Adopt a Golden Retriever

Adopt a Golden Retriever – Are You Ready?

So, you think you’re ready to adopt? Our first recommendation is that you make sure you know all about golden retrievers. Read up on the breed. Interact with several of them. Talk to people who’ve had a golden for a long time. Adoption is a lifetime commitment so be informed and be ready. Golden retrievers are a lovable breed, gentle by nature, easy to train and eager to please.

But, they are also big, energetic, have long fur coats and would prefer to have their own way most of the time – just like most creatures on earth. They are very social, don’t like being alone for long periods of time, and need to be an active part of your life. They incur costs for vet bills, training classes, quality food, fencing in some instances, not to mention toys, leashes, brushes… the list goes on. Some like cats and some do not.

If you’ve decided a golden retriever is right for your family, please consider the following about rescued goldens:

  1. AGaG rescues any and all needy goldens (except aggressive dogs) without bias to age, gender, size, color, personality, medical needs or other history and, therefore, the profiles of our available goldens can greatly vary at any given time.
  2. A typical rescued golden may have one or more issues and adoptive families need to be open to accepting a dog that is less than perfect.
  3. Due to safety, liability, and availability concerns, AGaG does not adopt to families with children under 6 years of age residing full-time, or part-time in their home.

What’s Involved?

There are many important factors that go into a successful adoption including learning all about you, your situation and your preferences.

Do you have a house, a yard, a fence? Do you live in an apartment but close to a park? Are you part of a big, active household? Do you live alone? Have kids? Have other pets? Like to be active and want a playful dog? Yes, you’re getting the right picture that there’s a lot involved in this adoption business.

While we’d like to help every family interested in adopting a golden retriever, our volunteer and fiscal resources are limited so we only adopt goldens to families living within Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and the southern most counties of Wisconsin. If you live out of state and are interested in a rescued golden, the Golden Retriever Club of America maintains a rescues by region list.

Please note the adoption process may take several weeks to months depending upon your preferences and the profiles of dogs in our program at any given time.

If you are considering submitting an application to adopt a golden or golden mix from As Good as Gold, please be aware that it is important that your current dog or a dog you have recently lost, is (was) up to date on the following: rabies and distemper (DHPP) vaccinations, annual heartworm testing, and monthly heartworm prevention.  Upon receipt of your application, As Good as Gold will contact your veterinarian of record to verify these preventive measures.  Many of the dogs we rescue lack adequate vet care, and our largest expenditures are in medical care to restore and maintain the health of each dog. Consequently, as their golden guardians, we will only place our dogs in homes with families who will continue to provide quality and consistent veterinary care. It is a mandatory condition of adoption that the applicant agrees to keep the dog up to date on vaccinations (titer testing is acceptable), yearly heartworm testing, and purchasing monthly heartworm prevention tablets. We also acknowledge that there might be exceptions due to the frailty of senior dogs or exceptions for certain medical conditions and treatment plans.  Please notify us when you apply should your dog fall into any of these categories.

Update on our adoption process and Wait List

Thank you for your interest in rescuing a golden/golden mix. Due to the volume of requests, it will be a few weeks for a volunteer to contact you to schedule your home visit. Goldens are a popular breed and we have many more families wanting to adopt a dog than dogs available for adoption. Once your home visit is completed, we want you to be aware that the length of your wait can be weeks to several months depending on what type of dog you are looking for and what you are willing or not willing to deal with in terms of behavior and/or medical issues. Please be patient with the process as we do our best to help you find your new family member as quickly as possible.

If you are not willing or able to wait, you may want to check back and apply later.  Many of our current fosters are on Medical Hold or Behavioral Hold for a variety of reasons (heartworm positive, orthopedic issues, fearful breeder dogs). If you are interested in adopting a medically needy dog or behaviorally challenged/fearful dog, please let us know at adoptions@asgoodasgold.org.

Here’s a checklist of important steps and what to expect.

