.
No, many of our foster family members are currently employed full or part time and still provide a quality environment for the dog. However, our first concern is safety: for you, for your family, for your own dog(s) and for the rescueddog. Therefore, any time you are unable to directly supervise the foster dog, you should confine him or her to a small, secure area, preferably a crate (AGR may be able to lend you one if you don’t have one.)
For the dog to go outside alone, a fenced yard is necessary for the dog’s safety. The rescueddog must NEVER be allowed to run free. If your yard is surrounded by a secure fence or block wall, the Golden may be exercised there off leash. Outside the yard, or if a yard is not available (e.g. FWITA lives in an apartment, condo or mobile home) the dog must be on a leash at all times and must have a collar on with the AGR identification tag firmly attached even after the dog is adopted.
Yes! They thrive on it, and besides, a GoldenRetriever is a big dog, and training should begin immediately and be an ongoing process. At the time of adoption, we will recommend some local trainers. All Goldens are trainable and actually enjoy the learning process. Training creates a bond between you and your dog, and will make your Golden a good canine citizen.
Being a foster and/or an adoptive family is extremely rewarding, but you should keep in mind that some rescued dogs are not housebroken, may be ill, or may have had little socialization or obedience training. In spite of these challenges, our foster families and adopters have found that, when given a chance, these dogs not only improve, they flourish. All foster homes receive AGR's Your New Dog manual, which provides information on handling both routine and non-routine aspects of fostering. In addition, the Placement Team, the Behavior Liaison and AGR-approved veterinarians are all available for telephone consultation on problems not covered in the manual. If you ever, during the rest of your Golden’s entire life, have any questions, problems or just want to brag about your new family member, we want to hear from you!
Before you can be considered to become a FWITA (Foster With Intent To Adopt), you must start the process by filling out an OnlineFoster/FWITA Adoption Application. The online application is located under Membership and Adoption on the drop down menu above. After your completed application is received, you will be contacted within 24-48 hours to schedule a home visit. Once the home visit has been completed and you have been approved to adopt, you entered into our database to try and match you with an incoming dog. If for some reason you do not hear from us within 48 hours please feel free to contact us on our WAGSline @ 623-566-WAGS(9247). Our WAGSline is answered live from 8:00am till 8:00pm 7 days a week for your immediate assistance. If you get a voice mail greeting it is because we are on the line with another caller and will call you back ASAP.
As a FWITA, you will be brought a dog that may not have been “home tested.”
If the dog is a stray or rescued from one of the county shelters, AGR will have no history on the dog.
The dog may not be housebroken.
The dog may be untrained to the leash or to car rides, and may have no “house manners” or any kind of obedience training.
The dog may not be used to being around children or cats.
The dog may be ill, and, if so, may have a disease that can be transmitted to another dog that may already be in your household. If a resident dog gets sick because it has contracted an illness from a foster Golden, AGR will not cover any medical expenses incurred by the resident dog.
If you have a resident dog(s), we encourage you to protect him as much as possible by:
having your resident dog(s) vaccinated against Bordatella (kennel cough)
keeping your resident(s) separated from a newly rescueddog until the dog’s health can be evaluated by a vet.
Foster/FWITA families are responsible for daily care of the foster dog, including:
brushing and grooming, as needed
reinforcing basic obedience commands
observing and evaluating general behavior and temperament
and, of course, providing love and security to a special Golden at an often difficult time in his or her life
As a FWITA, it will also be your responsibility to take the dog to one of our approved participating veterinarians for its initial health evaluation. You may also have to make additional trips to the vet if the dog needs to be spayed or neutered or is ill and requires follow-up visits. AGR will cover all approved veterinary costs as long as the dog
As long as you are fostering, you will be responsible for providing a good quality dog food, purchasing any toys or chewies you choose to provide and, perhaps, covering any necessary long-distance telephone calls. Necessary approved veterinary expenses, including any medication required to treat any medical problem, are paid for by AGR as long as the rescuedGolden is in foster care. The cost for transporting the dog to and from the vet is not reimbursed but is tax deductible if you keep track of your mileage.
Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs and most are quite energetic. Males weigh 75-90 pounds and females 55-70 pounds, depending on height. Goldens also have long fur and shed throughout the year. Once or twice a year, they shed substantially. Daily brushing is recommended. If someone in your family has allergies, or if your lifestyle requires uncompromising housekeeping, one of the non-shedding breeds may be more suitable. Golden Retrievers are extremely intelligent, which is why they are used as guide dogs and assistance dogs. While this is a positive factor in your companion, it also means that you should plan to take your Golden through a basic obedience class and train the dog to be a well-mannered member of your family. Some of the dogs that come into our program have already had basic obedience training. However, it is good to repeat this program so that you can learn to communicate and bond with your dog. Golden Retrievers are known for their loving, affectionate temperament and MUST live in your home. They do not make good kennel dogs, and if this is in your plans, you would do well to seek a breed that is less devoted to family life.
Within sixty days after adoption, we recommend that you take your Golden to a veterinarian of your choice for introduction and to deliver any veterinary records that we will send you after the adoption is finalized. We suggest that you take a fecal sample in for analysis, since we do not have this done routinely at our initial vet checks. As far as other expenses, you can expect to spend about $350 per year for food. We recommend a well-balanced premium food. Regular veterinary care will cost about $200 per year. We suggest that heartworm preventative be given to our rescued dogs; this will cost approximately $90 per year. Bowls, bed and toys will probably cost at least $75. Grooming by a professional groomer at a minimum of every eight weeks will cost about $300 per year, bringing the total annual cost to around $1000. This figure does not include veterinary care when the dog gets sick, boarding or pet-sitter fees when you go on vacation, or other expenses. Be sure you can afford this dog before you decide to adopt!
