How to adopt

Who we are

  • GRR is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit organization, active in central Texas.
  • Our goals are to educate the public about responsible dog ownership, particularly with Golden Retrievers.
  • GRR places homeless Goldens in new, loving homes.

Area we serve

  • We serve Austin/San Antonio and the surrounding Central Texas area.
  • We cannot consider applicants outside the state of Texas
  • We do not ship or transport dogs.

If you live outside the Central Texas (Austin and San Antonio) area, before applying, please email us to determine if we have volunteer resources near you to do your home visit. You must also be willing to drive to the Austin or San Antonio areas to meet and to adopt the dog. If you live in the Houston area, you should contact Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston and Golden Beginnings of Texas, Inc.. If you live in the Dallas area, you should contact Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas.

Are you eligible?

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You must provide a loving, humane and safe environment for the Golden, which includes keeping the dog inside a climate-controlled home without access to the outdoors when the dog is home alone.
  • You must provide regular veterinary care and all state or locally required vaccinations to comply with a vaccination schedule under the direction of a licensed veterinarian as well as heartworm testing and preventative year round as directed by your veterinarian.
  • You must comply with all local laws regarding leashing and licensing of your dog.
  • You must provide a safe, physically fenced yard for the Golden to play and exercise in. (See "Why Do I Need A Fence?"). See our Fence Policy below.
  • Fence policy: GRR requires a fenced yard (dog parks do not qualify). If GRR makes an exception to allow an apartment dweller to adopt (or foster) without a fence; you must live on the ground floor or have access to an elevator for the dog. GRR does not accept an invisible fence as an appropriate fence. Additionally, GRR may consider placing a dog age 8 or older in a residence without a fence. Note: a slightly younger dog may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must agree to keep the Golden contained and on a leash when outside a fenced area and not allow the dog to roam free at any time.
  • You must return the dog to GRR at any time if the owner is unable to keep the Golden for any reason or if lifestyle changes make the owner unable to maintain the above conditions for the dog.
  • Golden Ribbon Rescue no longer adopts dogs to families with children under the age of 8 years old (repeat adopters will be considered on a case by case basis). Children between 8 and 10 will be matched to dogs with known histories with children, so the wait could be long. Please see our reasons for this policy change.

Terms and conditions

The primary terms and conditions which will be included in the adoption contract, if you complete the process, are listed here.

The application and adoption process

Important notice:

  • Please be advised that there is currently a waiting list to adopt that can vary widely depending on the needs of your family and those of our dogs. That's because GRR works to make the right match of dog and family; to find a Golden that fits your lifestyle, and that will be a cherished family member and companion for life.
  • Keep in mind that preferences such as age and gender can also lengthen the wait time. Rest assured, however, that once your adoption application is approved, GRR will contact you when a suitable match is found.
  • Currently, we are in need of families who want to open their heart to adopting dogs with special needs.
  1. Complete the on-line application and pay the non-refundable application fee (please be sure you are not out of area before applying). The application link is located at the bottom of this page.
    • APPLICATION FEE: There is a $25.00 non-refundable Application Fee to review your application for adoption. We reserve the right to deny an application for any reason. This fee can be paid online with PayPal OR Visa/MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card. After your application is submitted, you’ll be prompted to apply this fee. This will be applied toward your adoption fee.
    • ADOPTION FEE: 0 to 7 years of age $400.00, Seniors 8 years of age and older $250.00
  2. Application received
    • Verification that the application fee has been received and is noted on the application.
    • Submission of your application (and application fee) does not guarantee the adoption of a Golden Retriever from Gold Ribbon Rescue. Nor does it arbitrarily guarantee the adoption of any one specific dog the applicant may have seen (via website, social Media or newsletter) from GRR.
    • Sometimes it may be necessary for the board to recommend that you seek other sources of adoption.
  3. Phone interview with a GRR volunteer
    • Initial contact made by GRR volunteer via phone or e-mail will be made in approximately 15 days after receipt of your application.
    • Interview is completed, and you will either move on to a home visit or the GRR Adoption Director will contact you with the results of your interview.
    • Sometimes it may be necessary for the board to recommend that you seek other sources of adoption.
  4. Home visit with a GRR volunteer and his/her Golden
    • A GRR volunteer will contact you and schedule your home visit to occur approximately 15 days following your phone interview.
    • ALL members of your family MUST be present at the home visit.
    • Sometimes it may be necessary for the board to recommend that you seek other sources of adoption
  5. Once approved, moved to the matching process
    • When home visit is successfully completed, you will be contacted by the GRR Matchmaker within one to two weeks via e-mail or phone.
    • After contact with the Matchmaker is made, it is impossible to estimate how long it will take to find the right Golden for you. Variables include:
      • Availability of foster homes
      • Numbers of dogs in care
      • Your specific requirements

