Can you explain the adoption matching process? Do I get to pick my own dog?  

We carefully look at the needs of the dog as well as the needs and wants of the adopter and work hard to ensure the adoption is a good fit for both.

A lot of variables go into the process.  We consider the needs of the dog, their age, likes, dislikes, background, etc.  Does the dog need a fence?  Does the dog have a prey drive?  Is it good with cats or other dogs?  Is there a history of experience with children?  Are there behaviors that require an experienced adopter?  

We review the adopter's requirements; what age or sex they are interested in, activity level and lifestyle. What do they plan to do with the dog?  Agility, therapy, a running mate or are they just looking for a couch potato?  Do they have other pets or children? 

We take all of that into consideration and attempt to make a match that is right for all.  Keep in mind the website description of our dogs is only a brief synopsis and does not contain detailed information about the dog's personality or needs.  Our goal is to have a happy outcome for all!

Once I have been approved to adopted and matched to a dog, how do I meet the dog?

You will travel to the foster home, along with all of the members of your household, including any current dogs, for the meet and greet. GRIN has foster home across our service area so depending on where you live you may have to travel.  Please refer to the Adoption Process section of the website for more information on the process and to view our service area maps.

I have previously adopted from GRIN, do I need to fill out an application or can I use my old application?

If your application is over 1 year old we would ask that you complete a new application to ensure we have the most current information on file about you and your household.

Does GRIN require a fence?

GRIN does require a fence for all does under 6 years of age. This rule was implemented after a number of incidents that put the safety of our dogs at risk. Some dogs come to us as strays or frightened and can be a flight risk. The fence must be a traditional fence that is at least 4 feet in height or GRIN approved invisible fence brand name such as Invisible Fence, Petsafe, Pittsburgh Pet Fence and Doglok. If an invisible fence, we require a training package to be purchased to formally train the dog on the fence. At this time wireless fences, such as Halo and RadioFence are not approved. GRIN requires the invisible fence to have static boundaries that cannot be modified or moved. 

Why are the adoption fees so much higher than shelters?

Before being adopted out GRIN provides all of the necessary medical care including vaccinations, spay/neuter, and treatment for various medical or behavioral issues.  GRIN spends an average of $1200 per dog. 

I only want a puppy, do you get puppies?

From time to time we do have rescued puppies available for adoption.  If you are only interested in adopting a puppy, you can submit your application and be placed on a waiting list.  Don’t wait until you see one on the website as it will likely be too late.

How long is the wait for a dog?

GRIN does have a waiting list of approved adopters.  We do not however operate on a first come first serve basis. We carefully match our Goldens with their forever homes based on the needs of both the dogs and the adopters. The application process takes 2 to 6 weeks.  Then, we begin the matching process.

Can I visit your facility to see your adoptable dogs?

GRIN does not have a facility. We are a network of volunteers and foster homes scattered throughout NE OH and Western PA.

I’m not a GRIN member, can I still volunteer?

We are always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising, fostering, transporting and other activities.  In ordered to be covered under our insurance policy, all volunteers and fosters must be members of GRIN.  Membership applications are on the website under the support tab and can be paid using the PayPal function.  Once you become a member, you can contact our volunteer coordinator to find out what you can do to help.

Where do your adoptable dogs come from?

Rescued Goldens come from local shelters, are owner relinquished or from puppy mills.

I’m not in your adoption territory, will you make an exception?

Unfortunately, we are limited to where we have volunteers to support our activities. GRIN’s adoption process includes a home visit, and we must remain in the area in which our home visit volunteers are willing to travel. For a Golden rescue in your area, please visit for a list of Golden Retriever rescues by state

Are all of your dogs fostered?  Why do some featured dogs have available for adoption dates and some do not?

Yes, with few exceptions, all of our Goldens go to foster homes for a minimum of two weeks in order to gain temperament information.  The “available for adoption” date is when the dog completes its foster period and will be available for adoption.

Dogs that are listed as “on hold” may be with a trainer for evaluation or basic training or under medical care or treatment. 

Why are some dogs listed on your website as available for adoption for a long time?

In most cases we do not have an approved applicant that matches the needs of the dog. GRIN will not deny any Golden it rescues a chance at a happy home.

What is FTA or foster to adopt?

In some instances, GRIN will place a dog in a foster to adopt home. This means GRIN has an approved adopter who is asked to “foster” for the two week “get to know you” period with the understanding they are likely to adopt that dog.

Why is your application process so lengthy?

The information gathered during our application process is valuable as it provides crucial information about your family and lifestyle that assist GRIN in making solid adoption matches.  It is important the match we make be good for both the dog and the family. Additionally, we are an all-volunteer group.

Is GRIN looking for foster homes?

Yes, we are always looking for foster homes.  Foster homes provide our Goldens the great start they need on their way to new lives. These homes provide the love, care, training and confidence that will help a dog adjust to a new environment.  Without foster homes we are limited in the number of Goldens we can take into our program.  Fostering is an extremely fulfilling opportunity and yes it is sad when they go but what joy it brings to know what a difference you made in that dog’s life.

Why is your foster application the same as your adoption application?

Many of our foster families adopt their foster dogs so the process is the same.

Why haven’t I been contacted for my phone interview or home visit yet?

GRIN is a 100% volunteer organization. We are all volunteers and have jobs, families and outside commitments. If you feel your application has gone too long without contact, please visit our contact information section and reach out to the applications team. 

How do I surrender a Golden to GRIN?

At GRIN we understand it may not always be possible for owners to provide for their pets in dire situations.  Divorce, finances, illness, death, job loss, allergies and time management are just some of the life changes that factor into a decision to surrender a dog.  As gut wrenching as it can be, surrendering a dog is always the right solution and we are here to support you. 

For information on how to surrender a dog, please visit the “Surrender” tab on the GRIN website for additional information.

If I chose to surrender my dog, what can I expect?

GRIN’s intake volunteers will contact you to discuss the dog and make arrangements to take ownership of the dog. The dog will then be seen by GRIN’s vet partner for a medical examination and to receive any needed medical care. After the vet visit, GRIN will move the dog to a foster home where he/she will stay for a minimum of 2 weeks. After the foster period, GRIN will begin matching the dog to an appropriate adoptive family.

GRIN goes to great lengths to screen potential adoption candidates to ensure our dogs are placed with loving and responsible pet owners.  Our process includes an application, phone interview, vet check and if all of that goes well, a home visit.  We match dogs to potential adopters that best meet the needs of the dog to ensure a good placement.    

Why is GRIN involved in rescuing international dogs?

Occasionally GRIN is asked why we are helping to rescue international dogs when there are dogs right here in our area that need to be rescued.  That is a great question and we want to be clear about our mission.  Our first priority is to help dogs in our immediate area, be it from shelters, puppy mills or owner relinquishments.   Over the past year however GRIN’s intake of dogs has been extremely low. 

Given the low volume of dogs during this recent season, GRIN has made the decision to join forces with other Golden Retriever rescues nationally to help Goldens in need in various parts of the world.  Most recently those Goldens who were destined for the meat market trade in China.   

Our ability to rescue these dogs depends on volunteers and funds.  Our volunteers work diligently to fundraise so that we can continue to assist with this mission.  To take these dogs into our care, GRIN must be in a position to cover all transportation costs in addition to other expenses including medical care.  

When it comes to Goldens who need our help, Love Knows No Borders