The most common reasons for the surrender are because of home foreclosures and the family cannot take the dog to the new home or “I don’t have time for the dog.” Families also give up their dogs because of allergies, death, and, sometimes, because they did not understand the activity level and time commitment that a GoldenRetriever requires. Some are given up because of divorce or relocation to a home where a dog cannot be kept. Occasionally, when a new human member is added to a family, the parents find they do not have time to properly care for the dog. A dog may be given up because it has a medical condition that will be expensive to treat. We have also heard families say they think the dog is “too big”, “too rambunctious”, “too expensive to feed and maintain”, “too hard to train”, “it sheds too much”, “it digs up my backyard when I leave it tied outside”, “it gets nervous during thunderstorms”, or just that “it’s too old.”
Most of the Goldens that will need rescuing come from private owners; some will be rescued from county shelters or from the Humane Society. Some come to AGR through veterinary referrals, others from Good Samaritans who have found wandering dogs. The majority of the dogs we will accept into the rescue program and adopt out will be purebred Golden Retrievers, although we will also accept mostly-Golden mixes. The adoption fee is the same for a purebred or a mix, as we do the same veterinary work-up regardless of purebred status.
All of our Goldens are fostered in members’ homes. We do not have a kennel or other boarding facility. All Goldens currently available for adoption can be viewed on our website. Sometimes arrangements can be made through our Placement Manager to meet with the family that is fostering a particular dog. We also occasionally have Meet-and-Greet events with available dogs at local pet supplies stores. These events are listed on our website calendar.
Most rescuedGoldens are housebroken. However, sometimes a dog has been kept in the backyard for an extended period. In such cases, some housetraining will probably be necessary. It is rare that puppies will be housebroken before they are 6 months old. Even a dog that has been housetrained may have “accidents” when placed in the unfamiliar environment of a new home.
No, unfortunately, not all Goldens that are brought into Rescue are healthy. When first accepted by AGR, each dog is given a medical examination by a licensed veterinarian. If the dog’s vaccines are due or if the vaccine history is unknown, vaccines are given. If the Golden is not spayed or neutered already, this procedure is done. If the dog is ill with a treatable condition, medicine is provided by AGR. Blood testing, except for valley fever and heartworm, is not usually done unless the doctor feels such is warranted. A significant percentage of Goldens that are rescued in Arizona have valley fever. Since the medication for this treatable condition is expensive, AGR will provide it for three months following the finalization of an adoption of a dog that has tested positive for the disease. Potential adoptive families are always told about any medical problem that is known about a rescueddog.
In an attempt to weed out dogs with known aggressive tendencies, a member of our Intake Team does a preliminary evaluation before a Golden is accepted into the program. While not foolproof, the evaluation helps protect all concerned. Once accepted, the Golden is placed into one of our foster or foster-with-intent-to-adopt (FWITA) homes. The foster or FWITA family further evaluates the dog’s personality in a home environment and provides some basic obedience training. The Golden also receives a veterinary examination. The Golden is then ready for adoption. If the foster family chooses not to adopt, another potential adoptive family is matched with the dog from our list of approved applicants
Yearly membership dues are $25 for a Single or $40 for a Household. Membership benefits include subscription to our quarterly newsletter, notification of upcoming local events and information of interest to dog owners, the opportunity to attend AGR-sponsored activities, member discounts on some of our merchandise, the opportunity to participate in the annual election of officers, access to meeting Minutes and financial status reports, and a good feeling when you help support AGR’s efforts to find loving homes for needy Goldens and Golden-mix dogs. Application forms can be obtained by calling or e-mailing us or downloading one from our website. Anyone who desires to foster or adopt a dog from AGR must become a member.
Members are encouraged to help with any of the various committees: Intake, Shelter Walking, Transport, Home Evaluations, Placement, Follow-up, Health Care, Membership and Fundraising. We also occasionally need help from families willing to foster a dog. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us.
An Events Calendar is available on our website. Members of AGR will be doing gift wrapping at local bookstores during the holidays. This is a fun and profitable activity with many opportunities for public education. We will be participating in local events; all will be listed on our Website calendar. We will have educational booths at many public venues, which may include local pet supply stores and dog shows. Check our Website calendar for scheduled events. We host major fundraiser each year which is a golf tournament . We also will be participating in PACC 911 Adopt-a-Thons and in their annual Bowl-a-Rama for Animal Rescue. In March, we will have an annual members’ (and dogs, of course!) picnic and funday. We will have dedicated fundraisers to raise money to pay for the extraordinary medical costs of some rescued dogs.
Some of our members belong to the GoldenRetriever Club of America. We cooperate with Maricopa Animal Care and Control Services, Pima Animal Control, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, the Arizona Humane Society, and other shelters around the state. Some of our members also belong to the Companion Animal Association of Arizona, Therapy Dogs International, Inc. or are Delta Society Pet Partners.
Most families who will adopt a dog from AGR will foster the dog for us first. A foster family thus becomes a volunteer for AGR. In order to comply with insurance requirements, all AGR volunteers must be paid members.