Rescue and Shelter Groups
Golden Retriever rescue groups are operated by breeders and volunteers who love the breed and care about the dogs people give up. Local chapters can be found through your nearby breed club or through the Internet. Oftentimes, a family will not have the time to properly train and take care of a dog. Other times, the owner may have a health problem, be going through a divorce, or have another family situation that makes dog ownership low on their list of priorities. Many good Goldens are given up to shelters and rescue groups in the hopes of being re-homed, and many dedicated people work diligently to ensure that the next home will be a permanent one.
Although the dogs given up to rescue or shelters are usually carefully screened for health and temperament problems, many of the dogs given up have never had any formal training and many are undersocialized to other dogs and people.
If you decide to adopt a Golden through a shelter or rescue group, be sure to do your homework and read up on the temperament and energy level of the breed. Many rescues require that potential adopters fill out an application first and then schedule an at-home interview. The purpose of the interview is to determine your lifestyle and whether or not you would make a suitable candidate for adopting one of their rescued dogs. Don't be offended by the thoroughness of this application process: It protects both you and the adopted dog, and tries to make sure that the dogs that the group places stay in their next home for the rest of their lives.
On the flip side, you should be equally as thorough in making sure that the rescue or shelter aims to place dogs that are free from temperament and aggression problems. Undersocialized dogs that are afraid of everything or dogs that are aggressive toward other dogs or people are a nightmare to own. They require constant training and supervision, and they are never socially normal. Be bold about stating what you are looking for and be willing to do your part in making the match a success, and you will get the right dog.