  1. Complete our online adoption application form. Fill it out completely to ensure we find you the best match. If you need a paper form, you can download a pdf version of our adoption application. Both require a $35 non-refundable processing fee. If your adoption application is denied, this processing fee will not be refunded.
  2. You’ll receive an immediate email confirmation of your online application or e-mail/postcard within two weeks of receipt of your paper application.
  3. An As Good as Gold volunteer will contact you to schedule a mutually convenient date for your home visit (all household members must be present).
  4. You will be notified of application approval or denial no more than two weeks after your home visit has been completed.
  5. Once your application has been approved, you will be placed on a waiting list until a potential adoptive dog is identified. Once a match is identified, an AGaG volunteer will contact you and arrange for your family to meet the dog.
  6. Please be aware that approval of your application is not a guarantee that you will be allowed to adopt the dog of your choosing (or any dog). As Good as Gold strives to take the best interests of the dog into consideration when making placements. As Good as Gold reserves the right to refuse adoption to any applicant at any point in the application or adoption process, in its sole discretion.
  7. Your adoption application will remain active for one year from the date of submission. We know that a lot can change within twelve months so we require you to reapply after one year if no successful placement is made within that time.

Can I Shop Your Site For The Dog I Want?
No, as you can see from the process outlined above, we don’t do on-the-spot adoptions; and there are so many factors that influence the right match and you’d never discover them by looking at a photo and reading a quick profile. But, what you can do, is track our success stories to see specific dogs that are now happily living in their forever homes. You will see representative rescue Goldens as they’re featured in other stories on our website, or you can come to one of our many events and meet us, and our dogs, in person!

What Are Your Current Adoption Fees?

Special Needs Program: dogs with special needs – $200
Standard Adoptions: dog up to 7 years old – $550
Golden Years Program: dogs 8 years old and up- $200


Adoption fees help offset the cost of veterinary expenses and canine supplies used to care for rescued golden retrievers.  If you are interested in adopting a rescued golden retriever and would like information about our “Adoptions for All” program, please call us at 630-588-0115.

How long do I have to wait for a golden?
The answer is different for every situation.  Currently the demand for a golden is much higher than the supply.  After your approval to the wait list, it can take several weeks to several months, or even a year for you to get a dog depending on what you are looking for and what types of dogs we get in.  Since we never know when a dog will come through our door that will meet a family’s criteria, it is a guesstimate as to how long the wait would be.  Our main focus is placing each dog in the very best home for his/her unique needs.  How many hours will the dog be home alone?  How much exercise will the dog get?  Are you willing to work with medical issues or commit to training?  Placing the dogs is not an exact science and it takes time to understand the dog and look through the list of waiting families to see who would be best suited for a particular dog and come up with a match that will make everyone happy.

Many times the wait is longer than people like and we understand that once you have made the decision to adopt a dog, you want a companion right away.  But, the rescue process is not a fast one, and we ask that you have patience.  Different dogs come through our door all of the time and each has unique needs.  We carefully consider each and every dog along with each family to make sure this is a forever match.  When the right dog is identified and the adoptive family welcomes him/her into their home, many people tell us the wait was well worth it as you can see by the Success Stories on our website.

What is the “Golden Years” Program?
The Golden Years program is simple – if you open your heart and home to adopt one of our senior goldens (age 8 or older), adoption fees will be waived for all subsequent adoptions of dogs 8 years old or over.  We have also grandfathered in any adoptive family that has previously adopted a senior dog from us.  We hope this program will encourage people to think about adopting a senior dog…many of us know how wonderful they can be!  If you would just like to help us cover our senior goldens’ medical expenses please consider a donation to Elsa’s Fund.

What are Special Needs Goldens?
Quite often we take in goldens that may require a little something extra. This may mean medications, surgery, behavioral help, or in very special cases, a dog that will continue to need extra care for the rest of its life. Special needs dogs have discounted adoption fee of $200. We hope this program will make it easier for someone to open their hearts and provide forever home for a very special golden.

What if I Can’t Adopt?
As always, donations are accepted for the care of all of the goldens we take in, but if you are touched by the story or needs of a particular golden on our site, and are unable to bring one of these great dogs into your home; please consider a donation to help cover the cost of their medical care. For more information on donations, please select “Donations” from the left menu of any page on our site.