Thank you for taking the time to learn how to adopt a Golden Retriever. Please note that we cannot accept applications from outside our chartered area of northern California and the Reno/Lake Tahoe area. For questions, send an email to [email protected]

NGRR screens all applicants thoroughly.  We have a lengthy application which we will review with you both on the phone and in person before we will consider placing a Golden in your household.

We will try to contact you within 30 days, but please be aware we are all volunteers who donate our time and that our response to you may be delayed due to other commitments.  

To submit an application, see our Online Adoption Application or our Printable Adoption Application. Note that we identify your Area Adoption Coordinator for applications and questions based on the city and county you enter. 

If you want to find out more about a particular dog, the best way is to submit the Online Adoption application and inquire about the dog in the comments section. This way we can evaluate your needs and see if the dog of interest to you will be the best match.

To adopt a Golden, NGRR requests an adoption donation at the time of placement. The adoption fee may vary based on the age of the Golden but the range is $400-$650. Your money helps us support our rising veterinary costs per dog which remain significantly greater than the requested adoption fee.  Adoption fees for senior dogs (i.e. over 10 yrs. old) and special needs Golden may be evaluated and adjusted for special cases.

Please allow up to 30 days for a volunteer to contact you. This will be either by telephone or email. If do not hear from us, you may leave us a voicemail on 650-665-0964.

Please be aware that:

1. NGRR Obligation

We cannot and do not guarantee a Golden for every applicant. We look for the Golden with the best match to your household’s requirements.  However, if your requirements are too narrow regarding behavior, compatibility with your children and age, it may delay or eliminate you from adopting a Golden. Applications with the least restrictions on behavior, age, compatibility that meet our requirements, stand the best chance of adopting a Golden.

*It can take a year for a golden to become available for an approved applicant. Flexibility for the type of golden is critical.  

2. Age

Nearly all of the dogs we rescue are older than 18 months and we rarely have puppies, yet our number one request from applicants is to adopt a Golden under 18 months. So, if you specify only a dog under 18 months, it could delay your adopting a Golden from us. If you do not wish to broaden your age requirements, we recommend you find a reputable breeder by clicking this Puppy Page link to NORCAL Golden Retriever Club’s Puppy Referral website page where there is an email address you can contact for a current list of reputable breeders.

3. Responsibility

Applicants should think carefully about the time and commitment they have to give to any dog.  We require adopting families to be fully committed to the well-being of the dog including vet checkups, daily exercise, ongoing training and socialization with other dogs and people.

4. Adoption Guidelines

NGRR finds safe, loving homes for our dogs where we want them to become household pets and part of your family. Before you adopt, we want to assure your house and yard are suitable for the dog, and that the dog will be well cared for as a family member.  This is why we have such a long adoption application and then insist on a home visit before you are approved to adopt a dog from us. The dogs surrendered to us have been through tough times and deserve a loving home for the best possible chance for success. For a better discussion of our adoption guidelines, please see our Frequently Asked Questions. While each of our Adoption Coordinators has some leeway in placing dogs, applicants with exceptions to the guidelines will likely have lower priority for adoption.

5. Household Support

We require that all members of the household who will be responsible for the care of this dog support this application.

6. Application Process

Following your application submittal, the Adoption Coordinator in the city and county in which you live area will contact you by phone to review. The next step will be to set up a home visit by one of our volunteers with you and your family. Once your home visit has been approved, we will actively look for the best dog suited for your family. When your Adoption Coordinator finds a potential match, he/she will set up a time for you to meet the dog. This works best if you bring the whole household and any other pets in your house to assure a good fit. Typically, this means you must drive to the dog’s foster location in Northern California. If this visit goes well, then you can sign our Adoption Contract, provide the recommended donation, and adopt the dog.

7. Dog List

We make every effort to list all our available dogs but sometimes that is not always possible.  Please don’t defer submitting your application just because you don’t see a perfect match for you on our Available Dog list.

8. Vacant Area

If you are in an area where we have no representatives, but you are very interested in adopting from us, please complete the application and submit it. You will get an auto-response that the Area is vacant, but if there is a chance we can find one of our volunteers out of your area to visit you, you will be contacted by one of our volunteers who will do an initial phone interview and then try to arrange the home visit.

9. False or Misleading Adoption Applications

Please DO NOT contact or send applications to our Adoption Coordinators outside of your home area by filling in a false county and/or city.  Work only with the Adoption Coordinator in your home area.

10. Our geographic area
We operate in Northern California from Fresno to the Oregon border plus the areas around Reno, Sparks, and Incline Village, Nevada. We cannot accept adoption applications if you live outside of these area.