Meeting adoptable dogs

Families qualified to meet adoptable dogs

  • Completed adoption process and are approved and ready for a dog
  • Matched to appropriate dog by Gold Ribbon Rescue Matchmaker
  • Once Matchmaker and family discuss a particular dog, that dog is kept in reserve until the meet can take place.
    • If meet is successful, dog is adopted
    • If meet is not successful, dog goes back up for adoption
    • If meet is not successful Matchmaker will continue the search for a more appropriate dog for your family
  • ALL family members (including family dogs) are required to attend the meet

GRR DOES NOT guarantee the adoption of any specific dog requested or noted on the application

All adoptions are given a 14 day trial period in which the Golden may be returned for any reason. If this occurs, your adoption fee will be returned, or another dog provided depending on your wishes, provided the dog is returned in the same or better condition as when he/she was adopted and that there is no evidence of neglect or intentional misconduct. Note that the application fee is non-refundable.

How goldens find GRR

  • Surrendered by owner
  • Turned in by cooperating shelters
  • Strays found by Good Samaritans
  • GRR does not buy dogs, but we will pay reasonable shelter adoption fees
  • GRR rarely gets puppies under 6 months of age

How GRR prepares dogs for adoption

  1. Examined by vet
    • Vaccinations brought up to date
    • Heath issues identified and treated
    • Heartworm tested, treated if necessary, and placed on heartworm preventative
    • De-wormed
    • Placed on flea and tick preventative
    • Spayed or neutered if dog is old enough
  2. Foster care for a minimum of two weeks
  3. Temperament evaluated
  4. Activity level evaluated
  5. House training started
  6. Crate training started
  7. Basic obedience training started
  • Note on medical issues while in foster care:
    • Gold Ribbon Rescue strives to ensure that any of our foster dogs receive proper medical care. This includes, as needed, vaccinations, heartworm treatment, treatment for intestinal parasites, and any surgeries for known and existing conditions while the foster is in our care.

    • While we would like to be able to perform extensive medical tests on every dog, we have only the capacity to do so when a medical condition is obvious while the dog is in our foster care program. Medical testing such as heart, hip, eye, kidney and liver assessments on what appear to be healthy dogs is not within the financial capacity of any rescue group.

    • When we adopt our rescue dogs, we do our utmost to understand and share with our adopters any known medical conditions that one of our fosters have been treated for and which may present as a limitation (e.g., a senior with obvious hip dyslexia but for whom total hip replacement surgery isn't reasonable due to age, etc) post-adoption.

How GRR matches dogs to families

What you should consider:

  • Energy level
  • Match for your lifestyle
  • Male or female dog
  • Desired personality
  • Appropriate age for your family (Golden Ribbon Rescue no longer adopts dogs to families with children under the age of 8 years old.)
  • The more specific your requirements, the longer you will wait to be matched to the right dog

What GRR Matchmaker considers:

  • Appropriate energy level for your family
  • Dog matches your lifestyle
  • Dog is age appropriate for your family
  • Dog’s personality is appropriate for your family
  • Compatibility of GRR dog with your family pets

In the event an applicant requests a dog that we believe to be unsuitable for them, GRR reserves the right to offer the dog(s) we feel are most appropriate for the applicant and their individual needs.

Remember: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I really care about the color of my new Golden?
  • Do I really care about the size of my new Golden?
  • Do I really care about the specific appearance of my new Golden?
  • If these things are important to you, then a rescue Golden may not be right for you.


Thinking About A Puppy?

Although GRR does not have a breeder referral service, we encourage you to read the “Thinking About a Puppy” section of our website. Referrals to the local Texas breed clubs are listed for your convenience.

I have read the information above and want to apply for a rescue golden.

Adoption Application

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